Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Classism, 1940's Style

Here I am reading insanity files, and this is the line I come across:
"They belong to that class of people who make themselves a nuisance everywhere".

The interesting thing (after you get over the dismay of someone writing that about actual people) is that it is totally unclear what he means. Is it that they're poor? Or that they're foreign? Is this anti-catholic sentiment, of which I've found plenty? Perhaps they were just not sufficiently obsequious to suit him. From the tone of the rest of the report, I'm opting for the last as being the most likely.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What weddings can teach us

A friend got married this last weekend. And I learned a number of things from the wedding:

Making a tiered wedding cake could kill you. But it isn't a certainty. Because I survived and overall it went well. The Girl has pictures, I'll get something posted when she is over today's orthodontist visit.

Short grandparents don't necessarily make for short grandchildren

Fondant should not be eaten. SERIOUSLY. Ick. But it sure looks purty.

Les filles Hingston are as pretty as I've been telling you all this time.

Even the warm-huggy ambience of a wedding doesn't mean you won't want to smack someone for being irritating.

A small church basement filled with people - and no A/C - when the outside temp. is + 30 is no place to spend a great amount of time.

Everyone but me can keep their head down and their eyes closed when weird stuff happens. I know this because I looked around in shock/confusion at one point and everyone else was bowed and closed, praying. Bad me.

Family is as important as I have always believed it to be. It's just nice to see it confirmed in other people's familes. And even better? Being included as a part of someone else's large family. I even got to sit in the family pew! May not sound like much to you, but it meant a great deal to me.

It is possible for a middle of the road chubby middle aged white woman (moi) to look nice, given the right dress choice. And I had three on loan to choose from, all of which were very swish! I've decided to never go dress shopping without Mayb. Because the dresses were all hers. Clearly she has some serious shopping skills.

You can't learn to walk about in really high heels without some practice. Especially after a summer of mainly barefeet and flat sandals.

Romance isn't dead.

It isn't always the bride that makes people cry. I had it all together until the groom made the sweetest kindest gesture. And then the tears came. Drat.

I need someone else to get engaged, so I can get caught up in someone else's love life.

I need some romance in my own life.

Winning the lottery isn't likely to be the solution to the current life crisis.

Ok, so I didn't learn those last three at the wedding. But they're important, so I tossed them in.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to make sure you stay home all the time.

There is a way to make sure you never go anywhere special. Buy something -say an outfit, a dress matching undies or what-have-you - and then NEVER WEAR it/them, becuase in your head you're thinking "no, I won't wear that, I'll save it for something special".

If you do that, as sure as the sun will melt your wax wings if you fly too close, you'll end up never wearing said garments. I should know, as I have many things I haven't work yet, all waiting for that special person/event/tabloid scandal. Perhaps next year I'll work on wearing everything I have at least once. Maybe. But not until next year, because 2009 still has 3.5 months left for something really really wonderful to happen that would require a special outfit.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Even Worse than Cart and Horse

I can't say that I'm surprised, but it is still bizarre enough to blog:

We have a huge project going on at the moment. And this morning, in what was referred to as "a bit of a problem" something came up that is actually akin to mailing away all your winter coats BEFORE the new ones have arrived, and the date is December 1st.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Right events, wrong order. Stupid News.

I'm pretty sure....just using basic logic...that when there are two people, both dead, one by suicide and one by murder that it should always be "murder-suicide". Because...if you killed yourself first, well, murder would be kinda hard, don't you think?

Well, a lot of stuff

What else can one say when asked what one listens to musically? I mean, I just finished listening to music from Bleach and now I'm listening to K-K-K- Katy (which ,yes, in my head sounds like my name), and next is Old Piano Roll Blues and then D'yer Maker. So...a lot of stuff. A lot different stuff.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hooray for Christmas!

Put Christmas music on my ipod. Ok, there is at least one song that is there year round but now most of my Christmas music is there. I know only LMH will understand that, but I'm ok with that. I figure if at least one person gets it, I'm happy.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Baking. Seriously baking

The grandparents are in town, so the kids are with their dad. Which means, of course, that I had a long weekend to myself. Guess what I did?

If you guessed headache, you're partly right. If you guessed went out and had fun you'd be totally wrong. If you guessed housework, studying and baking you'd be right on the money.

The current baking issue is a) studying the math and chemistry of baking, not just recipes. Also working on technique and b) making a totally mind blowing best-in-the-province deli rye bread. Which is going to happen, but having started the process on Saturday, it will be next week before rye loaf mark I is ready to try. At which point I'll be testing, and probably looking for testers.

I did get the most a crust on a banneton raised country loaf, though. Too bad I was impatient and didn't let it rise long enough. I started a new batch which I should be able to work on tonight. If it works, I'll ask The Girl to take a picture to show you. The loaves from last night were beautiful. And I could have eaten just the crust for supper and been happy.

Naturally, I did all of this baking of bread when what I should have been working out proportions for the wedding cake. But if MayB can procrastinate, so can I.

Brains make for Beauty

I used to wonder at the fact that my crushes (on the famous, that is) don't seem to have any physical characteristics in common. And then a friend said that they have brains in common, and I realized she was right. Stupid and pretty doesn't work for me*. Smart, witty, articulate, well read - all these things count. Beyond that either there is chemistry or their isn't.

My latest crush? Well, I accidentally watched the first episode of the new season of Top Chef. And a few minutes in I had my fave all picked out. And yeah, I have a crush. Why not? He can cook and I'm assuming he is smart. Not guessing, assuming.

Guessing would be thinking "hmmm. He says 'you' not 'youse'. And he enunciates. Maybe he's smart"

Assuming is....well, he gave up a full scholarship to MIT to cook. So yeah, I'm crushed.

Oh, the contestant? Here.

*Except once. Getting over it guy was lovely. But dumb as a bag of hammers. Nevertheless, that's what I needed at the time.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Giant Green Post

The post is giant (not that I'm saying size matters, this is more of a warning) and it's about the garden. I had meant to post bit by bit but in the crazy business of life that just didn't happen. So here you go, the summer of the garden:

When I am playing a new board game, particularly if the game is German and complicated and whoever is teaching it to everyone (naming no one here!) needs 45 minutes to get us all through the rule book, I don’t play to win. I don’t even plan to do well, although I don’t complain if I do. What I do do, so to speak, is play to learn. I figure I can wade through one game, and then when it hits the table the next time around I’ll know the game. And then I’ll play it with the hopes of doing well. Or at the least well-ish!

I decided – yesterday – that I’m going to have to think of the garden plot that way. Not that I haven’t been successful, it’s just that there are a lot of things I intend to do differently next year. Stuff that I didn’t think about until the garden was well underway. So, in chronological order here is what’s been going on:

March, 2008 I contacted the Community Garden people about getting a plot. They were polite – inasmuch as they saved their huge guffaws until I’d hung up – and let me know that I was MONTHS too late for the 2008 gardening season. Did I want to be put on a waiting list for 2009? Yes, yes I did. See? I can plan ahead!

Early January, 2009 I get an email…they have an available plot for me! Every year there are some people who don’t return, and I guess there would be those that move or die or what have you. Some people have had their plots forever, it seems. I know two couples, both of whom at the more-than-twenty-years point. The only changes one couple has done is to divide their large part in half, once the kids had moved out. There is only so much produce one couple can eat! The email wanted to know if I wanted a full plot (20’x50’) or a half (20’x25’). I opted for the latter.

February Awesome brother-in-law flies me out to BC. I find it much easier to think about gardening, as they have FLOWERS. That are BLOOMING. In FEBRUARY. Lucky buggers. Decide not to bring plants back with me. I’ve done than before, one time taking a whole flat of herbs as a carry-on. I figured that they’d die before I got them home and if by some chance that didn’t happen, I’d have to keep seedlings living for MONTHS before I could plant them in the garden. Good call, as we had to walk outside from the plane to the airport in screaming wind, with a temp at minus thirty something.

April Having decided what to plant – potatoes, carrots, peas, strawberries, tomatoes, corn and peppers – I get an email reminding people that there are no perennials allowed in the garden plots. So, out go the strawberry plans.

Late April The gardens are roto-tilled every fall. If you want it done in the spring as well, you have to hire someone to do it or do it yourself. I decide to pass on the tilling. Bad call, or at least not a great call. The soil where we ended up planting carrots was really dense, heavy with lots of clay. I should have gone the extra step. Lesson learned for next year!

May Cold. And snowy. I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll be able to use the traditional date of the May long weekend for planting. As it turns out no…it was much to cold. I did buy seed potatoes, though. And learned another lesson. Don’t worry about what the bin says, read the label. The store I went to had an enormous bin of Yukon Gold seed potatoes. So I grabbed one, and added it to the card of seeds. When we got home I put them all out on newspaper to sprout, just like the instructions said. After we’d done all of that the girl said “you do know that these aren’t Yukon Gold, right?” No, I didn’t know. Turns out that the bag I’d grabbed from the Yukon bin was a bag of Red Pontiacs. Ah well, I’ll be more careful next time.

Mid-May Time to plant. To start with we had:
Seed Potatoes, sort of sprouted
Seeds for: carrots, peas (the mange-tout kind) cucumber, pumpkins (two types, regular and a heritage orange and black)and corn.

Plants: tomatoes, red yellow and green peppers (here’s a question: I thought red and yellow sweet peppers were just green peppers, ripened. Is that not the case?), hot banana peppers and four different types of melon: Mini Sweet Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Early dew and Lambkin. I have no idea what the last one is, but it look healthy, so we bought it.

When we had everything planted it became apparent that I didn’t really understand how big 25’x20’ really is. We had a rectangle of space with nothing planted. So The Girl and I went out and bought a set of six Spanish onions, went back and planted them and considered the whole thing a job well done.

June Still cold. And when the temp. went down to +3 a few nights in a row we went to see what damage the garden had sustained. All of the peppers were sad and dead looking, and more than half of the tomatoes had definitely given up the ghost. Happily for us, a good and kind friend (yeah Allison!) had extra tomato plants, so we replanted. And got a few new peppers as well. The rest we just left, lesson learned.

Mid June Where is everything? The peas and corn have sprouted, but no potatoes, no carrots, no pumpkins no cucumbers. I thought for sure the potatoes would be up, but no.

End of June The girl is leaving for a month in BC (oooh, envy) and at least the cucumbers and about half of the potatoes are poking about the ground. The peas, too, are up. And considering that we just planted them willy-nilly in the ground and then shoved tomato cages over them they’re looking ok. Not more than four inches tall, but they’re there!

Early July Well, once those potatoes started coming up, they almost all came up with great enthusiasm. 39 for 40 potato hills have lovely green plants thriving on them. The corn looks excellent, the peas are thriving and the pumpkins are up. And in the wrong spot! Turns out that believing that I’d remember where the blank rectangle was about as stupid as it sounds. What was I thinking? So the pumpkin vines started growing in and amongst the onions. Right beside the empty space. It kills me everytime I see them.

Third Week of July I get a cold and miss a whole week of gardening. The weeds are crazy and everything that we planted is doing well. Even the almost-dead peppers have come back to life, somewhat. I take a coffee break to race over in the morning and water…the days are hot, and we haven’t had rain. In the few minutes I’m there, The Girl (who returned from BC at twelve am and went to Kenosee at nine am the same time) appears. Giant hugs and excitement all round. Turns out that the family that she went to a cottage with were driving her home and wanted to see the garden, since it was on the way. She realized someone was in the garden, and then realized it was me. Joyous reunion, many hugs and kisses. What can I say, we’re a huggy family! She is thrilled with how wonderful everything but the carrots look, and wants to pick stuff RIGHT AWAY. I explain that we’re not there yet, but that before I head to BC for a while, we’ll get some potatoes for supper. Mainly because if I tell The Boy don’t pick any potatoes whilst I’m gone he won’t, but if I tell The Girl the same thing she’ll come up with some very convoluted explanation as to why the fate of the world hung on the need to pick one plant. And that she knew I would understand. So I figured that if she got to eat something before I left, then perhaps she leave the rest be until I got back.

Last Week of July There are bald patches with the carrots and the cukes. We used seed tape for both, and in the cucumber spot I found nibbled bits of seed tape to explain the blank patches. I’m assuming the same thing happened to the carrots, although I continue to water the blank spots just in case. I never did find eat tape so perhaps some seeds were just slow. For no reason that we can figure out, the 40th potato plant peeks its leaves above ground. What was it doing whilst its mates flourished?

First Week of August Just about to go to BC for a while, so I get everything weeded and watered. The house and puppies are being watched after by The Boy, so The Girl is responsible for the garden. We pick some potatoes, and steam them with herbs from the garden (I have an extensive herb garden at the house, totally unrelated to the plot), eat them with butter and pink salt. Heaven on a fork. Even if they are Pontiac Reds!

End of August The scraggly little banana pepper plants are producing like mad, as are the peas. The pepper plants produce peppers as long as the plants are tall. Turns out they’re sweet, so The Boy is a bit sad, but still, we end up with more than twenty six inch peppers from four sad looking little pepper plants. Sadly, the green peppers don’t seem to be doing as well. And the tomatoes…lots of them, but no colour yet. And the cukes, which were a mass of flowers when I left were a mass of flowers when I returned. Will be ever get actual cukes from them?

Early September We’ve eaten potatoes, carrots, pea, onions and peppers from the garden. The melons…suffice it to say that I have AWESOME melons (ha!). There are at least six that are almost ready to eat, and if the 30 degree weather we’ve had so far continues, we’ll do just fine by the melon crop. The pumpkins are finally more than just flowers, and there are a few minute cucumbers amongst all the cucumber vines and leaves, so they may be ok too. This weather is what we should have had – but didn’t – in August. Better late than never!
So there, that’s the garden story. Overall I’m thrilled that I decided to get a spot of a plot in the community gardens. Next year I’ll till in the spring, write down what got planted where, add some sand to the carrot spot and read labels carefully before buying.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Better Yet

You know what would be nice? If people, when they see you reading during a break at work, just left you alone. I mean seriously, how hard is it to work out that you're involved in something and chat isn't what you're there for?

Better yet...I should develop enough of a backbone to say "I'm on a break and just really want to read. You can ask me about work stuff during work time. Sorry".

You'll get fails, not passes if you cook without glassses

So, I realized this morning as I was unloading/loading the dishwasher (putting it off until the morning seemed like a good plan last night, but seen in the light of day it was a bad plan) that I had no lunch makings as such for the kids. This whole back to school before the Labour Day weekend messes everything up, so I am not as prepared as I will be once I get back in the school lunch habit.

I also realized that while I did have cold cereal as a breakfast offering (because they're not babies, they can get their own breakfast) I also had blueberries that I needed to eat and/or freeze before they got mouldy and needed to be tossed.

I solved the two problems by making blueberry muffins from a recipe and winging some baked mac 'n cheese. The mac and cheese turned out fine; cheesy, creamy a bit of spice and a cruncy panko topping. Thr crunch likely won't survive being microwaved as school, but it will still be tasty.

The muffins, however....apparently any bite that had a blueberry or a chunk of white chocoalte was fine., bar the slightly soapy aftertaste. Any bite missing on fruit/chocolate was bland. And this all happened because my glasses were at work.

I checked the recipe when I got here (I brought it with me) and as it happens I read baking soda when it was baking powder and I was a third of a cup short on the sweetener. 2/3 cups sugar looks a lot like 1/3 cup sugar when you need glasses and you don't have them. And although I read barking soda and was pretty quick to realize it was baking, not barking I could have saved us all the soapy aftertaste if I'd read powder instead of soda. Ah well, lesson learned. And the muffins will be eaten, and I only used half of the blueberries. The rest got frozen, so I'll be able to redeem myself, blueberrily speaking.