Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It has that old familiar feeling of crisp clean notebooks and new shoes and morning frost and decaying leaves.
She's just around the corner.
Fall has always been my favourite season - it's such a rich season for the senses.
The leaves change colour - right now all the Virginia Creeper on my patio and fence is turning to oranges and reds, and the leaves on the trees are getting lighter and turning yellow...
The chilled air hits your lungs in the morning and is almost refreshing and has a particular scent that's hard to pin down.
It's time to start wearing hats and sweaters and scarves and mittens and socks - casting the barefoot bareshouldered days behind.
Going back to school, it used to be my favourite time of year. New class, new teacher, new things to learn - a whole world of possibilities... seeing friends i hadn't seen all summer, the feeling of the wet and cold playground equipment turning my fingers into popsicles because i haven't brought any mittens...
It all comes rushing back to me, those sights and smells and memories, when i open the door and head to my car - breathing in the air - knowing that winter is coming all too soon and that fall, so very short, will be over almost before it begins. This is the season that i savour, like a decadent dessert i want to last longer so i let it melt on my tongue before swallowing.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
2. Finding my creative self, and coaxing her to come to the surface
3. Being a cofounder of a StitchNBitch type group - which may just be a CreateNBitch instead.
4. Making Mittens.
5. Round 2
Friday, August 21, 2009
and when the first 'beer' guy enters the mouth and makes his way to the belly his does this awesome almost-jump-dance thing... i've watched it several times and still get a kick out of it, and his little rooster hand thing... yeah.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Whatever made me think that this time would be any different, i'll never know.
What started it all was an invitation to a family reunion. I haven't been to a reunion on my maternal grandmother's side since i was a kid. The reunion was to take place in southern Alberta, in a campground eight hours away. I hmmed and hawed about going for a few days and finally decided that we should go, my grandmother hasn't even met my son yet. So, B-rad and i made the decision, got the time off, and went out in search of a new tent, one that would fit both us and the baby's playpen.
The short story is, we found one and it's pretty sweet, we went home and set it up and i could feel myself getting pumped up for this reunion.
Then i got a call from my grandma telling me that none of my uncles or cousins were coming to this reunion, so then it all boiled down to whether or not my brother would be coming from Cowtown. He would only be able to make it for just the saturday, and only a few hours at that! So, B-rad, my brothers and partners, and i decided that an eight hour drive was not worth going to hang out with people we didn't know - why don't we just go camping somewhere close by?
What better place than the last place i went camping when Chewie made his early debut - arriving 2 months ahead of schedule...
Okay, so if the rain wasn't enough to get us off to a rocky start, we had booked an electrical camp site - so all our meals were planned around being able to use a slow cooker... we get there and the only outlet there is one of those gigantic plug ins you use to plug in a camper. what the frak?
The rain kept at it all day.
We were wet and chilled, everyone except for Chewie and the new baby Leeloo. My 3 nephews were running around in their gumboots and playing swords with their umbrellas...
Me and Pam... HAVING FUN!!
BUT! as my SIL and i said over and over again: "I'm HAVING FUN!!!!"
This fire was the best thing ever. Oh, blessed heat.We had a family supper, we ate too much food, we finally got a fire going to make s'mores when the rain stopped for a blessed hour or so... and Willy Billy and family went home leaving us to retire to our chilly, but THANKFULLY dry tents.
Me and my nephew playing with the camera - actually got a good one!
It was far too cold for Chewie to sleep in his playpen, so he slept with us on our airmattress, but over the course of the night it leaked just enough that i sank into the middle with Chewie owning over half of the airmattress real estate, and B-rad and i Jammed onto the remaining 2 feet of space.
For someone who slept so crappily, he sure was happy to be awake... at six thirty...
Chewie had a terrible night, and woke up constantly. 'Course it didn't help when, at one point some young punkass hooligans walked by our tent making a bunch of noise - when they heard the baby cry, they shut up... but my brother told me the next morning he was tempted to run out and beat them up for me. what a nice big brother.So, over the course of the night - it poured constantly, i froze like a popsicle, i dared not move for fear of waking the baby...again.... which led to my hips cramping, my arm falling asleep... shivering my butt off... and in the morning we decided to SUCK IT UP AND STICK IT OUT!! i KNOW!! can you believe it?
So we spent a good chunk of the day in my brother's big tent playing cards and visiting... after our executive decision to stick it out, we felt strong, like we could do anything... and at 3 oclock we took Chewie back into our tent for a nap... we blew up the air mattress to firmness again, and settled down for some family shut eye.
When Chewie finally fell asleep, laying across my chest, i started thinking that our mattress felt a little squishy. i looked over at B-rad, and he confirmed my fear, our air mattress' slow leak had transformed to a FAST leak and over the course of ten minutes our 2' high queen sized air mattress had deflated enough that i was laying on the ground, a sleeping baby still sprawled across my chest.
Here we are on the rapidly deflating air mattress, the picture doesn't do it justice, but at this point i'm laying completely on the cold ground with big billows of air mattress all around me.
well.that was the last straw.
Yes, we may have been able to stick it out through another rainy/cold night, we may have been able to find enough dry layers left to even make it enjoyable, but there was no way we were sleeping on the ground, and try as me might the three of us just wouldn't fit inside Chewie's playpen.
We had to go home.
We felt such a sense of defeat as we packed up our gear. We felt that we had been cheated, that we made it this far only to be sent home on a technicality. My older brother and family had just inherited a lot more space on the site because they were intent on staying. Good on 'em.
And if only to add injury to insult, as we pulled out of the campground and began the trek back home - the sky was clearing, there were rainbows on the horizon, and we saw one of the most gorgeous sunsets that only happens on the prairies...
Beautiful, helps me remember why we moved back to The Skatch
Looking back from the dry warmth of the civilized world, it was actually kinda fun. And my SIL was right when she told me from inside the tent sunday morning: "Even if we go camping and its terrible weather and it seems so dismal - we're still making memories as a family, the fact that we went camping together will mean something" So wise.
So, i'm not giving up hope.
Next year, we'll go again. And the year after that. And the year after that, until we get it right! Because i'd rather make memories now than wish i had later.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The Diva has requested from me a Guest Post. I'm quite honoured actually, and then I panicked. What the hell am I going to write about? I made her give me a topic. "Tell me about your signature dish." Oh great. I don't have a signature dish, I don't even think I've ever made the same thing twice! But I got to thinking about the type of things I love to make and what I would create if I were the chef if my own restaurant.
It's so cliche but I love fresh, local ingredients. The other day I was at the grocery store and they had the most beautiful bunches of green onions. It's crazy I know, but they were such a vibrant green, young and succulent looking - a new crop. Not those old, dried out, dull ones you usually see. The ends were clean and crisp white. I was so excited I bought four bunches! I didn't know what I was going to do with four bunches of green onions but I had to have them. I couldn't wait to get home and dream up something to put them in.
The farmer's market is my favourite place to shop - home grown fruit and vegetables, fresh baking, flowers, honey... The flavour in home grown food is second to none. I believe you can taste the love put into it! I go early in the morning before anyone in my house is awake and I full up my re-useable bags with fresh ingredients. Then I drive home in bliss my head full of ideas for supper.
I like food that is simple to make, doesn't take a lot of weird ingredients but has a lot of flavour. There's nothing I hate more than to seek out some expensive, never-before-heard-of ingredient for a new receipe to find out the flavour is awful. But I keep trying. I love spices, and spice doesn't have to mean heat.
Lately I've really taken up the challenge of low fat, low cholesterol. So here's my signature dish:
(All recipes below can be found at the Taste of Home website - www.tasteofhome.com)
Sweet Spinach Salad
I hate salad - to me lettuce is rabbit food. This one I could eat everyday. I think it's the mandarins and the orangy dressing. It's very fresh and light and full of vitamins! If you don't have mandarins, strawberries are a good substitute.
3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 package (10 ounces) fresh baby spinach
1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted (I've also used toasted sunflower seeds)
In a blender, combine the orange juice concentrate, sugar, vinegar, onion and salt. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Stir in poppy seeds. Transfer to a small pitcher or bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until chilled.
On salad plates, arrange the spinach, mandarin oranges and almonds. Drizzle with dressing. Yield: 6 servings.
Angel Hair Alfredo
This one is JRK's favourite! I add shrimp to it and wait for all the yummy noises! Sometimes I serve this all on it's own with a big piece of garlic bread.
8 to 12 ounces angel hair pasta
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1-1/2 cups milk
4 ounces light cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute garlic in oil until lightly browned. Stir in the flour, cornstarch, garlic salt, pepper and basil until blended. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat;whisk in cream cheese and Parmesan cheese until smooth. I usually like to add some shrimp or chicken, sometimes diced ham - whatever you have on hand. Heat through. Drain pasta; add to sauce and toss to coat. Yield: 4-6 servings.
Caribbean Chicken Grilled
Chicken is a summer favourite of mine. But I believe chicken has to be marinated if you're going to put it on the BBQ, then it stays nice and moist and has lots of flavour. This is my absolute favourite. It's one recipe that has made the regular rotation. The chicken comes off the grill sweet and moist and a little spicy.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 green onions, sliced
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
In a blender, combine the first nine ingredients, cover and process until smooth. Pour 1/2 cup into a small bowl for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°, basting frequently with the reserved marinade. Yield: 6 servings.
The second topic the Diva gave me was "What is something that is so easy to make it should be ridiculous that it tastes so good." This dessert is that exactly. It takes two minutes to put together and cooks on low on the BBQ while you have the rest of your meal. I serve it hot with a scoop of ice cream.
Grilled Peaches 'n' Berries
2 medium ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (or Saskatoon Berries)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons butter (I omit this to reduce the fat.)
Place two peach halves, cut side up, on each of two double thicknesses of heavy-duty foil (12 in. square). Sprinkle each with blueberries, brown sugar and lemon juice; dot with butter. Fold foil around peaches and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over medium-low heat for 18-20 minutes or until tender. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. Yield: 2 servings.
Thanks, Paige, you're a grilled peach!!
Friday, August 14, 2009
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brain has stepped out. Your call is important to iamthediva, so please leave
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feeling bleh. going home. so much to do, and all i want to do is sleep.
I'm also trying out a new platform - using wordpress this time instead of blogger to see how that works... who knows, maybe i'll fall in love and we'll pack up blogger and move over there? The relationship is still too new... we're going to try dating before shacking up together.
SO! What can you expect at my review site? You guessed it. Comedy. Well, i hope to have some of my comedic brilliance shine through, but... we'll see i guess. It will be a mish mash of sorts - some unsolicited reviews, some paid, some giveaways and contests. It's a dog's breakfast! mmm.
go on over and look around. There's not too much in the way of content at the moment - those reviews are coming soon to a computer near you!!
(Earl, Slyde - there *may* even be a picture of my butt soon... so keep a watchful eye!)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I don't know why i didn't bother to check out the site that was taken, but this morning i did, and it was....uhm... interesting!
the oddest website i have ever seen that has the honour of sharing the iamthediva moniker with me.... 's catchy, no?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
At first, this was all the regular child like fears that one would associate with aliens... the big black eyes, oversized skulls, long skinny arms and legs.... The terrifying thought that they were controling your mind with ultra super sensitive thought rays and you would be slaves to them for the rest of your lives, if you survived...
As i became an adult, this fear evolved as my own self awareness did. Trying to keep an open mind, and through everything i had learned in my days as a Dirty-Hippy-Lite i began to release the fear of mind controlling aliens, and instead i began to foster a deeper more terrifying fear...
...of human nature.
While my childish fear of things that went bump in the night began to dissapate, it didn't take long for me to come to the conclusion that in all the planets and all the solar systems in all the galaxies in all the universe - to assume or even imagine that we are the only intelligent lifeforms in existance is just plain idiotic. Of course, a lot of this came to me when i started shedding away my old preconceptions of God and Religion... (although Mormons DO have a very intersting belief system about life on other planets...but i digress.) And if WE are engaging in space exploration, it is safe to assume that any other civilization might be doing the same.
So it became an issue of "WHEN" the aliens come, and not "IF"... whether this event happens in my life time or not, eventually the life forms will establish contact in some way (assuming, of course, that they haven't already).
Which brings me to my point. Humans are stupid, egotistical, self righteous creatures with a heightened sense of entitlement and a bad case of the God Complex who are terrified of the unknown. As a broad sweeping generalization. A SINGLE PERSON is fine, but as a species, we're pretty scary.
So, why am i afraid of Alien Contact? My biggest fear is that we will be contacted by a race, and before we have a chance to understand them or communicate, or coexist - some stupid person will do something moronic and ruin it for everyone on the planet... like "fire the nukes". Then we're all fucked... the idea of one person, one country, or one governing body making the decision for the entire planet scares the frakkin' bejeezus out of me.... And from my understanding this is what the movie District 9 is all about... i probably will see it, even though i'll probably have nightmares for weeks.
So there you have it.
what say you? what is your biggest fear?