Wednesday, 24 August 2011

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

First of all: Summer is NOT over.

But what did we DO all summer? (instead of updating my blog, you mean?)

We played in the backyard! This was Ailsa's first time with her new pool - it was a bit cool to sit in, but great to splash in!

As the summer progressed, and the water was warmer, she warmed up to the idea, too.

Bathing beauty.

I got a haircut! About 10 inches, gone. Yes, I miss it.

Sometimes, it rained. So we built forts!

And here's last Saturday morning: we had gone to the market, come back for snacks (samosas!), put Ailsa down for a nap, and slip-n-slid while the diapers dried in the sun.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Life as we know it

Inspired by a post from my a Gorgeous Garrett, I thought I'd give a run-down on what's going on in my world...well, mostly on what's going wrong with my world: the good, the bad, and the too-weird-to-tell-anyone...maybe...

Hey, remember the elevator that I hated? Well, less than a week after that post, I started my new job, as a Civil Litigation Analyst (woot woot) with the RCMP. Title notwithstanding, it is, by far, the coolest thing I have ever been a part of: I love my coworkers, I love the gym, I love the 2km walk to work...

What? You notice that I don't mention that I love the work? That's because, until this afternoon, I have been "working" there without actually working. For FOUR weeks. I have shown up, day after day, read lots of background documents, and waited for my security passes, software approvals, computer repairs...for FOUR weeks. I have also had coffee, gone for Team Runs, gone to the fabulous onsite gym, and generally loved being an analyst without having to analyze anything.

Well, all that fun came to an end today when I finally got everything configured and ready to use, and I commenced the hands-on portion of my work. I lived through 45 minutes of training/assignment/review before my head exploded. Interesting stuff, but there's so much to wrap my brain around...and my brain has been on vacation for 4 years, so it'll be a tough go. I'm game, however. After a good night's sleep. Mebbe.


The DG has not just been battling with backyard foes; no, she has also been busy in the kitchen, whipping up gourmet... well, not really.

But I present to you, for your respect, admiration, and envy, the DG's ultimate-so-far dish*: Eggplant Parmigiana. How awesome is it? It's so awesome that not only will Fis eat it (even though it contains eggplant), but he actually requests it.

I first slice an eggplant into 2cm-wide discs, and dip them in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs (not mixed together!) (oh, and each station is seasoned, of course!), then they dry for a wee bit while I heat olive oil in a large fry pan. Each piece is fried lightly (ha ha) about 4 min on each side, and then placed back on the rack to cool a bit (this usually takes 2 batches). Meanwhile, I whip up a batch of my incredible fresh tomato sauce, sprinkle in some herbs, and pour half of it into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan. I then overlap the eggplant on the sauce, pour the rest of the sauce overtop, and sprinkle on some grated mozzarella, pepper, oregano, and parmesan. It bakes at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, and voila! I maintain my Domestic Goddess status.

What? Now you want my secret fresh tomato sauce recipe? Oh, fine. Buy a can of san marzano tomatoes. Open it. Put your handy blender in the can and give it a whir. Embarrassing, but delicious.


Well... I don't want to tell the story till the whole thing has played out, but we're surviving. The contents of our basement are still in my living room (grrr...extra couch and toys) and the kids rooms (toys toys toys), so I can't really see painting or doing much else until we get it all cleared out again. The yard that is driving me crazy is actually looking pretty good, and my vegetable garden (aside from the daily picking-over by backyard resident Sally Squirrel) is providing us with beans, peas, and beets. The carrots aren't ready yet, but I have hope that they'll be orange giants in a month or so...Vaughn and Ailsa weren't impressed when I gave them each one as an "apple-tizer" before dinner...about 2 mm thick and 3 cm long!

We manage to enjoy our yard every Saturday night, with a bottle of wine, a nice fresh baguette, and some local cheese, after the kids are in bed, of course.


As Ailsa is long overdue for a decent update, here goes: she's talking! Mommy, Daddy, apple, up, hi, bye, hop, cheers (love it!), breakfast, all done, touch (that's her favourite - she wants to touch everything), ball and book. The smart cookie (but stubborn/lazy cookie?) figured out that you only need one sign to get everything, and that is please.

She climbs the stairs (up and down), and can now go up sideways on her feet, holding onto the railings. She can climb onto Vaughn's bed (for bouncing!) and her own story chair, usually with a book in hand. She's ready to start walking, but will only try it when she's holding our hands.

She's a dancer, like her brother...and mom and dad! Even if the music is just a faint background noise, she'll start grooving and smiling. She'll sing to herself in the stroller or the car.

Speaking of dancing, we went to the Vanier Market last weekend (we go every Saturday morning), and there was a DJ and stage set up. Vaughn ran over, climbed up onto the stage, and proceeded to dance...for 25 minutes. I have no idea how he knows 1) what a stage is, or b) what to do on it, but he did, and did he ever! The DJ gave him a good mix of classics like How Much is that Doggie in the Window and Bingo, all the way up to Billie Jean and I Like to Move It. The boy has moves, and he loves his fans. I put Ailsa on there with him for a little while; she wiggled around a bit, but tended to stop whenever she remembered that people were looking at her.


Trevor, my plucky little car, is parked. He still goes, but doesn't really stop anymore, so he's sitting in our driveway till we decide if it's worth paying more to fix the brakes than he's worth, or just to trade him in and take on a car loan (ack)., that's an overview, in a nutshell...

* I have hope that I will improve past this point, of course.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

'Till there was crabgrass

The latest adversary in the Battleground: Backyard series revealed itself to me recently. So, yes, the dandelions are just dandy; yes, the creeping Jenny has crept back underground (for now); and yes, the clovers are still allowed to live and let live... but crabgrass is by far the worst opponent I've faced.

Now, I don't expect everything in my life to be easy (see also: I married Fis): the house issues, which I really haven't gone into here, but which involve flooding, mold, ripping out of basements, a need to re-wire and re-plumb everything, excavation of the foundation, replacement of the drinking-water intake, which was freaking lead, ... have taken their toll; oh, and of course there's the angelic children, one of whom is in Big Boy Underpants! (but not without a year of battling) (and ongoing 2-year-old-ness), and the other one, who although cute and generally pleasant, has now started climbing up and down the stairs, and has a will on her like... well, like mine... drive me crazy on a daily basis ; I also have come to terms that my hair is not ever going to behave itself.

But I digress.

I decided, months ago, that the lawn would be one area that I would have control over. I foolishly assumed that dandelions would be my worst enemy, and celebrated their disposal like a madwoman (sez Fis), but this ramping-up of Killer Weeds, on top of fostering my usual crazed commitment towards complete and total erradication, is also making me nervous. If I get rid of this crabby pest, what's next? It's larger, uglier, and faster-spreading than the previous two nemeses (nemesi?). It's harder to pull out, and sneaks into all sorts of areas of the lawn. The one good thing is that it's easier to spot than the others, being a light green colour. But really, what other nefarious weed is waiting in the wings, waiting for me to do my little victory dance and bring the final load...