So, in the past two days my dick of a landlord has turned off our heat, turned it back on, acted surprised when the pipes froze, didn't fix the frozen pipes, removed our old heater, put a new one in, and then *eventually* turned the heat back on to a toasty 13 degrees.
That man is building up some bad karma, let me tell you. Especially considering that it was -30 while this was going on.
The only good thing to come out of this weekend is that we got to bond with our neighbours. They were out of heat for an entire day, so we had them over for dinner during one of those brief moments when the house wasn't frigid.
Anyways. I apologize if things are quiet here... But venting about my landlord is about all I can muster. In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of Morty creating a drool sprinkler. When he starts shaking himself like this, we all duck.
I seem to have hurt my hand - maybe from scrolling all day with a mouse, maybe from wrapping Morty's leash around my fingers from his walk, probably both. Either way, the timing blows, considering that I need to type extensively every day this month.
Besides icing it and using this handy muscle relaxing cream, I will just have to ignore it and hope it goes away. A flawless plan. I can't possibly see it going wrong.
In better news, I got a card today from one of my only pen pals. I try to exchange cards with my good friends when I remember to.... But this one friend, Jude, is a real letter writing kinda gal. She and I have been writing to each other for years, and our exchanges have survived several moves (mostly on her part).
Let me tell you a few things about Jude, because she's a pretty neat lady.
- I met her at a lesbian music festival because she was stoned off her ass and looking for people to chat with.
- My friends and I once camped out in her strange old backyard that backed out onto the highway. I have always wondered who lives right on a giant highway - now I know.
- She once got in trouble at work for wearing a t-shirt that said "Dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians." Who gets offended by these things? If someone at my work wore a shirt like that, I would love them forever.
- Her favourite things to send me are greeting cards from random charities. Once she sent me a package of cards featuring lions with rainbow manes. It was weird and cool, and very Jude.
I like getting her letters. They are always short and sweet, but so nice to read. I'm a total sucker for a nice, long, thoughtful e-mail.... But with Jude, there is really nothing like a nicely-written note.
Do any of you have pen pals? My only other pen pal was when I was in grade four or so. We all got assigned a pen pal from Italy - I think the point was to let the Italian kids practice their English, and let us practice... Well... Our English. I remember my pen pal being nice, although she once told me she got a "French-English dick for Christmas."
I guess that got lost in translation. Perhaps there are benefits to bilingual penises, but frankly, it's not a requirement of mine. (Yes yes, I know she meant dictionary. But dudes, it's pretty funny. You know it.)
By popular demand, the lentil recipe I was raving about. It's from the lovely Orangette, and she goes into lots of detail on her post.
By the way, this dish looks like hell. Seriously... It's not a pretty bowl of lentils. It looks like slop. Obviously the taste is amazing, but if you have a picky partner or family, take Orangette's advice and gussy your plate up with a nice green salad on the side.
I know that the proper way to carmelize onions is to let them cook a long long time until they are brown and sweet. HOWEVER. Allow me to propose a cheat, if you will, that could save you some time and not sacrifice any flavour. Instead of cooking the onions for a million years, I cook them until they are very soft, maybe twenty minutes, and then I sprinkle a small amount of sugar on them. For my giant cast iron pan full of onions, I used about half a teaspoon of sugar (and the sugar I used was that light brown organic stuff, because that's what I had). Then I turn up the heat a bit and watch the onions carmelize at super speed. Keep stirring to make sure the sugar doesn't burn. It's a great trick, and the onions taste like heaven when they are all perfectly browned.
Another tweak.... I adore short grain brown rice, and that's what I used instead of basmati. Be warned if you go this route: you will need about four times the water, and it will take well over an hour for everything to soak up. If that seems too long for you, go with basmati and you'll have a delicious dish in no time. If you are a brown rice addict like me, it's worth the extra time.
I think I need to opt for a list-post, because my brain is a bit wonky today and it's probably that or nothing.
1. I may get to spend a week in Montreal this summer writing songs. To clarify, I'd be renting an apartment and locking myself in there with my instruments. I'll either write songs of die of boredom. My bet is on writing, but my track record has been bad lately. To be continued.
2. It might be time for me to purge my Facebook list. There are so many people on there I don't really know anymore, and have no desire to know anymore. I also have a few people on there who have gotten so annoying that I've hidden them from my view. One guy took to posting drunken weird things on my wall.... And I've never actually met him. Unfriend, sucka.
3. My food mojo has been ROCKING lately. I made a lentil dish last night that should have fed my BH and I a few times over, but instead we gobbled everything up. It's especially great because the dish probably costs under $2 in supplies, and it tastes like a million bucks. Thank you, food gods.
4. I nearly opened a can of whoop-ass on my landlord last night because he thought it would be cool to install molding and use a shop vac at 9:30pm. My BH had just gotten off a 12-hour shift and needed to sleep. Something broke in my brain and I went and had words with the contractors. If they think I'm a bitch, that's cool with me. At this point, I see that as being a good thing. Contractors listen to bitches - particularly the angry ones.
5. I'm taking a tiling course this weekend with my mom. Have I told you about my awesome mom? She's the best. Anyways.... We're going to learn about tile and mud and fun things like that. I'm pretty thrilled.
6. I was worried that my terrible work schedule would mean dropping out of choir. Thankfully, I not only get to stay, but they will be flexible with the repertoire to make sure I can catch up. I LOVE CHOIR.
7. Unfortunately, I may have to increase my security settings for comments. I'm starting to get daily spam and it's driving me nuts. Forgive me. If I do tweak things, I hope you'll still leave me messages - I love them so!
I swear you'll get a proper post next time....
I had a really inspirational musical morning that I'm excited to tell you about. For now though, I'm too exhausted to go into details... So exhausted that I may throw in a load of laundry and pass out here on the couch for a while.
I don't want to leave you empty-handed, so I'll post a few pictures I discovered on the camera after my BH took it out to the woods with him. Morty is such a little bad ass.
My BH returns tonight! I'm so pumped!
He also just finished his very last university exam EVER. If that's not cause for celebration, I don't know what is. After he's done his placements this semester, we'll be home free... Or at least adjusting to life with two full-time workers.
Yes, there will be some enthusiastic debt repayment, but I'm still thrilled. CONGRATS BH!
It's weird, but just knowing there's a light at the end of the post-secondary tunnel relaxes me. The things that have been stressing me out now seem manageable. Maybe I'll change my mind later, but at the moment I'm feeling pretty happy with life.
I realize that my work schedule next month will make me comparatively grumpy, so I'll just enjoy the high while it's here.
Another reason to celebrate? My new landlords appear to be done installing the floors upstairs, so minus the painting and trim work, the days of the jackhammer are gone.
Fuck it feels nice to say that.
Having my BH out of the house for a week has made me realize something.
I have no idea how to hang out by myself.
I'm terrible at it. I sit around looking lost for about 45 minutes, and then I do laundry. Sometimes I eat my stash of chocolate. I make a lot of tea.
After a couple days of that nonsense, I replaced laundry with cooking. I cooked and cooked and cooked. I turned up the radio and danced around the kitchen. I tried to make Morty dance with me (he resisted with some very annoyed-sounding grunts). I watched a movie or two.
My only real social interaction this week (other than work) has been a beer and some pho with Milan. And I only managed that because I guilted him into coming with me. This line sealed the deal: "So, you aren't coming to pho because you don't like me? I see."
Terrible, but it works. Thanks for the fun times, Milan!
I'll manage the next couple of days, but I'm really looking forward to having my BH back home. Partly for the conversation, but also because he's just so damn CUTE.
I received some news this week. It's both good and bad, but since I've had time to reflect, I'd say it's mostly bad.
I will be working every weekend in February, full shifts, Saturdays and Sundays. This is on top of my 8 - 9 hour daily shifts on weekdays. So, yes, I'm working 34 days in a row, if you do the math with a calender handy.
WHAT THE FUCKING SHIT.
I guess the good news is that I will get assloads of overtime. But at what cost? My mental stability? I had accepted to work weekends because I had been told it would only be for the occasional Sunday. How wrong I was.
When I was a student, I worked three part-time jobs in my last year on top of my full course load. One job was a TA in radio editing. One was at the CBC. One was in government. Jobs that required my actual attention. I was also gigging a fair amount.
I went many months without a real day off, and I survived. But DUDES. I am out of practice. I haven't needed to be a brain-eating zombie in a long time. I've become accustomed to going home and making dinner. I like having these luxurious things called "weekends."
It's especially laughable that I've been turning down gigs because I am "writing an album" this winter. When the fuck am I going to do that, self? Hmmm? Damn good thing I didn't take on any shows, I guess.
Also, I may have to drop out of choir, since I can't actually make any of the rehearsals. That's probably what's making me the most upset. I'm finally in love with choir again. I don't want to stop.
Anyway. For those kind souls about to comment and ask me why I don't just say no, I can assure you... If it wouldn't totally screw over my team and hurt my career, I would. But at this point, it's a short-term pain thing. Luckily, I pretty much adore my co-workers.
In other more hilarious news, this morning Morty mounted my cloth shopping bag on our walk and humped the crap out of it. Since I was holding it at the time, it looked especially strange. And kinda awesome. I don't know what he was thinking... He's not much of a humper.
I successfully distracted him with a tripe cookie.
God I love my insane dog.
My BH is gone for the week; he's housesitting for friends in the woods again. So far I've filled my non-work hours playing with Morty at the park and ordering sushi because I don't feel like cooking.
Life could certainly be worse.
Other than the towering pile of laundry that needs addressing, I think I'll spend the weekend doing two things: trying to distract Morty with peanut butter treats, and then locking myself in the bedroom to write songs while he howls outside the door. I'm dying to try out the vintage concertina my BH got me for Christmas. It's just so damn pretty.
Speaking of songwriting....
I often collect song ideas in a little booklet - they can be words, situations, locations, etc. The problem with this system is that I rarely have the book on me when I get the urge to write. Maybe the solution is to keep a list somewhere online where I can access it from a variety of spots. I could also duct tape the little booklet to my chest a la Steve Urkel. Tough call.
That's all I've got for now folks. Over and out, and thank God it's Friday.
Heather and I now own exactly the same coat and exactly the same winter boots. She's about a foot taller than me, so if we ever stroll around the neighbourhood together, I will look like her munchkin twin. That is quite possibly the greatest thing ever. Maybe we should start a band called Munchkin Twin?
My BH and I have been assured that the renos upstairs will only go on for another week. Meanwhile, my charming new landlords have decided to change up our furnace from oil to gas, and as a result, have torn up my street to put in the lines. Torn. Up. My. Street. After having torn up our hallway and subjecting us to jackhammer sounds for a month and a half. That is quite possibly the shittiest thing ever.
I had a gift certificate for a hot stone massage lying around, waiting to be used. I'll finally get around to it this weekend. I have no idea what it will be like, but I imagine it will be better than my Indian massage experience (HOLY HELL, I just went looking for my Indian massage post and discovered that it does not exist! How have I not written about this? Maybe it was on an older blog? You are in for a treat when I get around to writing it down. It involves spanking and nudity, and I was expecting neither.)
In choir, there is a girl with the same name as me. To avoid confusion, everyone will be using my high school nickname instead of my full name. I have a few close friends who still use my nickname, and I love it.... But man, I feel like I've been thrown backward in time. Think about it: my old high school teacher runs the choir, and all the members are people I went to school with. When I close my eyes, I can practically smell the lockers, drama mats and cafeteria food. Maybe THAT'S why I've been getting urges to shave half my head and dye my hair green...
I have stopped freaking out about a variety of things. Life will be a bit crazy over the next six months or so, but I will manage. The panic is subsiding, and it is being replaced with a strange calm. Yes, it is the calm before the storm, but I am hopeful that I won't lose my shit during the howling gale.
As I expected, singing with the church choir over the past few months reminded me of how much I love group singing. Although the timing of these rehearsals isn't terribly convenient, I'm going to make a real effort to show up.
We sang through a handful of numbers - very quickly, actually. I'm not used to singing with such experienced sight readers (as fun as the church choir was, it wasn't really advanced). We read through an R. Murray Schafer piece that is so damn hard, I have no idea how we will pull it off, experienced sight readers or not.
If you're curious about how a choral piece could really be that tricky, take a moment and watch this choir tackle it. Choir isn't for chumps, yo. (Some people are under the impression that being in a choir isn't as cool as being in, say, a brass ensemble. I respectfully disagree. You don't get any cooler than a mastered Schafer piece. Pfffft, parades.....)
I wish I had something a little more stimulating to tell you about, but I'm spent. Must be all those weird pentatonic scales.
My brain has been so full lately that I can't get to sleep. No matter what time I crawl into bed, my thoughts run on a hamster wheel until about 2am.
It's draining me.
It gets especially bad when my BH needs to get up at 5:30am. His alarm clock usually wakes me, and then, y'know.... Three hours of sleep before I hit the office.
(A couple of folks have used the old "just wait until you have kids" line on me when I mention my drastic lack of sleep, but here's the thing: I don't have kids yet. I'd like to enjoy sleeping through the night while I still can. Two to three hours is not cool when I have to work all day.)
Not everything sucks, though....
The renovations on the apartment upstairs are nearly done. Hopefully within a week or so, the drilling will stop.
I got invited to a party where I get to dress up as a gay lumberjack.
Morty is behaving like a giant snuggly bear, and I love it. I bought him a rainbow bandana so that he is properly dressed up when Pride rolls around again.
Milan will be back soon, and when regains feeling in his butt after being stuck on a bus for ten years, I can hear all about his trip.
My BH is super awesome and took me on a hot coffee date last night. I love those.
So. that's my wee list of happy things. Even on three hours of sleep, I can appreciate them.
Today I found out what my work schedule will look like over the next six months, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a mini panic attack right there in the board room.
The days of saying I have a pretty chill job are OVAH, my dear readers. Bring the crazy. This may kill my songwriting mojo for good.
In order to distract myself from the impending meltdown, I'd like to direct you all to my good friend XUP's blog. She needs help with a letter from a reader, and it's really too good not to check out. That's not gay talk, that's natural talk. (You'll have to read the post to get it) (It's really worth it, I promise)
Isn't the internet amazing? All the psychos you try to avoid in everyday life, funneled into your inbox.
But seriously, speaking of the internets, I'm starting to notice a trend. I've got more and more friends dropping off Facebook, leaving their blogs, unplugging themselves from the world wide web. At the same time, sites like Twitter are exploding (admittedly, I still don't get the appeal of this one), and iPhones / Blackberries see to it that people are never more than a click away from their mail.
Where's the balance? Where are we headed?
I think I could go either way. Right now, I love me some technology. I like having access to my e-mail, my blog, my other sites and my friends with the touch of a button or two.
However, if I ever felt that I had one too many trolls, or one too many psychotic e-mails, I would consider changing my lifestyle dramatically. Kill the sites, shut down the account, and get by with the basics. I've done it before in the face of The Crazy, and I would do it again. No regrets.
I know that I've been warned of certain creeps by my friends online, and I've warned others. Generally, it's manageable with a good community and a beefy stat counter.
What about you? Stalkers and creeps are an unfortunate part of the internet... But how much is too much? What would make you unplug? Where is your line between funny / strange / scary?
So far 2010 has brought a lot of snow. That's really the most interesting thing I can say out of the last four days I spent mostly inside. Every time I went outdoors, there was more snow to shovel. Morty thought that was the coolest thing EVER.
(I honestly think his fondness for snow is mostly tied to its edibility - if he couldn't consume it, he'd probably find it annoying.)
My BH and I did leave our cave Sunday afternoon to see Sherlock Holmes. It was entertaining, and I would watch it again, but mostly for that topless fighting scene. Sorry, but it's true - I have a dangerous weakness for Robert Downey Jr. When he is topless. And fighting.
After the movie, we stopped into Old Navy to return a sweater I bought. It was a men's hoodie in a medium, and while it fit me and was pretty loose, it wasn't GIANT. And that's what I wanted. A giant men's hoodie that I could put on and curl up in. Something I can wipe my hands on, fall asleep in, get coffee in, operate power tools in, or fit someone else in with me.....
I already own a hoodie like this, but I've used it so much that it is covered in grease stains and it's torn all over. My BH has been bugging me to replace it with something slightly less ugly for, oh, about a year.
I know you're DYING to know how this story ends. Wait no more! I returned the not-baggy-enough sweater and bought a perfectly giant sweater to replace it. I'm in love with the thing - it's already fully worn in, complete with flour hand marks and Morty drool. I'm sad that it's not suitable for work, because I could live in my giant hoodie if I was allowed.
Now that you are totally enthralled, I must leave you. There are some errands I need to run in that strange, ongoing blizzard out there. Thank goodness I have my hoodie, hm?
2009 ended with such a pathetic bang that I am thrilled to usher in a new year.
Just to clarify, my January 1st was spectacular. My BH and I spent the day with our good friends, and did nothing but eat, veg, nap, and watch movies. Hard to beat Trailer Park Boys and a good cup of tea.
December 31st, however, was a giant shit show. And I mean that literally.
Without going into some rather icky details, I'll just list what went wrong: Morty crapped in our friends' basement several times, which is actually quite unlike him. My BH became suddenly ill and hurled up his guts with such enthusiasm that we had to make a very quick exit from the restaurant. And I stupidly wore a shirt that was so low cut, I thought my girls were going to make a run for it. Not super practical when cleaning puke off a wall.
Oh! I should also mention that when the puking incident happened, it took place directly in front of my dear friend who has.... Wait for it.... A PUKE PHOBIA. Yes. True story.
So, to recap.... Poop, vomit, untamed boobs and voila! NEW YEARS. Goodbye, 2009. Thanks for the sendoff.
Please tell me your celebrations went a little smoother than mine.
At least things have improved significantly since then, and I've thankfully caught up on some sleep. Tomorrow there will be dim sum, maybe some Sherlock Holmes, and possibly some songwriting time at Milan's place.
Hi, 2010. It's nice to meet you.