Archives for the month of: April, 2011

Treated myself to a lie-in, for a bit this morning and didn’t get the motivation to do yoga either. No worries, today we climb.

Sun came out, wind settled, so left the car at home and did one of my fav walks – from home to the train station.

Climbing = 5 routes = 2 x 5.9 + 2 x 5.8 + 1 x 5.7

Good enough. We are slowly making progress, slowly getting it back. We run into some people that we often talk with and get caught up, we trade stories of why we haven’t been climbing – injuries, being away and just not having time, they are great to chat with and already back to doing 5.10s!

We’ll get it back.

Lunch is at Fresh which is a change from our usual places, a welcome one. The place we are at has this great patio and you know what, today is patio-weather, first day of the season, sunny and mild.

We split some puffed quinoa battered onion rings, which are the second best onion rings I’ve ever had (the best being from this little vegan place in San Diego – think they used chick pea flour for the batter…), I can’t resist a fruit smoothie – banana, mango and strawberry and I get the soup of the day with corn bread. Ok, the soup of the day is stew-like, thick, warming, nourishing, 3 different kind of beans – I’m needing the protein – pasta and tastes like…love. Corn bread on the side – best cornbread and I soak it in butter – yum!

After, my climbing partner allows me to tag along on her afternoon of shopping. I know, I know, I’m always on about how much I dislikes shopping and you know, I really, really do. But to join someone who is shopping and they are looking for clothes and you are looking for them and not yourself, well, then I don’t mind it so much.

First stop is this new-ish store called “Anthropologie“. I should explain something right away, the first time I saw this store listed beside a picture in a mag, I totally did not get it, who names a store and fashion label after a field of study? And if you are naming it after a field of study – why not spell it correctly? Turns out this just shows how stupid I am ‘cuz there is a line of cosmetics called “Philosophy“. For the record, they make this incredible shower gel that smells like those red cinnamon hearts.

Still, it is confusion.

We found my climbing partner this completely cute blue top, it has lovely detailing and the colour is wonderful. Funny too, ‘cuz when we were looking I told her to try a blue one on and she said there wasn’t one in her size so she took a black. The black was ok, but you couldn’t see the detailing on the top. When she tried it on, we both agreed it was cute, but that she should try it on in blue, I ran downstairs, found it and brought to her – get a load of me being helpful – verdict, the blue totally won.

Haha – she told me to get the “blueberry” coloured one. I couldn’t figure out why she was calling the blue shirt “blueberry”, perhaps that was the “designer shade”? When she was paying for it, she looked at the tag closer and it says “BLUE/BLEU”, our labels are in French and English, but instead of reading the bilingual, she read “blueberry”.

From there we went to “Banana Republic” to look at more clothes for her. It is just me or is this also a questionable name for a store? Oh well.

I’m not even sure how many things we picked out for her to try on. Some failures and quite a few perfect moments.  Three wonderful new tops – including a lovely purple one with a flattering V-neck and excellent front details that I picked out for her and a perfect Little Black Dress. I picked this out too and we both admit that it didn’t look like much on the hanger, but there was something about the details that I really liked and wanted my climbing partner just to try for kicks. She did, which was totally good of her, and yep, perfect, flattering.

I can’t even explain how perfect it was – it showed the right amount of skin, cut beautifully and makes her figure look like a perfect hourglass. Wow.

So, now she says, she needs a place to wear it!

Best part – she got those things at almost 50% off.

And I managed to avoid doing any shopping for myself, didn’t even try anything on. Now, that is my kind of shopping.

Only downside – everyone was out and about and wanting to see and be seen. Whoa, busybusybusy. Looks like everyone is ready for the warm.

Had a great walk home too, relaxing and chilled out kind of evening. “Batman Begins” on TV, which makes this week one of the luckiest TV weeks ever.

Hmm, a great kind of day.

Called it a night at midnight and went to our separate rooms until about 4am.

Decided not to put in the earplugs ‘cuz wow, is it ever quiet there and I think I slept.

I had this dream that I slept right through and missed seeing the Royal Wedding! Woke with a gasp and then there is a knock on the door – I haven’t missed it! But it is time to get up.

Wash face, put on some warm socks, grab my pink hoodie if I get cold and then we are downstairs.

Did I tell you how cool this house is? It is a historical home in what, a Queen Anne style is what they maybe call it? The room we are watching in is in the shape and style of an old-fashioned passenger rail car, beautiful details and amazing shape, this is also where the pool table is. We start out in chairs to have tea and porridge and slowly make our way closer to the TV as things progress.

We switch stations to CBC, which is our national broadcaster and one of my favs, some biases run very deep.

What fun!

We are riveted by the sights.

After the service, we break open some of the bubbles and toast the new couple – yipee!

The ride back to the palace is watched as well and then we have a bit of breather, so open up another bottle of bubbles, the scones, the jam, the cream and the lemon curd.

Success! The scones are a hit and soooo happy that I brought along the…scone accessories.

Which were better? Sad to say, but the ones from the nix were tastier, more sugar I think and more buttery. I also think that I used the wrong flour for the ones I made from scratch – they weren’t tender enough.

2 kisses on the balcony! Yay!

The neighbours come over and this time the bubbles are mixed with OJ for Mimosas! Yayayayayaya!

After the neighbours leave we all have another glass and decide to have a nap.

I sleep some and wake up confused, so I try to find everyone.

No idea where everyone went, so I go back the room we all were. I’m told that my friend is in the kitchen, so find her there.

Water and toast and more conversation with my friend and we are all slllooooowly waking up.

After a shower and change we go out into the world for a walk. What a lovely town, historical homes, amazing waterfront and cute shops. Fresh air clears out the webs in my brain and sobers us all up.

We find our way back and then – time for lunch. Dinner. I don’t know what this meal is, but the roast chicken, garlic bread and veggies are sooo very good. Yum-yum!

Yeah, I join my friend for a Caesar, it is only Canadian, right?

Then time to call it a day and go home – the weather is lovely, mild but not hot, cool and the drive home is lovely, the sun starts to break out in the early evening sky.

Great day.

Up later than I should, but I’m ok with that, I’m in anticipation mode, looking forward to the day and night.

Something is going on with the furnace, what? I don’t know, but I need to get out of bed and into the day ‘cuz my dad is taking mum and going to hang out with my niece for the day. No worries, the furnace is workworkworking.

Ok, I’m up.

And at it.

And making scones!

I do 2 batches – one is strictly from a mix, idiot-version of baking. Pour in the mix, add 1 egg, some milk and butter and after a mix, some kneading and toss it all into the oven and – hello scones!

Second batch is all the recipe, “from scratch” as it were.

Do a taste-test of both and you know, I’m not sure which tastes better. The mix seems more buttery, but the “from scratch” version seems more…vanilla-y.

I don’t think that is a word, too late now.

After baking 30min of yoga, ‘cuz it just feels right.

Then, clean-up, lunch and packing for…tonight! Yipee!

My phone is off-line for a bit, then dad figures out that it somehow got unplugged. Oops.

Where I am now?

In a smaller town a couple of hours outside TO in the dining room of a friend’s lovely, historical, Queen Anne-style home. She is hosting a Royal Wedding pj party! We are chilled out after a dinner of fish n’ chips and eating some chocolate eclairs, Caesars and bubbles.

The cats are racing around and we are mocking the commenters.

Looking forward to the night ahead and seeing the ceremony!

Tuesday kind of got of away from me, plenty to do, done loads and suddenly, it was past my bedtime. Things just slip away sometimes, but like, in a good way, you know, too much time talking on the phone with friends, especially one whose voice I haven’t heard in, what, 7 years! Yeah, plenty of talking of brains out.

Up later and blew off yoga for the day, just, there are things I want to get to and this sleeping in thing isn’t working for me. Neither is waking up thing, apparently. Ok, I’ll sort it out.

Found out I totally got two upcoming Fridays confused, oops! and now have to cancel one set of plans, sucks to be me I guess. On the upside, it is great to have plans with friends, right?

Another spot of grocery shopping and use up my remaining points to get mostly free groceries. I love mostly free groceries.

Down side: the grocery store no longer carries clotted cream. What is up with that? I need some clotted cream for the scones!

Up side: They do carry lemon curd.

Yes, I bought some lemon curd.

Yes, I know, I didn’t really need lemon curd, really…but, it was mostly free, so there you go.

Went out for a visit with a one of my dear friends, first time seeing her since I got back and filled her in on all the happenings, watching her dog run back and forth and back and forth, playing with her ball and talking each others brains out. Great visit.

The storm rolled in on my way home and with it some flash flooding in other areas and hail in still others.

I knew it was going to rain – I washed the car earlier today. Yeah, I was kind of in the mood for rain, so there you go. Come with the rain!

Relaxing sort of evening, just hanging out and chilling – no climbing tonight. But, Blade Runner is on TV, so I’m totally OK with that.

Oh, late to sleep last night, up until about 2am talking, so up late this morning. First time awake was around 7am so gave myself the full 8 and stayed in bed until 10am.

My friend makes me green tea, cuts up strawberries and serves with blackberries and more conversation – perfect way to start the day.

We linger.

Finally, I figure better get back to it, right? So we take turns with the shower and getting ready, I pack and we had out for lunch.

We end up at this very cool little café that serves the all-day breakfast, I’m feeling a little less breakfast and a little more like lunch, truthfully, so I order the club house sandwich on brown toast, no bacon with fries, while my friend has a “big breakfast” – toast, 2 eggs, hash browns, sausage AND bacon. Wow, that is a lot of mammal.

We talk and talk and eat and talk, enjoy the food, the atmosphere, each others company and comfortable lulls in conversation. There is still this funny part of my brain that can’t believe I’m here, this is really really really happening, we have reconnected.

We finish up our food, mostly, coffee (him) and tea (me) and water (also me) and we head back.

We kick back on the couches a final time, have some Easter chocolate – he said if was able to get up earlier and was thinking clearer he would have hidden the chocolate for an Easter Egg hunt for me!

Time slips away and before I know it, 2pm!

I’m off! Things to do, gotta get moving.

Trip in reverse, this time, I have a better idea of how to get home, so enjoy the lakes and bare trees and buds and everything just so ready to burst into bloom, flower and leaf, green, enjoy the rocks on either side of the road, the cottages, the lakes and lakes and lakes.

Not too bad, traffic-wise, but then I hit a slow-down.

No idea what was going on, but it, eventually clears up without any indication as to what was going on. Oh well, somethings will forever be a mystery, I guess.

Home, home, home!

Things are quiet, not too much going on, which is how I like it.

Chill and relax and sit in a comfy chair and get ready for the week ahead.

And you know what?

I got another FB message from a friend I haven’t seen in about forever and ever. Hmm, I guess the powers of FB can be used for good. Lucky, lucky me.

Soooooo.

Where I am now?

Oh yes! I’m just about to call it a day and turn in for the night – slept in, went for a drive and currently visiting one of my dear, dear friends that I lost track of…too many years ago.  We reconnected on FB, so you can take that for whats its worth, I think, sometimes, we find the good where we find it. For example, this friend of mine and I reconnected through another friend whom I am no longer in contact with – so, thank you, again, for what ever it is worth.

Wow.

Sometimes, I guess there are people in our lives who will forever remain as important and connected, I think we pretty much got everything. We took turns summarizing the past few years for each others – the failures, the places, the successes, the ups, the downs, the lefts, the rights, the heres and the nows. I guess time and space don’t always matter, they melt away, they become, dare I say, meaningless? The heart, the timelessness matters most of all.

We talk each others brains out and all I can think is, how did I let this slip away?

Ok.

Ok.

Yes, another drive along 8 lane to 6 lane to 4 lane to 2 lane highways – the buildings give way to houses give way to cottages give way to trees and lakes and…well you get the point.

We crack open a bottle of bubbles, then flat wine, then another bottle of bubbles.

Dinner was breaded chicken breast with melted cheese on top with some pasta on the side – yum! Dairy Queen for dessert and you know the body is still in “I climbed!” so gobbling up the calories and fat and ice cream and chocolate and peanuts. Ha – yumyumyum.

Finding, wait, re-finding friends, picking up pieces, reuniting these pieces of my heart that were walking around, free.

Yes.

Yes, you are brilliant.

Welcome back.

Welcome home.

Climbing today, yay! 4 climbs = 2 x 5.8, 1 x 5.9, 1 x 5.7.

Completely failed out of another 5.9, my fav wall too, new route. The route now has a feature on it, which is…well it is supposed to resemble rock, ok, so it is this big plastic thing that can be screwed into the wall to look like an overhang or a lip you have to climb over. Holds can be screwed into the feature and this feature is also has a rough texture, you know, like rock.

Arg! I totally could not get it. I started the climb on a right foot, with two hands on one hold and then pulled and pushed up to grab the next hold, over the feature with the right hand. Then I tried starting down one foot hold, so with my left foot, to step over onto my right foot, with both hands on the same one hold to reach over the feature and grab the next hold. I tried 5 times and you know what – I kept not reaching with my right arm. I kept missing the hold and grabbing the feature, but there isn’t a hold where I was grabbing, so I was left just kind of stretched out on the wall, wondering what to do next.

I’m sure it is was very comical.

But it didn’t feel very funny.

After I finished with the route, these two other climbers (they were bouldering for the day, bouldering is climbing only the routes are lower and you don’t use ropes or protective gear of any kind, in the gym when you fall, you hit the mats on the ground) came over to take a look at the start of the route to check out what I was doing.

The one climber made it up on first try and his friend said to him “Hey, sure, but she is like half your size, so try something that she could do.” Then the other climber tried out of few options – funny thing was, she was as tall as he was!

I laughed pretty hard at that, but on the up side, I have a better idea of how I need to get up the route – it will be pretty funny, I can tell you that!

So, yes, only 4 climbs today, but on the up side, that is one more than the last time we climbed, which was two weeks ago, so something is getting better. Right? Right?

Rush home, no brunch today!, shower, do the hair, make-up, presentable clothes – no wearing climbing gear to family dinners please! – and we are off. Dad complains at the amount of time I take to get ready, but really, I’m not showing up to a family dinner with my hair dripping wet.

Yes, my hair did look pretty awesome, very curly and pretty big.

Yes, I love big hair.

Curly too.

Very brief visit with some friends before dinner and I finally, finally meet someone who I’ve kind of know for a long, long time. That was kind of funny, on one else realized we had never met before, except the two of us. It was a funny moment ‘cuz everyone had to take a guess about where we met. Answer – today, we met today.

Off to our dinner!

What a dinner.

No time to eat between climbing and dinner, so I’m starving my brains out and there, cheese, crackers and chips. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!

Glass of wine in my hand, cheese, crackers and chips into my mouth and – wow, smell of dinner from the over, wafting through the air and into my nose, into my tummy.

After what feels like far too long to me, but probably a totally reasonable time for those non-climbers at the dinner (everyone else), it is time to eat.

Roast turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, rolls and for those who need the vegan option – mock chicken breast in tomato sauce and vegan stuffing.

Wow, what a dinner.

Been far too long since I had a turkey dinner.

Then, more bliss.

Lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Oh, wow, our hostess makes the best pies and this one, these two – cuz she knows who she is having over for dinner, really – are perfect.

We joke back and forth and about pies and loving lemon and my bro and I get two of the first three slices. Everyone else is a little slower back to their places and my bro and I eat lemon pie superfast. So fast, in fact, that we both get in a second slice while everyone else is half-way through their first pieces. Oh yeah, oh yum.

You can tell that these were quality pies too – the pastry was baked all the way through and flaky and the lemon filling was totally set, it came out in perfect slices even the first slice from each pie and when we were done, the filling held its shape and didn`t collaspe into the pie dish.

Wine, scotch, turkey dinner, lemon meringue pie and family. What a wonderful kind of Saturday night. Have I mentioned how lucky I am?

Intentions of waking early, doing yoga and having a chicken sandwich for breakfast became sleeping in, skipping yoga and hey! pancakes with strawberries.

Not sure exactly where dad found the pancake mix (I’m not sure the mix was good enough to be used, but there you go) but as soon I saw it waiting for me I knew the morning was set.

Oh, what a great time, when was the last time I made pancakes for breakfast? I don’t recall, but I have missed them.

Have I ever missed them, what a pleasure not just to eat them, but to pull out my trusted, little fry pan – which perfectly cooks either two small, fluffy pancakes at a time or one perfectly sized crêpe – to stirstirstir the mix and water, pour the batter, wait for the one side to bubble up, store them all in the oven and then sit down and finish it all off with a drop of maple syrup, well that is pure pleasure.

Somehow, somewhere, dad found some strawberries to have with the pancakes and you know what, those strawberries weren’t as tasty as the ones I had in South Korea. But, with the maple syrup and buttermilk pancakes, they were pretty close to perfect.

And you know what, having avocado along with everything was lovely, it felt…decadent, all that tasty smooth veggie fat in the morning.

Surprise yummy-ness! Dad must have felt super-productive, he made chocolate. This is how it goes – first he grates some chocolate from this…chocolate ball he brought back from Trinidad too many years ago (how that thing hasn’t gone rancid, I don’t know) then he boils some water, into a rolling boil, adds some brown sugar and spices, this batch – ginger, cinnamon and ? then the grated chocolate goes in and it all melts as he stirs it into a lovely, dark chocolate drink. Oh yum.

I suggested next time he toss in a bit of red pepper, ‘cuz you know chocolate loves a bit of heat.

We made quick work of that batch, so he made another.

That batch quickly went too.

Yum!

Rest of the day I took it easy. Easier. Pots of mint tea, a bowl of dal and rice in late afternoon and that chicken sandwich for dinner and wow – totally relaxing, non-productive kind of day. I mean, except for doing laundry. Does laundry count as “productive”?

After this week, rather felt like, yes, I deserved a lazy-kind-of-nothing-doing-sort-of day. I made the very most of it.

The Ugly:

A close friend of mine alerted me to the recent troubles that author/hero Greg Mortenson is having, seems like his non-fiction books “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools” are more fiction and less “non”.

Need to tell you about this, ‘cuz I, like many, many others, read “Tea Cups of Tea”, gave it awesome review, suggested you buy and bought both books for a friend through the website.

Looked up a few articles about this and found a wishy-washy one from The Globe and Mail (Cancon) that seems to suggest that by believing Mortsenson’s lies we are partly to blame, an article from The Daily Beast, including some insight into Mortenson, and another article from The Daily Beast that details the truth behind the kidnapping story Mortenson relates in “Three Cups of Tea”.

Feeling rotten about being taken in about this whole thing – I suggested this and promoted it and…bought it for people.

Hate being lied to and really hate that I allowed myself to believe these lies and passed them along to you.

Sorry.

Another hero bites the dust.

So – maybe we can only be heroes to ourselves and inspire ourselves.

The Bad:

Haha – you can see “The Ugly” for details on this…

The Good:

Talked with a friend of mine that I haven’t spoken with for months.

Hearing her voice was so very excellent, getting her insight and perspective and…look, just hearing her voice and laughter made me feel so very at home, safe, secure and, yes, loved. We made plans too, so I get to see her in person very soon!

Interview was excellent.

Got there perfectly on time (ten minutes early) but had to wait for a bit – turns out the appointment just before me was late, but no worries, I didn’t have any plans after.

Stellar interview and the person interviewing me was incredibly nice, charming and knowledgeable. Very happy to know that she said “amazing” on my assessments, so that made me really happy.

Thank you for all the luck – it is fabulous to know you are out there, rooting for me.

Next steps?

Wait and find out what the next steps are. Could be an interview, could be a different interview. We will see. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

New Pjs:

After the interview, realized that yes, I really do need some new pjs. The ones I have had for…longer than one person should own one pair of pjs for, may I leave it at that? have this massive rip in the right thigh.

Why is that rip in the right thigh? How did it get there?

No idea. One either count. But there it is. And it means that they are useless for wearing when I’m an overnight guest anywhere. Sure, these people are my friends, but come on, no one wants a flash of thigh early in the morning. Gesh!

So, yes, shopping.

Fast, fast, fast.

I’m quickly confused and grab a sale rep for help, everything works the first time and then I’m off.

Time to stock up on long week-end bubbles.

3 bottles – 1 for dinner, if I end up having dinner somewhere. 2 for a friend when I see them and stay overnight.

Back home and phone call to another friend and guess what! I have someone to see Scream 4 with! This means I don’t have to see this totally scary movie by myself.

I’m a crappy friend, though, I missed her birthday.

So, I guess the movie is on me.

Maybe dinner too.

Oops, my bad.

Backslid a bit about waking time – hit “snooze” on the radio twice! Very out of character, but this is how things go.Skipped yoga as well, I need to eat and get cracking on the day before everyone else is up.

I get there.

Two job applications in today and can’t get away from the email, the suspense is killing me. How did I do on the assessments from yesterday? Where they good enough? Will I be called for a meeting/interview? Did I do well enough that I have a chance for this job? Any job?

I know, I know I know the stuff, but there is something about working with a tool rather than working with real documents that mess me up a little. When I spoke to the recruiter about results they had on file from 2006, she seemed pretty impressed.

Seriously worried.

After worrying and applying to those two jobs, the day was at a bit of stand still – cold and rainy. Attention turned to some things I’ve put off.

Do you sometimes keep a mental list of things that you have to search for on the internet and sometimes you run the searches? When you don’t find anything or “the thing”, so you re-file it and try again at a later date?

I do.

Do I ever.

When I moved back here from there, I think I lost some things. One of those things this incredible issue of a cooking magazine. In this specific issue there was one of the tastiest recipes I’ve ever made – for matafans. Uh, maybe don’t click that link unless you know French…Sorry about that, here is a link where you can read a nice little story about matafans and there is even a recipe to make these fluffy, crisp crepes with potatoes.

Yes, I did say “fluffy, crisp crepes”. Intriguing, no?

When I had bigger problems with flying, one of the things I used to do was to buy a couple of cooking magazines when taking the plane anywhere. This way, I would have something to read when I finished the book I had with me and I could plan some new and interesting to make and eat. My fav magazines to pick up were Fine Cooking and Food and Wine. When my ex and I busted up, I left one copy each and don’t you know it – I left my two favs! Fine Cooking had this awesome recipe for matafans – no potatoes – and the Food and Wine was all about making different things on the BBQ – like pizza and perogies topped with tomato or mushroom…for a while I remembered the matafan recipe and could make it off the top of my head, it was a favourite and I made it quite a lot, it was special, like having pancakes for dinner on a day that wasn’t Pancake Tuesday, you know? I would serve them with shredded Gruyère and turkey bacon with soygurt.

I’ve run the matafan search for years.

Today it paid off.

I got the ingredients list and most of the technique, enough of the technique to remember exactly when to do. Very excited. The weather will be bad for a few days, so I’m thinking I will make some as a treat for us – sturdy, comforting Alpine food.

Dark confession for the day: I’m totally excited about The Royal Wedding. I also looked up a scone recipe so I can have some with jam and clotted cream while watching the ceremony.

Yes, coverage starts at 4am here. Oh well, looks like someone will be having an early morning that day!

Yes, that same magazine had my fav scone recipe as well – raisin and fennel. I used dates instead, ‘cuz, you know, raisins.

Wonder of wonders, just when I resigned myself to not getting a follow-up today from the assessments – the phone rang. The recruiter says she is really impressed with the scores (whew! I know I shouldn’t worry, I worry, oh well.) and wants to have an interview. We set the time for the interview.

Yes, I feel everything is falling back into place.

Wish me luck on the interview.

No climbing tonight, my climbing partner is super busy, what with the “short week” and all.

Somewhere, somehow, my dad thought I was on vacation. Not sure how he came to that conclusion, considering I told him on a few occasions what was happening. We straightened out, though, so no worries. He is pretty pleased that I’ve been “officially” looking for work since Monday and have an interview on Thursday. Not bad for a turnaround. One can only hope everything stays on track.

Planning on a more rigid bed-time tonight, I’ve let things…drift a bit and keeping kind of sporadic hours, which just has to stop. Still struggling with the lack of schedule, but that should get better as I get better with it, right?

Very excited about the meeting!