Sunday, December 28, 2008

sorry for disappearing

Whew, the Christmas season, she did me in... I am completely exhausted. But we're done our holiday visiting, and I am done my masters. I've started a new job and the two of us are trying to get our house back on track. Things around here have been pretty non-stop, and I figure we have a week or so more of that, and then there will be a routine that we can start to settle into and I can start thinking about things like cleaning, and gardening, and cooking again.

Got four cookbooks this Christmas, plus some pretty stellar ingredients, and a beautiful salad bowl, and lovely placemats. The cookbooks and I are going to have a sit-down in a bit and we're going to find some delicious dishes to make. And then I will report back. Also, I've got some garden plant ordering to do in the next month or so... which I am already getting excited about, even though there will be no planting until the end of February. It's not as far away as it seems.

Happy new year, everyone! When things are settled, I'll come out of my shell.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

variation on a famous theme

This is one of the projects I'm working on that I've been meaning to blog about. I'm a terrible knitter. I try, I really do, but I can't keep my tension consistent, and I think the worse problem is that I get bored with projects really easily and drop them before they're even close to finished. I have an afghan I started just before I got my wisdom teeth out. In case anyone's counting, that's nine years ago. Then there's the scarf I was making for me that I started when I was working at the Royal Botanical Gardens -- that's... six years ago now, I think.

I am attempting to change that this time. Mostly because this is fishy's main birthday present, and I want to have it done for his birthday. The chances of that happening are relatively slim, since the scarf is incredibly long, but I'm actually moving along at a relatively good pace. For me.

I knit in the American style, and I taught myself from the Internets, so I think I'm relatively inefficient with my knitting. My mother knits Continental and she can whip up a pair of mittens in a day. I haven't even really gotten increasing and decreasing down yet, hence: scarf.

The great thing about this particular scarf is the colour changes. A friend who knits looked at the pattern and was like, "wow, that's -- a lot of colour changes" as though it were a bad thing. But the thing is, it keeps me interested. Because I can look forward to the next colour.

I'm not doing the exact Tom Baker season 12, although that was the original intention. My needles are large and the colours are different, and so this particular version is going to be wider and possibly not quite as long, depending on how much yarn I end up with. I may end up changing the pattern a bit to accommodate my lack of yarn. But that said, I'm very pleased.

Will keep you posted.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Vesey's Seeds arrived!

I think Vesey's is trying to ruin me. How? Well, let me count the ways:
  1. I love winter. Now I want it to be over.
  2. Financially. Currently I want everything in the catalogue.
  3. My relationship may not survive the number of plants I want to add to the garden this year.
I also have to remember to buy my seeds from the local providers, if I can; I should really be saving Vesey's for the rare, hard-to-get stuff.

Also I just remembered I haven't protected the currant. I bet that the rabbits have already eaten it. The dogwood was free, so I don't mind so much, but I'm going to be very disappointed if they kill my currant.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

open letter to Stephen Harper

Dear sir,

Please stop presuming to tell me, as a Canadian, what I want or think. No, I do not think you have a stronger mandate this time around. No, I do not want you for my Prime Minister. I wanted Stephan Dion, who appears to be the last politician left with a sense of respect and any class at all. I have been listening to your sly verbal mooning of the opposition now that you have your way and have seven more weeks to continue to break apart the country along geographical lines. You appear to confuse "classy" with "slimy" and listening to your speech made me want to take a shower.

I do not want our children criminalized and I do support the arts, galas and all. I do not think that the Bloc is "the devil" and I frankly give the separatists my blessing. I would also like to separate and am thinking of cleaning up my French so that Quebec'll let me in. I am embarrassed to be Canadian right now. How can we tell the rest of the world that we support democracy? We're a bunch of hypocrites, with you at the helm.

Let me tell you, instead of having you tell me, what I think: I think you are a smug bully. I think you are a liar. I think you are authoritarian, if not downright dictatorial. I think you will stop at nothing to stay in power, including being viciously divisive in the name of "loving our country." Mr. Harper, the country you love is Alberta, and you seem to have forgotten about the rest of us. Even those Albertans who don't agree with you.

Democratic leaders don't desperately avoid votes that might actually be in the interests of the majority. As many have mentioned, your math is a little off: the majority of Canadians did not vote for you. The majority voted for anyone but you -- 63% of us voted for the opposition, Mr. Harper, so a coalition government that uses the tools given to them by the democratic process to take power, is actually a more democratic government than the government we have now.

If I had the confidence in you and the rest of your cabal to actually listen to the 63% of us who don't want you there, I would hope that the opposition would give you guys a chance because the country is completely dysfunctional at this point. However, I don't trust you. You have repeatedly proven that you do not have the desire to share power with anyone, and your policies are designed to keep you in power, sir, not for the good of the country. I've been trying to reconcile this avoidance of the vote with the good of the country, and I just can't. And perhaps that is what will eventually make Canadians wake up to the fact that our democracy, under your watch, is falling apart. The problem with being an autocrat is that it is very, very clear who is primarily to blame when things go horribly wrong.

Enjoy your holidays, Mr. Harper.

Monday, December 1, 2008

brownie attempt

As part of a group presentation I'm involved in today, I have baked (or am in the process of baking, to be entirely accurate) a pan of brownies. I have not baked brownies in a very, very long time, and I'm trying to remember if they look the way they should look. I think so. My mother used to make these brownies for every occasion where sweets might be required and they are rich and delicious like no other brownie I have ever eaten.

From Edna Staebler's Food That Really Schmecks:


Mix ingredients in the order given.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
pinch salt

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes in a greased cake pan.

Simple, right? It occurs to me that I forgot the salt, as I'm writing that down. Well. I guess they'll be that pinch more heart healthy. Heh.