Friday, February 27, 2009

Sarah needs...

So I had a little down time at work this afternoon, and decided to fill that time by following the examples of a few blogs that I had read. I then proceded to laugh myself silly. Here's how it works - just search for the phrase "[your name] needs" in google and write down the first 10 that pop up. Apparently I need...

...a cold shower, self-esteem. I'm not sure how those are related.
...more love lyrics. It's true! More love lyrics never hurt anyone.
...sponsors to compete. I suppose if I were competing that would be true.
...a miracle. Don't we all?
...a band. That would certainly help with #2! swim. You know, I haven't been swimming in more than 2 years. Maybe it's a sign.
...her own set. I'm going to let you all decide what I need my own set of.
...a Wii. Woo hoo! get her life back and establish herself as the person in charge. That's intense. hand him one of those weapons that went off without warning. Is that how I get my life back and establish myself as the person in charge? Seems a little violent...

Well, there you have it folks. I now know exactly what I need. Funny it didn't mention anything about sleep, or groceries, or toothpaste - I'm pretty sure I need those too. Oh well, I suppose I shouldn't be greedy :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the horizon...maybe

Is the suspense killing you? Are you anxiously waiting to find out what our potential new adventure is? I hope not - that would be a little wierd. I mean, you all have lives of your own, right? (Sorry, the antibiotics seem to be making me a little loopy. Yeah, that's got to be it...)

Anyhoo, do you remember waaay back in the beginning of this blog when I told you all about the high table at Massey College that TC and I attended? Well, it may turn out that we'll be attending quite a few of them next year. Because we might be living there. TC has decided to run for the position of Don of Hall, which if he's elected necessitates that he live in said Hall. Which necessitates that I live in said Hall. I never thought that I could still be living in residence at 30, but what fun would life be without any surprises? :)

We'll know if he's been elected in a couple of weeks, so until then I'll be here, trying to keep it all in perspective.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let's kick her while she's down

It seems that I just can't catch a break this winter. I'm mostly over the flu that hit this weekend, but it turns out that the sore throat that I thought was just a manifestation of this particular bug is actually strep throat. What am I doing wrong? I went to see my doctor this afternoon, and am now taking the prescribed antibiotics, but man oh man!

On a different note, stay tuned for updates later this week about a new adventure that might be in the works...

And before you even ask, I'm not pregnant. ;o)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Here we go again...

It seems that the flu viruses making their rounds this year have decided that I am an optimal host. Things may be pretty quiet over here for the next little while until I can fight this one off. Here's hoping it won't take that long!

Friday, February 20, 2009

HIvje' vo' Quch

Whew! The week is finally over, and the work situation is now somewhat under control - at least enough so that I can relax and enjoy the weekend :) Why is it that crazy days always seem to wait until I'm overtired to hit? Come to think of it, there's probably a correlation there. Anyhoo, it's my own fault that I'm so tired. A friend of mine hosts a games night every Thursday, and it's always a ton of fun, so I'm usually pretty wired by the time I get home which is late enough to begin with.

They're a fun crowd, and quite unique. Last night the conversation (between myself and 3 guys) ranged from an upcoming "Klingon-meets-Batman" costume party, to an art installation/performance recently enacted in Manchester, to the supreme mediocre-ness of the Leafs, to a rather well-informed discussion of different sorts of tea. I love it! One of them showed us this video, and since it tickled my fancy I thought I'd share it with you. Have a great weekend folks!

Food Week - Dessert

Sorry I missed yesterday's Food Week theme - it was supposed to be a vegetarian dish, and I would have posted one but things at work just exploded (figuratively speaking), so I didn't have time. And I don't really have much time today, but being the absolute dessert-lover that I am, I have to share this one with you all :) It's my new favourite, because it makes me think of spring and sunshine and picnics and meadows - and it can be made all year round!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

4 cups rhubarb pieces (fresh or frozen)
2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch (if using frozen fruit, add an extra tablespoon or so)
1/2 cup sugar (this leaves it pretty tart, so you can add more)

1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp. orange zest
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup cold butter

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix the rhubarb and strawberries in a 7-1/2" x 11" baking dish (or whatever approx. size you have on hand). Add cornstarch and sugar; mix well.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, orange zest and nutmeg. Using a pastry knife, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it's crumbly.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit mixture. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown. If you're using frozen fruit, it can take up to an hour - you just have to keep an eye on it.

Serve with ice cream - bon appetit!

[You can find links to all the other participants' recipes here.]

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Food Week - Supper (or is it Dinner?)

I have to say, I'm loving Food Week so far! People are posting such yummy recipes. Thanks for hosting this, Sherrie :)

Today's recipe is supposed to be for supper, so I thought I'd post the recipe for the pasta dish that I made last night. It's relatively new to me, but it's already becoming one of our favourites. Oddly enough, the recipe was created by Colin Mochrie, who apparently likes to cook. It's super easy (less than half an hour from start to finish), and impressive-looking enough to serve as a company dinner :) Anyhoo, here's my version of it:

Chicken & Leek Linguini (or whatever pasta you have on hand - I used fusilli this time)

4 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced (you can use more or less, depending on how much you like garlic)
1 big can of diced tomatoes, with juices
1-2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
1 pound linguini, freshly cooked
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh basil, chopped

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and saute until just cooked through, about 3minutes per side. Cool slightly. Thinly slice chicken crosswise and set aside.

Melt the butter and remaining olive oil in same skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and garlic and saute until leeks are very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chicken and Italian seasoning. Cook until mixture is just heated through, about 2 minutes. Just before you're ready to serve, stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Serve chicken mixture over the cooked pasta, and sprinkle with basil.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Food Week - Lunch

Today's theme for food week is lunch, and my apologies to anyone who reads this blog regularly - this post is going to be a repeat for you. One of my favourite things to eat at lunch is soup. It packs well, and keeps me full until supper, so I've chosen my all-time favourite soup recipe to share with you (I know the picture doesn't show it, but there are actually veggies in this soup. They're just all at the bottom for some reason.):

Curry Chicken Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin
5 cups chicken broth
1 tomato, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1 lb pre-cooked chicken, shredded

Saute the apple, onion, carrot & garlic in oil for 5-6 minutes. Mix flour, curry & cumin in a small bowl and add to vegetable mix. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth, tomato & potato, bringing it to a boil. Lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add the chicken and heat 5 minutes or so. Season with salt & pepper.

[You can see the list of other participants in Food Week here. So far the recipes have all looked scrumptious, so check them out people!]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Food Week - Breakfast

It's day one of Food Week, which Sherrie G is hosting and I'm super-excited about participating in. Every day this week I'll be posting one of my favourite recipes that matches the category chosen by Sherrie, as will the other participants - so tune in for some yumminess this week!

Today's category is breakfast, and my absolute favourite thing to make for breakfast is my grandmother's biscuits. It's a super simple recipe, and takes less than half an hour to whip up. Here it is:

Grammy B's Biscuits

3 cups flour (I often do a mix of 1 cup whole wheat, 2 cups white flour)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cream of tartar (scant)
1 tsp. baking soda (scant)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups milk (scant)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening with a pastry knife until crumbly. Gradually add the milk, trying not to overmix the dough, until everything has pulled together (you probably won't need the full amount of milk). Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat down to an approx. 1" width. Cut out in whatever shape/size you desire (I use a small juice glass). Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day - a day fraught with love, bitterness, frustration and/or joy, depending on who you're talking to. I know people who love Valentine's Day, still handing out those little paper valentines to everyone they care about even though they're now adults. I know people who think the day is a crock, invented by capitalist card companies to generate sales during a slow time of year. I know people who dread the day, as they struggle with being single on a day dedicated to celebrating romantic love. I know people who think it's ridiculous to be expected to make some token gesture to their significant other, when they make their love known every other day of the year. And I know people to whom it is just an ordinary day.

To be completely honest, I have fallen into every one of those categories at some point in my life, so I understand each point of view. Right now, though, I enjoy celebrating the day. I don't go too crazy, celebrating it only with TC, and we tend not to spend any money in the process of that celebration, choosing instead to keep it fairly simple (though TC usually buys me a flower of some kind because he knows I love them). This year we'll be spending the day at a wedding - how perfect is that?

Part of the reason it's important to me for us to celebrate Valentine's Day in some way is that true romantic love, the kind that lasts a lifetime, is hard work. In our society, which is largely me-oriented, I think we need to make the most of every opportunity to celebrate the other - in this case, that special someone. And while it's true that making a token gesture of love one day of the year is empty if no love is shown on the other 364, if you do love someone what's wrong with making a little extra effort to show it on February 14th?

Now that I've had my 2 cents worth, what about you folks? What do you think about Valentine's Day? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Inquiring minds want to know :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcome back, Telly!

And that concludes our non-television experiment.

Yep, we have admitted defeat - at least for now. TC is sick. We have therefore plugged the cable back in so that he'll have something to watch while he's laying on the couch without having to fork out the moola to rent movies (our cable is included in our rent, so there's no additional charge for having it plugged in).

We may try again once he's feeling better, but for now I'm enjoying my NCIS and Whose Line is it Anyway? :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Vive la France!

I'm so excited! Yesterday afternoon I booked the airline tickets for our vacation this year - we're going to France! Woo hoo! Our trip isn't until May, but that means I get to start planning now, and that's half the fun of any trip for me :) What's extra exciting is that back in January our friends J&K moved to Nancy, which is in Alsace-Lorraine, so we're going to be able to visit them while we're there. Yay!

Since we're currently in the planning stage, I want to ask all of you - if you've been to France, what is the one thing that you would recommend we see and/or do? And if you haven't been, what would be on the top of your list of things to see and/or do?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

See you later, Telly!

TC has decided that we are going TV-less this week. It all started on Friday night, as we did some rearranging in our living room in order to make room for a craft night that I was hosting. We needed more space for chairs, and TC discovered that our TV fits perfectly inside our coat closet, which is located in the living room.

Initially, we toyed with the idea of leaving it in there, since there's a plug and everything (a plug in the coat closet is a bit wierd, but that's one of the perks of living in an old house - you never know what you're going to find) but the space is more valuable to us as storage for the 4 big rubbermaid tubs that hold all my crafting/soap-making supplies so the TV came back out to it's original position.

The cable, however, has not been plugged back in which leaves us with 1/2 of a channel (we kind of get CTV). And TC decided that it will stay that way for the rest of the week, so that we won't have the option of just turning the TV on and flipping through channels when we're looking for something to do.

That's not to say that we're shutting it down completely, though. DVD's are still allowed, because watching a DVD tends to be more of a deliberate choice rather than a default position. It hasn't been too bad so far. I've done a bit more reading, and have listened to the radio more than I usually do. The only thing I miss is being able to check the temperature and weather before walking out the door - but I suppose I could always go low-tech and just look out the window...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crafting Conundrum

I think that a change may be in order. Perhaps.

What kind of change, do you ask? I will tell you.

I need to do something to bring my crafting under control. It has ballooned a bit beyond what I can handle at the moment.

It is now generally known among my circle of friends and family that I love to knit and/or crochet, and that I'm good at it. It's true - I do and I am. That's not the problem.

Some of those friends and family have begun asking if I'd be able to make them something. Again, I have no problem with this. I really love to do it. My response has always been a positive one - all I ask is that they cover the cost of the yarn necessary for whatever project they've selected.

The problem is that I've now been inundated with enough of these requests that, in addition to the projects that I'm doing for my own purposes (gifts, etc.), I have no time to do anything else. And I'm falling behind on some of the time sensitive projects, like the afghan I'm trying (in vain) to get finished in time for a wedding next weekend. I will probably have to give them a gift I.O.U. - it won't be the first time. But that puts me behind for the next project that's due. And where do I fit in the projects that don't have a specific due date but are important nonetheless?

I realize that this isn't the end of the world. And I really do want to keep making things for the people I care about. However, I do have a full-time job that I need to keep to pay the bills since I don't think I'd be able to make a living on knitting/crocheting without charging way more than most people are willing to pay. And it's usually a labour of love for me anyway, so I wouldn't want to charge more than the cost of the materials.

And I don't want to tell people that I can't make them that hat, scarf, pair of mittens, etc., since I truly can - it just may not be right away.

So what am I going to change to improve the situation, you might be asking?

I have no idea.

Any suggestions?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Family History

I remember reading somewhere that women are the guardians of family history, mainly because our brains are hardwired to assign value to and remember all connecting stories of the different branches of our family trees. I don't know if that's been empirically proven, but I know that it's generally true as far as my own experience is concerned (the one notable exception being my dad, who is definitely our family historian extraordinaire). In any case, I can say with all certainty that I love hearing stories about the people from whom I am descended. There's something special about it - a sense of connectedness with the past, a rootedness that helps me to better understand both myself and the people I love.

One of my favourite stories is about the lady you see pictured above. That's my great-grandmother (don't you love the top hat?), and her life story has always been an inspiration to me. I'm a little fuzzy on all the details, but she grew up in early-20th century rural New Brunswick. She met and married her first husband, who turned out to be a cad and left her with several children and syphilis. With the help of a kind doctor and his wife, she was able to get herself together, and eventually met and married my great-grandfather - the fastest potato-picker in the county :) Unfortunately he was also quite a drinker, so they were never very well-off. He died of lip cancer when my grandmother was quite young, leaving my great-grandmother on her own with far too many children to support.

I can't remember which happened first, but two events took place that must have just broken the poor woman's heart. I think that first she was diagnosed with tuberculosis, a disease which at that point in history was difficult to treat. It was also highly contagious, so she was forced to give most of her children into the care of others - either in orphanages, or with relatives. Can you imagine what that must have been like? She stayed with and was cared for by her aunt, with only my grandmother staying with them, though she was not allowed in to see her mother. Instead, she would sit under her mother's bedroom window, and listen to her sing hymns and pray. Eventually her condition deteriorated to the point that they moved her to a sanitorium in the city, where she stayed until she died. My grandmother was then adopted by a very loving couple who had been unable to have children of their own, but she was separated from the rest of her siblings.

Why do I find that story inspiring? I guess the main reason is that through all that adversity, my great-grandmother persevered. She had the strength of character necessary to pull herself together and get back up each time life knocked her down, accepting help when it was offered, and making do without when there was none. She provided for her family as best she could, and never gave up believing that God loved her. Her faith was a testimony to my grandmother, who has in turn modelled that same faithfulness to my mother and to me.

That's not such a bad heritage to leave your family, is it?