Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Picture Meme

I've seen this meme at both Miss Glass is Half Full and First You Make a Roux. Here's my version!

First, the rules:

1. Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.
2. Go to the 6th Folder and then pick the 6th Picture.
3. Post it on your bloggy and tell the story that goes with the picture.

I have to admit that I had to fudge a little bit with this because of pictures I didn't want to put up on my blog, but this one was pretty close to being the 6th picture in my 6th folder. These are my father-in-law's hands, and indeed, my father-in-law's glass of wine.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trader Tuesdays: Things in My Kitchen that I LOVE

Makes the Best. Popcorn. Ever. I don't have this model exactly, but it's close. I will never make microwaved popcorn again. Not sure what I ever did without my cast-iron frying pan.
Every day that I get to use Lock N Lock containers makes me happier than I was the day before.
I have this in black. It's a joy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

And the Oscar goes to...

...Hugh Jackman! For being funny! And handsome! And talented! And for SINGING! And for being a truly wonderful (and memorable) Oscar host! Anybody else think that his selection was a bit weird at first? I sure did, but I was sold from the moment his "made in my garage" opening number took off. And the Frost/Nixon bit with Anne Hathaway was grand. "Frank Langella was sitting right next to me!"

Other ruminations on the night:
  • There seems to be a definite trend towards neutral coloured flowing, layered gowns, which I feels sort of ambiguous about, probably because I'm not sure I could pull the look off without looking really washed out. I'm also seeing more and more of the unsymmetrical look, with dresses that have two halves that are cut differently, have different straps or are different patterns of colours. I thought that Kate Winslet's version of this look was lovely. Reese Witherspoon's didn't work as well.
  • Overall, the fashion winner of the night was Anne Hathaway. She looked stunning. Alicia Keys's lilac gown was beautiful too! Heidi Klum and Tilda Swinton tie for worst dressed, in my humble opinion.
  • I laughed and laughed and laughed at Steve Martin and Tina Fey.
  • I thought there were some really lovely speeches given last night, including those by Penelope Cruz, Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black.
  • I really liked the way they identified nominees and winners in the acting categories, but I wish that they had showed clips of the performances.
  • I'm confused as to how The Curious Case of Benjamin Button won the awards for best make-up and also for special-effects. In the case of this movie, shouldn't it really be one or the other?? Either the make-up was really good or the special effects were really good. I must not know enough about it...
Overally, I really enjoyed the show, even though it ran a bit long. I think they took an evening in which there were going to be absolutely no surprises in the winners of the big categories, and turned it into a barrel of fun!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Five: Taking a Break!

This morning at the Revgals, Songbird offers us a Friday Five about taking breaks!

Where we live, it's February School Vacation Week! (It's Reading Week here in Prairie City too!)

Yes, that's an odd thing, a vacation extending President's Day. (We have Family Day.) But it's part of our lives here. Some people go South or go skiing, but we always stay home and find more humble amusements.

In that spirit, I offer this Taking a Break Friday Five. Tell us how you would spend:

1. a 15 minute break

I would get a cup of tea, read some blogs, play Word Twist on Facebook, go for a walk, read the student newspaper, check the news, phone my hubby... probably not all those things though.

2. an afternoon off

I might go and do a really big grocery run at Gigantic Chain Grocery Store, or I'd go shopping for the fabric I need to repair our couches, or I'd have coffee with a friend, or make a more elaborate dinner than normal.

3. an unexpected free day

I think that I would pick a project around the house and take it on if I had a whole day with nothing else to do. Likely candidates include the aforementioned couch repair, or painting in the basement, or replacing the lino on the stairs, or cleaning up our downstairs rooms.

4. a week's vacation

Oh, so many placed I'd like to go but for only a week, I think I might head to Boston to see a ball game, visit Harvard, eat some great meals, etc.

5. a sabbatical

Oh wow. A whole sabbatical!! I'd like to do something fairly major in the way of food and wine touring, either in Europe or South America... or both. (I'm assuming that this sabbatical comes with a spending allowance.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Exciting Change in Plans!

So, our original plan in the bathroom, as you know, was the remove the claw-foot tub. A previous owner had built a hideously ugly wood surround around the tub, and we assumed that it was because the tub was in bad shape and not worth salvaging.


The contractor removed the surround this morning, and the tub is beautiful! It will need to be refinished, but when it is finished it will be so, so lovely.

Check out the beautiful feet!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Picture Meme

I got this meme from Jan at Yearning for God! Here are the rules!

1. Grab the nearest book - no matter what it is. Textbook, novel, pop-up book, building code study guide, whatever.
2. Turn to page 25.
3. Read the 10th word on that page, or the following if that one is blank.
4. Type that word into Google Image search.
5. Post the third image.

So the book is John Saul's The Right Hand of Evil and the word is You. Oddly enough, this is the third image:
This was fun! Play if you'd like to!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trader Tuesday: A Picture

WH is on his winter break from teaching this week, which has given him the freedom to be creative in the kitchen. This was dinner tonight.


So, in what seems to have been a kind of sudden and quickly-developing turn of events, WH and I are having our bathroom torn out starting on Thursday (!). This plan has come to fruition after a meeting with a contractor yesterday who is able to do the work for a reasonable price, and who has availability only for the next two weeks. He will be taking out our old claw-foot tub (I know, I know - who in their right mind takes OUT a claw-foot tub?! Well, you'd take this claw-foot tub out too, just trust me.) and replacing it with a new basic tub, putting in proper plumbing for a shower, and then tiling a surround. He'll also be tiling the floor. The other pieces of the project are not yet confirmed, but will likely involve tearing out our big (ugly) cabinet, moving the toilet over, replacing the sink with a small vanity and replacing the door with a pocket sliding door. The latter will, I think, make the space look much larger.

This renovation is being undertaken solely for the purpose of sprucing the place up for sale. We are watching the market slide in our neighbourhood and it is an uneasy feeling. Our plans to sell this summer now seem more urgent, so the sooner we can get this work done and get the house on the market, the better we'll feel.

We know that we won't be able to make the money on the house that we once thought we would, but nor will we have to pay as much for the new house as we once might have. We are working hard to expend our energy on action, rather than on feeling sorry for ourselves about the turn in the housing market.

Given how hard many people have been hit by the recession, we are very, very lucky.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Five: Pets

It's been a rough week for furry (and scaly) friends about the Revgals this week, so for today's Friday Five, we are asked: "In honor of all the beloved animal companions who bless our lives: tell us about the five most memorable pets you have known."

1. Bubastis: My parents acquired Bubastis (or Buby) when they were living in an apartment in Chicago shortly before they moved to Prairie City. She was not very large, and black all over, and she had an absolutely piercing siamese squall, which she deployed liberally. She was very special and absolutely wonderful. She lived to be about 19 or 20 years old.

2. Anthony: He was a big grey and white stray tom cat that used to come around my parents house to see what there was to eat, and eventually worked his way in as a permanent resident. He was never particularly fond of me and pretty much kept to himself, but he was a nice cat. There were health problems, including skin sensitivity and eventually kidney issues, that meant he only lived until about the age of 12.

3. Mama Cat: Mama Cat is the stray that WH and I adopted the year before we got married, and who thanked us by having five kittens on the living room floor on Canada Day, 2006. She's black all over too, and always needs to be whereever we are. We managed to find homes for four of the kittens, and we kept...

4. Baby Cat: She looks nothing like her mother. She has long hair to her mother's short hair, white fur to her mother's black, a teeny-tiny mew to her mother's scream, etc. But the two of them still cuddle and wash each other like mother and daughter.

5. Nefertiti: This is the latest tiny black kitten to enter our family. She's only three months old and we've only known her for about a week. She belongs to Eldest Brother and you can check out pictures and videos of her on his blog: De Koboldorum Rebus.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trader Tuesday: Jelly Beans

This is a perfect recipe when you have loads to do at work, you're tired and your email is out of control.

Dig through purse until you find the elusive $2 that you know is hiding at the bottom. Celebrate finding the $2 an inappropriate amount.

Leave your office without a coat and dash across to the student association building next door. Proceed to student association mini-mart.

Find the rack in the mini-mart that contains all of the bags of candy.

Locate Jelly Beans.

Take Jelly Beans to the front counter and give awkward undergraduate clerk your $2.

Return to office with Jelly Beans.

Relish them.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Five: Favourite Things

From Songbird at the Revgals today:

In a week of wondering how various things in our family life will unfold, I found myself thinking of the way Maria comforted the Von Trapp children in one of my favorite movies. Frightened by a thunder storm, the children descend upon her, and she sings to them about her favorite things, taking their minds off the storm.

So, let's encourage ourselves. Share with us five of your favorite things.






Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Choir Sections Part 2

Ah baritones... sweet baritones.

Baritones are one of the 'tween sections of the choir; that is those sections that are kind of like another section, but not always.

Baritones are KINDA like basses, but not always. In general, in four-part music, baritones sing with the basses. And that's fine, but baritones like divided music especially because unlike the basses, baritones like the upper register. Technically, it sits more easily in their voices than it does for basses. Being able to carry the upper range also sows the seed in the hearts of some baritones that maybe, just maybe, they might be asked to be a tenor someday.

Predictably, Baritones are resistant to very, very low repertoire. Baritones perceive a bass's love of the very low range as showing off.

Some baritones are former tenors, and they carry a certain sadness with them of what once was. These baritones can almost always identify a second tenor that they think should have been moved to the baritone section before they were.

Baritone sections as a whole tend to be younger than bass sections.

Baritones think that basses talk too much in rehearsal.

In my experience, baritones don't have the same kind of gruff exterior as the basses, but tend more towards outward displays of kindness, genuine interest and laughter.

Read my post about basses here!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some blog changes

So, friends, I've started a new blog. Don't worry, I'm not leaving this one. This will still be the place where I write about life, marriage, food, work, music, the weather, Prairie City, things that bug me, things that don't bug me, family, wine, the kittehs, stuff that makes me laugh and the world we live in.

But I've started a new blog to write about sports. I want to write more about sports because it's an activity that I really enjoy, but I don't want to stop writing, or write less, about the other things going on in my life. Hence the new venue!

So the new blog is here: Check it out, if you're interested! I've kicked it off by cross-posting what I wrote this morning about our friend Phil.

Really, Phil?!

Today's post is dedicated to making a little fun of Phil Mickelson, largely because of the following quotation, which I found on Phil uttered these words after his early exit at last weekend's FBR open, a tournament at which he went 7 over-par and missed the cut by seven strokes.

This does nothing to dampen my enthusiasm about this year. I'm excited about how I'm putting. I'm excited about how I'm driving it off the tee.

Seems innocent enough, eh?

Let's start with the last sentence, shall we? I'm excited about how I'm driving it off the tee. Really, Phil? Are you REALLY excited??? REALLY? The reason I have my doubts is that, frankly, you drove off the tee like crap last week. To be specific, David Toms had the best driving accuracy last weekend, at 69.64%. The average through the field was 50.48%. Your driving accuracy was 28.6% TWENTY-EIGHT POINT SIX PERCENT, Phil. Of a possible 28 fairways, you hit 8 of them. ... EIGHT! I've been golfing for two years, and I suck, and I HIT MORE THAN 28% OF THE FAIRWAYS I FACE.

And your putting? YOU'RE EXCITED ABOUT YOUR PUTTING?! You are currently 155th on tour in putts per round. Thirty putts per round was your average for the two rounds you played in Scottsdale, Phil. Not exactly a statistic I'd write home about in the same sentence as the word "excited," unless the sentence also included the words, "not," "at," and "all."

Phil, Phil, Phil. I think the reason that some people don't like you is that you can come across as phony. And here's a perfect example why. I would have more respect for you if your post-tournament comments this last weekend were more along the lines of, "Boy, was that ever bad. B-A-D. I'm really going to have to do better if I hope to crack a top-ten this year, let alone win something. Back to the driving range, I go!" We know you're capable of this, Phil. After the disaster at Winged Foot, you said, "I can't believe I did that. I'm such an idiot." And we loved the comment because it was true!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Trader Tuesdays: Crab Dip

So this morning's Trader Tuesday offering is based on the wonderfulness of the little guy on the right in this picture:
Many brands of crockpot come with this kind of mini version and when it comes to warm dips for parties, there is nothing better! In addition, I have never taken ours to a party where someone didn't comment on how ADORABLE it was, so.. you know... that's a bonus.

So in honour of the mini crock pot, here's my recipe for crab dip, which I took from the Company's Coming 3-in-1 Entertaining Book.

8 oz softened cream cheese
1 Tbsps of dry white wine (I have used apple cider vinegar before, which is nice.)
2 Tbsps of mayonnaise
1/4 tsp of prepared mustard
2 tsp of dried onion
salt to taste
1 can of crab meat, drained, with cartilage removed

Place first 6 ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well. Fold crab meat into mixture until combined. Heat in a double boiler over simmer water until heated through.

Et Voila! Into the ADORABLE mini crock pot it goes! I have found that when I take this to parties, it does need to be stirred every once in a while to keep from getting dry around the edges of the pot.

I usually make my own pita chips to accompany this dip. Cut whole pitas into eighths. (Scissors is easiest.) Separate each piece along the fold to make two thin pieces. Lay the pieces out on a baking sheet with the outside facing up. Spray with vegetable oil and then sprinkle with a mixture of spices to suit you. I use salt, pepper, garlic and paprika, but you could add cayenne if you wanted something spicier, or nutmeg if you wanted something sweeter, etc. Bake until crispy, about 10-12 minutes at 350F. A whole bag of pitas makes about four trays worth of chips, definitely enough for a party!

Monday, February 2, 2009

In Typical Monday Fashion...

... I dropped my coffee this morning getting out of the car in the parkade.

My travel mug broke, and my poor coffee ran down the concrete in a very distressing and dramatic fashion.

WH offered to give me his coffee, proving once again that he is seriously worth keeping.

I declined the offer and bought myself a cup from the student association coffee place on my way into the office.

Rating of the coffee I make at home on a scale of 1 (drain cleaner) to 10 (ground from the hands of Juan Valdez himself) = 9.5
Rating of the coffee made by the student association coffee place on the same scale as above = 6

I am feeling somewhat more sorry for myself about this than is reasonable, and dwelling on it also more than is reasonable.

Never mind, I'll get over it eventually.

Good football game yesterday, eh?