Category Archives: Food

Tuesday Log

Today my accomplishments included:

– business calls
– wove five inches of a new blanket
– did the programme notes
– translated the programme notes
– edited the recital programme
– practised for fifteen minutes (better than nothing)
– went out to buy the boy’s birthday present and some decorations for the party this weekend
– practised for another seventy-five minutes (trying to get the runs in the first movement of the Mendelssohn up to speed; working the pretty singing cello we’ve-got-the-theme moments of the second… in other words, going from first to seventh position, whee; plus my solo for the recital, and all my recital ensemble stuff)

Things that helped: Ceri has been sending me periodic e-mails reminding me to fret, which always makes me laugh. I acquired a Tolberone bar while out shopping for the boy’s gifts, and that also made the day happier.

Things that did not help: My first Quiznos experience. Yes, sandwich boy, I really do want a small ham and cheese on brown, with no spreads or sauces, and only lettuce. Asking me three times in disbelief doesn’t mean I have a low IQ or a communication problem, and your tone was, frankly, rather insulting. I’m the customer; I know what I want, and what I want is a sandwich not dripping with the excessive glop sandwich-makers pour over it. Just because I don’t want you to drown it in crap doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. Also, I didn’t want it toasted, and you didn’t ask; you just threw it in the oven. So you failed mightily in securing a return customer: instead you ensured that I will never walk into one of your franchises again.

On the schedule for tonight: Remembering to breathe.

Weekend Roundup

Everything seems to have happened on Saturday. The first half of Saturday, at that.

Saturday morning I had my first cello lesson in just under a month. Suddenly I had to decide between the Lully gavotte and the Bach gavotte for next month’s recital, which felt slightly unfair because we’d set the deadline at the last lesson and I haven’t had a chance to work on it with my teacher since then. I really do want to play the Bach, though, so my teacher said we’d do it. On the way home I second-guessed myself and was sure I’d made the wrong decision, and I’m still fairly certain I’ll blow it badly. But then, I’d feel the same way about the Lully, so I can’t win either way. In the lesson we worked on the upper body being free to move from side to side with the elbow-led bow stroke, which felt very awkward and wrong, but it did create some very nice sound. I think I’m too locked up when I play, so my teacher’s trying to get me to loosen up while still being aware enough of my body to control the sound.

Things to remember: Keep fingers aimed more toward the bridge instead of parallel to it, remember to use the back of the thumb instead of only the side in thumb position, don’t shortchange the last note before a new bow or phrase, stop leading RH movement with the wrist (my teacher was also initially trained to do this and her teacher still calls her on it, so I don’t feel as hopeless about this as I could, although I still feel pretty hopeless indeed), and the speed of the shift needs to match the speed of the song.

I raced home from the lesson to pick up HRH and the boy, stopped by the grocery store to grab cold meats and cheese and bread, then went to Angrignon Park for Tristan’s naming ceremony. (Yes, two naming ceremonies in one week.) It was lovely. Very different from the previous week’s ceremony, which was more formal in the setup and dress. This one was a circle of friends around blankets, balloons in the wind, and a baby who decided to protest the delay in feeding. We did a couple of fixes on the fly (a dandelion for the flower, the candle went out so I used the cloud-covered sun as the light) and there was laughter, which always blesses a ritual. And I finally got to use part of the baby-blessing ritual I wrote for my second book, which was intended to be used for the boy, but he ended up arriving early and in the race to keep up we never got around to holding a naming ceremony for him.

When it was over we all hauled out our picnic stuff, sat on blankets or camp chairs or around the picnic table, and ate. The boy ran around with MLG (fencing lessons with sticks; I love my friends) and a younger boy whom he decided needed looking after, so he kept feeding him, much to our amusement. HRH and I got to play with a cheerful ten(?)-month-old, who proceeded to impress his mum by trying to take steps on his own (with support, of course) and feed himself, and rather capably, too, for someone who didn’t do it regularly. And his mum asked if I’d do a naming for him, as well! It was so nice to just sit and relax with friends, and watch kids play, and nibble at stuff. A couple of hours later the threatening clouds eventually started spitting actual rain so we all packed up in about five minutes and headed for home, where we put a movie on for the boy and I was ambushed by a ninja nap.

Sunday was a very quiet day. HRH ran around, though, getting the summer tires put on (to our dismay, the sound the wheels were making was not entirely the winter tires; seems the bearings may need repacking, too) and heading over to his parents’ house in the afternoon to lay the new bathroom floor. Not having the brainpower or the energy to do much, I pulled out the spinning wheel and spun up two more samples from the January Phat Fiber box (yes, I’m only a third of the way through the samples; I’m making this last). I also wove in the last few weft ends on the baby blanket I wove for the last naming ceremony, and machine washed it to block the weave. I want to run it by Ceri first to make sure I’m not going to embarrass myself by gifting it (there are a couple of errors where a warp thread didn’t rise or lower properly so there’s a skip, but while I can see every one of them like they’re circled with blinking red lights, others probably don’t). Actually, I wanted to weave instead of spin, but since there was nothing on the loom, I didn’t. I had nowhere near the mental focus or energy required to wind a warp then get it on the loom. Maybe this week. I finally got a copy of Betty Davenport’s classic Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving, which didn’t reveal anything earth-shattering to me, but did clearly outline the process of warping from back to front, which I will try next time instead of direct warping.

Hey, my new reeds ought to be here at the end of the week.

Ceri lent me her point-and-shoot camera (I am discovering that a manual setting on a point-and-shoot is a rare thing, which makes me sad because I’ll have to pay more for it), so I can show the blanket off and the stuff I’ve spun over the past couple of weeks… once I have the energy to set it all up and photograph it. And in other random fibre arts news, I thought the size 4 Harmony tips for my circular needles from KnitPicks were faulty; one kept falling right off the cable, the screw not catching at all. I thought I’d have to contact them this week so I could keep working on my sleeveless sweater without losing stitches when the cable fell off the needle, which is what happened on Friday night. But I remembered that I had a second set of size 4 tips, which came in the full set I bought after testing a separate pair of tips and cables, so I tried one of them instead. It turns out that it’s the cable that’s faulty, not the tip. I tried another 24″ cable, et voila! The previously suspicious tips are just fine. I could call them for a replacement cable, but I have three other 24″ cables (one other from the original pair I bought, plus anotherpair from the full set) and I doubt I’ll ever have them all in use at the same time.

Finally, for dinner last night I used Karine’s garlic-teriyaki pork slow cooker recipe, and it was fabulous. Slow cooker recipes are usually simple, but this one was gleefully easy. Definitely a keeper. Next time I’m going to caramelize onions and fry mushrooms to toss on top of it before the sauce is poured over top at the table.

Wiktory!

I have my loom! I’ll do a photo post when I get home from my trip.

I’m going out to the fabric store today to get a bit more polar fleece to extend the homemade duffel bag I found that almost-but-not-quite fit it, and some cord with which to reattach the apron rods to the loom, because it’s currently got a series of loops attached via lark’s head knots and they’re not all even with one another, so the rods don’t sit snugly when under tension. I’m going to do the zig-zag lacing thing with one long piece of cord instead of separate loops. The loom is very light indeed and folds quite cunningly, and we’re now trying to figure out a way to kitbash a box for it so I can check it as baggage on the train home. I can’t carry it on, as the length exceeds the max carry-ons can be. Yesterday we got some yarn with which to sample a pattern for a Seekrit Progikt, and I’m going to do a test warp for the sample this afternoon.

The girl who sold it to me is my age or a bit younger, and got herself a small used Dryad floor loom so she didn’t need this one any more. She also had a Lendrum wheel and baskets of yarn everywhere. Heh. I wish we lived in the same city; we probably would have gotten along just fine.

Mum is doing very well indeed. She’s using the cane while in the house now, and the walker only when we go out, which we’ve been doing once a day to shops and things. The food has, as usual, been brilliant. Last night, for example, we had scallops au gratin, with steamed asparagus and brown rice. Mmm.

The nightly video chat with HRH and the boy back home is a great idea, and it’s been fun, but they’ve been having problems with the microphone on the webcam back home (translation: it wasn’t picking up sound at all, so we used the telephone as a speaker) but last night it worked for some reason, and it made the chat much easier. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that tonight and the rest of the nights go as smoothly. Living in the future is pretty darn cool. I miss them a lot, and seeing and talking with them every night helps. ( “Having a Dada and no Mama makes me very sad,” the boy told me solemnly last night before leaning into HRH for a hug. Only three more sleeps!)

I’ve burned through three books since I got here, and I can’t recommend Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag highly enough. The other book was Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, which was good, but the Bradleys were really spectacular. I also hand-wrote four pages of novel material in bed this morning.

Okay, off we go for today’s outing. Have a wonderful day, gentle readers.

Weekend Roundup, Easter Edition

Four-day weekends are extremely unusual. All the more so because HRH’s employers usually give them Easter Monday or Good Friday off, not both. In Quebec the government has decreed that an employer of a certain size must give its employees one of those two days off. Naturally, in the spirit of compliance, every place we intended to shop at on Sunday (assuming that everywhere that was open Good Friday would be closed Easter Monday) was closed that day instead, even though they were usually open on Sundays.

Anyway. It was a lovely Easter weekend.

I sent the freelance assignment out Friday morning, and got it back Friday afternoon confirming that yes, I’d have to do revisions on it because I wasn’t quite supportive and encouraging enough. Honestly, I’d expected this, and I told the editor so. I also pointed out that I’d already redone it twice on my end before my initial submission, so you can imagine what my original looked like. I turned it around and started checking my e-mail every half-hour to see if they’d approved it yet so I could invoice by the Monday deadline.

While I finished it HRH cleaned the BBQ and checked the gas levels, then took the boy out to do some grocery shopping. MLG came over for a late lunch of grilled three-cheese burgers and warm potato salad, with chocolate-peanut butter pudding for dessert. We had a most enjoyable afternoon indeed where we sat and/or worked or played outside in the backyard. I don’t know what was more draining: watching the boy play with great enthusiasm, watching HRH clean up the yard, watching MLG keep up with the boy, or just being in the unseasonably warm sun.

Saturday we dropped the boy off with the local grandparents, picked up the rest of our coven, and headed out to Maxville to spend the day with t! and Jan, who hosted the best Ostara ritual EVER. We had a real egg hunt: we each had a list of six clues, and corresponding eggs hidden in specific places on the property that we had to find! The eggs all had a letter on them, and when everyone assembled their eggs there was a message spelled out. The theme of the rit was being happy with imperfection and/or your best even if it wasn’t perfect, which was a very good message for most if not all of us, too. And the crowning touch was that the eggs were from their small flock of chickens (who are now gloriously full-grown and sporting glossy chestnut feathers). The digital thermometer indicated that the peak temperature was 31 point something degrees while we were there, and it was simply spectacular weather to be running around a couple of acres of land. Then we got to have quiche and two kinds of salads (one green and one a fruit/nut/rice salad) and I’d made a deep-dish butterscotch lemon pie for dessert. The only thing that marred the day was my back doing something odd while I was finishing up the pie that morning, and two hours in the car didn’t make it any better. As usual, we didn’t want to leave.

Sunday we were thwarted in our scheduled errand-running, so we kicked about at home. HRH and I had hidden M&M eggs around the living room before we went to bed Saturday night, and I slept pretty badly, partially due to the wrenched back, but not helped in the least by Gryff ‘finding’ some of the eggs, knocking them down from wherever he’d found them, and chasing them around the floor. I got up four times to ruin his fun, finally shutting him in the bedroom with us until HRH woke up and thought that the cat had somehow shut himself in and let him out to wreak havoc upon the eggs again. The boy woke us up at six, saying that there were eggs everywhere in the living room; HRH and I had some fun being sleepy and not understanding what he was saying before we got up and watched him run around the with a tiny basket, collecting what he could find. He patted himself on the back quite a bit, saying, “I’m a very good hunter,” interspersed with wiping perspiration from his young brow at various points in the endeavour. We refrained from pointing out the ones he didn’t find, but after getting up the second time (because we went back to bed, of course) we discovered that he’d dragged his chair out of his room and had used it to pluck the higher level of eggs he’d missed on his initial go-round.

He had a nap, a good thing because it was beginning to look like he had a spring cold, although we were crossing our fingers and hoping it was allergies. When he got up we went over to HRH’s parents’ house, where there was another egg hunt (this one included chocolate for HRH and I, too, which was a lot of fun because my mother-in-law is great at hiding things in almost-in-plain sight). For dinner we had an absolutely fabulous prime rib roast, with a nice pinot noir from Oregon, of all places.

Monday morning we were scheduled to go visit Miranda and baby Tristan, but we cancelled it because the boy’s cold was very definitely a cold and not allergies. The last thing a week-old baby needs is a cold. Instead, we ran the errands that we couldn’t run on Sunday, which included buying the webcams. At home I tested mine out by plugging it in, and oh, how I love Apple’s recognition-awareness; I opened iChat and clicked the green video button, and voila, the computer knew what it was and where it was and there was video. HRH started trying to install the other on his computer so we could test them, but as he’s got a PC it would have entailed loading all the software and so forth, so I’ve packed it up again and will just take it with me to my parents’ house and install it on Mum’s laptop there.

I made a delicious quiche (I think the pie dough was even better after being frozen, as I’d made a double batch to have enough for the lemon pie and Monday’s quiche) and Ceri and Scott came over for a late lunch and a visit. The boy was going down for his nap just as they arrived and didn’t wake up till about half an hour before they left, and was in an odd mood when he did wake up so he hid in his room doing his own thing. My rewrites on the freelance project were accepted so I got to fire off a quick invoice by deadline, which made me very happy indeed.

After dinner HRH headed off on a Secret Mission, so I got to play with the boy through his bath and put him to bed on my own. HRH showed off his score when I emerged: a practically new bicycle for the boy, one of the ones I’d been stalking on Kijiji last week. (Ours has the colours flipped, red where the blue is and vice versa.) It’s a real pity we couldn’t pick it up before the weekend so the boy could have enjoyed it during the brilliant weather, but the seller was gone for Easter. We have it now, and are feeling very smug about paying half-price for a virtually new bike; the seller said his daughter had been on it maybe five times before she outgrew it.

It’s three days till I leave on the train to stay with my parents. I’m already stressing about what to bring with me and what I might forget.

Weekend Roundup

Yes, another boring recap of my scintillating weekend activity. It’s for my records, after all.

My very sore throat of Thursday developed into a full cold on Friday. I slept badly Friday night but got up at 7:30 to make sure that I had a leisurely morning before heading off for my cello lesson at 9:00. It was a great lesson with some excellent breakthroughs (such as one doesn’t move one’s left elbow forward while crossing strings, one moves one’s forearm, so as to avoiding “breaking” the wrist; I love making discoveries like that), but it was an intense lesson and very draining. Got home, put down the cello, picked up my bag of fibre projects and supplies, and packed the loom into the car, and HRH, the boy and I headed back to the West Island. They dropped me off at Ceri’s, where we were having our monthly craft session, and I got a quarter of the loom warped. The boy and HRH went to Tal’s house to help move some furniture around, and the boy had a terrific time playing with the young lady of the house. They picked me up a couple of hours later, sharing some of the delicious quiche and apples and cheese and cucumber sandwiches we’d assembled for lunch before we all departed. When we got home we managed to get the boy to nap, despite it being almost two hours later than usual. I napped as well, being totally flattened by the morning and early afternoon. When we got up the boy asked to play Lego Star Wars, and played through two new levels of it mostly on his own, with just a little help from us, for which we congratulated him enthusiastically. Evidently my nap refreshed me, because while he did I made my homemade iced cappuccino (slushed milk, cocoa, brown sugar, and coffee in the ice-cream maker), a batch of chocolate-peanut butter cookies (kitbashed together from two different recipes plus cocoa), and I made another homemade spaghetti sauce for supper. I even remembered to put the clocks back on Saturday night.

It was rainy and windy and damn cold when we got up on Sunday. We had our regular pancake breakfast, I mixed up a batch of bread dough and set it to rise, and then I packed the boy up (an hour later than I wanted… we were all rather slow) and we ran errands together in the storm. I exchanged my new red earbuds for lavender ones, we picked up cat litter, and went to the library, where I discovered that I had a late book for the third time in my life. (All three times have occurred in the last year. Hmm.) While the boy napped I warped another third of the loom, got dinner in the slow cooker, and then headed out for our monthly group cello lesson, where I played my lines rather better than I’d anticipated. It’s so much easier when you hear the other lines and figure out where your line fits in (Yes, I realise this contradicts my complaint of last month, where I said that I couldn’t play my line because I didn’t know how it fit in. Yesterday was magically different. Or I practised the new material. One of the two.) We also sight-read two pieces, a cello quartet arrangement of the theme from Haydn’s quartet op 76 no 3 (we sight-read this one last time, too, but we all had different parts this time; last time I think I had the viola part, and this time I had the first violin) and a piece by Rameau.

I was exhausted but restless last night, and slept badly again. My back has been achy for three days straight, and while my cold is almost gone, the boy is home with me today because he now has an occasional cough and has a bit of sinus congestion; we weren’t sure whether to send him to preschool or not, so we erred on the side of caution. We kept him home but when I spoke with his educator she said she had the same thing, and if he was the same tomorrow to send him in anyway. So he is home with me today, and is very energetic (as always; we know he’s really ill when he is listless). If I felt better I’d take him out to the park or something, but I suspect we will do crafty things instead.

Weekend Roundup

Spring hit this weekend, with a vengeance. I wore shoes outside for the first time in months, and a spring coat on Saturday. The boys spent a lot of time going for walks or trike rides (and oy, the boy has so very outgrown the tricycle) or shovelling snow from banks in the yard and spreading it on the gardens to melt there, because we had below average precipitation this winter and the gardens are going to be very unhappy. (HRH was also trying to put the bulbs back to sleep by piling snow on top of them, but I suspect it’s not going to succeed.) As of this morning, our snow was gone in the front and side yards, and it’s not going to take long for what’s left in the back to melt either…

Also, we suspect the boy is on another growth spurt (we’ve given up counting), what with the multiple meals and two-hour naps.

Friday night I measured the warp for a pillow cover. The first warp I started measuring seemed way too short, what with loom waste, so I doubled it. In the end I realised that while I was wrapping the warp I was thinking I’d doubled it, but with two wraps per measure I was actually quadrupling it. Oops. (I wish I could say that it worked out to two pillow covers, but with loom waste it would only be one and a half. If I did the fronts in the woven fabric and backed them in plain cloth I could have three throw pillows, though. It bears consideration.)

Saturday morning the boy let us sleep in for two blissful hours, playing on his own and watching cartoons. I was supposed to take Ceri to some quilt shops to help her choose fabric for her baby quilt, but I got a call saying that something has come up and she’d have to switch the outing to sometime in the afternoon. So I warped half of the loom instead, had lunch with the boys, and picked Ceri up around two. We spent an hour and a half in the first (and, in the end, only) quilt shop, pulling out different fabrics and laying them against one another and having a wonderful time. Ceri went home with all her main fabrics for the quilt blocks, we had tea and cake, and I came back home. The boy decided that he wanted spaghetti for dinner, so I made a sauce. After he went to bed I finished warping the loom, and then wove while HRH played Dragon Age.

Sunday morning we went out and did our weekly grocery order. We also hit the office supply shop and I finally got a new binder for my cello lessons, as the smaller one was chock full. There were earphones on sale and I picked up a pair of red ones, but now I’m thinking I should have picked up a lavender set because it would be less of a contrast with my black and white damask-patterned iPod skin. I’ll exchange them this week.

Sunday afternoon ought to have been skating with the Preston-LeBlancs, but HRH remembered that he doesn’t have a pair of skates, and even if I’d had the energy I couldn’t take the boy instead because we couldn’t find my pair. I couldn’t weave during the boy’s nap because the levers of the table loom go clunk, so I spun some of the llama fibre Jan picked up for me last month instead. It sheds like crazy and even when I think I’m over-spinning it, it tends to drift apart.

When the boy got up I wove for a bit, then took the cello downstairs to practice because I had a lesson scheduled for that night and I wouldn’t be able to play in my office like I usually do since everyone was home. I regret not practising downstairs before, because the sound is phenomenal down there. And the phenomenal sound went with me to the lesson, which was great. We are moving on from Boccherini and working on Webster’s Scherzo now, which is nice for the change, but is also all about the incredibly controlled bow movement.

Dinner last night was a truly delicious pork roast with baked potato wedges and raw veggies. Worthy of mention, anyway.

And through it all, the weather was spectacular. I am reminded yet again how much of an impact the sun has on my mood.

Weekend Roundup

Saturday afternoon was our monthly Random Colour crafting meeting, sans Phnee, alas, as the RCMP rearranged her work schedule thanks to the Olympics. HRH and the boy visited with Scott while Ceri and I headed out to Vaudreuil, and the boy packed every single one of this Star Wars toys for the occasion (including the new TIE fighter from MLG’s stash o’ Star Wars toys we have squirrelled away in the basement to produce at various intervals.) At our monthly crafting meet we all got to show off what we’ve been doing lately, which is always fun, and Karine made me a lovely illusion necklace the likes of which I have been coveting for over a year. While there I spun a bunch more of the neppy, snaggly Coopworth; I just want it gone.

I took Ceri home and we enjoyed some light pre-dinner entertainment as provided by the boy, who directed us in making various animal noises from the next room, saying, “Cut, cut, cut” with great sorrow when we did it wrong. We spent a good hour laughing ourselves silly; it was so much fun. Dinner was an incredibly delicious slow-cooked ham done with brown sugar, accompanied by mashed potatoes, and instead of choosing one or two vegetables to cook there was a raw veggie platter with dip to go with it all, which was a fabulous idea. We grazed before dinner and feasted once sitting down on carrots, peppers, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli. To which the boy exclaimed, “Mmm, broccoli, I love broccoli!” but then handed me his pieces quietly after biting into one, saying, “I forgot, I don’t like broccoli.” He loved the look of the cherry tomatoes but once again didn’t like them when he tasted them.

Sunday morning we went out to the bookstore. This was supposed to be a Mama+boy trip, but Mama was pretty wiped from a heavy work week and a bad fibro week on top of that, so HRH came along to drive and offer moral support. The boy had a Valentine gift certificate from his Nana to spend, and he chose a train and a book. Then we meandered over to the pet shop to look at the animals, and after that the boy and I directed HRH to a little shop in Dorval where we bought his birthday present, a tuner for his bass (because he was borrowing my tuner, and that was just going to end in tears someday when it got lost or left behind or broken). We had a slightly late lunch and the boy resisted a nap, falling asleep late and waking up earlier than he needed, which meant he was all out of sorts when we sat down to make a Valentine for his local grandparents. We finally got it done, and the boy sad he wanted more rest, so we compromised by taking a quiet movie to his grandparents’ house.

HRH’s birthday dinner was ribs from the Bar-B-Barn, followed by an almond chocolate cake. The boy decided that we had to hide under or behind the table and jump out saying “Surprise!” when HRH came back into the kitchen for dessert, which was terribly amusing.

A very full weekend, although it doesn’t seem like it when typed out.