Monday, March 30, 2009

Stupid Canada

This is the view off of my deck, taken a half hour ago. Fifteen centimetres of snow down, another fifteen to come before midnight. I have had enough of this winter stuff. Yes, those are my Christmas lights. And yes, I am tempted to turn them on.
The power went off this afternoon, while we were at work, and was back on before we got home. Awwwww, I love power outtages! And I missed it! Stupid storm can't do anything right.
On the other hand, as the snow has been slowly melting over the last week or so, all the "gifts" our dog has left us in the back yard have start emerging. At least now they are covered over again.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I just checked on my lovely Portuguese pickles. One of the jars had mold in it (ewwwwww) so I threw eveything out.

Guess I will have to start over.

Bad word.


I need to get something off my chest, something that has bothered me for ten years or more. Maybe y'all can explain this to me in a way that makes sense and allows me to bury this question forever.

When people get married, why do couples BUY the woman's wedding dress, but RENT the man's tuxedo? Shouldn't it be the other way around? When I married my Ex-Husband fifteen years ago, I too went all bridal on his ass, and purchased a dress that cost almost $1000. Fifteen years ago. And it has sat in big box in my Mum's basement ever since. Money well spent, huh?

And in my OWN basement? I have my Mummy's wedding dress in a big box. Granted, one of her sisters also wore that wedding dress -- in 1971-- so it has "only" been a pain in the butt to all and sundry for 38 years. I know my Mummy had always hoped I'd wear her dress when I walked down the aisle....but the woman was 4'9" and weighed 90 lbs on a good day. Me? Not so much. I have zero reason to keep her wedding dress (or my own, for that matter) but I am now saddled with both for all eternity.

The reasonable thing for a chick with a penchant for a white dress to do is rent the bloody thing, and buy her man a tux. Granted, a man doesn't get to wear a tux everyday, but I can assure you he wears it more often than one five-hour period out of his entire life.

So why do so many women, myself included, go temporarily insane over the matter of a big white dress?? Explain it like I'm four years old.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour in 83 minutes...

Trying to get us fed and watered before I turn off the power at 8:30.

Some people gripe that Earth Hour is just a publicity stunt. Well DUH, of course it is. Some people say that one hour's worth of conservation doesn't even amount to a single drop in the bucket. Well DUH, of course it doesn't. Some people say that, by abstaining for one hour, folks will think they have "done their share" for the year and immediately go back to their wasteful ways at 9:30pm.

But so what?

Who CARES if it is just a publicity stunt, or that some of the participants don't really "get" what it's all supposed to symbolize. Every little bit helps. Let me tell you, the way I use the earth's resources today is a far cry from the way I did even two years ago. The small changes, the minor decisions I make every day, they really DO add up. Especially when you add my changes to yours. And to your neighbour's. And to that guy's.

If you choose not to participate in Earth Hour, that's cool. Your choice, man. Just don't let anyone tell you Earth Hour is a bad idea.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two things I learned this weekend.

First, when making pickles, make sure you have a pot large enough to process the resulting jars. Durrr. I have never used pint sized jars before, only smaller ones. So imagine my surprise when they were taller than all my pots, and of course I hadn't borrowed my Mum's Big Pot.

I ALSO learned that making Yorskhire Pudding is harder than it seems. Well, maybe it's not harder than it seems, maybe you just need to pay attention to the recipe before you go slinging flour and egg all over your kitchen and throwing them in the oven. Oh, that part about how it is CRUCIAL to pre-heat the muffin tin, and that your ingredients be at room temperature? Yeah, missed that.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Granola Girl Update!

--After suffering many humiliating cheese-making related defeats, I have a lead on a source of raw milk....which is totally not legal to "purchase" in my part of the world (grr), but nothing to stop someone from giving me some as a gift. And then maybe I will give them some cash as a totally unrelated reciprocal gift.

(Okay, the Grammar Girl in me is cringing over the oxymoron "unrelated reciprocal")

--Two days ago I started some cat grass seeds on the kitchen counter. Then tonight I started some radish seeds in a jar, looking to eat yummy sprouts in about a week.

--Then I saw Husbandly One's eye start to twitch, as he realizes I am "cluttering up" the counter with my mid-life crisis. Sheesh, relax already. After all, I'm just getting started, hee hee.

--I bought some white wine vinegar a few days ago, and depending on how my weekend goes, I may pickle some carrots this weekend. Yes, I know pickling carrots from the grocery store in March is weird, but this is part of a long term plan. As mentioned, Husbandly One longs for the pickles of his native Portugal. Well, I think I have found a good recipe for these....but they have to sit for eight weeks before eating them. So I figure if I make them now, he will try them sometime in May....early enough to potentially tell me if I got it wrong and still allow me to try a second recipe before our own carrots need processing.

(Sometimes I AM capable of thinking ahead, you see.)

--If any of you have tried (or are thinking about trying) the homemade laundry soap, I have a new warning: do NOT use it in conjunction with bleach. Why? I have no idea, but I assume there is a chemical reason for this.

--Actually, I better go and update my old post on the topic to include this info. Ciao!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

See, THIS is why I can't be a "girl"

Had a girl's night out with the ladies from my office tonight. We went for a drink and nibblies, and then off to the spa. Well, actually off to an aesthetics school; these ladies are nearing graduation and offer heavily discounted prices on the procedures so they can get more practice. I will tell you right off the bat that I really enjoyed it; I had some kind of super detoxy blah blah blah facial, it was relaxing, it felt great, my skin feels like a baby's butt, and it was dirt cheap.

On the table next to me, on the other side of the discreet curtain, was a lady I don't have much in common with. You know what, this is my blog, so I'll just spell it out: I think the woman is a complete airhead. But she was trying to chat with me so I figured I could just make some mindless chatter and then she would leave me alone with my lovely facial.

Unexpectedly, she asked me if I was still happy with my homemade laundry soap (I am). This turned in to a whole enviro tangent that frankly floored me. She was asking me what I believe, what I want....and, even knowing that every single person I work with could hear me, I found myself telling this airhead my ambitions of chickens and hogs, of fertile gardens, of sustainability, of living simply.

Then she hauls off and says, "Did I tell you I started my own business? I am a rep for Majorly Expensive Cosmetics. What I love about them is that their products are made from 'botanicals' and the seven step cleansing system is only $400 and it lasts a long time."

(Here's the proof that I can't do this whole "girl" thing.)

I basically replied that while I wish her well, and once received a sample of the seven step process as a gift and agree that it was lovely, spending $400 on a seven step cleansing process doesn't fit in with my desire to live simply, nor does the time involved in a seven step process, that even if it did I could never justify the expense, and what is so wrong with looking my age ANYWAY, and if it hadn't been for this organized outing I would probably never have had another facial for as long as I live, and I figure plain old soap is good enough for me.

And that's when I realized my esthetician, who hopes to spend her live selling such clap trap, was listening. As was every esthetician in the room. As were all my co-workers.

If my back wasn't still so bad, I probably could have gotten my actual foot in my mouth. That's all that prevented it.

Nobody talked to me much after that.

At the end of my facial, my poor affronted esthetician tried to fix my hair with her fingers before I got up. I told her she didn't need to do that, I was good....then I stood up and saw my dishevelled self in the mirror. I snorted, "Omigod, I totally have sex hair!"

My co-workers near me giggled, and I heard one of them further away ask, "What did Irma say?"


I heard shocked gasps from across the room, and my cosmetic selling coworker hissed, "Irma, there are other clients in the room besides us!!!"


Now everybody hates me. Even people I don't know.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I'm done being hysterically angry Wifely One now.

Although most of the people at work commented on my hair today. You know, people who don't actually spend almost 24 hours a day with me. Or wake up each morning of their lives looking at my hair.

Tongue in cheek, people, tongue in cheek. Boys are so blind sometimes. Oh well, it's just one more way he makes me laugh.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

They are so closely related

Hate and love.

I love my Husbandly one with all my heart, I love how he takes care of me, protects me.

I hate that, two hours ago, I dyed my hair after six months of no intervention, and dyed it a whole different colour, and he has no idea. None.

I love how, when his back was on the fritz, I used to get on my knees in front of him, to put his socks and underwear on his body, because he couldn't do it himself. I was giving my everything to my man, and it made my heart sing.

I hate that, now that I can barely walk, I get to hear about how he feels about our dirty house, I get to listen to him slam things around in the dirty kitchen.

Yeah, I am farking bitter tonight, does it SHOW?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Network News, and why it sucks

I am a Canadian living in Canada, but we see more than our fair share of CNN in this house. Most of it is drivel, but we keep watching because, if something Is Really Happening Right Now, it's still the best place to turn.

(I used to enjoy Lou Dobbs, now he makes me stabby. Whatever, different post. But Anderson Cooper is still my dreamy, secretly gay boyfriend. TOTALLY different post.)

We do try to watch Canada's national news network, as well, mind you. But it makes me even angrier and more inclined to stick a pen in my own eye. Case in point: they just spoke to some fashion chick for, I swear, 10 minutes, about what the recession will do to fashion and the decisions people make.

Expert Chick didn't talk about buying trends, didn't discuss the way the ecomony will change the way we look at luxury items. No, after ten minutes all I got was, "Now, don't quote me, hee hee, but I think, hee hee, we will see a real resurgence in longer skirts, hee hee. That will be, hee hee, the trend to watch." Smug smile of the wise.

Listen, I don't work in fashion and I don't BUY fashion, but even I know that for the last hundred years, it has been a statistical fact that hemlines get longer whenever the economy tanks. This is not news, this is something you can read in Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.

Is it NEWS? I think not...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What fresh hell is this?

I'm not going to bore you with details, but I have blown out my back. I have zero idea how I did it, mind you, but the simple truth of the matter is that for the first time in my life? I get it, and I whole heartedly agree that lower back pain is, in fact, about the worst pain I have ever endured. Even childbirth only lasted a day, you know?

I am only two days in to this particular experience, and I have already had enough. I can't sit for long, and I certainly can't lie down. A good friend recommended an over the counter pain killer / muscle relaxant, which I began taking this morning. Seems to help, so I made a point of taking one before I went to bed tonight. Oh, and I should point out that this drug warns it may make you drowsy.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Friends and neighbours, it is currently 4 am and I have never been as awake as I am at this moment. I haven't had a minute's sleep yet tonight, and I have to be at work in four hours. Which is probably when I will start feeling sleepy.

I have already given up on my workday; I will go in, do what absolutely can't wait, and then plan to be home again by 10 am at the latest so I can get some sleep. Really looking forward to using another sick day (it'll be my FOURTH in 2009 so far!!) but I really don't see a way arounf it.

Oh, and ever since the back spasms started two days ago, the thought that has been screaming through my head on Continuous Play is: But I have to walk across Spain this fall! But I have to walk across Spain this fall! But I have....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Creature of habit

So I have this insulated coffee mug, this mug I inadvertently stole from my Mum seven years ago. The actual theft was completely blameless and unintentional, but by the time she got around to telling me I may have taken her mug by mistake? TOO LATE, BITCH. IT'S MINE.

I love my mug. In seven years, I have never been away from it longer than a day. Yesterday, I had dinner with Ex-Husband and Son, and had put my mug down on the floor of their car. This morning, Husbandly One looked around our kitchen and called, "Dear? Where is your mug?"

I thought about it for a minute. "Omigod, it's in 'City Two hours Away From Here' !!" And, giant loser that I am, I teared up a bit.

I know: I am lame.

At work, I grabbed some other, mediocre, non-loved cup and got my coffee. My supervisor immediately noticed the difference and said, "Irma! Where's your cup!"

I teared up AGAIN (yes, I am that lame) and wailed, "It is in City Two Hours From Here!"

Fast forward an hour. Supervisor walked in to my office with a brand new coffee mug which she had just purchased at the Tim Horton's across the street. She knew I would have my own, beloved mug back by the weekend, but she needed to acknowledge the fact that I felt lost without my good old brown plastic mug and wanted to give me a crutch for these next few days.

Yes, I AM that lame. And yes, she is that awesome. I don't know how I ended up with such a fabulous boss, but I am glad she's in my life.

(and ps, she's ALSO the one with the perfect life in the country. Whore.)

My twelve year old's favourite jokes

What do pirates pay for earrings?
A buccaneer.

Why did Tigger look down the toilet?
He was looking for Pooh.

Why does the ocean roar?
You would too, if you had crabs on your bottom.

(Works on soooooo many levels.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

But that's MY life

Me: stuck in middle class suburbia with perfect neighbours who, when they bother to look at me at all, do so with one eyebrow raised. I live in a household where lowering the thermostat is a major battle, where my plans for my garden are being met with hesitation, where the man I love feels that a green expanse of completely useless lawn is a "source of pride".

Her: hobby farm in the country with a huge organic garden. Wood stove full of wood from their own land. Large pond in the front they stocked with trout two years ago. Her husband went out to tap their maple trees this weekend. Some years they raise meat chickens, and some of these chickens get traded for half an organic cow. My friend lenjoys her life in the country, but in her words, "It's my husband who is really in to all this, I could take it or leave it."

But but but but....that's my dream life! I feel like telling her, "Listen, if your husband ever goes all Big Love on you, give me a call."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Another helpful tip

I just made a coffee cake using the last of the raspberries I froze last summer. (Note to self: this year, freeze more!)

After the raspberries thawed, they were swimming in almost a cup of their own, delicious, no-sugar added juice, which had no place in my recipe. I figured the smartest, healthiest, and most frugal thing to do was drink that ruby red cup of wholesome goodness.

If you never hear from me again, it's because the heartburn killed me.

Who knew.

Edited to add: I have now moved on to making dinner, and I just made a huge pan of carmelized onions. I had to make such a large batch because I knew I would eat half of them straight out of the pan. That should help my heart burn! Ugh.......

Friday, March 6, 2009

Corporate KoolAid

Oh admit it, at one point or another we've all received some kind of cheesy, lame ass bit of "motivation and appreciation" from our employer. Be it a mug emblazened with the word "Quality", a sunglass holder with your corporate logo on it, or the distinction of being named "Accounting Employee of the Month" in a department of ten people so you knew your name would come up at least once a year, we've all been there.

And those three examples I gave? I have personally lived through all three. And about a hundred more. Can I interest you in some t-shirts? How about a lapel pin? No? Nobody?

So a few weeks ago, there was a big rah-rah announcement that we were changing reward programs! If somebody further up the food chain catches you doing extra good work, well then, by golly, you'll get points! They'll just whip out their stash of point cards and reward you on the spot! With points! Points to recognize your superlative awesomeness! And did I mention the points are on a card? Because everyone loves a card! It's all wacky and fun and impulsive and it TOTALLY makes up for the fact you're not getting a raise this year!

The sound track in the back of my head was on a steady loop: kill me, kill me, kill me, kill me...

Today I received a Card of Recognition for 500 points, I'm not sure if it was to thank me for being superlative or if it was for being awesome or if it was just for showing up every day, but whatever, it was given to me. It made my bowels cramp, but on the bright side, I figured now I could go on-line to the Points! Redemption! Site! and get in some heavy mocking time.

And discovered I could receive "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan for two hundred points.

I really hurt my jaw when I dropped it on my desk, but I was in shock. I could choose something COOL as my reward? I ordeed it right away, of course, and then clicked around the site, where other way cool things are waiting for me, just waiting for me to redeem my Awesome Points. For the first time in my career, I am actually impressed with a corporate reward program. I, umm, actually want to earn more of these points if there is such cool stuff involved.

But I still want my raise.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ripe for a power outtage

ENOUGH with the freezing rain, already. Weather had been scary crazy all day, as has the driving; I was never so glad to walk through our front door as I was tonight. And! There's more coming! More frozen daggers of slippery death being spat from the sky! Oh boy!

And you just knoooooooow what else this type of storm means: a power outtage is a very, very real possibility. Truth be told, I actually love power outtages, I love the quiet, the dark, the slowly cooling house, all of it. But, umm, only in chunks of six hours or less.... let's not get crazy, it's not like I want to lose any of the stuff in my freezer. Six hours is just enough to enjoy the silence, get creative with meals (pickles for dinner!), admire the candle light, and feel grateful for your home's shelter. Longer than six hours is just a giant blister. (Oh, also a giant blister: when the power goes out over night while you're sleeping and so you wake up not to the usual obnoxious WAH! WAH! WAH! of the alarm clock, but to that slowly flashing, silent clock and you have no idea what time it is or how late for work you are. I hate that.)

The sound of the freezing rain battering my front window is getting louder. Think I will just put one of my candles in a handier spot, just in case....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I should have known that was too easy

Ok, so the totally free snowblower? The one my company bought eight years ago, used six times, and has now given to my husband?

Turns out they didn't exactly buy new.

The snowblower may, in fact, be as old as me. SERIOUSLY, I am not trying to be cute here. It is at least 30 years old, that much we were able to figure out on our own, and forty doesn't seem implausible. We tried looking this machine up on the internet, and also on several message boards. The responses so far have included: "Sorry, never heard of it", "Wow, you have one of those? Haven't heard of them in at least twenty years!" and so on.

Husbandly One has been puttering with it in the garage all weekend, and he HAS had it running, but he keeps coming back in to the house with assorted small gunked up pieces to clean and lubricate. (He has never owned a snowblower in his life and is soooo making this up as he goes along.) His clothes reek of gasoline and I guess I now have a new test for the enviro detergent: clean his smelly "garage" clothes. His hands are black, and if I see him blowing in to some small, grotty part one more time, his lips pressed firmly against it, I may never let him touch me again.

Oh, and they are calling for 35 cms of snow tomorrow. No pressure.

PS. Only one of the people I gave soap samples has tried it so far. She loved it and plans to make her own from now on.