Monday, March 31, 2008

Busy busy busy

My days off are Saturday & Sunday. Yeah. Okay.

Went in to work Saturday around noon, left at 8pm. Went in to work Sunday at noon, got home after midnight. Back in this morning at 8am to "start" my week.


At least the Eagles press conference is over. It went very well, fabulous turnout, everyone is happy, etc. Working on the big concerts IS fun, but I always forget how much work it is. Kinda like childbirth, I guess. (The difference being that, when a CONCERT is over, you get to go home, have a beer, and sleep in. Babies? Not so much.)

Over the course of the last, crazy 48 hours, we did manage to score comp Bob Dylan tickets, which Husbandly desperately wanted. We still haven't scored tickets (not looking for free, totally willing to pay) for the sold our Leonard Cohen show, which I desperately want. Leonard Cohen is playing at a 900 seat venue (why? WHY?) and sold out in 15 minutes, so I don't think we'll actually get to that one....even our DEEP insiders said, "Irma, I just don't have ANYTHING" and I believe them. Shit.

Suzanne takes you down
to her place by the river
and she feeds you tea and oranges
that come all the way from China....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour. I did it. Did you?

At 8pm tonight, I made the conscious decision to turn off my lights for Earth Hour. I had also worked all day (on my day off), returning home hungry at 7:45 pm, so I quickly threw an impromptu turkey soup on the stove. Gotta cook before I turn off the power, after all.

By the time the soup was ready, it was time to go dark. I looked out the window, and saw that my street was mostly dark. I silently admired my dark-livingroom-neighbours (whether they were actually home or not!) and damned the few households I saw that had lights blazing. Maybe they didn't know about Earth Hour, at which point I forgive and embrace them. But maybe they did know, and made the decision to go ahead with their normal, Consumer lifestyle. At which point I say, BOO HISS. my life, that word means so much more than simply someone who goes shopping, or enjoys a good or service. Years ago, my ex-husband taught me that the words "Customer" and "Consumer" should not be confused, because while there is nothing inherently wrong with being a Customer, to be a Consumer was a dirty word. A Consumer is someone who spray paints on the rocks by the highway. A consumer is someone who carves their initials or profane message in to the side of a tree. A consumer throws their trash out of their car window. In my world, a consumer is not someone who spends money, it is someone who CONSUMES, someone who takes what should belong to all of us and either steals it or cheapens it.

During Earth Hour, I lived by candlelight, and I loved it. So much so that, when Earth Hour ended and I powered up my laptop, I kept the candles going. In my part of the world, Earth Hour has been over for four hours now, but I haven't turned the lights back on yet. The candlelight is warm and sexy and REAL, and I have been able to move around my house without the help of electirc lights, thank you. And now I am looking ahead, planning to Gougle "candle-making".... Listen, we run a successful banquet floor, we throw out a hundred candle stubs every day. Maybe I can take thise stubs and make new candles to light my evening hours.

Because, really? As long as the TV is on, and Husbandly One can watch his hockey, I don't think he'll care if we are in shadow. Hell, those sexy shadows may even make me more attractive!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An honest look at scrapbooking (or, "How The Magazine Stole My Soul")

I know I haven't talked about scrapbooking on this blog, but let me assure you I have been an avid scrapbooker since 1996. In other words, I have been here since the beginning of the current obsession with glue and paper. And from my lofty height as a pioneer, I offer you the following journey through my own adventure, and the influence The Magazine has had on me.

In 1996, I was in line to check out at a craft store (I think I was buying cross stitch supplies) and my eye fell on a magazine whose cover promised me "13 ways to record baby's first year". I was a new mother, so purchased the magazine without really knowing what it was. At home, I opened it up and discovered this new world of scrapbooking. My earliest pages are horrid, photos cut in to bizarre shapes, adhered to sample paper we had lying around the house from a stationery (NOT scrapbook) company, and all journalled with whatever ballpoint pen was available. My earliest pages were baaaaaaaaaad, but they were well meant.

Fast forward.

Since that long ago day, I have subscribed to The Scrapbook magazine...that's almost twelve years. In the early years, The Magazine, like my best friend Kelly who is an amazing scrapbooker, inspired me to do better, to more fully embrace my hobby.

But then something changed. I don't know exactly when The Magazine stopped making me feel good about my hobby, and instead started insinuating that if I didn't follow the trends I was a big loser.... but believe me, it DID happen. The craft evolved, became more technically demanding (why? because The Magazine said it should be??). People like Kelly, who were inherently artistic to begin with, were able to follow along, and produce beautiful pages. Me, on the other hand? Not so much. I began to feel ashamed of my simple pages, simply because The Magazine no longer showcased pages like mine. Everything had to have the newest techniques, embellishments, patterned papers....all of a sudden, simply recording my memories in a meaningful way was no longer good enough.

I couldn't keep up with the Jones'es in the scrapbook world. Kelly could, not because she was a sheeple following the trends, but because she is so insanely creative she understood the new language, saw the new possibilities. Her pages have always been gorgeous in their photography, insightful in their journalling, and beautiful to see and touch.

I don't. I can't. Lord knows I have spent many hourrs wishing I could be as talented, but I'm not. I'm cool with that, the woman is my best friend, I love her pages and I wish I could follow her creative axample. But I can't. I just make nice, simple pages for my little family, end of story. And Kelly, who truly understands what scrapbooking should be about, sincerely loves my pathetic little pages as much as if they were cutting edge.

I received my latest copy of The Magazine in my mailbox the other day, and it finally occurred to me that I am paying good money each month to allow strangers make me feel bad about myself. I open The Magazine, and lament the fact that I can't do what they do. I don't understand the techniques, I don't have access to the products, I am not a great photographer. I am just me.

And yet.

And yet, when I do scrap, Husbandly One and Son will both say, "Wow, that's great. I remember that day! What a great memory that is...."

I, in my non-artistic, non-innovative way, am giving my family what they want. We want our photos. We want a few written musings about our memories. And hey, if the page surrounding those two things happens to be pretty, so much the better. At least I understand that the two first things outweigh the third.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Must remember this one for the right moment...

"Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand."
Homer Simpson

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Multi tasking

At this moment, I have a turkey in the oven AND a load of laundry in the dryer. Look at me go!

Of course, if you read betwene the lines, this means I'm sitting on my butt, doing nothing but still taking credit for accomplishing two things at once.

Shut up, it does SO count.

Edit: Oh, and Happy Easter, by the way. I mean, if Easter is your "thing". If not...well, happy Sunday-no-different-from-any-other-Sunday. But Happy Easter, anyway.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My little foodie

As the kitchen staff at work will tell you, there is nothing I won't eat. That's not to say I actually like everything I put in my mouth, but I have absolutely no fear in trying new things, no matter how bizarre it may sound or how far off my cultural mark it may be. (Case in point being horse. Horsemeat is very popular in many parts of the world, but in North America? Ummm, no. But I tried it, and quite frankly I enjoyed the peppery taste.)

But this post isn't about me or My Little Pony. It's about Son.

Ever since he was old enough to eat real food (and, with my foodie inclinations, I deemed that to be around 10 months old) that delightful child has eaten whatever the grown-ups were eating, no questions asked. I don't know what I would have done if, at any point over the last eleven years, son said, "Noooooooo, Mummy, I don't waaaaaaaaaanna try that, it looks funnnnnnny." Suffice it to say that I probably would have lost my temper and left the room.

I guess. Because I don't actually know.

At the age of two, he scarfed back fresh trout so rare that you may as well say I just kind of waved a light bulb near raw fish.

At three, I went out to dinner with Son, another Mom and her four year old daughter. A few minutes after our meals arrived, I had to raise my voice to my innocent baby. "Son, if you think you are only eating vegetables, you are WRONG. Put down that beet and eat some of your chicken!" Other Mother was floored, confused, and improperly jealous. Seriously, you have no idea what it's like living with a toddler who prefers vegetables over all other food items.

At four, smoked salmon (and , bad move on my part) creme brulee became his new favourites.

At five, he would climb into my lap with his baby-bird act, looking sweet and innocent while hungrily waiting for me to deposit another steamed mussel in his mouth.

At six, the prospect of his favourite snack food would turn him in to a wheedling, annoying clinger until we gave it to him: baby spinach.

At seven, he could crack his own lobster.

At eight, he convinced me to order him a $26 blackened swordfish at lunch (my budget was thinking burgers...) because, "Well, Mummy, I've never tried it before...." And later that same day, he polished off a plate of moose stew.

At nine, he gobbled alligator fritters and asked for more.

At ten, he moved in to the big leagues. During that year, he discovered turducken with cornmeal stuffing, sushi, roasted bear, and foie gras. And he giggled uncontrollably when I offered him a sip of my Sauterne to go with his foie gras. We were in a restaurant, and he said, "But Mummy, you could go to PRISON for giving me wine!" I said, "Shut up, eat your foie gras, and have a sip of this. You'll see." And to his credit, he did, and he did.

At eleven, his new favourite became lobster in white chocolate. And he decided (probably for life) that he does NOT like raw oysters, but he likes them just fine when cooked.

Twelve is only a few months away, and I can only dream about what culinary delights the next year will bring us.

My kid rocks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I stole this from Dooce

(Oh shut up, like I'm the first person to steal stuff from her?? And it's not like I'm trying to pass myself off as a Dooce-wannabe. A Dooce-wannabe would know how to hyperlink. Instead you have me.)

So anyway, she posted a link to a column by a Canadian writer, grumbling about the winter SOME of us are experiencing. I say "some of us" because I just got an email from my friend in British Columbia, telling me about all the work she's done in her garden, the crocuses are out, the cherry blossoms are beautiful, etc. I hate her.

Without further ado, please click on the ugly, non hyper link below for a real treat. Trust me, if you have snow, you need to read this.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bad advertising

Many years ago, Ex-Husband (he was Husband at the time) showed me the simple joy of boycotting products that had bad advertising.

I'm not talking about a local commercial for the muffler shop two miles away, with that nasty jingle and the even worse joke. No, I can make my peace with low budget, local flops, because it isn't the business owner's fault (I hope), and that local business owner paid good money, hoping to increase his trade. I actually kind of admire these local entrepreneurs, trying to sell more mattresses by putting on a cheap cowboy hat that doesn't even fit.

No, when I am talking boycott issues, I mean multimillion dollar international companies who somehow buy in to an ad line that should have got their account rep FIRED. I think television commercials can, at one end of the spectrum, be an absolute art form. So when I am confronted with terrible advertising, I stop buying whatever that company is hawking. If I can't trust them to know if a commercial is lame or not, how can I trust them to make a good car / washing machine / diet soda?

A few minutes ago, I saw a commercial that was so bad I threw up in my mouth a little bit. Clearly, I can not buy their product. Problem is that is was for the National CHEESE Council.

Give up cheese??? In order to maintain my advertising integrity, I must. But, umm, never gonna happen. I feel like such a sell out.

And in case you are curious -- and you must be dear, dear friends if you have just read all the way through four paragraphs about a cheese commercial -- here is the jist of the ad:

Mom and Dad in the kitchen, preparing dinner. Three kids sitting at the table. Parents spontaneously break in to Aretha Franklin's "Respect", slightly rewritten with such gems as, "C-H-E-E-S-E, find out what it means to me".... and "All I'm asking for, is for a little cheese" while the kids start chanting "Serve it to me serve it to me serve it to me...." NOT GOOD

Monday, March 17, 2008

Time to read

This weekend, I did something I haven't done in a long time: I made the conscious decision to neglect all of my household duties so I could simply read a good book. Don't misunderstand; I always have a book or two on the go, which I read in snippets here and there. It's just been a long time since I sat on my arse for two days, doing nothing but reading.

I started "Water For Elephants" by Sara Gruen around 4pm on Saturday (my mom lent it to me...thanks Mom!). Left the house around 7pm to hook up with a friend of mine at the book store for $9 coffee and possibly a new book. (Mission accomplished, as you will see.)

Returned home at 9:30pm, and got right back in to Water For Elephants, which was great, by the way. Finished it around midnight, and, fueled by the aforementioned $9 coffee, immediately started reading "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer, which I had just purchased. I have not seen the movie of the same name, but holy crap, I'm going to now. What an amazing story, and well written, too.

Anyway, I stayed up til 4am reading that one. Sunday, I got up at 11 am (I wonder why) and dove right in to the other book I bought, "The Nasty Bits" by Anthony Bourdain, which I finished around midnight last night. That one took me so long because I actually felt guilty Sunday afternoon and decided I should clean my house and then make dinner, after all.

Tonight I'm going to start "The Dean's December" by Saul Bellow, which a friend at work lent to me. And tomorrow, another friend is bringing me Anthony Bourdain's first book, "Kitchen Confidential". Can't wait! Usually I am the one who lends people books -- IF they promise to treat them nice! -- it's so yummy to have people giving ME free books!

Gotta go....time to read.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Such is my love for him

Husbandly One is working late tonight, which means I was on my own for dinner. This usually means that I force myself to finish off whatever leftovers and grocery mistakes are left in my freezer and fridge, rather than foist them on him.

As such, I had a salad of questionable baby spinach, the leftover frozen chicken wings from Super Bowl (so screaming ass hot that even I have a hard time choking them back), and washed it all down with a glass of red wine from the bottle we opened ten days ago. Okay, it was vinegar. But I drank it, dammit.

The evil, chuckling part of me actually thinks it could be fun to save these culinary gems for Husbandly One. I have never made a secret of the fact that he cooked almost every meal we ate for five years, but since we got back from vacation in January, I have cooked every single night. (Well, except for the night of my car accident, give me a break!) I have NO idea why I was suddenly moved to start cooking for him, but I know he really appreciates it. And even when my recipes don't quite work out, he praises me to the skies. I think he's just afraid I'll snap out of this and he'll have to go back to being chief cook and bottle washer. I'm just thinking it might be funny to serve him shit that I KNOW is below par, just to watch him find ways to praise me for it. Heh heh.

But no, I would never do that. I want to cook for him, do this one small thing to make his life simpler, give him well balanced meals that nourish his body and soul. So it looks like I will continue to save "Leftover Night" for myself.

Now if you'll excuse me, there's two spoonfuls of cottage cheese calling my name.

Monday, March 10, 2008


The Nice Paramedic Man warned me that, despite the fact I felt physically fine yesterday, I might be a little sore today.

A LITTLE sore?? Holy crap, where did this come from? I swear that even if I hadn't said a word, the people at work would have known I had been in a car accident just by looking at me. This sucks.

But want to know the truth? The fact that I am "sore" is freaking wonderful, it is a blessing and a joy and a miracle, because that's all that's wrong with me. I should have (at minimum) a broken arm or a big gash on the side of my head or a big bruise or something. But no, Son and I are both fine. (On a different note, guess I can kiss goodbye any chance of ever winning the lottery, because I used up all my luck yesterday. I'm cool with that.)

I had a long talk with Son today, it seemed to help him to talk to me about the accident, seeing how I was in the car with him. We talked about how it seemed to happen very quickly but very slowly, and about how we were both silent when it happened, no screaming or freaking out, just waiting to see what would happen next. I said to him, "You know Son, there are parts I just don't remember. I remember them pulling me out of the car, but I don't remember them taking you out."

He said, almost with relief, "But Mummy, I remember them pulling me out, but I don't remember YOU coming out."

I guess it's normal, these blank spots in our memories, and I don't think either of us is going to worry too much about it. But I, for one, WILL remember how grateful I felt to the people who helped us, remember how grateful I was to look at my beautiful son and know he wasn't hurt, remember how grateful I was to the Powers That Be.

Kinda stuck in that mode right now, actually. Even if my back hurts.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'm fine, and I'm thankful

And I'm also very tired, so I don't have the energy to tell this story properly. So here's the email I just sent my best friend

Son and I were in a pretty bad car accident on the highway today. I Lost control of the car (lots of slush), I was all over the road (sheer miracle I didn't hit anyone as the traffic was heavy) I ended up flipped over on the roof of the car in a water filled ditch thirty feet down. The first vehicle that stopped to help us was a bus of soldiers, of all things.

I was able to get my seat belt undone (before anyone reached us) and I crawled over under Son so that I could kind of push his body up so he could undo his seatbelt. Right around that point a man reached Son's side of the car and said he was going to bust out the window to get us out. I said, "No, I don't have my son's seatbelt undone yet." He said he was going to go around to the driver's side instead to break that one.

I don't really remember waht happened next, except I heard someone say, "The window is already open", which I found odd. I do remember two soldiers pulling me out of the car, but I don't remember them taking Son out (which clearly they must have done before they took ME out because he was on top of me.)

The soldiers took care of us until the ambulance came. I called Husbandly One to tell him what had happened and that WE WERE FINE. He immediatelyleft the house to come to the scene. So the ambulance gets there and they checked us out, my heart rate was high (I wonder why) but other than a bunch of cuts to my right hand, we were declared ok.

At that point we went to wait in a cop car for about 20 minutes or so. Husbandly One later told me that he was perfectly calm driving out to us, until he came around the corner and saw all the fire trucks, etc. THEN he started to freak out.

We stayed while they turned my car over and then dragged it out. The reason that man had said that a window was down on the dirver's side was because both windows on my side were completely gone. The windshield buckled inward quite considerably, but did not "break" ...well, other than the fact that it is in 50,000 pieces. The roof of the car was smashed in, the whole driver's side of my car is a wreck, and the suspension is destroyed. Total write off.

WE ARE FINE. I can't even begin to tell you what a miracle that is, on our way down the bank we JUST missed hitting one of those highway signs (by like a foot or so). My back is starting to get sore (the paramedics told me that would probably happen) but it's a muscular pain so no worries. I have tenderness across my chest from my seatbelt, but no bruise. Like I say, the worst thing was a BUNCH of superficial cuts to my hand from all the powdered glass in the car. I ended up finding glass inside the sleeve of my long sleeved shirt which was inside my coat for GOd's sake. I had a lot of glass on my face, in my eyelashes and eyebrows and in my hair, and even some in my nose and mouth (which, someohow, I just spat out the last piece about an hour ago.)

Oh, yeah, it is currently 10:30pm and the accident was at 3pm. Well, I don't know what else to tell you, I know this is all poorly written but I'm doing my best.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

It's raining in my garage

No, that is neither a joke nor a euphemism.

Two nights ago, Husbandly One and I heard the strangest, sudden cracking sound, and both got up to figure out what it was. When we opened the garage door, we saw the problem: part of the ceiling in there had collapsed from the weight of the melting snow on the roof coming in under the shingles. Up until that point we had been having a great day, but the sight of a sheet of wet gyprock on your floor, accompanied by big fluffy sheets on insulation, does not instill additional happiness, believe me. Nor does the steady drip-drip-drip of melt-water hitting your lawnmower and camping chairs.

So it looks like we need a new roof NOW. The only good part of the ceiling collapse is that our truck wasn't in the garage. The truck wasn't in the garage because it is in the shop, getting a new $3000 transmission.

Look at me, I can spend $10,000 in a single day, without leaving the house or going on-line. Such is my power.

This sucks on a level previously unimagined.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Through the wringer

Sorry, haven't had much to say the last few days. Work is....ummm.....intense.

For the last week, work has turned my screw tighter and tighter. And the Bad Time (usually mid April to the end of June) hasn't even started yet. So not only am I stressed right now, I know it's only going to get MORE stresstacular.

And what will help me feel better? The knowledge that, at the end of the day, I will probably make LESS money in 2008 than I did in 2007.

Of course, the prices of the things I need to pay for --- food, heat, insurance, gasoline, maintenance on our house, taxes-- will undoubtedly continue to skyrocket. CAN'T WAIT.