Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why Don't You Go Elf Yourself?

I'm sitting at home.

It's 11am on a Tuesday.

I'm wearing my pajamas.

I haven't showered.

Or brushed my teeth.

I look disgusting.

I feel even worse.

I'm sick, and I'm feeling sorry for myself.

That's right folks, as of last Friday, I've been on vacation. Also as of last Friday (well, if you want to get technical, last Thursday night) I've been sick. Pretty damn sick.

No it's not the SWINE FLU you bunch of paranoids. It's just your garden variety head cold which has now moved into my chest.

I will take this moment to reflect on how revolting our human bodily functions are and also how strangely... fascinating. You probably don't want to know this, but a couple days ago, I blew my nose really thoroughly, and out popped what I can only assume must have been a piece of my brain. The size of a grape.

How does that even happen?

Wait, don't answer that.

Back to me feeling sorry for myself. Well, for the last couple hours I've been laying in bed watching YouTube videos. Yes Mom, I should have been sleeping, but those fricking construction workers building the new stupidly expensive toll bridge (which is another post altogether) decided this morning was a good time to pile drive.

Actually, at first I was really worried because I thought the sound was just in my head, but then I opened the window...

Anyways, as I was saying, YouTube. I love it. Yes, I realize it's been around for awhile, but I've only just recently begun delving it's depths. One of my favourite things to watch when I'm cranky are Flashmobs. For those who don't know, a Flashmob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse (thank-you Wikipedia). I found one this morning that motived me to get out of bed... and on to the couch. Baby steps, people, baby steps. I now plan to eat some tea and toast. And contemplate showering.

So if you're needing a dose of restorative Christmas cheer, click on the video below. You really can't beat hundreds of elves dancing to Bhangra music.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bracing Ourselves

So, it's been a pretty crappy month all round. Sean lost his Grandmother. My Grandad was in a bad car accident. Everybody's sick. Everybody's broke. Everybody's stressed out and bad shit keeps on happening.

There has to be an end to it, but I'm not seeing the light just yet.

There are things to be thankful for though. Everyone has family nearby to support, console and otherwise prop each other up. We have little people (granted, ours have fur) who look up to us and think we're awesome no matter what. We're also fortunate enough to be able to email, blog and game with family & friends far away which I think reduces suck levels quite a bit.

As my sister-in-law has mentioned in her blog, this Christmas is going to be a lean one. We're really looking forward to it though because Sean & I are hosting Christmas at our place for my family, then we're going to fly to New Brunswick to be with Sean's family. It's been a year and a half since we've seen them, and we can't wait to be back! Finally something to look forward to.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Swine Flu & Mutant Killer Bees

I dreamt some messed up dreams last night. The strangest, and oddly also the most plausible was about mutant killer bees.

Well, actually they weren't exactly mutant, they turned out to be giant cockroach sized killer bee ancestors, which had been preserved underground in stasis for thousands of years. Construction disturbed thier resting place and woke them up.

As if this wasn't already weird enough, I haven't even got to the cool part yet. One solitary bee awoke, and went in search of prey. Apparently, ancient mutant killer bees don't just bite you, they burrough in to you and lay eggs that that push their way out of their victim's skin (looking like some kind of plague in the process) ultimately killing the unfortunate sop.

Now that you have the basic idea, I can say that the dream was spent running from, hiding from, and trying to find something that would kill off the not so little buggers. And there were guns. Big ones. I'm pretty sure we used them to shoot the bees, and not the other way around, but things are a little fuzzy. Kinda fun actually, and it would make an awesome movie or video game.
But why did I have such an outrageous dream? I blame it on the Swine Flu mania going around. There's no getting away from it. People, it's the flu for christsakes. Wash your hands and eat some soup.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lost in Translation

Yesterday, at long last, we decided to purchase a replacement door for the spare bedroom. The old one had an unfortunate altercation with a jig-saw, and we need a door to hide all our messy crap from company.

I called around and found a place nearby who said they could sell us a primed slab door, and cut the doornob hole & hindge spots for us while we waited. The only hitch was we'd need to bring along the old door as a template.

We decided that since the shop was just a couple blocks away, it should be ok to drive over there with a door hanging out the trunk of our little car. However, when we got to the address, there was just an empty lot. The plot thickens. I guess the yellow pages had it wrong, because the shop was actually located about 20 minutes away. We resecured the door, and were on our way.

20 minutes and too many bumps & potholes later, we arrived at the door place to find the door open, but nobody in sight. After 5 minutes or so of milling about and making noise, a middle aged Sikh gentleman appeared and greeted us.

I said hello and told him that I'd called earlier regarding a slab door. He didn't reply, actually he didn't even look at me. It was an awkward moment. I was thinking that maybe he didn't speak english, and was about to rephrase when Sean asked if they had any interior doors. The man said 'yes, of course sir, we have many doors to choose from..." and went on about the types of doors available. I asked if he had any primed doors, and explained we didn't want a pre-hung door, just a slab door, since we already had the frame and fixtures from the old door. Again, no response from the man, he didn't even look in my direction to indicate he'd heard me.

I was getting a little confused at this point. Sean reiterated what I said, and the man answered all his questions as if this was the first time he'd heard them. I was starting to get the idea. I told him we'd brought the old door with us, and we would like something similar, and asked if we should bring it in. Silence. I looked at Sean, and he asked if we should bring the door in, to which the man replied that he would go out and take a look at it.

After all was said and done I tried one last time and asked if we could have the door cut while we waited. No response. I said "Sean, can you ask if we can have the door cut while we wait?". And Sean asked "Can we have the door cut while we wait?", and the man replied "Yes, of course Sir, just drive around the back, and we'll stop the project we're working on, and make your door right away. Then, you can come back when you need another door and tell all your friends about us."

Fat fucking chance Vancouver Doors Ltd.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Typical Family Dinner

Monday was my sister's birthday, so we all went over to my parent's place for dinner. It was a typical family gathering.

My grandad, after a couple of whiskeys, plunked himself down at the dinner table next to my sister. He then exclaimed to everyone at the table; "I'm feeling frisky!". My sister promptly spat out what she had in her mouth (another family tradition). To clarify, my grandad is 91 years old, and the word 'frisky' means something different to him than it did for us. Thank god.

He went on to tell us about a restaurant in his home village of Berrick on Tweed in Scotland. He described the food and said it had been in the same place for 100 years. Then he told us where to find it if we were ever to go. The street name was gaelic, and my grandad has been in Canada for the past 55 years, so I don't think it came out right. What we all heard was "You'll find in down on Sucky Whore road". I covered my face with my napkin, my brother howled, my Mom left the table to compose herself, and my sister spat out what she had in her mouth. For the rest of the evening, whenever a question was asked, my brother would answer with "Sucky Whore Road!".

Our last little tidbit of excitement happened when my mom brought out the brand new passports she, my dad, and my sister had just received in the mail. They were passed around, and we all marvelled at how bad the pictures were, and mimed posing for ones of our own. When the passports came around to my brother, he started goofing around with them and tossing them about. My mom yelled at him, which of course made him act out even more. When he started juggling them, she got really irrate, at which point one of the passports slipped from my brothers grasp and... right into the pot of spaghetti sauce! My brother gasped, my mom yelled, I laughed uncontrollably, and my sister spat out what she had in her mouth.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thank-you, come again!

It's only fitting that I blog about my first Rogers Wireless customer service experience from my new HTC Magic phone. Which I love by the way. I love it so much, I told my mother that we weren't going to bother with kids, since we already have cats and a couple really sweet handsets. She seemed strangely OK with that...

Anyway, as I was saying, I had to call Rogers customer service because they had Sean listed as the owner of my phone. This meant, whenever I called somebody, they'd check their call display and think Sean was calling. It may not sound like a big deal, but try explaining you're not Sean 20 times a day and you get the picture.

Well Rogers has one of those high tech help lines where you have to talk to a fake person for the first few minutes before they let you talk to a real person. The dialogue sounded something like this:

Rogers: Welcome, how can I help you? Me: I need customer service. R: Did you say 'Find nearest location?' Me: No, customer service. R: Did you say 'Buy a new handset?' Me: NO! Give me Customer Service you    F*%$ing moron! R: OK, transfering you now. Have a good day!

Only you're not destined to have a good day. You're not even going to be transfered to Customer Service. It took me 3 calls and a good number of yelled swear words to realise that when the Rogers Droid transfered me, I didn't go anywhere. I would sit and listen to the same 3 ads being played over and over and over, and I would wait. And wait. And wait.

It seemed that the imaginary Rogers droid put me in 'The Angry Tank'. This is similar to a Drunk Tank, but for very angry people.

To test my theory, I resolved to call back one last time. This time, there would be no yelling, swearing or name calling. I also used my sweetest, calmest, most placating telephone voice.

This time, our conversation went a little like this; R: How can I help you? Me: I would like to speak with customer service please. R: Did you say 'customer service'? Me: Why yes I did, thank-you! R: I'll connect you right away. Thank-you for choosing Rogers.

And Lo and behold, I was connected directly to a very friendly chap in Bangalore, India who fixed my little phone problem.

Just goes to show, a little courtesy goes a long way.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Flies By

I've been having a fantastic summer. So much has happened, I think I''ll have to blog a few times to do it all justice, but since I haven't been blogging in awhile, I think I'll do a quick run down to start things off.

Let's see... way back in June, I took a week off by myself. I didn't do a whole lot, but my best friend Meghan & I did make it down to Seattle for a weekend. We ate at Palace Kitchen, a Tom Douglas restaurant (we had a starter of sauteed morel mushrooms in a bacon vinaigrette with house bread, and I had plank roasted salmon with pea sprouts and mashed potatoes. I think Meghan had some flank steak which I remember she enjoyed.) and the meal was excellent. It also had the added bonus of forcing Meghan to dress up a bit, (she looked great) which she doesn't often do (willingly). The rest of the weekend, we bummed around doing the typical touristy things, including a visit to Pike Place Market, where we discovered there are several floors below street level which I'd never seen before! We rounded off the weekend with beers in the hotel hot tub. Bliss...

July was awesome. Not only did I get to see 'Comedy of Errors' and 'All's Well That Ends Well' at Bard on the Beach, (which I look forward to every year), but I got to fulfill one of my teenage fantasies (don't worry- G-rated!). I got to see Green Day in concert. I'll have to devote a whole post to that night alone, but for now, suffice it to say they blew my fricken mind.

Back to Bard on the Beach. It's a Shakespeare festival that happens here in Vancouver every year, and consists of 4 plays staged in tents at Vanier park. When we go, we tend to arrive a couple hours early and have a nice picnic while we wait in line. The seating is general admission, so it pays to arrive early to get the best seats. So far we've seen 'Comedy of Errors', 'All's Well That Ends Well', and 'Richard II' (just tonight, actually). Next weekend we'll see 'Othello'. While All's Well and Richard were both well done, we particularly enjoyed the Comedy. In fact, I think it places in my top 3 of all time (and I've seen a fair few). It was side-splitting hilarious, utilizing amazing Elizabethan era costumes & hairdos as well as a superbly designed stage and even puppets (I love puppets!!!). Sean loved it so much he wants to go back a second time.

For the August long weekend, Sean & I were lucky enough to get away to Saltspring Island; a southern Gulf Island. Thirty years ago, it was a haven for artists and ageing hippies. Today, while you'll still find dozens of artist's studios showcasing everything from glassblowing to pottery to copperwork, there are also a number of organic farms, vineyards and (pardon me) a butt load of over-priced Bed & Breakfasts catering to the well-heeled baby-boomer crowd. We kicked up our not-so-well-heeled feet at Ruckle Provincial Park, in our trusty tent. We visited the renowned Saltspring Market where we ate (among many other things) the most delicious little coconut-apricot balls which I have vowed to replicate if it kills me. Fortunately, I have a large panel of selfless testers ready and willing to help me on my quest. As for the rest of the weekend, we mostly just relaxed and read a few books while enjoying the gorgeous (and thankfully cool) weather. We also went on a few long drives around the island and were surprised at how biologically diverse it is. I guess that explains how they manage to grow such a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, including grapes for wine, beets, lettuces, kale, peppers, plums, apples, pears, apricots and much more. We can't wait to return.

This past weekend, my friends Pam and Laurel & I did something really silly. We went on a Twilight road trip. For those of you who don't know (as I librarian, I can't imagine that anyone hasn't heard, but I digress) Twilight is a ridiculously popular teen book series by Stephenie Meyer about a clumsy 17 year old girl who falls in love with a seemingly 17-year old vegetarian vampire in the (real) town of Forks, Washington. The books are poorly written, the characters whiny, angst ridden and somewhat phony, and each tome checks in at over 500 pages. Then why, do you ask, did we wait in border lines, drive & sail for 10 hours to get to the Twilight-mecca? Because as silly as they are, we love the story SM wove, even if poorly delivered and in some parts, infinitely tedious to read. Besides, road trips rock, especially when it's just the girls. We took pics at all of the landmarks mentioned in the books, including the 'Welcome to Forks' sign shown here where we ran into 4 other cars full of people and a couple bikers also on Twilight tours. I'll have to do a separate post of our adventures (or as I should probably say; misadventures). We had a blast.

Well, there are still a few weeks left of summer, and we have plans including one more Bard production and a camping trip. The fall promises to be busy, as we have several Family birthdays in September & October, including someone (who shall of course remain nameless) who is turning THE BIG 3-0. Of course, it's not like I have any top-secret plans in the works, so I'm sure there won't be much to blog about...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm Back!! ... Did I mention I was going?

So I'm back to work after having a week off, and I'm feeling much more patient with our youngest & oldest customers, as evidenced by the fact I've left them alive.

No, it was not a 'mental health break', thank-you very much. Honestly though, another few days and it might have been.

I decided to take a week off 1) because I hadn't had a whole week off since we were in New Brunswick last summer, 2) because I have 1 week of holidays more than my husband does, and 3) because I was getting really bloody sick of stupid people.

I work in libraries, and my job is to help people find/get/do what they need. I love my job. Unfortunately, when you're on the 'front lines' of customer service, you can get a little burnt out. And I was. Especially in reference to little brats and old farts. Um, I mean little children and the elderly. I'm doing much better now. No, really- I am. There hasn't been any more bloodshed and I almost even mean it when I say "Have a great day!".

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Turning Twenty

Any of you who have ever had trouble with their weight will understand when I say that there is usually an ominous number on that scale that you can never quite get under. As you gain and lose and gain again, the number itself may change, but the feeling never does. You look down and think, 'Geez, I've been doing so well, but I don't think I'm ever going to get below that.'.

Well, I have. I haven't been this successful at losing weight since I did Atkins for the first time 4 years ago. Granted, it's not all my hard work that's doing it, the Thyroid replacement pills I'm on have been working wonders.

I'm not starving or willingly depriving myself, just eating the foods that don't make me sick, and exercising for a few minutes every morning. It's been 2 months, and I've lost 20 pounds.

I'm feeling pretty good.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Post

I tried to post a couple days ago, but the computer ate my draft. It's been that kind of week.

I'll start by saying that the jerks at Microsoft have screwed me over. As many of you know, I am a recent convert to gaming. Before Sean, I thought video games were at the root of many of society's problems, from so called ADD to obesity and of course violence in youth. Actually, I still have oppinions on these topics, but I'll save all that for another post. This is about Microsoft's 'Help' staff being (pardon me) dick heads.

I've always had an XBox Live 'Silver' account. It basically lets you play the games, and add friends and accumulate 'gamer points', but does not let you play online. Up until recently, I was okay with that, especially since the Silver memberships are free and the Gold memberships cost about $70/year. Now Xbox 360 has come out with a live online game show called 1 vrs 100, and I decided I wanted to try it out. Sean had a free 1 month trial kicking around, so I entered the information into the Xbox and... long story short, I don't exist.

Here's what we've gleaned so far: (and by we, I mean Sean, since he handled all of this, which I must say is extremely fortunate for the moron who took our call.) To have a Silver or Gold membership, you need to have a Microsoft account. If you use MSN messenger or Hotmail, you already have one. As I don't use msn or Hotmail, back when I signed up for the account, I used my email address for login purposes. What I didn't know was to keep your account active, you have to sign in with Microsoft or one of it's products every 3 months or they delete you. You might be playing on the Xbox 24hrs a day, but if you don't login to thier website, msn or hotmail, you're toast.

So what happens to all those lovely gamer points you've painstakingly been collecting? And all those really cool achiements you've busted your butt to get? They are stuck in your dormant account which you are welcome to continue using, but you'll never be able to upgrade your account, change your contact information, or update in any way.

So I've started afresh. I have a shiny new account, with a pathetic amount of gamer points and a handfull of achievements. On the bright side, I can replay all my old games and experience it like it's the first time, but that takes a lot of time and effort. Oh well, you've got to roll with it.

The funniest thing is I am fully aware of how ridiculous this all is, yet I'm still a little dissapointed. After all, these are imaginary points earned by doing imaginary deeds in imaginary worlds on a game console. It's meant to be entertainment, or a toy even. Even as I type this I'm wondering how long it's going to take me to re-play Fable 2 so that I can play the new expansion...

As a parting thought, can you imagine what would happen if Sean or Jeff lost all their gamer points? It's a good thing Obama closed Guantanamo.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I think I'm mutating.

I used to daydream about French cooking with butter and eggs and lots of gruyere. Now I catch myself yen-ing after tofu steaks and wondering about the many applications of guar gum. 

Vegan food now brings about salivating instead of gag reflexes, and getting up early to exercise seems like a nice way to start my day.

When did I start being one of those people I so enjoy making fun of? 

It's been exactly a month since I went off the deep end. How do I feel? Marvelous, if somewhat hypocritical. I never actually believed natural mumbo-jumbo and homeopathic pills filled with powdered monkey nuts (or whatever) could fix my broken bits, but they seem to!

I'm enjoying healthy food and exercise again, and have the energy to do things. I'm sleeping (and waking) better and I've had virtually no allergy symptoms. I've also had improvements on other fronts since I started taking supplements for my low thyroid. 

I'm not preaching, I'm just freaking out. I can't believe the changes I'm seeing and feeling. I'm just stupid happy about it all. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Courageous Coupon Collectors

I've always been in awe of women like my Mother (and also my Sister in-law) who painstakingly slog through piles of flyers, adverts and coupon booklets in search of the best deal. My Mom tries to help me by calling or emailing me about deals, and my Sister in-law has even started a blog to show the world how to stretch a buck. Growing up, my Mom & Dad were able to clothe, feed, and shelter us on what I now know was often only the 50% pension my Dad was receiving following his wrongful dismissal suit.

My Mom zips around to probably 4 or 5 different stores each week to do her grocery shopping. She reads all the flyers, collects the coupons, and makes a game plan for the week. If ground beef, or milk, or toilet paper is on for really cheap, the family goes to the store to buy the maximum number of items allowed (often through different line-ups). This is how I was brought up.

Despite all this, I've never bothered checking flyers, using coupons or shopping around. I figured flyers were a sneaky way to draw you into the store and make you think things are on sale when they really aren't. I've also noticed that when Safeway does their BOGO sales, that the 1st item costs as much as 2 items anyway. I guess I always figured that my time spent doing all that was worth more than the couple of bucks I could have saved.

A few things lately have changed my mind.

My Sister in-law's flyer blog has some great tips as well as links to several other bargain hunters. I was browsing one of them, Stocking the Larder when I stumbled across the $100 grocery challenge.

This woman is trying to feed her family of 4 for a whole month on $100.00 in groceries. I'm ashamed to admit I often spend that much for two people, in a little over a week. It got me thinking, and I guess I'm still thinking.

To explain and/or justify the $$ that I spend, I have to first say that we try to eat local and organic as much as possible. We choose (for the most part) not to by frozen, packaged or processed foods, and therefore get a lot of items, like meats, at specialty shops. I also started to shop at our mid-priced grocery store instead of the lower priced Superstore, because the lines were ridiculously long.

Money has been tight this last year, because we seem to have disaster after disaster, and on top of that, we're both people who like to spend. We've really curbed our spending, but the disasters keep coming. (for example, we have the plumbers coming for the second time tomorrow to rip up our bathroom wall. oh joy.)

I took a look at some online flyers this morning and it didn't take long to see I could save some serious money. Even buying 'whole foods' like fresh & frozen meats, produce, bakery and dairy, I could see differences in prices between my usual haunts and a few convenient alternatives. What really drove it home was knowing that every week I pay around $7/lb for center-cut pork loin chops, when IGA has them on for $3.69/lb.

So it comes down to whether I'm willing to compromise my ideals to save some money. I'm not sure. The locally raised organic meats we buy are far superior to the supermarket USA imports. I also really like buying fruit & veg directly from the farmers at markets, and that is usually a little more expensive too. At the same time, can I afford not to save some money?

I think I'll take the weekend to mull it over while I take in the flyers. I'll figure out next week's meals, and price them out. If a family of 4 can feed themselves on $100/month, we should be able to too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Sugar-Free, Yeast-Free, Me!

Hello Folks, it's me, and I'm reporting to you from the end of day 4 of what was supposed to be a hellish 3-9 months of deprivation.

But actually, I'm feeling pretty awesome!

Eating this way has not been as hard as I thought it would be. Not only that, but it's really spiked my creativity in the kitchen (who knew the things you can do with a coconut!?). As for Sean, I'm managing to feed us both mostly the same things, and when we have left-overs, I'll have them for dinner and make the poor guy some pasta.

My allergies haven't bothered me at all, and my energy level is way up, even without any caffeine. I've also lost a few pounds to boot, so I'm not complaining.

The morning (and sometimes lunch-time) shake is not fantastic, but from our time eating low-carb, I'm used to breakfast shakes.

People keep asking "So, if you can't eat beef & dairy, eggs, wheat & most grains, gluten, eggs, sugar and yeast... then what the hell can you eat?" Good question. I've been eating lots of veggies; both cooked & raw, rice, nuts & nut butter (but not peanut- I'm allergic), lots of fruit, tofu, pork & chicken. I should be eating fish I suppose, but to be honest, I'm not a huge fan, and to be even more honest, I'm not comfortable cooking with it. Guess I'll have to work on that.

Of course, none of this is all that comforting at 8pm when all of my nerve endings are screaming for something chocolate! Fortunately, desperation breeds ingenuity...

(Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free) Vegan Chocolate Mousse

1 package soft tofu
1/4 cup coconut cream
3 oz unsweetened dark chocolate (check label for dairy)
1 tsp guar gum (from the guar bean, a natural thickener, emulsifier & stabilizer)
sweetener to taste- I used a mix of brown rice syrup, agave nectar & stevia

  1. Roughly chop the chocolate & melt it in the microwave, or over a double boiler. 
  2. In a food processor, whir the tofu & coconut cream until combined. 
  3. Quickly add melted chocolate to tofu and whir. 
  4. Add guar gum and whir until colour & texture is uniform. 
  5. Add sweetener, whir & taste, adjust flavours as necessary. 
  6. At this point, you could add some very finely grated orange zest, but ooops, I'm allergic. 
  7. Pour mixture into 4 goblets and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until thickened and cold. Enjoy!
Seriously, it's good.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Eat

Tomorrow is Day # 1 of my crazy-anti-allergy-eating-plan. Over the weekend I bid Adieu to all the things I won't be eating again soon. I feel really gross because of the indulgence, which I think oddly enough will help in these first few days.

Did a little bit of preparatory shopping tonight and anyone peeking in my shopping basket must have taken me for some kind of raw-food-crazed-save-the-whales-freaky-emo-hippy. Or some variation thereof.

Tomorrow, to make things a little easier I'm going to have the Dr's meal replacement shake for breakfast & lunch as recommended. (but I think I'll do chef-like salads for most lunches when I'm in the swing of things) Dinner will be some kind of lemon-herb chicken with rice & salad.

Back to the shopping; I bought some really weird things tonight. One of them is Braggs natural soy sauce. It's made without fermentation, (so no yeast) so I can have it. I also bought stevia, which is a natural sweetener I have tried in the past (and hated, but I'll give it another go), and agave syrop, another natural sweetener. If you're ever in the grocery store and feel like a larf, try looking for a snack food that does not contain wheat, gluten, yeast, citric acid or sugar. Good luck with that. 

There are more rules to the crazy allergy-be-gone regime, like rotating fruits & nuts (and maybe other things, crap I'd better read the booklet again). Basically, If I have strawberries today, I can't have them again for 3 more days. There are reasons behind all this crap, but to tell you the truth, I'm not really caring right now. I'm just going to do it.

Dr. J's Shake Recipe:

Coconut Milk
Rice Protein Powder (yuck)
Stevia (for sweetness, but well see if it's as gross as I remember)
1 kind of Fruit
Flaxseed Oil
Ground Flax

All I can say is it's a damn shame Rum is fermented.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Achoo, part deux.

Saw my Naturopath yesterday, who I am now fairly sure is not a quack, and got the results from my allergy testing.

Turns out I'm allergic to a lot. Good news is, all of my allergies are developed, so they can be temporary if dealt with properly (as opposed to allergies you were born with, which are usually heredetary and permanent). Bad news is, this is going to involve a huge lifestyle change for the next 3-9 months.

This is what I'm allergic to: Cheese, milk, whey, yogourt and any other dairy product including butter. Also, chicken eggs, yeast (which rules out a lot of different foods, including anything fermented, and for some reason this also rules out sugar for the next 3-9), bananas, grapes, oranges, pineapples, oysters (thus calcium carbonate, so no soy/almond/rice milk or any other product with added calcium), barley, kidney beans, corn, wheat gluten & gliadin & wheat itself, oats, peanuts, rye, spelt, kamut, millet, asparagus, mushrooms & white potatoes.

The really cool thing is, each one of those allergies belongs to a family of things I have to stay away from. For example, since my dairy allergy is so pronounced, I'm supposed to avoid beef. Sounds weird to me, but if following these guidelines means I can kick these allergy attacks, I'll do it! 

I'll be starting the new 'regime' on Monday, so I'll keep you posted on all the trials & tribulations.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The folks are back in their place (they were here for a week, then in a hotel for a day or two), and life is returning to normal. We were both exhausted this weekend, so we didn't do a whole lot, just vegged out during the day, and I went out with a friend on Saturday night.

Yesterday I went out with my Mom, and we spent a few hours shopping at the Gourmet Warehouse. What an awesome store! They have everything from pots & pans, to knives, dishes, exotic ingredients and spices, to amazing (and often ridiculous) gadgets. I didn't spend much money, just bought a new cookie sheet, some Jones' Birch Beer for Sean & some orange blossom water which I think I might use to make some homemade marshmellows.

Today I'm at home. I've had a couple bad allergy days, and today is about as bad as it gets, so I've taken a sick day. My eyes have finally stopped running long enough to blog. This friday I see my doctor & my naturopath for results of my allergy testing and other fun medical related garbage. My Doctor has always been happy with prescribing meds instead of getting to the root of the problem and fixing things naturally, so I have to be vigilant and ask questions. As for the naturopath, I think she's probably a quack, but I'm trying really hard to reserve judgement until after I have my allergy results and hear what she has to say. In other words, if she prescribes ground up monkey brains to fix a runny nose, I'm outta there! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Full House

Last Friday afternoon, the lower mainland experienced a short thunderstorm. We don't have them very often, and this one was unusualy fierce. There was only one big strike, and it hit with such force that people felt it over 50 kms from where it struck.

Which, incidentally was the roof of my parents' apartment building.

Long story short, the lightning hit the building (one of two 16-floor towers in North Delta), travelled down, frying the electrical along the way, before overloading and setting fire to the back-up generators and travelling up the second tower to fry them too. There was smoke everywhere, the power went out, and the buildings were evacuated.

Thinking this would be a minor hitch in their evening, my Mom, Dad and sister Melo hurried out of the building and settled in at the pub next door for dinner and a few drinks while waiting to be let back in to their suite.

They're still waiting.

Mom, Dad & Melo have been living with us in our 950 sq ft condo since Friday night. My little bro is staying with friends in the city, but I'm told he's been by to raid the fridge. My parents have our room, my sis is in the spare room, and Sean & I are living tatami-style in the living room. I love my family, and we all get along pretty well, so it hasn't been too bad, but everyone's wanting to get back to their own lives. My poor husband has been nothing but gracious & patient as circumstances have disrupted his gaming, hockey, and rest. I owe him big time.

Right now, it looks like they might be able to get back in to their place this Thursday night. I guess we'll see!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nothing much going on...

Really. Life has been quiet and mostly uneventful. Nothing much to report.

We discovered why our cat Leo has such soft & shiny fur; I caught him with his whole mouth over the pump of my moisturizer, pumping it into his mouth and eating it. Oh well, it doesn't seem to hurt him, and we can't hide everything under the counter.

Last weekend we went to the Winter Farmer's Market in Vancouver. It was kinda neat, but not even nearly as awesome as the one in Fredericton. We bought some mushrooms, microgreens & some pastries, aswell as some farm eggs. Not much of a haul for the distance we drove, but a fun morning nonetheless.

One of the cookies we bought was a chocolate-chilli cookie, which inspired me to make my own. Mine came out with a bit more of a kick than the bought ones, so I have dubbed them'Volcano Cookies'. Sean loves them, and they're perfect for dieting as they are low in fat and will set your insides on fire if you try to eat more than one. You have been forewarned.

Back to the farmer's market, if you are ever looking to make some easy cash, I have just the thing for you: grow sprouts in an urban area. Those crazy west-enders were paying $5 a pop for little containers of various sprouts, about half a pint. From what I understand, sprouts are quick & easy to grow, and take very little room. All you need is seed, water and a steady supply of yuppies.

Tonight we are going to out to dinner with some friends of Sean's. Unfortunately, the wife of his friend has some mental issues, and will often at the last minute, refuse to leave the house. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ode To My Missing Morning Coffee

So yeah, my head hurts and I'm irritable. I'm off the juice.

On Friday, I succumbed to the nagging of friends, family & coworkers alike and went to the damned Naturopath to see about my allergies. (long story short: I've had crazy bad allergies this last year, whereas before I had none. My family Doctor does not believe in testing and would prefer I take 3 different antibiotics for the rest of my life, so I'm pursuing other options)

She took some blood to be tested for specific allergens (which was hella expensive- luckily we'll be able to claim part of it), and told me that for the next 6 weeks, I can't drink anything but water.

No coffee. No beloved Pepsi; drink of the Gods. No beer or wine.

It's going to be a long 6 weeks.

However... IF all this garbage results in a better understanding of the mysterious allergies that kick my butt, then I guess it *might* be worth it.

Grumble... grumble...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Did I mention...?

Not sure if I mentioned it or not, but I'm in the process of starting a catering business. I'm specializing in 'party food' with an emphasis on global flavours made with fresh, local ingredients. I'm calling it Maeven's Kitchen, and I have a gig catering a Valentine's Day cocktail party for a chapter of the Vancouver Giro Club. The spread will all be hot & cold finger food, mostly circulated, but there will also be an antipasto buffet. The menu theme is Mediterranean, and the dishes pull heavily from Spanish, French, Greek & Italian cuisines, with a taste of Morocco & Turkey.

Last night I made about a million Empanaditas. They are miniature versions of the Spanish Empanada, a puff pastry crescent filled with an aromatic mixture of meat, fruit & spices. Mine are only an inch long, and while I almost crippled myself cutting and folding and pinching them together for several hours... I had so much fun!

The rest of the menu is mostly settled, and will include a twist on sliders (tiny gourmet hamburgers) and Albondigas (a Spanish meatball & tomato dish), with saffron & tomato aioli. Also, phyll0 wrapped asparagus with roasted garlic & lemon aioli, and my famous Cardamom Poached Apricots with Amaretto Mascarpone. Geez, my stomach is starting to rumble.

This gig I'll be catering from home, as I have a family connection in the Gyro Club, but if I'm to continue I need to find a commercial kitchen willing to rent me space by the day. This is proving tricky, but I'm working on it.

Bon Apetit!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hold the Butter

To Sean's immense happiness, we've rung in 2009 by bringing back the carbs. Last year, we dabbled in the 'low-carb' lifestyle with some success, but Sean loves his bread and pasta, so we're trying a different way of eating healthy.

We're watching portion sizes, eating more fruits & veggies, whole grains, leaner meats and healthier oils. Sean's happy, and I'm adjusting.

I thought I'd found a really good cookbook to try called 'The Food You Crave'. I brought it home, and have tried a few recipes, but they haven't turned out as promised. Obviously, you really can taste the missing butter & cream! With a few tweaks though, I think we could have some fun with it. 

Here's what we're trying:

Turkey Pot Pies with leeks, green beans & peas in a thin crispy phyllo dough. (I put some asparagus in mine, yum!) The 'pastry' was really nice, but the inside was a little underseasoned. Okay, I can sub 1% milk for cream, but for the love of god, don't make me go low sodium!

Portabello Mushroom Lasagna Roll-ups, with whole wheat noodles, mushrooms, spinach (I used kale), ricotta (I used 1% cottage cheese), & homemade tomato sauce. What a disaster! The taste was ok, but I'd never stand the 'tubes' up vertically again. What a pain in the ass. Lots of hidden veggies in this one though, mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

In other unrelated news, the Patullo bridge is back in business after having caught fire last week. What a week! Took 2-3 times as long to get to work in the morning (and Sean & I both have a 45min-1hr commute). Very hellish, but I managed not to kill anyone by employing audiobooks & strong, overpriced coffee. Mmmm...

In even more unrelated news, we've started to watch a really weird new show called 'Pushing Daisies'. Well, technically it isn't a new show, it's an older one we've downloaded, but it is quite weird. Basically, it's about a guy who can bring the dead back to life with his magic touch. Trick is, if it stays re-animated for longer than 60 seconds, something or someone else has to die in it's place. Kinda quirky, with crazy over-the-top characters and intensely colourful sets & costumes. It's almost like watching a fairy tale... of the grimm variety. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Breaking the Ice

Here I am, checking in for the first time in months. I don't have any good excuses, life has been more or less normal.

The holidays came and went, spent mostly at home, heavily infused with hockey & BBC television. We spent much of Christmas day at my parents' home and had a nice visit and too much food. The usual Christmas stuff, though we all felt the absence of our family cat Moocher, who died earlier last year.

For much of December and the beginning of January we got a taste of life as shut-ins. It snowed here in BC (and everywhere else in the country), which utterly terrified and confused us west-coasters. Winter is supposed to = RAIN. Not snow. Certainly not LOTS of snow. But that's what we got, and as we're just not really equiped to deal with it, most people stayed home from work/school/play while it lasted.

We still have snow at the sides of the roads and on the grass, but fortunately the roads are clear. I am so very glad I had the experience of driving in winter conditions in NB last winter. It helped me stay calm(ish) on the roads.

Speaking of snow and roads and all those wonderful things, I think these challenges bring out the essence of who a person is. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, most people are jerks and/or butt-heads. On the other hand, there seem to be just enough people out there who are essentially good (or that were brainwashed by Brownie Leaders to do a good turn) that the world kept on moving along with our snow-bound tires.

Not much of a post, I know, but I'll try post more regularly.