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Friday, April 28, 2006

A New Day, a new vent…

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Honestly, I not an angry person. I am generally quite a happy person, content with what life has seen fit to offer me. But there are some things that just drive me bonkers… Elevator vs. the Stairs… I work in a building that is a mere three-storeys. There are two elevators, and I’m of the opinion that in a building of this height, the only time you should be taking the elevator is if you can’t take the stairs. I.e., if you’re carrying something, if you have physical difficulty with the stairs, or are otherwise impeded. Healthy people should not need to use an elevator to go one or two floors. It’s just laziness plain and simple. Even better is that my building has a gigantic open spiral staircase in the middle, so it’s not like the stairs are this dangerous place….you can see it from everywhere! (I understand buildings with scary stairwells – much safer to take the elevator).  Second rant… Self-tanner incompetence… I feel so misled. So utterly deceived. In preparation for my Mexican voyage, I have been applying Jergen’s Natural Glow self-tanner for a couple weeks. Due to the pallid nature of my complexion, I purchased the type for fair skin. It’s worked awesome, smells nice, and I was happy with the results. They were, however, a bit subtle. Since I had such fantastic luck with using the Natural Glow, I decided that I would oomph up my colour by putting on a layer of my Neutrogena Build-a-Tan (purchased last year) to speed things up. Umm…oops. I thought I did a perfect job of applying it – even got poor hubs to help out with the back. But I suck. Really suck. Now, I haven’t had the chance to fully examine the extent of the damage committed, but there is a distinct line between tan and NOT at my wrist. The bottle said to wash my hands….so I did. I think it would be best to NOT wash your hands quite so much though…now I have white hands, and dark arms. Also, on my right forearm, there is a weird dark patch, and I have absolutely no clue how it got there. There is a weird splotchiness at my left wrist and I shudder to think about the damage to my torso (I’m at work and can’t really check right now ;) ). So umm…yeah. Just because you’ve had good luck with the super-easy-idiot-proof self-tanners does not mean that you are, in fact, competent enough to apply a real self-tanner. So um….is it bad that I’m just going to apply another layer tonight in hopes of masking the damage? Is this a bad idea? I have a week until Mexico, so it’s enough time to fade out any real damage, but at the same time, I’m hoping to build up a nice, lasting, reasonably even tanned-appearance. Gah. Third Rant…. I was late for work AGAIN this morning thanks to the knobs at OC Transpo. I hate the bus, I truly do. On a culinary note…. Dinner last night was SOOOOOOOOOO tasty. Nothing really gourmet, but total yum nonetheless. I baked up two Ace bakery demi-baguettes (yay Costco), boiled some eggs and cracked open a can of tuna. With the eggs, I mixed fat-free miracle whip, minced celery and shallots. With the tuna, I mixed some extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some fresh-cracked pepper. On the baguette with the tuna, I put a nice thick layer of spicy Dijon mustard, and some nice juice slices of fresh, red, ripe tomato. Mmmmmmm…..more pepper. With the egg salad, I just had some romaine lettuce. To go with this I made a ‘random fridge vegetable’ soup. It contained the following: 2 T olive oil 1 med. Onion, diced 1 large shallot, diced 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed 4 large parsnips 5 stalks celery 4 cups low-salt chicken broth ½ t anise seeds fresh pepper I carmelized the veggies for about 15 minutes, then added the broth and simmered for half an hour (while I did all the sandwich stuff). Then I pureed it with my handy immersion blender and voila. :) A soup was born. Now, about those dishes.....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's rantin' time

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I’m as brutal a blog-writer as I am a housekeeper.

But I have a couple of rants to share with you….

1) GAP. I bought a cute dress yesterday to wear in Mexico.

Now my rant is that I’m not sure what the heck size that model is wearing, because *I* had to buy a size zero, and the model is about half as wide as I am. What is with the ridiculous sizing in that store. I am an 8. I have been an 8 for nearly 10 years. I have NEVER been a zero. So seriously, wtf. I grabbed a 6 off the rack (because gap sizes are a little big), and then felt like a dumb-ass getting the sales associate to bring me increasingly smaller sizes. What a load of crap.

Even better is that they change their sizes, but they don’t change their damn size chart…according to most size charts I’ve seen, I’m a pretty solid size 8…but not at gap. They want me to think I’m a zero. And what are smaller people supposed to do? Anyway, I just thought that was dumb.

2) OC Transpo and the city of Ottawa.
I will preface this rant by saying that I have taken the bus to work for the last three years. For the most part, I don’t mind it – relatively quick, relatively reliable, much cheaper than a second car would be. I used to take two buses to get to work, but with the advent of the newest schedule, I take one bus all the way to Blair station, and then walk to work from there. It’s only about 20 minutes, and it gets my lazy wobbly behind moving. Not bad, eh?

Well, yesterday my bus was about 15 minutes late. I can live with that – things happen, not a huge deal, because since I only take one bus now, it means that I’ll just be a bit later to work than usual. Except Mr. Dumb-ass-I’m-so-cool LOSER driver was too freaking lazy to finish his route. He decided that the route should stop at Hurdman (about 4 stops short of where I was going).

I board the bus west of Lincoln Fields, and Blair is about halfway between St. Laurent and Orleans. So…it’s crappy when the bus doesn’t continue. A lot of them stop at Hurdman, but I take the particular bus that I do because it goes ALL THE WAY to Blair. Had the bus been on time, this wouldn’t have been a huge deal – there are quite a few buses I can take to go from Hurdman to Blair (and even one that goes right to my work…but of course that one had already left yesterday). As luck would have it, I had to wait a further 10 minutes at Hurdman station, and then four buses rolled up going to Blair (seriously, I think the 95 is the worst bus ever, because even though it’s supposed to come every three minutes, you always end up with a big gap and then a whole whack of them coming).

So I was EVEN later for work thanks to the stupid lazy-ass driver. By no means is this meant to be a reflection on all drivers – my regular driver is an awesome person, as are most of the drivers. Just this particular belligerent jerk (who ignored me when I twice politely reminded him that the bus was supposed to continue) who got a nice little complain letter yesterday.

My second OC Transpo Rant.

To the fuckwits designing the new O-Train.

Here is a picture of current express, rush-hour transit in Ottawa:
1) I (and thousands of others) walk a very short distance from my house, hop on an express bus, and it takes me right downtown. It’s less than 30 minutes for me, a little longer for the Kanata folks. Pretty easy, pretty efficient.

Here is what the O-Train fuckwits want to do:
1) People either drive or take a bus to where the train starts (fair enough, it obviously has to start *somewhere*
2) People hop on the train (again, still no problems)
3) People, instead of going straight downtown, go south of it.
4) South of downtown, they get off the train, and then get onto another train.
5) The second train takes them downtown (and it’s like a freaking streetcar, so it’s not like it will actually be any faster to go through downtown).

This is so ridiculous. For people to take public transit, it needs to be simple, fast and reliable. They are taking what is right now ONE step, and making it into three. I know for a fact that the more transfers you have to make, the length of your trip will grow exponentially. Let’s face it, this is Ottawa. These trains aren’t going to run every 3 minutes. So if you miss a transfer train, you will have to wait like 15 minutes. Do they seriously think that anyone is going to want to LENGTHEN their commute to what cannot possibly be less than an hour when you can do it in 20 minutes by car (if you time it right). What a bunch of dumbasses.

What they need to do is have the route start at a central point in the suburbs, and then follow an efficient route downtown. Because if you make people get on and off thigns….they’re just going to say screw it, and hop back into their cars….because in the suburbs…they’ve all got ‘em!

So those are my rants. This whole O-Train thing is a disastrous mistake if they cheap out and take the ‘path of least resistance.’ Do it once, but do it RIGHT.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The lunch vs. the briefcase

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Being the virtuous little soul that I am, I almost always bring my lunch to work. Every night when I make dinner, I always make sure that I make enough for us to have lunch the next day. It saves an enormous amount of money, doesn’t really take any more time, and generally just means that I have a yummy, healthy lunch all ready to go in the morning. All that’s left to do is grab a yogourt or two and some fruit.

Now, three years ago when I graduated university, I was a chronic backpack wearer. I had just got a spiffy *new* backpack, so this is what I brought to and from work every day. It was a great size, and perfect for carrying lunch, extra shoes, bottle of water, the odd work-related thing (seriously, who was I kidding this that whole schtick) and just random girly crap. I could load it up on the off chance I was going to the gym (though that was a squeeze), and it made it super easy to just randomly stop and get heavy groceries on my way home, etc. (I take the bus so am forced to carry everything I buy).

Hubs decided that my beloved backpack was juvenile and bought me a beautiful burgundy leather briefcase. It is a really really nice bag – not too old, not too young, and makes me look far more professional than I really deserve. :) But you know what….briefcases suck for carrying anything other than paper. They seriously do. They are also inconvenient for carrying heavier things – I have a semi-permanent patch of miniscule broken capillaries on my right shoulder from carrying it. Of course, I’m not certain that you’re supposed to walk nearly so much with your briefcase (I walk the last 25 minutes to work, and vice-versa in the afternoons). But that said...a briefcase can handily hold up to three bottles of wine. More if you buy gewurtstraminer (long skinny bottle).

So that brings me to my issue….my freaking lunch will only go in my briefcase sideways. There is not a plastic storage container on the market that will fit right-side-up in my briefcase. The issue with this is that with all the bouncing around from walking and racing after busses….I end up with my lunch leaking. :( Sometimes it just leaks a bit within its bag….other times it makes a royal mess and gets all over everything. So what’s a girl to do? I have cheap plastic containers – they leak. But so do the pricier ones that I have. I don’t want to start carrying a thermos (and you know what, they leak too! And they’re too heavy). So should I go back to the backpack? And risk the scorn and derision of all who see me, a purported professional, traipsing about with a juvenile backpack. Meh. I do not know.

Anyone know of super-duper containers that DON’T leak when put on their side for prolonged periods of time (like, say, 2 hours)? Thx.

On a domestic note, I’ve really been exploring my masochistic tendencies lately….as if it wasn’t enough to have two ‘mega’ dinner parties coming up, I have also randomly invited over a couple of friends for more casual dinners on a couple of week nights. I’m becoming such a home-body….my friends suggest going out for dinner…I look at my bank account and suggest they come over instead….

Dinner tonight is a casual curried vegetable stew with fresh baguette. Hope it’s tasty – it has sweet potato, zucchini, beans, etc. and is spiced with curry and chili powders, as well as saffron and then sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Very different combination. I guess I shall have to boot my butt into gear because I invited a friend over for dinner tomorrow night and she hasn’t even seen my house before….so I’m going to have to do an all-over tidy tonight. Bleaaaaaaaaah.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What’s in a name….

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As many of you know, I was married pretty recently, to an awesome (and hot!) guy who is even better than any guy I could have imagined for myself. Everything is great – my family likes him, his family likes me, and all is well.

Except one thing.

I’m having some name change issues. I didn’t think I would have them, but I am. I started having them just a couple of days after the wedding….we received our first envelope addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Hubby’sname Lastname.

Ummm..excuse me? I no longer merit mention on the envelope? I am supposed to satisfy myself with my three letters and punctuation portion of the address? This just doesn’t work for me. In fact, it’s happened a couple of times since (on invitations, cards and the like) and every time I get an envelope with that particular form of address on it….I have to fight the urge to throw it on the ground and shriek like a banshee in a full-on toddler tantrum.

Okay…maybe that’s overreacting a bit. But seriously…what is with this antiquated form of address. I cannot take it. In fact, I’m at the point now where I don’t want to change my name any more. I just find this so utterly offensive. It’s as if I, half the relationship (better or worse…take your pick ;) ) don’t really count anymore. You know what, I have not even written my married name on anything yet. I’m just not quite ready…and I don’t give a flying fart that classical etiquette states that it’s a proper form of address. If we kept all classical etiquette, there would still be slaves and women wouldn’t be voting.

Hubs thinks I’m overreacting. I suggested he take my name, at which point he accused me of being ridiculous. Well…case in point, nobody wants to lose their identity. It’s tough because I’m just at the point in my career where I am *starting* to develop a reputation…I don’t want to undo all that by changing my name and no one being able to find me. I don’t want to hyphenate. I just am not sure what to do.

One thing is for certain though…I have to figure out a way to politely broach the topic with both my MIL and GMIL that envelopes addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Hubby’sname Lastname are NOT cool. I am totally cool with Mr. and Mrs. Hubby’sname and Myname Lastname. But not with the former. I will not stand for it, and I refuse to read it on envelopes for the next fifty years.

On a lighter note, I’m sure you will all be ecstatic to know that I did eventually do the dishes last night….at like 1AM. I didn’t do any hand-washing, but I did unload and reload the dishwasher. It’s always a good first step. Dinner tonight should be tasty – an Indian cheese and spinach curry, along with lentil dahl and basmati rice. Yum! :)

Thanks for reading….sorry for the rant…I figured it was domestic enough to share….

Sunday, April 09, 2006


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It was the best of weekends; it was the worst of weekends.

Have you ever had a weekend go by and just wondered where the heck it went? We had a good weekend - nothing spectacular, but okay. I'm just having a hard time believing that it's already Sunday night and there is little to show for it.

I loafed around for most of the weekend....thankfully, I finally finished my thank you cards. Six weeks....not too bad. :) And they all went out with a picture and all that. :)

Aside from that, I had a good workout (you're ecstatic, I'm sure) and that's pretty much it. Friday night, the kitchen was disastrous, so I started dinner (marinated salmon steaks), but then gave up and ordered greek. Yesterday, we went out for dinner. Hubs was nice and productive yesterday though - pouring cement, caulking cracks, etc. Nice.

Blah. So we got to today....messy house, nothing exciting to do. Hubs went to play hockey (I was tempted to rollerblade but balked at the idea of rollerblading alone - i'm brutal and clumsy and there is no way that anything like that would end well.).

So I decided to tackle the kitchen and the living room. I will give you a before and after so you know what I was working with. ;) Our house is still under renos, so the kitchen is more of a work in progress than a finished product. On the upside, it's proof positive that you don't need a wicked kitchen to successfully make a meal.

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And here's the opposite corner of the kitchen. I have big plans for installing another counter/cupboard unit there, but in the meantime, it's a hand-me-down micro stand, a portable pantry and patio bistro set. Oh...and does anyone else have the problem of empties piling up? The boy SAYS he will take them away, but they seem to sit around the house for quite some time....and then when we do bring them back, we look like the worst sort of lushes...
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And the living room transformation. It went from being tax/thank you card central to a nice setting for a romantic meal. :) Also, I hate doing taxes. I'm doing better now than before, but still a ways from gettin' back the moolah. I hate forms. There is nothing I hate more than forms.
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And after....set for a feast of fresh baguette (with olive oil and balsamic), spring mix salad, marinated salmon steaks (the ones we were supposed to eat on Friday), steamed asparagus and jasmine rice. Dinner was sooooooo yummy. Except hubs is slowly transforming into a wine snob - he 'rejected' the first bottle we opened, so we had to open a different one. hahahaha. I'm not going to let him live that one down. He's getting as bad as I am with Shiraz....(there is something about that varietal that I just don't like. I can taste it everytime, even if I don't see a label.
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Well, have a great Sunday night. I shall continue sipping my wine, and then contemplate doing the dishes. It just never ends...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Encrusted Spring Mixed Greens

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Yup. That's what happens to 'em if you leave them drenched in vinaigrette in the salad bowl overnight. Ew. First they go mushy, and then they dry to the bowl so they're almost impossible to get off. Grossness.

So I broke my near perfect streak. Blah. It just seems like there isn't enough time. I got home yesterday (to a pretty decent kitchen) at about 6:15. Hubs and I unloaded the dishwasher, and I set to work at making dinner.

Apparently stuffed meatloaf and roasted taters take a little longer than I had anticipated. My FIL showed up at about 6:40 or so, but dinner wasn't ready until about 8. So, we enjoyed our dinner (stuffed meatloaf is SO good - filled with chopped mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper and onion, and monterey jack cheese - yum!), and chit chatted for a bit.

While hubs and his dad watched the tail end of the game (as IF montreal crushed us), I loaded and started the dishwasher. But there were way too many dishes for it, and besides, I don't normally put things like 9x13 pans or salad bowls in (they just take up too much room).

Well, after the dishwasher ran, I also joined the boys to watch the last couple minutes of the game, and then FIL left and I worked out. By the time my workout was over, it was late and I was tired, and didn't feel like handwashing dishes.

Of course, the dishes were still there this morning. :( Nothing sucks more than first thing in the morning, when I'm trying to just start the coffee pot (before going to the bathroom and showering), and I can't get the damn pot in the sink to fill it up because it's full of dishes. Meh. So I'm literally dancing around the kitchen, just trying to get the coffee started. (My coffee maker isn't super swift, and I am on a tight schedule in the morning....if I don't start it before my shower, I don't get coffee).

Anyway, got that all together. Now, wouldn't you know that I just forget my stupid coffee mug on the table, and don't realize it until I'm halfway down the street. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. And with taking the don't just turn around to go get it. Poopers. So I bought coffee when I got to work.

My house is kinda messy, and DH still hasn't made the bed (I bed), but it's been far worse. I'm just not looking forward to de-encrusting my salad bowl tonight. I hate doing dishes before dinner, because it puts me even LESS in the mood for doing them after dinner. Poopy poopy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Joys of Home Ownership

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Well….I am definitely doing better. In the last week, I have not only swept my house twice (this is huge - not my house, but the fact that I swept it!!!!!!), but I have also not let the dirty dishes take over my kitchen (as they are extremely wont to do). AND I even changed the bunny litter box once.

Of course, I still have yet to make my bed (brutal, eh?) and I have been walking *around* a full box of recycling fodder for a week because I am simply too freaking lazy to drag it outside.

Since I have been such a total procrastinator, I will update you with my domestic achievements since we last spoke.

I successfully made my first cheesecake. Not only was it a fabulously chocolatey cheesecake, but it was low-fat. Do you hate me yet? Hehe. I highly, highly, highly recommend the “Eat, Shrink & Be Merry” cookbook. You too can be a domestic goddess. :) The only truly disappointing aspect of the cake is the MASSIVE crater-like crack that crept across its surface as it cooled. So sad. Thankfully, I figured out how to cover it up. A thin layer of ultra-low-fat cool whip (woo-hoo for hydrogenated, man-made ingenuity!), some thinly-sliced strawberries, and some drizzled chocolate. Oh ya.

Eat it and weep baby.
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I also even managed to take pictures of my living room. Not only is there no clutter (you have no idea of the challenges of keeping that damn table clear), but it’s starting to look fabulous. To me at least. I’m sure there are those who would perhaps take exception to my orange room. I love it though. You know, it was funny, I just recently read a post of someone who had just repainted their entire house in Benjamin Moore paint. I could tell she had really put a lot of work into the whole colour scheme…but you know what…I hated it. The whole damn house was SO neutral, it didn’t look like a real person could possibly live there. I know that neutrals are in, and I am well-aware that no sane individual would ever buy my house with the living room the way it is…but to paint your whole house in BEIGE? Ack.

I just love this room. It’s our formal entertaining room (and also the entrance to our weeny house). We use this room mostly at night, and it just looks so fun and warm and cozy in candlelight. Anyway, you be the judge. Also, I am desperately seeking some funky awesome painting to hang above our couch. Haven’t found it yet…any ideas? We have a new dining table on order. Our current one photographs pretty well (believe me, this pic is WAY better than reality), but honestly looks as though a large rodent (a beaver, perhaps?) munched on the legs of everything. Two of the chairs are broken, the cushions are green and the top of the table…well…let’s just say that I am developing a fabulous collection of tablecloths.

With no further ado, this is what my living room is SUPPOSED to look like all the time. Very rare that it looks like this. We’re still looking for the right coffee table, and I really want awesome pillows for the couch – shades of orange raw silk would look cool, I think.
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And here is the ‘dining’ half of the same room.
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So they aren’t too too shabby. I am so excited about our new table though…I will post a pic when it arrives at the end of May. :)

Now, my mission for this week is to train my hubby to make the bed. With all of its decorative pillows. Really, it isn’t my responsibility to make the bed, because I am the first one up. And I don’t really want to make it at the end of the day when I get home from work. So it shall be up to hubby. My other mission tonight is to finish the rest of the thank you notes for my wedding. There aren’t very many left, and I would really like to get them sent off before I become an etiquette pariah. :)

Thanks for reading!

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