Give cheese a chance

So on Monday I wrote about a few things that I have tried to bring into my life, that despite my most valiant efforts, remain firmly entrenched in the lonely city of No Way Jose, and far away from my day-to-day routine.

(Simply put, I cannot like them no matter how hard I try.)

La belle Suisse!

In response to said post, I received a pretty hilarious phone call from my father-in-law, who (being Swiss) was pretty darn unimpressed to read about my general (and enduring) distaste for soft cheeses.

“Argh!” He exclaimed. “I was so disappointed reading your last blog post. I cannot believe you don’t like soft cheese.”

“Don’t give me too much grief!” I responded. “I already know that people are judging me!”

“Well it’s obvious you’re just not eating the right kinds of soft cheeses…” he trailed off. “And that is just going to have to change!”

I sensed there to be plan a foot. (Seriously I could practically hear the cogs and wheels in his head turning at break neck speed – although not said aloud, it was pretty apparent that reading my words had awoken some kind of nationalistic need to bring me over to the dark side, dairy-wise.)

E (or Darth Gruyere as I have come to know him) is a man who really knows, and really loves his cheeses. I’m pretty sure at any given time, you could open his fridge and find at (the very least) four different kinds of cheese (and that’s not even counting those so-called “soy cheeses”) two of which would without a doubt originate in the motherland, or you know – Switzerland.

Add to the mix a good loaf of bread, some landjäger, and some Lindt chocolate for dessert, ship him off to a cabin in the alps, where he could hike and canoe at his leisure, and well, I’m not sure he’d need anything else for the rest of his days.

(On second thought I’m pretty sure he’d want to include the components for a rocking good salad, to the above mentioned foodstuffs. Because as awesome as I imagine a life-long supply of bread, cheese, and meat could be, one would eventually require some roughage – would they not? Plus he makes a darn good vinaigrette. Also, my mother-in-law is pretty much head constable of the vegetable police and wouldn’t like the idea of spending forever sans garden candy.)

Seriously, no she wouldn’t like that one bit.

For reals. If you run into her, ask her about GOMBS – it’ll give you super-immunity and phenomenal badminton skills.

Anywho, on the topic of cheese, last night Mr. M and I had a fabulous fondue, made from raclette, white wine, a touch of brandy, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.

NOMNOMNOM

We dipped fresh French bread and pink lady apples into this sweet, smooth, melted madness – it was decadent and filling in the extreme.

After dinner we watched Canada’s Handyman (or woman, or woman) Challenge and completed New York Times’ crosswords; ate heart cookies and lemon bars; drank tea and enjoyed the fire.

Nymeria chose to contemplate her life, staring intensely into the flickering flames. Either she’s finally figured out a way to take over the world, or she’s solved cold fusion.

Same thing as I do every night Pinky...

I’ll keep you posted.

Between the food, the fire, and our funny, funny conversations I was pretty much knocked off my feet by 9:30. It makes me laugh to think of a Valentine’s when you cannot even keep your eyes open past ten o’clock at night – next year I’ll ask for one of those walk-in bathtubs.

Nothing says romance like sitting in your private, old-lady baignoire waiting for your water to drain so you don’t flood the entire floor.

If the ins and outs of plumbing, or just bathroom apparatuses in general aren’t your bag, here are my four of my favourite movies about “love” (this word can be interpreted in many different ways) that are hilarious, moving, and overall brilliant.

1. Rushmore

“Maybe I’m spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays. I should probably be trying harder to score chicks.”

2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

“Dwayne told me. Chuck told me. Even Rachel told me. I heard about it from everybody. You gotta stop talking about it. It’s like “the Sopranos.” It’s *over*. Find a new show.”

3.Four Weddings and Funeral

“A toast before we go into battle. True love. In whatever shape or form it may come. May we all in our dotage be proud to say, “I was adored once too.”

4. Annie Hall

“A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.”

So what about you folks? What movies make you laugh, at love, or otherwise?

Or more importantly, what cheese, amongst other rations would you need to survive a lifetime living in the wilds of the Matterhorn?

For the best day of my life

Hi friends,

As a palette cleanser from my last post, I would like to offer you a portrait of some of the incredibly rad ladies who populate my life, who not only accept me for my bonkers self, but who make me at least sixty-five percent less likely to blow a rage-out gasket and/or move to Baffin Island for a life of solitude and frost-bite.

Last week whilst I was out to lunch (there’s a double meaning in there somewhere, I’m sure of it) my mother phoned and left me the most heart-warming, highly comedic voice mail that perhaps has ever been recorded.

It went something like this:

Okay, let me explain why this photo of my mom is one of my favorite ever (she's the one all in black with the hood) A hurricane arrived just as my cousin was set to wed, so my mom went in her rain gear and helped keep everyone under control. Awesome sauce.

Hi there. You’re probably out somewhere, trying on clothes and taking photos of yourself, you weirdo. Just wanting to chat and I’ll try to you again later. Bye!

Holy smokes. This nearly bowled me over when I listened to it.

And while I wasn’t out skulking around my favourite fashion haunts, just knowing that this is what she pictures me doing on my lunch breaks not only cracks me up, but fills me with such a simple, sublime happiness, I could probably power a small household appliance (or at the very least, a key-chain flashlight) from the wattage of my smile alone.

Love you mom!

Today, along with of my two lovely coworkers, A and J, I ventured out at lunch in search of food-truck treats and a reprieve from the cloying warmth that has infiltrated our otherwise freezing office space. Seriously, the place is normally plagued by random frosts and sub-zero temperatures. Brutal!

Unfortunately, the establishment we were hoping to buy from had a 1+ hour wait (for a grilled cheese from a van? Outrageous!) so we decided to try out the Philly cheesetake cart and its offerings.

This, in retrospect was not the greatest choice, especially on my end – I don’t know whose idea it was to put fried onions, processed cheese and thousand island salad dressing on top of French fries AND THEN MARKET IT, but having tasted that vile concoction, I believe it should probably be banned in all ten provinces, and three territories.

Bletch.

A and J were wonderful in so far as they didn’t mercilessly mock me (when it could have been oh-so-easy) on my choice of food (and in my defence let me say I didn’t know the cheese would be processed and that the “secret sauce” would be the dressing equivalent of a bloody archipelago), nor did they take the piss out of me when they saw what said “meal” looked like.

Their food wasn't much better but at least there was no salad dressing to be found.

I kind of wish I had a picture to post on the blog, but at the same time I really don’t need to be reminded of that hot mess of a plate for the discernable future (aka for the rest of my life.)

These two ladies are brilliant, and beautiful (both inside and out) and make my days at work (especially the ones where my stress level is ratcheted up to eleven) considerably less overwhelming. Plus they can turn a lunch populated by long-line ups and tasteless gruel into a fun, funny outing where conversations range from the etymology of the word ma’am, to the absurdity of men’s couture fashion.

Because that stuff is just darn bizarre.

Finally, while I am not intimately acquainted with these women (in fact, I not acquainted with any of them in any sense of the term) I have had the opportunity to watch many of the Olympic Women’s Qualifying Soccer (erm – Football) Tournament and it has been awesome! Sure, the talent disparity between many of the teams exists, and has been evidenced by quite a few blowouts (mostly from the hands of the highly-skilled, incredibly fit American team) but I have really enjoyed watching the different teams play and interact with one another.

Now, you can ask anybody and they’ll tell you that I have been that big of a soccer fan – in fact I’ve lived the majority of my life with a never-hidden (and often voiced) aversion to the sport, but I feel as though this tournament has somehow completely erased this condition and replaced it with a healthy need to learn more, watch more, and maybe even play a game or two (I just need to get over my fear of headers. They scare the crap out of me.)

Our tickets on our, erm, colourful cork board.

I was supposed to go to two games last Friday, but alas the terms of my illness dictated that I couldn’t leave the confines of my living room, wrapped in a blanket, plunked down on the couch.

However, Mr. M and I will be going to the finals this coming Sunday and I am very excited to see the game live, and gather energy and inspiration from the passion, teamwork and dedication on display from these remarkable women.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again (and again, and again) – the power of sport is something to behold, and the way it brings together such a vibrant mix of people, from disparate countries and cultures serves as terrific reminder of the beauty and strength inherent to humanity that is so often lost among the folds of everyday life.

So thank you to the competitors, the dynamic duo that is Ms. A and J, and of course my answering machine comedienne mom. You, and all the other strong, stimulating women in my life help me breathe and believe.

A cup of kindness

It’s pretty crazy to think that we are only two days away from beginning a new year.

I don’t know whether time is speeding up, or if I am slowing down, but events seem to be happening at a much quicker pace, than say, ten years ago.

So, to whomever turned up the dial on the world’s treadmill, could you slow it down a tad friend? I need to catch my breath and get my bearings!

I find that doing something that really pushes your physical and mental limits is a great way to help both time run away from you, and yet somehow make it hang suspended in mid-air, like some crazed escape artist, hanging from a tightrope wire.

For instance, yesterday, M, my dad, and I climbed Mount Haystack, all 3560 feet high and 8.6 miles long of it.

DO IT.
Just a hop, skip and a jump to the summit!

It was an adventure and a half, especially seeing as though for the actual ascent we didn’t have a marked path.

I have never scrambled up so much loose rock in my life.

I have never been pricked by two different types of cacti, nor have I ever seen a coyote while mid-mountain descent ( they are usually only skulking around my backyard back home).

Nor have I ever seen a view quite like this one before:

This is the definition of man-made (and man-maintained).

We started out at 7:30am, to get a jump on the crowds (there weren’t any) and the heat (there was quite a lot of this).

It was a seriously fun, seriously taxing hike.

Other things that I learned while out on the trail:

1. Barrel-head cacti always grow leaning to the south, and look like giant prickly cucumbers.

Keep those barrels rolling. ROLL HIGH!

2. An oasis will crop up in just about the most remote, random place that you could ever imagine.

Yet not a drop to drink.

3. Making your sandwich with a tomato in it the night before is never a good idea, even if you think you’ve protected the bread with both lettuce and cheese, because the lettuce and cheese will also make it grow soggy.

I don't have a photo of my sandwich so please accept this glowing cactus.

4. I am the queen of the world.

Leo ain't got nothing on me.
A room, erm, peak with a view!

It’s quite insane to really mediate on 2012 as a tangible, real thing. I remember ringing in 2000 as if it was yesterday.

You've got to put one foot, in front of the other...

It’s not that I am weary of the new year, but more curious, filled with a subtle sense of wonderment about all the new (and completely bonkers) adventures I will embark on next.

So here, in no particular order are my resolutions for the approaching three hundred and sixty-five days:

– Run the Victoria marathon in 3:30:00 – Begin training in April, qualify for Boston in October.

– Travel, explore and take on the (sometimes scary) unknown with the love of my life, Mr. M.

MISTER M!

– Continue having a positive relationship with food and my body, because without this, there is no way I will be able to accomplish numbers 1 and 2.

I am also so happy to be writing regularly again through Rant and Roll.

Many, many thanks to all of my fabittyfabfab readers and subscribers. Your encouragement, comments and support mean the world to me! Without a doubt, you all make my little, slightly daft heart smile!

I wish you all a brilliant and beautiful coming year, free of prejudice, and bias, but always REMEMBER: should you encounter any of this in your daily life, do not despair, for after I wrench myself from the corner from whence I have curled myself up in the fetal position, I WILL TAKE THEM ON AND I WILL CRUSH THEM!!!

FOR I AM THE ERADICATOR!!!

Erm…

Smile, little heart. SMILE!

Happy New Year to you all!

– Ethel the Dean.

Three things I did this Christmas

1. Cried. Quite a bit actually. This, however, is not too big of a deal. I cry quite a lot, and can be set off at a moment’s notice due to, well, pretty much anything. From the overly banal (X-Files episode), to the adorable animal (please see below video), to the familial. It probably wouldn’t be much of a Christmas without a few tears shed, for either good or bad.

 

Heck, it’s tradition.

2. Went for a run. This is also becoming a bit of a Christmas tradition. I like to venture out in the early morning, when the

Awesome socks is the new awesome sauce.

rest of the world is still snuggled up in their beds (dreaming of sugar plums, or little toy drums). Irrespective, M and I bundled up to face the freezing winds, and gray-tinged skies, and ran laps around Queen’s park, which was dark, and slick, and yet beautiful and magical in all of its festive splendor.

You always feel as though a special kinship ties you to all the other early morning runners, and although you may share but a simple head nod, it’s enough to make your blood run a little warmer, and strides stretch a little longer.

Ready to rock. I mean rant. I mean RUN!

M also bought me some super sweet running socks that I was eager to try out (they were tucked neatly into my stocking with some great books and chocolate). He gets exasperated (and rightly so) with my inability to keep my socks with their rightful pair, so each set he gave me was colour coded a different colour, to insure that they (as pairs) have a long shelf (erm…drawer) life together.

They were ridiculously comfortable and made for a brilliant run. To paraphrase F. Gump, they were “magic socks.”

3. Bought a real tree. As I wrote before, this was the first year that M and I celebrated Christmas in our home together, so it was very exciting that we were able to purchase a beautiful little pine that has been quite the dazzling addition to our humble abode – whether it be its excellent aromas, or how much colourful decor it adds to our living room.

The Royal Tannenbaum

It’s was also great fun to decorate it with our mishmash of different ornaments that we have collected over the years. We are sent new ones every year from the East Coast and we have also been lucky enough to have been gifted ones from M’s parents.

My mother has also begun the tradition of sending us a stocking every year in our gift package. It’s fantastic! Currently, for a household of two adults and one kitty we have five stockings.

Outrageous.

We’re hoping that as the years press on, Santa just becomes more and more confused, forcing him to fill them all lest he

Gingerbread lane.

leave someone out.

Just don’t tell him.

No doubt I’ve probably just bought myself a first class ticked to the naughty list. Alas, it’ll just give me another reason to cry.

Happy Holidays friends!