Fall(ing)

24 11 2014

Fall is my favourite time of year. Summer has its moments, of course. But I’ve always loved that late September through mid-October time of year when the leaves start changing colours and you can walk around with a light jacket or big sweater and it’s still sunny but not sweating-out-of-your-ass hot, you know? It seemed like fall went by in the blink of an eye this year. Bummer. Already it’s snowed here in Toronto and most mornings last week I thought my face was going to freeze off on my walk to the subway.  I’m refusing to wear a winter coat until the temperature is locked on below -5 for at least a week. I’m stubborn and stupid that way. For now, my fall coat will have to do. And maybe I’ve got some mittens tucked away in my pocket. And a hat. And I’m likely wearing 2 pairs of socks.

Just before Halloween some friends and I drove out to St. Jacobs to hit up the main (and very busy) farmers market as well as the (much quieter and shockingly affordable and well organized/clean) antiques market across the road. Growing up my parents and I had a cottage nearby, so this special place holds a lot of memories for me. It was just as lovely as I remembered, albeit there were far fewer Mennonites. I stocked up on chutney and apples and ate some amazing pierogies. Was super tempted by all the meats and other food for sale but I’ve pretty much stopped pretending that I know how to cook.

Here are a few photos from the day.

St. Jacobs Farmers Market

St. Jacobs Farmers Market

St. Jacobs Antiques Market

St. Jacobs Antiques Market





From Worse to Worser

14 11 2014

Yeah, I know “worser” isn’t a word.

I had previously believed that the day my mom figured out how to text on her cell phone was to be my darkest hour. Then a few weeks ago she started with the emoticons. So I ask: which one of you has been teaching moms about texting emojis? Please, I beg you to stop.

Last weekend I boarded a flight to San Francisco, and before take-off I sent my mom a text letting her know that I was on my way. When I landed I turned my phone off airplane mode and was bombarded by a series of troubling and seemingly random images. I couldn’t tell if she was wishing me a nice trip or pictograming a home invasion in progress.

It turned out to be the former. At least I think so. When I asked if she was ok, my mom responded with an image of something that looked like maybe a flower and then something that was maybe a constipated face or a grenade. The jury’s still out on that one.

 





Currently on Repeat

2 11 2014

I had such grand plans for this morning. I was going to get up early and go to a 9 a.m. yoga class and then prepare some lunches for the week and do a bunch of laundry and start packing for my San Francisco trip next weekend. Instead, I’m on my third cup of tea and I’m wrapped up in a blanket on my couch and all I want to do is listen to this song on repeat. Happy Sunday!





Bits & Pieces

31 10 2014

Happy Friday and Happy Halloween!

It’s kind of perfect when Halloween falls on a Friday, no? Of course my office has been decorated for over a week. I’ll be finding pieces of the faux spiderweb my office mate and I have covered our walls and desks in for weeks, no doubt. Fingers crossed all the ghost stickers come off the door and walls!

Wishing you a safe and happy Halloween. Here are some bits and pieces that made my week:

  • Bette Midler covers TLCs ‘Waterfalls’ and it’s the best!
  • Obsessed with this wallpaper.
  • Budapest is at the top of my travel list right now, and this blog post is making me wish I was en route today!
  • Drooling. Can someone make this for me pleasepleaseplease?
  • I’m all about Ellie Goulding lately and have been listening to this song non-stop. SO GOOD.
  • Looks like this was a fun dinner party.
  • Speaking of Halloween, I’ll let you in on my costume inspiration this year. Wish me luck with the hair!
  • The TTC sucks most of the time these days, but Brad Ross does seem pretty cool. And we have the same taste in music. Can’t help but notice that he seems to ride his bike a lot…perhaps avoiding the notoriously brutal Toronto transit system?

xo





Shopping With My Mother

20 10 2014

I recently spent a few days hanging out with my mom. We watched an asston of movies on the ‘W’ Network, ate a disturbing amount of salt and vinegar chips and did a lot of shopping. Technically I did the shopping, but my mom loves joining me on these adventures. She knows my taste pretty well and is great with tricky zippers. She rarely balks when I drop $400 in 10 minutes and is great at acting surprised when I present her with the secret little presents I’ve bought for her during these outings. See, I hate shopping and I hate malls so when I do psych myself up for shopping it turns into something of an event that typically requires a nap after. My mother also lives near three massive outlet malls, which is a bonus. I can usually stock up for a season in under three hours.

It was during these shopping excursions (which also extended to a fun few hours in a Target, a Halloween decoration mission through Dollarama – of which her town has about 20 of) that I picked up a few interesting tidbits about my dear mother. Before I returned home I commented to her that although she seems very sweet she is, in fact, kind of a monster. My mother did not disagree; rather, she pretended to be embarrassed for about 30 seconds and then I added that I probably got my nasty side from her and she laughed and said “Oh probably. You’re kind of a cow.” But she said it in French so it sounded rather charming. Guys I’m not even making this up.

Here are some highlights:

1) My mother carries a full-sized brush in her purse. I know this because on three separate occasions she dug into her purse while casting concerned glances towards the general direction of my head and suggested I “might want to” brush my hair. She also did this in the middle of seeing a movie. I had to gently remind her that in the town she lives in wearing pajamas to the mall is considered appropriate, so I think the fine people at Target could handle my ‘I just tried on four sweaters’ hair. Then I snuck off to comb my hair in the electronics section, while squatting behind the rack of $5 DVDs so she wouldn’t see me. I carry a comb in my purse because that’s less crazy I think. Right? Moving on.

2) My mother is convinced that every single person in every single store we go in is trying to steal my purse. Just mine. When I head to a fitting room, she clutches my purse to her chest like it’s her job. I can’t even bring it into the room with me because inevitably I will wander out of that room to get her opinion on something I’m trying on and that is when everyone in the world ever will swoop in to steal my purse. And then she will be justified for her militant purse protecting skills.

3) While trying on dresses, my mom commented (in what I’m sure she believed was a nonchalant fashion): “You wear a lot of dresses to work. But you live ALONE. And you haven’t had a boyfriend in YEARS. Who helps you with your zippers?” My response? “The first person I run into when I leave my apartment, be it a homeless man, a barista or a stranger on the subway.” She did not find this amusing. I’ve actually done this twice. Mostly I just throw on a cardigan or jacket and wait until I get to work so my office mate can finish the job. Thanks H! Power to the single gals out there.

Other things I learned during our time together:

1) My mother likes to discuss the plots of various episodes of her favourite show ‘The Big Bang Theory’. She speaks as if these are people who exist in her life and comments on their decisions and multitude of personality quirks. I made the mistake of correcting her on a plot point of a particular episode I had just seen (because there’s always a Big Bang Theory marathon on, apparently) and she got so mad she half-yelled and a bit of her spit landed on my cheek.

2) Holy shit does she ever hate the guy from the Trivago commercials. As keen/borderline desperate as my mom is for me to pop out a kid, she has made it very clear that it cannot be with that guy. But she did mention that it “wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world” if I had a one night stand that led to a pregnancy. This from the same woman who sings in church every Sunday and gives me cut eye when I use the lord’s name in vain.

3) My mother currently has four half-empty (or half-full, if it pleases you) bottles of ketchup in her fridge. All are expired.

4) My mother has no idea what I do for a living. She mentioned this one night and I reminded her that she’s never actually asked. I said: “You could try asking me.” She replied: “I could.” And then she never asked me. But she’s determined to find out what floor of my office tower I work on because she is particularly worried that my untimely demise will be the result of a work-related incident in which my only chance at survival would’ve been to have an office no higher than the 3rd floor. I pepper our weekly phone calls with sentences like: “Yup, work is good. No complaints on the 93rd floor.” I can actually hear her heart stop during these conversations.

5) My mother has absolutely no problem telling all of her neighbours, church friends and random people who sell her lottery tickets  very personal details of my life, not limited to the name of the company I work for, my home address and my relationship status. I would not be surprised if her favourite teller at her local bank knows my social insurance number and full medical history. Interestingly, my mother will never, ever, throw out a piece of paper with her address on it (choosing to shred it or rip it into teeny tiny pieces) because she is convinced that as a 67 year old retired customer service representative she is an ideal target for identity thieves. I promise you she is not.

I find her fascinating. And she makes amazing crepes. So basically my mom is my favourite person.

 

 

 





Recipe Try: White(ish) Bean Chili with Chicken

2 10 2014

Confession: I’m a terrible cook.

Wait, scratch that. I might actually be amazing at it, I just wouldn’t know because I almost never cook. My life is a series of roti, sushi, and Portuguese chicken takeout. I’ve been known to eat a bag of pistachios for dinner and they just opened a fancy hot dog place near my apartment so game over. My pal MM reminds me of a night years ago when I did an oven baked fish and lemon roasted potatoes when she was over. I must’ve been high because I couldn’t even tell you how to lemon roast anything now. I’ve made the occasional pizza and I’ve had the girls over for tacos a few times. Does that count? Oh and one time I made R a chicken Greek pita thing and she didn’t die so that was fun.

Sometimes I forget I own a crockpot, which is a lazy bozo’s best friend when it comes to cooking. Despite unseasonably warm temperatures in Toronto last weekend (in the high 20s and nothing but sunshine) I decided to cook up a pot of white bean chili this weekend. But when I hit up the grocery store I became intimidated by the whiteness of kidney beans so I decided to do just one can of those and combine with two cans of ‘mixed’ beans. This recipe is so easy I’m almost embarrassed to call it cooking, but here we are.

Bonus points if you don’t dry heave while chopping up raw chicken.

Jenn’s White(ish) Bean Chili with Chicken

(Makes 4-5 servings maybe? I’m not mathy and I’m too lazy to count portions)

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cans of white or mixed beans (I used one can of white kidney beans and two cans of President’s Choice mixed beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 large as fuck boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces (if you want more chicken use two breasts, duh)
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic (I used about a tablespoon of the minced garlic you can buy in a jar)
  • 1 can of reduced sodium chicken broth (because you’ve gotta cut back somewhere)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Cheese to top (optional – I used old white cheddar, like a boss)
I've just noticed I set down all the cans with the French labels facing forward. My mom would be so proud.

I’ve just noticed I set down all the cans with the French labels facing forward. My mom would be so proud.

What to do:

  • Plug in crockpot
  • Dump all the above in said crockpot
  • Set to high
  • Cook for 6 hours (I removed the crockpot lid about 3 times to give it a good stir during the cooking process)
  • Don’t burn down your apartment

Got it?

Easy peasy.

Easy peasy in the crockpot.

It’s delicious. Try it.

 

Yum.

Yum.





Skeleton Twins

1 10 2014

A few nights ago I went to see Skeleton Twins. Have you heard of it? It stars Kristen Wiig (love) and Bill Hader (delightful) as estranged twins who reunite during tumultuous times in both their lives. Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell from Modern Family are also in it. It’s well written and touching and funny. Kristen and Bill have amazing chemistry (and worked together on Saturday Night Live). The trailer is below. The scene where they’re dancing to ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ by Starship has cemented itself as one of my favourite movie scenes of all time. I will totally admit that it was my favourite song when I was little.








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