Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hark! The laptop has returned!

Yay, sing a song! Do a spin! Shout to the rooftops! My laptop is BACK!!!

I can blog for real again!

Let's just enjoy this a moment, shall we, this wonderful moment where I'm not trying to access all my blog functions on a tiny, bare-bones mobile app? Let's enjoy the simple pleasure of uploading a photo.

Ha! Wondrous day! Now, wait for it....

Yes!!!! Right-side alignment!Sing the praises of the heavens above!

Callooh callay! It is once again possible to embed a video! We have returned from the stone age, my darlings. (PS. It's worth the watch.)

O, glorious joy of changing my font size, colour, and style!

The world is my oyster again. And I have 32 colours to enjoy it in.

So let out a boisterous cheer and raise a pint to the techie nerds who got my darling laptop back on his feet. Huzzah, you pale, hunchbacked computer geeks. I tip my hat at your scrawny, comic-themed-shirt-clad selves. Staying indoors all those years, growing pasty and never talking to girls, was worth it all. Your sacrifice will be remembered, nerds! I thank you.

All this to say: I'm back, and I'm blogging. Maybe in bold.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mini-post: I am the nutter on the street corner

Our laptop is in the laptop hospital, so blogging has been difficult. To pass the time, I'm writing mini-posts until my precious computer is returned to me. Here's another.

Today I went grocery shopping, and my bestie MJ called me at the same time. I had my handsfree thing in my ear as I entered the store, and our chat carried on through my entire shopping excursion--even the part where I argued with the cashier about a gift card. As I was heading to the exit, a pretty gal about my age was walking through the doors and made eye contact with me; I must have been smiling at something MJ was saying because this girl smiled back at me, but I wasn't actually paying attention to her, and she clearly hadn't noticed my handsfree thingy. Anyway, MJ was telling me about how the olives on the pizza she'd just ordered smelled funny, so I was reassuring her, saying, "Sometimes olives smell funny, honey." The timing worked out that I said this rather odd sentence just as the grocery store girl was passing right in front of me. The poor thing clearly thought I'd opened my mouth to address her, maybe thinking we knew each other, and instead of a hello, she got, "Sometimes olives smell funny, honey." Grocery Store Girl giggled nervously and took off. MJ was still debating whether or not to eat her pizza, so I just shrugged and walked on.

I should probably mention that this is the same grocery store where I'd previously stolen a woman's grocery cart and had been observed sorting through the stranger's groceries til I'd found all the produce I wanted. (If you haven't read that post, now's your chance.) I won't be surprised if my photo is up in their security office soon.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mini-post: Toronto without a skirt

Miss me? Oh, how I miss you, too. As mentioned in passing a couple of weeks ago, the household laptop is broken, making it near impossible to upload a proper blog post. My laptop's name is Darth Bleeblo (for reasons I won't bother trying to explain); Darth Bleeblo had some sort of stroke a couple weeks ago, and she's been off travelling to the laptop hospital or wherever it is that she goes when she's still under warrantee. She's giving the repair guys a run for their money, I hear: she's demanded special-order parts, and she even managed to eat her warrantee papers during shipment. All this has led to a slow recovery, and has made it virtually impossible to upload a blog post properly. But I have decided to post mini-blogs until she gets back from the shop, so you don't miss out on too much and so I don't lose my mind. Because once you get used to telling the world your stories 2-3 times per week, it's hard to shut up.


This week I went to Toronto to see my BFF, MJ. You'll recall MJ moved to the big TO this past summer, leaving me grief-stricken and miserable, until finally I cracked and planned a trip to go see her. I am not a natural traveller, which probably is obvious for those who know about my anxiety disorder and OCD. Luckily, my plans coincided with the plans of my other BFF, Hal; so I had safe and stress-free wheels to get me there, and even a hotel room for the three of us to hide out in. 

On the first morning, MJ and I got up at the crack of dawn and quickly dressed to go outside for a smoke, trying hard not to wake up Hal. Hastily, I decided not to change out of my PJ's--little satin boxers and a tank top--but instead simply threw a stretchy wrap skirt over my bottom half, and a jacket over my top half. Feeling suitably dressed for standing on a Toronto sidewalk, we headed downstairs. 

I had to pee, but hadn't wanted to risk waking up Hal, so I told MJ to go ahead outside while I used the loo in the hotel lobby. When I finished and went to wash my hands, though, I looked in the mirror and realized that I was standing there in my tank top, jacket, and little satin skirt. I whirled around and checked the stall to find my skirt, figuring the wrap ties had come undone: nope, no skirt there. A cold sweat broke out along my spine as I began to mentally trace my steps, trying to figure out where my skirt could have come off, and how I'd failed to notice. I spun around and around in the bathroom, hissing under my breath, "What kind of horrid nightmare is this?!" There was no way I could go out and find MJ on the street wearing tiny silk boxers, and there was no way I was going to walk back through the lobby, with all those bellboys dressed in suits.

At some point in my panicked stupor, I must have looked in the mirror again and noticed that my waistline looked a little rounder than usual. I did a double take and put my hands to my midriff; there, sure enough, was a jumbled bunching of fabric. With shaking hands, I slowly unfurled my bunched-up skirt from where it had been concealed under my bomber jacket. Clearly, I'd hitched my skirt up to pee, far enough up that it was tucked up around my waist. Covered by my jacket, it had seemed to disappear. 

I share this story because I know someone, somewhere out there, has embarrassed themselves this week, and will take heart in hearing s/he's not alone. Misery does love company.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thanksgiving Revisited: the horror

Our computer has been in the shop all week, so it's been near-impossible to get a new post up. But what I AM able to do is share last year's Thanksgiving post with you all again--the Reader's Digest version. If you want the full, gory story, click here.


Thanksgiving weekend ended up being full of adventures, many culinary. I threw myself into the deep end of the pool on Saturday: Mom’s family was getting twenty-five of us together and I volunteered to bring the sweet potatoes. To be fair, I hadn’t realized there would be twenty-five people when I volunteered, but when I found out the night before, I was brave and just bought more potatoes.

I had made mashed yams once before, a few weeks prior, when I attempted to make baked sweet potatoes. We had been visiting my parents, and eager to show them my new cooking interest, I had found a recipe online for a twice-baked sweet potato. The instructions were deceptively simple: bake, scoop out, mix ginger and raisins, bake again. What ended up happening was that after an hour in the oven, the damn things were still hard as a rock, so we threw them in the microwave and did them as ginger-raisin mashed potatoes instead. They turned out really delicious, and Mom was a great support; I was so frustrated that I couldn’t pull off this recipe that a certain famous Food Network chef thinks is sooooo easy. Mom just kept saying (and this is my advice to all of you): “Potatoes are funny things; sometimes they’ll cook in no time, and sometimes they’ll take hours. Don’t bother with that stupid recipe. Throw them in the microwave.” And her mantra for the evening, chanted at me so I wouldn’t throw the yams out the door: “It’s not YOU, it’s the potatoes.” In the end, we made a delicious dish, and I felt ready to try them again for the larger family.

Saturday morning, first thing we did was wash the potatoes. Then Brian volunteered to cut them up into smaller sections, as I was determined not to nuke my food in the microwave; we figured, cutting the potatoes into smaller portions would help them cook faster. We had talked with some tweeters the night before about just getting pre-cut potatoes, but a) I didn’t find them, and b) I figured my best bet was to follow my botched twice-baked recipe again, with the same modifications, because the end result had been great. After what happened next, I’ll tell you, I wish I had bought the stupid cut-up potatoes…

Brian cut his finger open. Even writing this out, three days later, I cringe. I left the room for two seconds and that’s when I heard his swearing. I knew what had happened. I thought I was ready for it. I ran in, saw the blood pouring out of him and the actual fear on his face…and I panicked. All my First Aid got jumbled in my head, like someone dropping a deck of playing cards. We managed to rinse the wound, sit him down, and apply pressure with a clean cloth. But every time we tried to look at it, it gushed again. What did I do? The only thing I knew how to do: I called my BFF MJ, who worked as a chef for fifteen years. I made her come over and assess the wound. She doesn’t live far, and she showed up, my hero, in mismatched pyjamas, running up the stairs. She suggested the Brian needed stitches, which Brian flat-out refused to do, so she suggested keeping an eye on it and seeing what happened. What happened was, it refused to seal itself, so we went to the pharmacy and got that 2nd Skin stuff to seal it.

As Brian lay down for a while, looking pale and really scary, I forged on with the potatoes. I baked them for an hour, only to find they were still rock hard. I gave them another thirty minutes, and then discovered half of them had dried out. Stress and worry got the better of both of us, and Brian and I had a seriously crabby argument for no good reason while I tried to salvage the portions of potato that were either undercooked or cooked, but not dried out. I threw the resulting pulp into the microwave, feeling like a big cheater.

After that, though, the potatoes were indeed cooked and there seemed to be a pretty good yield, though maybe not enough to feed two dozen people. I mashed and stirred the potatoes, adding some (almond) milk, butter, raisins, and ginger, but it still tasted like it needed something. In a moment of inventiveness, I grabbed the maple syrup and gooshed in a large amount: perfect. They tasted great and I was satisfied. We took the bowl to dinner and ordered everyone to eat some, as there was, literally, blood, sweat, and tears in those potatoes. I received compliments, and somehow the fact that Brian was slowly bleeding to death seemed worth it. (I kid. Mostly.) There were leftovers and my mom in particular loaded up a container with them, which made me puff up with pride.

The next morning, I crawled out of bed, went to the kitchen in search of sustenance, saw the maple syrup…and realized something terrible. It was mouldy. A thick, fuzzy-gelatinous carpet of mould was floating on the top of the syrup. I think I thought it was frothiness, the day before when I used it. I don’t know how I didn’t spot it. Brian had woken up feeling a little sick, and suddenly I was terrified. I snuck into the art room, shut the door, and called Mom. When she answered, I said, “Mom, listen to me carefully. Don’t eat the potatoes.” She asked why, and I told her. She scoffed and said not to worry about it, mould wasn’t a big deal and no one was sick; why, she’d eaten a big helping of the potatoes again for breakfast! I blanched, but pretended to find that reassuring.

Author's note, one year later: no one ever did get sick off those potatoes, but this year I refused to be in charge of them. I'm making a quinoa salad, something I feel much more confident about. The whole family is coming to our house for the meal, but everything is being prepared by other people in their own kitchens. I type this out, I suddenly wonder if maybe this is a ploy to stop me from poisoning everyone again...

Oh, well. At least I don't have to cook. Bring on the stuffing.