Vacation Jitters!

Since I’m heading back to North Carolina to visit Josh in ohhhh tomorrow (!!!), maybe it’s a good time to finally post pictures from my last two visits in August and November? Oui? Oui!

Thanks to overtime during the office move last summer I had a sweet amount of lieu time to use as I saw fit, and I see very fit indeed to spend as much time as I possible with Josh. Obviously! So I scheduled two vacations close together which had the bonus of making the time between them seem nigh insignificant, but the disadvantage of making the time between a November and April visit seem to take forever.

And yet here we are! And here you go:  

(And if the formatting is all wonky, screw it. WordPress is misbehaving and I’ve no time to mess around with it!)

August
 
   

This is American for 'cheese'; the edibility of heavily processed foods being a constant point of debate between Josh and I.

Josh was very pleased when we returned to the hotel one evening to find his skull-betopped scooter bookended by a pair of badass Harleys.

A small island of Canada in a vast sea of on-sale Americana.

Something's wrong when your bestseller list includes disproportionate amounts of Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, and Dick Armey. Oh and lets not forget the Ann Coulter. Oy vey.

Late night date night at the Wal-Mart extravaganza!

 

November

 
 
 
 

 

 

Gettin' all casual in the kitchen, by which I mean he didn't realize the camera was on secret timer 😉

 

Baking a brie! With caramelized worcestershire and red wine onions cooked right into the phyllo!

 
 

Now that's what cheese should look like!! The brie didn't make it two feet from the oven before being devoured within five minutes right at the counter. Words cannot describe the delicious.

 

Trip to the most psychedelic pizza joint ever!

Psychedlic menu! Just give pizza a try, man! Why can't all toppings just get along? 😛

 

Gettin' all domestic with the washing up.

 

Gettin' more domestic! 😉

 

 

Only one more sleep until more of these!!

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An Assortment of Late Night Thoughts

– The phrase “It feels great, the hair feels amazing!” Should never be uttered on late night television. Somehow, the fact that it is uttered in an ad for “shake on hair” (technical term: hair loss concealer, I’m not even making this up) somehow only makes it worse.

– What is wrong with Jay Leno’s chin? And David Letterman’s teeth? And Conan O’Brien’s hair? Is that why Jimmy Kimmel will never be as popular? Because he doesn’t have some weird physical abnormality?

– Josh is right, that was a crepe I was making in that pic, not french toast. Breakfast cognition: fail.

– I really regret getting rid of my magic bullet blender. I’m still convinced that I’d use it. I never used it. I blame the fact that I never looked at the recipe book that came with it.

– I want to be that person who gets to choose classical music clips for cartoons. They probably have a better search process for finding vague pieces than googling ‘that fluttery song they play when its sunrise.’

– Is that a spider on the wall or just a shadow? Should I get up and try to smoosh it? Or will that result in an unfortunate 2am fire since I’m incapable of squishing things and must instead torch them with hairspray and a lighter?

– Why the hell don’t they display the comedian’s name at the end of the segment when I’ve decided whether or not to pay attention? By the time I care, I don’t know who I want to Google.

– Shakespearean improv troupes should not be allowed on Just For Laughs.

– Disney is solely responsible for my choice in hair colour and crushed expectations of impossible volume.

Suck it Disney. This hair is not possible.

 

– Why are odd numbered groups of items considered more aesthetically pleasing? Like the number of flowers in a fancy hair style, or food arrangements, like spring rolls. They always give you three spring rolls…that doesn’t work for sharing!

– Is there something wrong with me for enjoying foreign documentaries so much or is it just the product of having no cable for too long? And for that matter, when did Ed Burtinsky go from photography to narrating documentaries on other photographers?

– Ok, so what the hell is ‘Dadaism’?

– What is Angela Bowie’s problem?

– Sometimes I feel like I’m the only twenty-something office peon who can spend the morning discussing supply chains and market research, and then hide in the admin office for lunch, flapping my black pashmina around and yelling ‘I AM THE BATMAN!”

– Goddamn, I want some perogies…

– Does Lysol really care how much bacteria is on my counter, or are they just trying to make money?

– Why on earth would any food-vending company think that “secret sauce” sounds at all appealing? Maybe in the more innocent days of yore, but not in these perverted times.

– You know it’s gone from ‘late night’ to ‘early morning’ when every damn station tells me either how dirty my house is, how inefficient my vegetable chopping is, or 80% of the time – how fat I am. Can you see me, television? How the hell do you know about my hip jigglage?

– Maybe I do need a Sham-Wow. Or anything else that Vince guy is selling. I wonder if he’s secretly glad that Billy Mays is out of the picture…

– If ‘bagel bites’ now contain real cheese, what the hell ass were they using before? And for that matter, what’s in those little Ritz Bitz cracker dealios?

– They should have a cereal called ‘Dealios.” I’d buy it.

– Can my houseplants think?

– Pros to being vegetarian: no chicken-head mcnuggets.

– Dammit, it’s 3am. Am I never going to fall asl-

– Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..

Delicious

Where the hell have I been?

No seriously, if you know, please raise your hands, because it seems like days and weeks have gone by with me standing here going “wait, what?”

I’ve been super busy, once again. I figured I should probably fix up the spare room in my apartment given that I’d nailed up a bunch of wood and left the cardboard tile ceiling a little on the saggy side. I shanghied a handy pair of friends into helping me last weekend and then tagged along on their trip to the Junction Arts Festival for honey-and-lavender ice cream, random fridge art and copious amounts of bureks and perogies. Every Saturday I’ve been at May’s for knitting and pie (one hideous cardigan finished, one super cute hoodie about halfway there!), there’s been a trip to Niagara for Talea’s wedding plans, dinners with family and a ton of baking for corporate client events. Oh yeah, and I’ve got a boyfriend to spend with too! Josh has been busy building an extra room onto his brothers house with him (today: stairs) so I try to line up my free time with his as often as I can. I haven’t even had time to do grocery shopping – and I do my groceries online! It’s been sad amounts of takeout this past week for me.

There’s been zero time for blogging, or even time for structured thought on anything I’d like to blog about. So what do I do when I don’t have time to type? I post pictures. Much, much less time consuming.

Since I haven’t had time for groceries, I thought it would be good to remind myself that yes, at times, I have consumed real food. In that spirit, here are some pictures of me eating whilst on my not-so-recent vacation – have I mentioned I’m already in dire need of another? Also included are pictures of me about to eat, having just eaten, or generally in the midst of an eating type environment. You can’t visit the south without taking a bite, and Josh and I do love our delicious meal times.

Obsoive!

Eating it up at the almost-in-laws

Eating it up at the almost-in-laws

 

My southern man frying up some plantains for breakfast

My southern man frying up some plantains for breakfast

French toast? Or maybe Quebecois toast...

French toast? Or maybe Quebecois toast...

Mmm, breakfast! With a side of white trash bra.

Mmm, breakfast! With a side of white trash bra.

Out for Japanese on our date night <3

Out for Japanese on our date night ❤

Edamame! I don't think Josh had seen them before. I have two kinds in my freezer.

Edamame! I don't think Josh had seen them before. I have two kinds in my freezer.

We rode from dinner to the movies - even though it was in the same plaza.

We rode from dinner to the movies - even though it was in the same plaza.

Bean dip!

Bean dip!

Mmmmm ^_^

Mmmmm ^_^

Inappropriate Uses for Mayonnaise

So this may come as a complete and utter surprise to anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of being graced with my presence during a micro-conniption, but sometimes things get under my skin a little more than perhaps they ought to.

Today’s culprit is mayonnaise.

At first I was pissed at Hellmann’s mayo, with it’s innocuous claims of support for the ‘real food movement’ and it’s warm-toned commercials featuring healthy looking, natural hair coloured people lavishing their appreciation for such a fine, locally grown product with more sincerity and emotion than anyone should feel towards a condiment.  I couldn’t find the Canadian version on youtube, but the UK version isn’t much better.

Imagine our version as less preppie and more organic-cotton-hip, undeniably aimed at the urban, young adult, go-green culture. I watch it and go ‘woooooaaaah Toronto’ (or maybe Vancouver, they seem pretty hip and earthy too.) I don’t mind this culture – I’ve got a solid food planted in it. I just hate being pandered to, and this is how Hellmann’s pissed me right the hell off.

Hey social and/or environmental activists, we're your brand!

In fact, when a saw a second commercial regarding mayo that pissed me off a little bit extra, I was confounded for hours trying to find it on youtube before I realized it wasn’t even Hellmann’s. I’d been blinded with disdain for them because I consider ‘buy local, eat real food’ to consist of shopping at farmers markets when available, not choosing one massive corporation over another. I am all about growing your own food or supporting Canadian farming – but not paying six levels of middle-men advert execs in the process. Anyways, with all this fist-shaking, I hadn’t even noticed an even more irritating culprit.

Miracle Whip.

Have you seen this ad?

 

Yeah. For reals, yo.

To get the full effect, you can watch the whole commercial here. I know, I know, it’s a pain sometimes to click links and follow them. But this one wasn’t on youtube either, and I can’t embed it in wordpress. I’m just glad I found it, so just click on it, por favor. It’s a thirty second commercial, and you’ll probably get the gyst of it about halfway through.

So! Continuing on then.

Dear Various Mayonnaise Producers:

You make a condiment. It goes nicely on my sandwich, in potato salad or in devilled eggs.  And these are all lovely, appropriate and often delicious uses for your product. However, that’s pretty much the extent of it.

Mayonnaise, the average person would agree, should not be used as a thick, fattening conduit for the voice of a generation. And on that note, what exact voice do you think we have? That we’re so principled about “keeping it real” that we’re going to get up in arms if you have the nerve to suggest we change the ingredients of whatever we’re bringing to a picnik? “Don’t eat the egg salad Janine brought, she buys her food from THE MAN!”

I don’t care how organic or special or real or hardcore you think your shit is. It’s MAYO!!! Nobody dips their fist in it and then walks around with their sticky digits held high up in the air crying “Death to Capitalism!” It just doesn’t happen.

Hellmann’s – I’m not a total hippie, seeing as I too have my fair share of over processed crap sitting on the shelves. But in my ongoing efforts to avoid being a hypocrite, I’ve gone through your website in an attempt to find out where you do in fact get your ingredients. Your eggs are ‘free range’, a term thrown around all too casually and often paired up with lush imagery of green grass, clear skies and sunlight.

We're totally on your side

By the way, this is considered 'free range'

Oh, and I’ll be damn sure to ask my local farmers the next time I’m out buying berries if they happen to have any calcium disodium EDTA. Yeah, that’s nice and local.

Also Hellmann’s, you’re owned by Unilever. Just like Dove, Axe, Knorr, and every other major brand trying to sell itself as something special in their ongoing effort to make a buck. Look, if you’re out to make money, just say so. If you’re of the opinion that birds are put on this earth to be cooped up and fed to us, then fine. Just don’t lie to my face about it.

And you, Miracle Whip. It seems you’re trying evoke the mental words of ‘punk’ or ‘rebel’ or dare you say ‘anarchy’. You with your smarmy faux attitude and slightly rakish young lady – can’t be hardcore with long hair, can you? Are you trying to be hip? Are your lined up little jars going to start sporting skinny jeans if this latest campaign to thwart your do-good competitors falls short? I say again to you – MAYONNAISE!!! You want to be Gen-Y? Here’s Gen-Y: we’ve grown up with the internet and enough information to understand how marketing is driven – well enough to see through your crafted appeal to our embittered habit of spending money on things that say we’re too cool to spend money on things. You’re the salad dressing version of buying an anarchist t-shirt at the mall.

So I’m eschewing mayo. Too much damn aggravation. Do you want to know how you can tell if something is real? If you can’t stack it on the shelf for an eerily long amount of time. And how to tell if something is unique, special, and ‘not toned down’? Make it your damn self, that’s how.

Oil and eggs, people. Throw in some mustard and get a blender!

A Triumphant Return

Word up my internet peeps!

You will rarely catch me in as good a mood as I am right now, so soak it all in while you can. I am back from my vacation, refreshed, relaxed, loved up, and ready to tackle the rest of the year until Josh and I can be together full time. Last year’s vacation had too many chunks of time cut away by his work schedule, and the travelling part of it was horrendous. He also had a court date the day after my return, and none of the legal shit had been sorted out yet – our future, while undoubtedly involving each other, was filled with uncertainty, obstacles, and plans kept in limbo by forces beyond our control. It was all a little scary, and next to impossible to will myself back on the bus to go home.

This year was different. With no more court to take up sick days, he had the full week off to spend time with me. Ten solid days of loving, sleeping, eating, singing, visiting, shopping, laughing, cooking, kissing, dancing, drinking, wii-ing, and just generally being. A proper vacation. Even when it came time to leave, I was still feeling great.

The next steps to getting together are slowly forming a solid groundwork – talking to lawyers, looking at colleges, setting loose dates and vague to-do lists. Nothing is set in stone yet, of course. But on the way back to the airport, I was feeling alright. Instead of last years dread, anxiety, and futile resentment towards space, time, and other human beings, this year I was nothing short of psyched. Instead of thoughts of “How long until we see each other again?” and “What’s going to happen next?” it was more like “Ok, I’m going to go get things ready up in Canada with the paperwork and the research and the phone calls, and I’ll see you soon! Like for reals this time! Holy crap, woot!”

So yes, I would say it was a good vacation. And with ten days of “What do you want to do today Napolean?” (although I never got around to actually saying that, but now I really wish I had), there was much in the way of fun and adventure. You’ll be regaled with tales for weeks to come, and pictures of course. But for now, while my fridge is still empty and my bags still unpacked, here are some brief highlights:

– Late night grocery shopping at Walmart!

– Confederate flag bikinis and hot tubs!

– We went on the radio! Details and clips coming soon!

– Great adventures in American dining establishments and their patrons!

– Saw the Hangover! Go see it! Now!

– 2 a.m. weight lifting contest (Josh totally won!)

– Strippers!

– Copious amounts of junk food!

– Vikings and dragons from space!

– Licking inappropriate objects! Surprise, it’s not the strippers!

 All that and more, but right now I’m starving because I spent last night getting piss drunk with Talea and didn’t get groceries. It was totally worth it.

Holiday Hootenanny

Ok, so we weren’t supposed to have any kind of ‘Holiday’ gathering at the office this year, over-PC’d or otherwise. Economy blah blah blah. It’s not as huge a deal as one might think – the nature of our business requires a very small staff. The majority of those around us are clients renting space. So while you’d be miffed if your roommates didn’t invite you to a Christmas party, it’s no big deal if your landlord skimps on the Seasons Greetings, dig?

Still, I was having none of it. To hell with my clients, I want a day or two to revel in my emerging domestic tendencies. I do a little breakfast thing once a month for the office. Its generally a thankless job but it provides a creative outlet and a break from the humdrum of complaints and photocopying. So I convinced the Boss Man and his cohort Talea to let me spend a little more of the company cash this month and holiday it up, yo!

So yeah, I slaved over an oven for a few thank yous, but I also got to take a day off work and bake all day. That means sampling all day.

Peep what I can do!

Sugar Cookies - Almost There

Sugar Cookies - Almost There

Sugar Cookies - Done!

Sugar Cookies - Done!

Sugar Cookies - Lots!

Sugar Cookies - Lots!

I made several dozen Sugar and Brown Sugar Cookies and used up the last of my sprinkles on the plain sugar ones for decoration.  They’re colourful and take up space – and who doesn’t love eating cookie bears head first?

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares

My lemon squares are awesome if I do say so myself. I got basic recipe on AllRecipes.com somewhere, and made a few adjustments by adding tons of vanilla and almond. I’m starting to think I can spike them with rum too, but I’d like to remember Christmas this year. These are addictive.

By this point I’d been baking for about four hours. Break time!

chillin1

Chilling with my sexy man

Yeah, this is how Josh and I spend quality time together. Over MSN with a not-always-functioning webcam. Stupid technology. Thankfully the cams were working well on this particular night so I could chat with him while being able to actually step away and use my hands for baking instead of typing.

Here’s my other recreational activity:

Eventually, they approved of the cranberries

Eventually, they approved of the cranberries

The bunnies! They turned their wiggly noses up at the dried cranberries at first, but eventually when I wasn’t looking they decided to like them.

Back to work!

I spent all of Wednesday running back and forth between my kitchen, Honest Ed’s for bakeware, and the local Metro for a ridiculous amount of baking ingredients. I lugged so much sugar and flour up my ridiculous winding stairs that my ass literally hurts. I’m baking, and my ass hurts. Fantastic.

These are the last two pictures I managed to take before I fell into a sugar-based daze that I’m only now coming out of:

mmmmmmm delicious...

mmmmmmm delicious...

mmmmmmm delicious side view

mmmmmmm delicious side view

These. Are. SO good. I’m not quite sure of their name, but they shall henceforth be known as Fantasmic. Fantasmic in bar form. Super buttery shortbread on the bottom, brown sugary caramel ooey gooey oh-fuck-its-melting-everywhere-gimme-a-spoon deliciousness in the middle, and chocolate-peanut-butter-cranberry goodness on top. You can’t eat more than two of these. Well, you can eat as many as you want, but chances are the paramedics will find you twenty minutes later huddled in a corner with drool and butter all over your silly face.

And um, yeah. I ate several. Not to mention I was under a bit of a time constraint, because everything always takes three times longer than you think it will. So I spaced out at this point and forgot to document the shortbread topped with hand whipped cream and berries. As well as the cranberry walnut cookies and the rice krispie squares.

Anyways, it was a magnificent spread. I threw it all in the boardroom and topped it off with a nice assortment of fruit and cheese to lighten the sugar-shock a bit. I wanted to throw on a Christmas movie at the last minute, but Shoppers across the street with those $9.99 dvd’s didn’t have anything even remotely holiday-oriented. Littlest Hobo something or other, and that just wouldn’t do. So the shindig was held to the soundtrack of “Oooh, yes I’ll try one of those, I – oh wow. These are SOOOOOO good!” Which was the only thing I needed to hear amidst the occasional “What, no wine?”  (“Um, it’s noon.”) and “Where’s the burgers?” to keep me happy.

Also, my uber boss showed up. He’s quite nice but very nerve wracking because while being  nice he’ll discretely brush up against a wall and judge you based on its cleanliness. If he picks up a piece of marketing propaganda placed on a table and asks “Why is this here?” the answer is always “It’s not!” *toss* You know the type. So I was out to impress and impress I did. He ate enough of those Fantasmic things that the sugar sent him into the most hilarious state I’ve ever seen. Very concerned with his appearance he rarely indulges in sugar – hadn’t, he confessed, for about six months. That he took seconds, thirds, and then some for the road was a compliment indeed. I’m pretty sure that by the end of the day he thought he was a hummingbird.

And now, at the end of a week long stretch of prepping, baking, hauling and coordinating, after being up until 1am Thursday/Friday to get the last of the shortbread done and spending all of Friday fussing and organizing (eating various forms of sugar because I forgot to feed myself real food) rushing and cleaning, and then attending an impromptu family-friend art event (What? Where the hell did that come from? That was this week? Who am I? What’s a hypotenuse?) followed by a Stitch n’ Bitch today, I am finally home and I’m starting to think that I’m the hummingbird.

I.

Am.

Pooped!

I go now. I go to the couch and the tv and the bed. I sleep. Then I wake up and clean like a madwoman – but I shall pay that no mind tonight! Tonight I kick my feet up with some reheated pizza, and I don’t want to see any more shortbread for a good long time.

By which I mean probably tomorrow night.

Ugh. Thanksgiving.

Okay, so for those of you south of the ol’ US – Canada border, we Canucks celebrate our Thanksgiving in October, not November. Reason being is that it’s very clearly based around the harvest, and ours comes much earlier than our southern neighbours. It’s cold up here, you know.

Here’s the thing – I don’t like Thanksgiving. Sure, I have plenty to be thankful for, and at least once a day I stop and think for a few minutes about how lucky I am to have a job, (I job I actually really like! Even though I’m still surrounded by morons…) some great friends, an AMAZING boyfriend, and yes even a relatively non-dysfunctional family. In fact, I’m probably the most dysfunctional one in the family. So yes, I have much to be thankful for.

I’m plenty grateful. I just don’t see why I have to express this gratitude by spending four days with my family, in a car, driving to a different province, to be poked and prodded and heaped under miles of awkward silences and forced conversation.

https://i0.wp.com/www.hypeful.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/thanksgiving.jpg

I don’t even like phone calls, or spending more than an hour or two with my family. What the hell made anyone think I would enjoy a family car trip? Did I mention I’m vegetarian?

Well there’s my grandmother, first and foremost. She’s overall an incredible woman, and very awesome. If you cross her, she will crucify you and everyone you love. She’s fought a hard life and I would say she won. You couldn’t even guess her age, she looks that great. She is, however, very draining at times. You don’t get an invitation to these family events, you get an informational phone call telling you what time you’re expected.

There’s my grandfather too. He has Parkinson’s and is getting more frail and confused, which I’m sure is going to be upsetting because he really is quite wonderful, and when the time comes I will miss him terribly. But the way I try to look at it, in his mind it’s 1947 again and I’m sure by the end he’s going to be back in a very happy place. He turns to my grandmother once in a while and says “You know, I married the most beautiful woman in the world. You would have just loved her.” She doesn’t bother to correct him, but instead laughs and takes the compliment he doesn’t know he’s giving her (which is the most sincere way, I guess.)

My grandparents are awesome, I’m glad to be seeing them.

As for the rest of my family. Well, of course I love them too. I just don’t like spending a lot of time with others in my immediate vicinity. And with the family, of course, you have to suck it up and put up with all those little annoyances, those little annoyances that would be my swift exit from any other such situation. You can’t say “Wow, and you manage to tie your shoes?” or “Hey, can we not discuss my finances?” at the dinner table – at least not without hearing about it for the next six months. There is an increased level of inhibition, and I hate the shit out of it. I hate pretending to care about other people’s day, I hate pretending to listen, I hate pretending like I have anything to talk about, I hate pretending that I wouldn’t rather be at home on my couch with my boyfriend, my weed, my bunnies, and a family that loves me from the other side of the city. https://i0.wp.com/www.pastdeadline.com/images/sesame_street_thanksgiving.jpgWhen did ‘giving thanks’ turn into flooding the stores for the biggest pre-stuffed bird, jamming up the highways trying to get somewhere that will still be there next weekend, and exhausting ourselves putting on game faces? Ugh. Maybe it’s just me – it usually is.

When Josh and I are together, I’m all about spending Thanksgiving making out in the kitchen amongst food that may or may not get finished.

I’ll stop complaining now, before I bring some instant-karma whoop-ass on myself. I’m just saying that I’ll be giving my thanks when I arrive safely back home.

And really, does ANYONE like the idea of spending four days in close quarters with immediate family? Yeeeesh.