Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Strike? What strike?

I've been hearing quite a bit lately about the whole writers' strike thing - a lot of people are upset that their favourite shows aren't on or are showing reruns. I find it kind of funny that we haven't really noticed it, probably because we don't watch a lot of TV, and when we do it's usually the Food network or HGTV. We've really been getting into older shows and movies lately, like...

The Avengers - a fabulous British show from the 60's which I highly recommend - and...

Audrey Hepburn classics like Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Paris When It Sizzles. Don't you just love boxed sets? They're all wonderful. I'd give RH, BaT and PWIS all nine out of ten. S and FF I'd give an eight, but only because of the whole May/December thing they've got going on between Hepburn and her respective leading men, Humphrey Bogart and Fred Astaire. Still entirely enjoyable viewing, though!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nowhere to go but up

Sorry I haven't been blogging much - last week was the week from hell, and I really didn't want to recount most of it when I got home. Living through it once was enough. This week can only be better, so I promise I'll get back on track here soon.

One good thing that happened last week is that I decided to try and make macaroons - one of the simplest recipes I've ever made. And so yummy! Here it is in its entirety:

2 cups coconut
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2-3/4 teaspoon rum flavouring
maraschino cherries, cut in half

All you do is mix the first 4 ingredients, plop them onto a greased cookie sheet, stick half a cherry on top of each, and pop them into a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. They're wonderfully sweet and chewy. Just make sure that you take them off the pan while they're still warm, or you'll get quite a workout! I learned this the hard way :o)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Need to vent!

I promise that I won't make a habit of this, but nobody is home and I just need to get this off my chest! Why is it that so many otherwise intelligent people seem to be unable to follow simple instructions? If, for example, I sent you an email like this:

Due to a system crash, any information in database XYZ that was entered since day A has been lost and needs to be re-entered manually. Please resend the information to this email address: HYPOTHETICAL (AT) SITUATION.COM. We apologize for any inconvenience, etc.

How would you send the information? Would you: a) call me and leave a 15 minute message on my voicemail, b) send me an email with the info, or c) send the info via email to the underlined, bolded, all caps email address clearly stated as the correct address? Well, in the office where I work, which is supposedly populated by the cream of the crop, you do either a or b! So the people I work with must either be incapable of sending emails, too stupid to read or else too lazy to type an email address, opting to just hit 'reply' instead! I was in a meeting all day after sending out this email, and had to stay an extra 45 minutes after work to forward all the email and voicemail messages that I had received to the correct person. Argh!

Okay, I'm feeling a little better now. Sometimes a girl just needs to vent.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A thing of beauty...

Isn't it gorgeous? I love how quickly these things bloom! When I left for work on Friday morning, I could see the 4 buds ready to blossom, and by the time I came home that night, which was around 10:30, two of the buds had completely opened. Cousin P, who had the day off, said she had fun watching them bloom over the course of the day. I got to watch the other 2 buds open up on Saturday. TC did a lovely job of splinting it, don't you think? The blossoms are so heavy that the stem was bending over to the ground by Saturday afternoon. Nothing a couple of wooden spoons, a little packing tape and some leftover yarn can't fix, though :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Amaryllis update

Look! A blossom! And it's gotten so tall! I love growing things :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Role reversal

Aahh! I need life to slow down! Just a little...even for a little while. We have not had an evening at home since...I can't even remember! I know there must have been a Thursday a couple of weeks ago when we didn't have to be anywhere, but I don't remember which Thursday that was. I was so looking forward to having nothing to do last night, but then we got called in to help out at a local food bank that our home church has started to support. Not that I wasn't glad to go, or was ungrateful for the opportunity to live the compassion we often talk about, but gee whiz!

It's gotten bad enough that we're considering hiring someone to clean our apartment for us, because we never seem to have the time to do it properly ourselves. I never thought I would see that happen - I used to be the person who cleaned other people's houses! Part of me sees it as a defeat of some sort. After all, it's not an overly large apartment - shouldn't TC and I be able to keep it clean between the two of us? But the larger part of me recognizes that I'm in a place where I need to give something up or I'm going to go slightly batty, and cleaning my own home just doesn't seem to be as important as spending time with the people I care about, doing my part to try and make the world a better place, and still having time to do some of the things that I want to do.

Monday, January 14, 2008

And the winner is...

Maureen! Sorry I didn't get a chance to post this on Saturday, but life has been insanely busy lately. So Maureen, if you will Facebook me your address I will mail you your very own bag bag.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Good News!

Well yesterday was certainly an eventful day! You know that job that I posted about earlier? The Junior Office Services Supervisor position? I got it! My boss pulled me aside yesterday morning to tell me. I'm rather excited, because it means I've finally moved beyond 'entry-level'. Woo hoo! We went out to a little restaurant just down the street called D-Ganz that has the best steak I've ever eaten in my life to celebrate.

The other major event was that Cousin P has finally arrived and is settling in. We borrowed a friend's car to pick her up at the airport, and got home essentially in time to go to bed, but she's here and in one piece, so we're happy. Now we just need to get used to having a roommate :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Swan Diving 101

My entire left side is a little sore today as the result of a beautifully excecuted fall I had on the subway yesterday. It was one of those slow-motion, flying through the air kind of falls - the kind you see in movies when the character carrying the cream pie trips on something, except I went sideways instead of face-first - and I had no pie. I wish I could have seen it. From the collective gasp that went up from all the other passengers it must have been quite something. The fall was the culmination of four separate events. First, I sat in a seat where there was nothing within arm's reach to grab onto. Second, the lady who ended up standing directly in front of me, blocking me in, was so engrossed in her own little world that she didn't respond to my polite requests and taps on the shoulder asking her to move so that I could exit at my stop, forcing me to try and move around her. Third, the 2 teenage boys sitting next to me had long legs, large feet and full backpacks. And finally, the subway train lurched to a stop just as I started to lose my balance, giving me the momentum necessary to launch into the air, making a graceful arc, before landing at (or on, I can't really remember) the feet of some unsuspecting gentleman standing by the door. I then gathered what remained of my dignity, got up and walked off the subway car, and wavered between laughing and crying the rest of the way home.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Christmas clean-up

Our apartment is now de-Christmased. It's always a little depressing to see all the decorations come down - everything looks so empty until we readjust. I think we waited a little long to take down the tree, as you can see by the sheer amount of needleage carpeting the floor:

I was thinking that I was going to have to vacuum all the way down the stairs to the door, but then TC had this great idea:

He sawed our tree into several pieces, and viola! Tree in a bag (or bags)!

A Surfeit of Bag Dispensers

Inspired by the messy pile of bags that has been accumulating in one corner of our pantry, I made it my project this weekend to find a crochet pattern for a plastic bag dispenser. I finally found one here, and after making some alterations to the pattern they were so much fun to make that I went a little overboard. I therefore need to find a home for an extra that I made, which is where you, o loyal blog readers, come in. If you find yourself overrun by the plastic bags that your environmental conscience won't let you throw away, or you know someone on your gift-giving list who is, post a comment with an idea on how to reuse those plastic bags and on Saturday morning I'll put all the names in a hat (or bowl, or something) and pick a winner, to whom I will send the bag dispenser pictured above :)

Friday, January 4, 2008


I'm not a big believer in making New Year's resolutions, but I am a believer in constantly trying to challenge yourself to become a better person. So along those lines, there are some areas in my life that I will be trying to improve either myself or the world around me in tangible ways in the coming year:
  1. Finances: We have been so blessed with resources in this area, and I don't think it's because we're supposed to have lots of things. To that end, we are going to be actively budgeting and trying to live wisely and simply so that we can share a greater proportion of those resources with people who need them more than we do.

  2. Food:This is an area that we have been working on since we started fending for ourselves, and while there has been some improvement, there is always room for more! For me this is going to take the form of having no more than one serving of sweets and/or baked goods each day. For his part TC has sworn off pop, except for an occasional diet version.

  3. Fun: I want to cross one of the things off of my 'to-do-before-I-die' list this year, whether it's going on a ride in a hot-air balloon, having a glass of wine at an outdoor cafe in Paris, or one of the many other things on the list (which I shall have to post by-and-by).

  4. Fellowship: I have finally come to the realization that friendships do not just happen here in TO. I know that sounds like a bit of a no-brainer, but the reality is that in every other community where we have lived, we were able to form significant friendships without really trying too hard. That has not been our experience here, for whatever reason (and I have several theories). So, I shall be going out of my way to get to know people this year. I'm not talking about strangers, but the people that I already 'know' but don't really 'know', you know? Stepping up my efforts to crack through the Toronto-shell that everyone has developed.

I had better stop there, before I start sounding too ambitious - if I haven't crossed that line already. It will be interesting to look back next year and see how I've done :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I woke up this morning, looked out my window and saw this:

Isn't that a beautiful way to start a brand new year? I love snow that sticks to the trees like that! We went to a party at some friends of our last night to do the countdown thing, but I don't have any pictures yet, so I'll post about it later. We had a great time, although we missed having to run for our lives to avoid being hit by fireworks, which has become sort of a tradition for us :)