December 31, 2008
I never feel right celebrating the New Year in winter. I feel like it should wait for that spring day when you go outside and take a deep breath and remember there are days when it's actually warm and sunny. The first day you notice a little green haze on the trees. But then, how would people know when to get drunk? We'd all be celebrating at different times, and what about the places that are on permanent summer?
I remember spending Christmas in California one year and it threw me right off. All my senses were on high alert, because everything was wrong - the air, the scenery, when the sun set. I may be the only Canadian who doesn't want to move south to retire, who revels in the long nights of winter.
There are celebrations in Old Montreal tonight, but seeing as the wind chill is a balmy -27, I think I'm staying in with my guy, and we'll ring in the new year with the Sopranos. We've got 2 episodes to go, and things are unraveling so fast. I don't want to say who, but somebody died 2 episodes ago, and I'm still processing the shock. They lull you for 6 seasons, trick you into believing that Tony is a nice guy, and then BLAM! The last 5 episodes are a slap in the face, Clint Eastwood screaming "HE'S A PSYCHOPATH, YOU IDIOT!" How'd you fall for the nice guy act? And to think I felt sorry for him when he got shot.
I wanted to share some heartwarming news stories with you guys to close out the year. I know it's been tough with that shit coloured economy and who knows whats coming in 2009. So I googled 'good news 2008' and the first site listed is the Good News Network, and they have the Top 10 Good News Stories of 2008 - perfect! I click, and when I tried to go to the article, I get this
December 28, 2008
Gord and I had planned on getting Chinese food from General Tao on Christmas Eve, still being burnt out from all the cooking and baking we did over Thanksgiving. But they're closed til after New Years, so we had to improvise. Since we've been working our way through all 6 seasons of the Sopranos, we have been asking ourselves a lot of questions, the main ones being what the hell is ziti, and why aren't we eating it?
So here's our Christmas Eve Ziti, and as a bonus, it's vegetarian so you aren't even killing anything. A few last brownie points with Santa, maybe.
1 bag of rigatoni noodles (we couldn't find ziti noodles)
1 jar ofTomato and Basil sauce (we should have had 2)
1 bag of spinach
1 cup of Ricotta
1 cup of Parmesan
2 cups shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cup of cream
Cook the noodles for 8 - 10 minutes. We used 1/2 the bag, and had leftovers for 3 meals. Add tomato sauce (save a little sauce) & 1/2 the parmesan to the noodles. Layer 1/2 the noodle mix in a 9x13 casserole dish.
Mix the Ricotta, cream & egg together and layer over the noodles.
Cook the spinach until just wilted with a little garlic & oil, and layer over the ricotta. Top with the rest of the noodles, remaining sauce and cover it all with the mozzarella and remaining parmesan.
Bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes covered, and 15 uncovered.
You know there are no pictures of this. We ate it all. And I'm not going to take a picture of my ever expanding belly and post that for your amusement. Lets all just assume that noodles and tomato sauce and cheese make a delicious, death free meal.
Besides the food, Christmas was good. We spoke with our families, opened gifts, watched the Muppet Christmas movie and watched the rain come down. It's been warm and rainy the last few days, and now we're under a severe wind warning. The windows are banging and clanging, the wind is howling, and we're tucked up under fuzzy blankets with no greater plans than to make cocoa at some point.
We've got 8 days of freedom left and then it's back to work and school, alarm clocks and timed lunch breaks. Oh my.
December 21, 2008
We had delicious overpriced cappuccino's at a cafe - at least it wasn't Starbucks, so we were supporting local business.
We didn't stay for the whole movie. Once I couldn't feel my toes it was time to leave. I took some terribly shaky video with my cell but it's hard to even tell what is happening, so I won't post it.
And today its snowing. We might get 30cm by Monday and its snowing so hard, I can't even see across the road. I think a day like this calls for chili, or maybe stew. Hot, homemade biscuits and mugs of cocoa with marshmallows melting on top. And now I've made myself hungry.
December 20, 2008
(it's not the hat, she's always that happy)
No tequila shots...uh, I mean, coffee and quiet conversation, with Darren & Monica, who must be hating the weather in Edmonton right now!
Not for us the groaning tables - yep, that's tables, plural - of Frank and Linda's. I'm going to miss the company, and the entreaties to eat more. Mostly the company ;)
I'm leaving you with my favorite puppy of all time, and best wishes for a safe and happy holidays!
December 18, 2008
Gord and I have been watching the Soprano's, so if you notice an increase in swearing on here, it's not me. It's just that I have a very impressionable mind. That, and I'm having intense cravings for pasta 24/7.
We're supposed to get a couple snow storms this weekend but if Saturday is clear we're going to Place Royale, where they will be showing The Nightmare Before Christmas on screens set up outside. We're taking cocoa and blankets, and if we get cold, we'll just think of our families back in Alberta with a high of -24. You poor frozen people. Stay inside!
December 17, 2008
I go for training tomorrow for 4 hours, and then they'll schedule my shifts around my classes so I can take the shuttle back and forth. It's great that Concordia has a free shuttle between campuses, because the metro doesn't go anywhere near Loyola, and if I learned anything from Calgary Transit, it's to never ever ever plan your life around catching a transfer, because it's the holy grail of public transit. A freakin myth, is what it is.
Gord is at the bank switching his account to the Montreal RBC near us, because apparently they haven't realized that money isn't real anymore. It shouldn't matter what branch you use. These days, money is just numbers in a computer system. The last time I talked to a banker was in 2005, for craps sake. And yet, I've been spending and earning money the last 3 years....how'd I do that? A little plastic key and magic money boxes, that's how.
December 16, 2008
Good news - I won a blog giveaway from Emerald Arts! :) YAY! Check out her etsy shop, she has some very cool toys, prints and kits. My favorite is this one - I felt like that earlier today :P
I've opened a shop on Artfire, it's pretty much the same sort of site as Etsy, but the fees for sellers are a set $7/month - no listing fees or anything! Plus, at the moment it has a lot fewer sellers so you are more likely to come up if people are searching for your products. At the moment, there are only 406 items in the Photography section, and 8 of those are mine :)
I'm hoping this site will result in some sales, even if it's only one a month it would pay for itself. And the listing process is WAY EASIER than Etsy. I'm just saying. It's worth checking out.
December 15, 2008
Yeah, I got one of those today. Here I am, thinking I've got my school costs all covered and no worries and I get a letter basically saying I'm not getting the money I was counting on. Thank god I was able to call right away and got someone very helpful on the phone. I'm always pathetically grateful when someone kind answers the phone. Anyway, this lovely young lady calmed me down, and she thinks it can all be cleared up with a new application to Alberta Student Loans, and hallelujah - I may still get an edumacation after all.
And thank god I have very few problems in life that can't be cleared up with a phone call, a desperate plea for help and listening to Sweet Jane on repeat. (Velvet Underground, not Cowboy Junkies. That version will make you want to slit your wrists. Not helpful.)
That, and Scrooged is on tonight. Nothing cheers me up like old school Bill Murray.
"So you can't eat steak anymore?"
"So, just hamburgers then?"
"No, no hamburgers. Hamburgers are made from meat."
"Pork is ok, though, right?"
"No, it's not."
"Wow, you're only allowed chicken? That's rough"
"No, chicken is not a vegetable."
"Well, then, fish? You eat nothing but fish? That's crazy."
"What's crazy is that fish aren't vegetables either."
And at that point, the person you're talking to looks as worried as if you told them you have a terminal illness and they drop the subject for fear of overexerting you. They stand anxiously by, waiting for you to pass out so they can administer a meat IV and save your life. Amused the hell out of me when I was a vegetarian, especially with my grandma who would forget between visits and we had this exact conversation at least 3 times.
I've gone vegetarian a couple times in my life for moral reasons. I figure it's hypocrytical of me to eat meat if I can't stand the thought of blood, can't think about where the meat came from, and don't think I could bring myself to kill a cow myself. Feedlots and chicken farms have bad reputations, I read Fast Food Nation and couldn't look at meat without thinking about how much feces was in it....If I have to shut my brain off to eat it, why not just eat food that doesn't gross me out?
Well, because my brain isn't always in charge. When it comes to food, the tongue wins. And the thing that always gets me back on the slaughter bandwagon is not steak or filet mignon (never even had that), it's always and forever bacon. So crispy, so greasy, so delicious. I feel like I'm breaking the law every time I eat it, it's so good. The heroin of meat. Someday, I'll be found in an alley, grease dribbling down my chin, a dirty frying pan and 5 empty packs of bacon by my side. I will have died happy.
December 13, 2008
Let's panic. Plant more trees! Stop driving your car! Sit in the dark with the tv off! Eschew all plastic! Duck and cover!
Clearly, I'm not helping. You can check this out or try this guy. He scared the crap out of me when I was a kid - The Nature of Things music always convinced me that the end was near, and nothing I could do would stop it. Thank god he's less doom and gloom and more 'how-to' these days. Oh, and there's one other little thing we could do - get a Prime Minister who gives a shit. Hey, I went a whole week without mentioning anything political. That's pretty good. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go give my car to a polar bear.
All the Christmas presents are wrapped, except for mine (Gord has them hidden in the closet, but I won't look because I'm not 5), cards have been mailed, tree is trimmed and edible - we are good to go.
I'll leave you with a picture of our cat, looking fat and happy, and I hope Christmas finds you the same :)
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
5. Tag at least 5 friends.
6. Anyone tagged has to do the same, because fun pointlessness spreads like a virus.
If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
How would you describe yourself?
All the Things You Are
What do you like in a girl/guy?
How do you feel today?
Someday Never Comes
What is your life’s purpose?
What is your motto?
Ring Them Bells
What do your friends think of you?
The Tenth World (?)
What do you think of your parents?
What do you think about very often?
What is 2 + 2 ?
What do you think of your best friend?
Another One Bites the Dust
What do you think of the person you like?
Since You've Been Gone
What is your life story?
Everytime You Go Away
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What do you think of when you see the person you like?
What will you dance to at your wedding?
What will they play at your funeral?
When I'm With You
What is your hobby/interest?
Well You Needn't (ZOE!!)
What is your biggest fear?
Don't Worry 'Bout Me
What is your biggest secret?
Blowin' In the Wind
What do you think of your friends?
Took It All
What will you post this as?
The Rain Song
Tagging everyone who reads this, you know you want to.
December 12, 2008
Thank you to everyone who entered, and I'm sorry I can't send you all a free print. But, since I loved getting all those great comments - I'm becoming a compliment addict - I will be doing a giveaway a month, so please check back in January for the next one.
And now, I've got a pile of Christmas presents to wrap, so you'll have to excuse me for a while :) I have to find my dvd of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and get wrapping, or no one will get their gifts on time!
December 11, 2008
I had to chisel the car out before I could drive it. I almost couldn't tell which car was mine out there, they all just looked like humps of snow. When I finally got the car back from Canadian Tire last night, our neighbors were gathered around one of their minivans trying to hack it out of the ice.
On the plus side, we no longer need to worry about the polar bears. There's plenty of snow and ice in Montreal, and they can live on the roofs of cars - little ice floes with meals inside.
December 10, 2008
I spent the night painting and listening to power ballads on my ipod. Oh, and I 'Rick rolled' Gord while he was playing hockey. Who knew I had such terrible taste in music that I would have Rick Astley on my ipod? And why did I bring that up?
There have been some great comments on the giveaway post, and there's still time to get your name in for a free print....friends & family, you can enter too. Unless you've all abandoned us out here in the cold. I know we're not coming home for Christmas, but isn't that a bit harsh?
I also have to mail Christmas cards today and drop off a bag for the food bank. One of the grocery stores here sent around paper bags to be filled for the food bank, and they were going to come pick them up on Saturday, but I think they forgot our block. I was pleased to see that at least 1/2 the people on our street had bags out, though. I remember the apartment building we lived in back in Calgary put a box in the lobby for food bank donations, and you could tell people had just cleaned out their cupboards of the stuff they were never going to eat. I think the box sat there for a month with a lonely can of saurkraut and a box of noodles before it was taken away. I don't want to point fingers and say nyah, nyah, people are nicer in Montreal....but. Nyah nyah.
(that goes for us too - I didn't add anything to the lonely box either. I was 'too busy' or some such nonsense.)
December 08, 2008
I'm having a giveaway! All you need to do to enter is go to my etsy shop and leave a comment on my blog about which photo you like best. Make sure to leave an email address so I can contact you, and on Friday, I'll pick a winner and send you whichever print you chose. The giveaway is open to every one, doesn't matter what country you're in. :)
December 07, 2008
I'm not saying I agree - Harper clearly doesn't have the ability to choke people with his mind, because there would be no one left alive if he could silence all who displease him.
And now Gord and I have put ourselves on a strict no politics diet for a couple days. It's driving us crazy and we're going to get ulcers long before Jan. 26th. So we're concentrating on Christmas.
We spent some time today manufacturing gifts for our families. That's right, weep into your Monday morning coffee, family. It's all handmade, with love and thrift. Because we care enough to make your gift by hand? Because we're poor? Get used to it. Gord's a jazz musician and I'm "self-employed". Just be happy we aren't sleeping on your couch, eating your food and promising to look for work just as soon as this rerun of Family Guy is over. Isn't that the best gift of all?
December 06, 2008
Click here to check out the lovely Canadian themed treasury by TMCPhoto. She's a photographer from North Vancouver and has some beautiful shots of the northern lights. It makes me a little homesick, even though I lived in Calgary for the last 9 years and only saw the northern lights when I was at my parents place. As convenient as it is, as nice as it is to get pizza or chinese food delivered, I don't think I'm ever going to be a city person at heart. When I think about buying a home, it's always in the country somewhere.
Besides, if we live in the city, I don't think we can get a goat. And if you have a goat, they can mow the lawn and fertilize it at the same time. How could you refuse such cuteness when it's also so useful?
Right now we have cats, and they're good for nothing except destroying our furniture and stinking up the place, and we still (usually) love them.
December 04, 2008
Granted, we can all move to Alberta, work at the Burger King in Fort Mac, live in a cozy cardboard box for the holidays and choke on the irony of reenacting the Christmas Story - the disenfranchised poor, reduced to begging and treated like animals.
Merry Christmas to you too, Parliament.
"You know, it isn't meant to be easy, life. I don't know why it isn't meant to be easy, but it just isn't, so we might as well get used to it and try to find things that give us a certain sense of pride. We must create ourselves as something we can live with."
I think I need to read that every day when I wake up, just as a reminder. And then every hour or so. A couple times before bed. Maybe get it tattooed on my arm so I have to read it whenever I reach for anything.
How can I not love a man who got banned from his local grocery store? How awesome is that? I tend to idolize people who radiate conviction, in the hope that it's contagious.
But then, isn't that the problem? We assume that if someone's politics are different than ours that we can't possibly have common ground, especially in countries where there are only 2 strong political parties. Everything becomes polarized into right/wrong, good/bad, black/white. And you end up thinking, well, I'm a good person and I vote Orange. That must mean that anyone who votes for Purple thinks the exact opposite of me, and they must be wrong/stupid/naive/bad people.
The truth is usually somewhere in between, and instead of thinking in terms of black and white, or even shades of grey, shouldn't we admit we live in a complicated world with a thousand shades of many colors, and no one is ever going to be right all the time. That is mostly why I support the idea of a coalition, because it means there is no single person steering the country according to their predjudice. And I admit I'm completely predjudiced against him, but I honestly don't see Stephen Harper trying to bring people together. He's got a clear vision of what he thinks Canada should be and he doesn't seem interested in other points of view.
And I don't care what anyone's politics are, we're all just choosing the path we think is most likely to keep our basic needs met. If you think a political party is a threat to your ability supply food, clothing & shelter to your family of course you can't vote for them, or see eye to eye with anyone who does. What a sad, sorry state for our politicians - there's not one of them that a clear majority of us look at and trust. We really are in a bad habit of choosing the lesser of 2 evils when we vote. So here's my real Christmas wish - I want a politican who offers real hope and inspiration to my country.
Do you think Obama can manage 2 countries?
December 03, 2008
I know you'll all appreciate the warning, especially this part:
"The province has issued a cocaine warning after several people who used the drug became sick."
Not "hey, don't use cocaine at all, you bloody idiots.", just a friendly reminder that illegal drugs aren't quite as safe as a sealed bottle of Tylenol from the pharmacy, you know, in case you FORGOT.
It reminds me of the day our biology teacher told our class that if we smoked, we were more likely to die. Not "more likely to die of smoking related illnesses like lung cancer", just 'more likely to die'. As though we were all immortal once, but for that first puff of cigarette smoke. Now that I think about it, I've never smoked. Snaps for living forever. :)
December 01, 2008
My first attempt at watercolors. The photo is a bit blurry, sorry. It's a bit, uh, angrier than I intended, but what counts is that I finished it. That's a first since....high school art class? Back when I only finished/handed things in because I had to pass the course.
I have a tendency to start a project, become horrified at how it looks nothing like what I intended, and either destroy or bury it. The difference here is that I didn't have a plan when I started the painting, just kept adding a layer of color, then frisket, then color...etc. And also, I got fed up with my inability to finish anything and just sucked it up and kept going. It was like the training montage in a sports movie.
I think the satisfaction of finishing it more than makes up for the lacklustre product. Now, if I can only get as addicted to that as I am to potato chips....
In other news, unless someone gets a papercut, there's a very bloodless coup in the making. The one thing I don't understand is that people in the news and on the streets are saying that Harper was elected by 70% of the population. It's been a whole 6 weeks, so I guess it's easy to forget that the last election had the lowest voter turn out in decades, and that only 59% of us bothered to vote. Of that, the Conservatives got 38% of the popular vote. Even my wonky math can't make that out ot be 70% of Canadians. And they're talking like Harper has only been PM for 6 weeks, golly gee, give the man a chance. HELLO, he's been in office since 2006. He had a chance, he's done nothing good, he gives me the fucking willies (look in his eyes and tell me you don't get a little creeped out) - I'm looking forward to a change.