Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Looks Can Be Deceiving

     A lovely snapshot of a friend's children, right?

     Today, I'm back over at Rory's for Coffee Chat discussing an article written by Issa Waters, No Excuses Parenting Isn't Hard. Curious to see what had Rory riled up I went to go have a read.

     Articles like this make me angry. After the anger fades they leave that lingering taste of disappointment. What was the point of that? More important to me is why would BlogHer have ever picked up that piece for their family section? I thought they were known for some integrity but maybe I'm overstating it.

     Before I go on, I'd just like to say if you liked that article, if it spoke to you, please explain it to me. I will willingly eat crow on this one if I have completely missed the mark. I read some of her other stuff from her blog and found it rather thoughtful, not this article.

    I'm not a parent, so you will find no parenting tips or judgement but I do have eyes, a brain and forty some odd years of life behind me. This is what I got out of this article.

    Provocative title, kind of guarentees a look see. Expressing her love for her child, okay, segue into child abuse, an odd comparison story, some strange conclusions and end with a catchy phrase.

Parenting is supposed to be a loving relationship between parent and child, and it should look like one, and that shouldn’t be hard.

     What did I just read? What was the point? Other than a whole lot of self congratulation about loving your child therefore you would never be abusive see how wonderful I am?

     This isn't a factual piece, not one single line of fact. Not a helpful piece, no external links, no tips on anything. Is it meant to raise awareness of a very serious topic? Hard to do with no facts. A discussion starter? No, doesn't really pose a question either. Okay, so it's an opinion piece, written by a parent, on parenting.  Fine but with less than a year of experience under her belt a very shallow perspective on the whole thing.

     What killed me about this article was the abuse tie in. I have some experience there and the trite, facile way she treated it makes my blood boil. It trivializes a very serious problem. By her definition, everyone I know grew up in an abusive home.

     The assertion I love my child therefore I will not abuse my child is ridiculous. Abuse has as much to do with love as rape does to sex, nothing. Unfortunately, most abusers would also claim to love their victims. Now we can bandy around definitions of love and what it means until the world ends and never agree. Abuse is about absolute, often brutal control rather than guidance. Not love, not hate.

     Her scenarios are flawed, we can be just as bad to each other as we are to children, probably more so. Feigning shock and surprise, all I can say is either you don't get out much or you really don't pay attention to other people. You want to see shocking adult to adult behaviour, go to a Little League game.

     You want to talk about abusive child adult interaction, fists through doors, trips to the ER, climbing out you window fearing for your safety, days of abandonment until a neighbour finds you, that's abuse. It doesn't happen in public, the trigger isn't as predictable as a spilled drink. If it really were that easy to spot, would victims have such a hard time being believed and helped?

     No where in your scenario is there an attempt to make even a passive assessment of the situation despite your "concern". Engaging the parent in conversation as you help clean up the mess,"I'm glad it's not just my kid who spills things", "Don't worry mine does it all the time too". Anything to diffuse or at least assess the situation. It's far easier to sit back, judge and pat yourself on the back for not being that person.

     I can't think of a single parent who would hold up what you describe as anything other than a parenting fail.

 I’ll bet there are people who aren’t actually assholes trying to be mean to their kids because they think that’s what parenting is. 

     Are you kidding me? That statement is absurd.

     As for your closing statement, take a good look at the picture at the top. What do you see? Two children happily playing on a crisp autumn day? That's what I thought when I received it, oh how my friend laughed. What is shows is a little girl all pleased with herself because she just sucker punched her brother and he's not laughing he's wailing, All in the instant it took to pose for a picture. Looks can be deceiving.

     I'll agree, parenting isn't hard. Any idiot can have a child. Being a good parent, that's hard. It shouldn't look like anything, it should be everything.

     If you'd like more information on child abuse or prevention, this is a great place to start.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Soundtrack

     Monday again, time to link up with Stasha for Listicles. This week's topic is from Bruna over at Bees with Honey.

“If they were to make a movie of your life what would the soundtrack be like? Share 10 songs that best tell the story of your life. Be sure to include the period or event that each song represents”.


     I thought that this would be a breeze. I love music. I have a soundtrack in my head that gets me though each day. I suffer separation anxiety if I forget my iPod at home. Easy. uhmmm ..... Holy crap this is really hard.

     I listen to all kinds of music from Kodo drummers to the latest pop tarts, opera to full on gospel choirs. There isn't really a genre that I don't have a few favourites. I'm not sure if these really define my life but here are 10 songs that have some meaning for me.

Stay Awhile by The Bells. This is the first song I remember listening to on my parents record player. I had no idea they were a Canadian group or that Frank Mills, my father loves him, was a one time member.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer by the Beatles. I loved this song as a kid. I'd listen to it over and over and over. What other songs figure prominently for the late 60's early 70's? Knock Three Times on the Ceiling by Tony Orlando and Dawn, Sugar Sugar by the Archies, ABC by the Jackson 5, Tijuana Brass, Astrud Gilberto, The Supremes, I could go on and on, All selections from my parent's LP's, the original hipsters.

Moving along, Boogie Woogie Dancin Shoes, by Claudia Barry. I laugh every time I hear this. My cousin Sherry had a pair of those furry winter boots, you know the kind that make you look like your wearing gorilla feet. She would wear them and dance to that song. Another Sherry favouite, Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers. She even had the pants with the plaid cuffs, LOL.


A close match to those boots.

I lived through the disco era. Knock on Wood, Hot Stuff, Call Me, Ring My Bell, Born to Be Alive, Le Freak, just to name  a few.

This is the first music I remember buying, a cassette of Meatloaf's, Bat Out of Hell. A highschool classic.



Don Mclean, Kim Carnes, Bonnie Tyler, the Knack, the Cars, Supertramp, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and every high school dance ended with the classic slow dance by Led Zepplin, Stairway to Heaven.

There was Start Me Up by the Stones or Don't Bring Me Down, by ELO blasting away in the arcade as Beenie and I went through a fortune in quarters playing Joust, Asteroids and Pacman.

And there were the B52's, Elton Motello and  Eurythmics, I love Annie Lennox, still do.

If you are a big fan of any of these bands, artists or songs and are wondering about it being such a mish mash of time lines, I grew up in the middle of no where, before the internet. It was not uncommon for us to be years behind in "new" releases or music.

Before I leave home, there is one more, Babe We're Gonna Love Tonight by Lime. I spent a summer in an immersion program in Quebec when I was 16, this song was huge. They'd play it, the dance floor would fill, people would be blaring those air horns, it was like being at the circus. I still have it on my iPod, a reminder of an awesome summer and the people I met. I can't believe I've been listening to it for 30 years, it still makes me smile.

In the mid 80's, I went from the farm to the city and my musical horizons exploded. There were the Mod,  Punk, Metal, New Wave, Dance, Rockabilly and the stay up all night until the subway re opens clubs.

This song by the Jayne Country or this by the Dead Kennedy's always make me ROFL. Why? A friend of mine, if she had had a bit too much to drink, would close one eye so she could focus. She also loved both bands, hardcore, and would always sing along. There is something just ridiculously absurd about a one eyed chanteuse singing filthy lyrics that it makes me die laughing.

I was introduced to Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, Grace Jones, Billy Holiday, Etta James, Holly Cole and Patsy Cline. I lived across the hall from a then emerging Blue Rodeo. I listened to Madonna go from this to cultural icon. My friend Louise and I split the cost of that album because neither of us wanted to shell out the price for an unknown artist.

There were the Spoons, Prefab Sprout (well covered by Smashmouth), Jane Sibbery, the Pyschedelic Furs, Bryan Ferry, New York Dolls, Shriekback, U2, INXS, Depeche Mode, the Smiths, P.I.L. and David Sylvian to name only a hand full.

The pop tarts, Madonna, Jody Watley, Whitney Houston, Scritti Politti, Boy George, Divine, Wham, then just George Michaels, Paula Abdul (yes she had a singing career), Nena and those f$$kin' 99 balloons, Katrina and the Waves, Bananarama, Samantha Fox,  and Luba (my friend Paul went to high school with her, dubious claim to fame LOL).

I saw my first opera and fell in love. Live theatre, operettas and musicals. I was a cultural sponge, soaking it all up. I remember taking this home as an EP, Madame Butterfly by Malcolm McLaren. My Dad loved it. I thought he was so cool and progressive. In the same vein was the haunting Ofra Haza's, Im Nin'Alu.

Fast forward past the boy bands and Idol winners to what I'm listening to today. I still like my pop tarts,
Brit, David Guetta is brilliant, P!nk letting us know we're Perfect and urging us to Raise Your Glass. The current top of my chart, hands down, LMFAO. Party Rock Anthem for toe tapping, hair dancing fun and Sexy and I Know It, for good ole himbo hijinks.(and it's good to know F.E.S. still can get work after Lindsay and That 70's Show)

I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to Dolly for Jolene. WTF, two of my housemates sing this all the time. I'll admit it is preferable to the My Pussy song complete with a million verses and accompanying dance moves inspired by that crazy woman in the subway, but only just.

As you can see, I'm surrounded by music. I guess James Cameron is going to have to do the epic, never ending movie, or maybe a trilogy. I'm way over my 10 songs.

What has your toes tapping?

Friday, January 27, 2012

TGIF

     Another Friday, how to end the work week? Wait, I have to work not only this weekend but next as well. That's not happy. Where to go for a boost? Just Jennifer for the TGIF link up.



     Even though I have to work on the weekend (sucks) there is still a lot to be thankful for this week.

1 I have Internet access again. With my modem dying last week, waiting for the replacement etc I spent 7 days without, shudder. The horror, the horror. It did give me a change to clean the "cave" though, well I started, kind of..... Moving on.

2 This is a close second, my Google account is fine, for now, for ever I hope. I got shut down earlier this week. No idea what happened other than panic on my part, a day's worth of deleted comments on others blogs and some general mayhem. Between 1 and 2, all is right with my universe once more.

3 Another cousin has contacted me with information about one of the families I research. I always love when that happens.

4 Stardock, contacted me and....... I got a free game. I purchased one from them a while ago. As any new release, a lot of bugs and glitches. Panned in the reviews, yada, yada, yada. I like the game. Okay, maybe wasn't all that and a bag of chips, but it was fine. They have given me the new version for free. Not an upgrade, a fully reworked new version by way of apologising for a crappy release. How cool is that? Even if the new game is crap, I've got to say I'm pretty impressed with that kind of concern over customer satisfaction.

5 Last but not least, I've received not one but two awards from a fellow blogger, Susi over at Boca Frau. I can't say I know what I did to deserve them but am thrilled she thought of me, blush. Please stop by her corner of the interweb and show her some love, she deserves it.

Awards come with rules, which I'm terrible at, but here is my attempt.



The first is for blogs under 200 followers. A way to recognise the efforts of others out there. I'm supposed to link to five other blogs. I tried, but out of all the blogs I read (not that many) almost all of them don't qualify or have not one but both awards already. Here are my four, I know I'm one short.

My cousin Carly over at Tried, Tested and True Mommy. That's right, another of us free on the Internet with a fourth to follow shortly. Web domination Bwahahahaha

Kara over at Scattered Joy. Who else can say they've offended the thong wearing world? LMAO.

Gretchen over at He Sows, She Sews. Our lives couldn't be more different, but I love to stop by and see what she's up to.

Greta over at Not Enough Patience, Never Enough Jewellery. She makes me laugh and think. I can't add anything more to that.



So for this one I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about myself. Hmmm, what to share?

1 I'm terrified of spiders. I used to have nightmares of them crawling all over my bed. Trivia, the average person will eat about a dozen as they crawl in your mouth while you sleep, nightmares again.
2 I love to dance even if I look like I'm having some sort of seizure.
3 I love to sing even though I can't carry a tune in a bucket. No one writes melodies for us baritones.
4 I read constantly and have anxiety attacks if I forget my book somewhere.
5 I love, I mean love bad movies. I can't help but watch even as I'm thinking these are two hours I'll never get back.
6 I have a terrible temper, like incandescent, shaking, unable to speak, rage, kind of temper. I have struggled to keep in under control all my life. I have completely lost it three times in my life and regret each one.
7 I sleep with a light on. Not for fear of the dark, I hate not being able to see. I know, what can you see while you're asleep but I hate waking up to a dark room.

Now I'm supposed to link to 15 other blogs I like. I'm gonna cheat. I couldn't pick 15 because I think everyone has something to offer, even if what they offer is how not to do or be something. Everything I read has some affect, something to say. Here is me cheating, click here for a list of 58 blogs I drop by for information, inspiration and a good laugh. I could go on with this one but.....

     Don't forget to drop by Jennifer's to see what else has us all happy this Friday.



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

    
     Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most freakin' awesome person of all? Why you are of course. No doubt about it. Wouldn't life be grand?

     Everyday we are confronted with reflections of ourselves. Staring back at us as we start our day until we brush our teeth getting ready for bed. Who is that person gazing back at me? A question most everyone ponders from time to time.

     There is always someone ready to fill that in for us. Children, parents, siblings, friends and colleagues. They also serve as mirrors, fun house mirrors in many cases, reflecting back who they think we are. But is that the real you or the person they need you to be? I mull this over from time to time, I'm sure I'm not alone. (I hope I'm not alone.)

     Venturing out into the interweb, I'll admit, this question has come up more and more. Am I really as clever as I think? as funny? Who is this capable woman I remember like this?

    
      If you met me in real life, would I be what you thought? How would I describe myself?

     Some things are easy. I'm quite shy, painfully so in my youth. I started working in restaurants to force myself to get better at interacting with people. That worked, sort of. In a work setting, or as a host, I'm brilliant. I can remember details, do introductions, make chit chat. That's my job, I'm comfortable, I'm playing a part. Meeting new people in a social setting or worse networking to promote myself..... Back to square one. I still blush fairly easily. Once I have gotten to know you, then I never shut up.

     I'm fair. Sounds silly but it manifests itself in almost every facet of who I am. I judge a person by who they are or what they do rather than by gender, race, religion, orientation, whatever. The world divides into those who are nice to me and those who aren't. And, in all fairness, I know I have given some of them cause not to be nice to me. Who you are or what you believe is absolutely no threat to me or what I believe to be true.

     I take people at their word, because I try to always keep mine. I know that there are at least two sides to a story with the truth usually in the middle. I can accept what you are saying even if I don't believe it myself. I have infinite patience if you are trying but have no problem calling bullshit it you aren't. I hate the phrase "telling it like it is" because so many people use it as an excuse to say mean and hurtful things, usually in a room full of people. There really is a time and a place. Feel free to speak your mind, just remember, I have one too.

     According to testing for work, I'm a good critical thinker. I can look at a situation and respond. I have no problem being in charge and taking responsibility for my actions. Better to act and be wrong than do nothing at all. I can make decisions quickly based on the information that I have and adapt to anything new that comes later. It is surprising, to me, the number of people who won't make a decision. They will wait to be told, then it is someone else's fault. How bad is it to be wrong (I freely admit I hate being wrong)? Obviously I'd sweat that a little more if I was a cardiac surgeon or something but I'm not.

    I like to think I'm a good listener, even if recent events have shaken that a little. I understand we all react to things differently. How I cope is not how you cope.

     I love to laugh and have a healthy sense of the ridiculous. How absurd is it that a 200 pound, 6 foot man would come crashing out of the bathroom because there is a spider in the bathtub? We're all pretty ridiculous if you think about it. Life is too short to take yourself that seriously. Kanye, stop reading your own press releases.

     Where does all of this lead? Normally I get described as confident, arrogant even, social, fixer of things, silly/foolish/stupid, and confidante extraordinaire. These shoulders have seen a lot of tears.

     The confidant thing always makes me laugh. The butterflies in my stomach tell me differently. People who describe me as arrogant, are usually people who are rude to me. I don't care if you are the CEO, if you are an obnoxious pr**ck, don't expect me to fawn all over you, not gonna happen. Conversely, just because you're mopping the floors doesn't mean I won't treat you with respect. Everybody deserves that.

     Reading this article over at Confessions of a Recovering Supermom, and you really should read it, was an eye opener for me. Finally things made some sense.

     I have been told I'm good with people, an excellent manager and teacher. I find it exhausting, I always have. Even though I can make decisions quickly, I prefer not to. I like to mull things over, look at them from all angles then go forward or make a comment. I like parties, but end up talking to a few people rather than being the life of. I crave my alone time and am a raving lunatic if I don't get enough. I'm an introvert.

     Living for as long as I have in this skin, I have made peace with it. What are the options? The most dangerous two words in the English language are "if only". Mistake that for confidence or arrogance if you will, but all it means is that I am comfortable with the person I am. I try and be better day by day.

     Who do you think you are?

    

    

         

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Less Wordy Wednesday

     So it is supposed to be a Wordless Wednesday but....

My maternal grandmother as a girl
Beatrice Elizabeth Sadler

With her new husband, Herbert Leach Fisher
 and firstborn child, my aunt Marlyn


Eleven children later
The last, my aunt Deb in her arms
My uncle Leonard wrapped around her neck
Still smiling.

     Pictures like these are why I love doing the family histories here in the "Kitchen". Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What The ....

     It's Tuesday, you all know what that means. Coffee Chat with my cousin Rorybore. This week, things that make you go WT? Another easy one because I'm constantly amazed by all kinds of things.



     My biggest head scratcher is...... Why the F**k did Google disable my account yesterday sending me into a panic then rage just before I was about to go to bed ensuring a lovely restful night's sleep so that I was a royal bitch all day at work but thank all that is holy it is working again. Phweh

     Not just my blog was disabled last night, no access to Google + (not a big deal) but no access to my Picasa account with hundreds of family photos, huge deal. Why. Storing your digital photos on a cloud is the best way to preserve them. Hard drives fail and DVDs an CDs are not the stable medium a lot of people think they are. Uploading them to storage online is one of the best ways to ensure your photos stay for years and years. Unless of course your access is blocked.

     The generic response, we apologise for any inconvenience,  is nice but doesn't help in solving the mystery of why it happened at all, cuz I don't want it to happen again. I will take steps to see it doesn't happen again if only I knew what steps to take, sigh. Seriously, I was teetering on the edge after a week of no Internet access, then this. Some one is laughing at me.......

     Next puzzler, why are people who are looking for help from you, rude to you? Yes ma'am, you know who you are, I will be much more accommodating if you don't treat me like something you just scraped off you shoe while you are asking for my help.

     Why can G over at Kiddothings do that with her finger and I can't. That's just freaky and cool at the same time. I feel robbed some how.

     Why are reality tv stars celebrities? If they're just being "real"? My actual question should be reality tv why and just leave it at that.

     Finally, not a question but an answer. Here is why geese fly in a V formation, conveniently filed under #7. You're welcome.

     Swing on over to Rory's and see what has us all WT...?
    

Monday, January 23, 2012

10 Things Before I Go

     Once again, Monday Listicles over at Stasha's, The Good Life. This week, Ally from Two Normal Moms gave us

10 things you'd like to see happen before you die
they can be anything from seeing the Cubs win the World Series (this is Hubs' #1) to meeting your great grandchildren. They can be things you participate in or things you just witness




1 I'd love to meet my great grandchildren, or grandchildren or children. At this point it would be a bit of a medical miracle so.....

2 I want to see medicine make it possible to live to be 200 looking and feeling like I did in my 20's. Imagine. I have no desire for a do over, but just think, looking like you did in your youth with a life time of wisdom to fall back on. There is so much to see, learn and do. The trouble we could get into.

3 I would like to see myself holding that big 50 million dollar cheque from Lotto Max. Those medical treatments and children aren't going to come cheap.

4 Now that I'm a bazillionaire (and practically immortal), I want to see the world. All of it.

5 No attention span for sports, wait, not true. I'd like to see the Triple Crown, the Belmont, Preakness and the Kentucky Derby, with my parents (and my kids). We all like horses and it is all over in less than half an hour. Win, win.

6 I'd like to set foot on another planet or at least see the world from space. How cool would that be?

7 I'd like to see teleportation become a reality. I love to go places just hate the actual travelling.

8 If we've got teleportation, why not time travel? I could go back and finally solve some of those puzzling family history questions once and for all.

9 I'd like to write a best seller, or at least get something published or just learn to write better.

10 World peace. Why not, If I can get all of the above, let's shoot for the stars.

Swing by Stasha's and check out what else we'd all like to see.

(ROFL, spell check keeps trying to change teleportation to deportation, not the same at all)





Sunday, January 22, 2012

Savoury Sunday, I'm back

     Sunday, time for another recipe post. Uh sorry. No recipe. Why Savoury Sunday? I'm savouring being back on line.



     That's right, I have survived the last week with limited then no internet access. My modem died, a slow painful, much mourned death. No email, no porn surfing, no blogging, nothing.

     I had no idea I had come to rely on the interweb quite so heavily. Many of my games won't work without a connection, banking, installing the software I got for Christmas, hell, even calling to report my problem the first prompt is to check online for a solution.

     Now I'm hopelessly behind. If you thought the break would be somehow liberating or I could catch up on RL, not so much. The family projects in the works are all stored online. The software for editing the pictures, wouldn't install. No way to draft and schedule posts. No way to contact and coordinate the efforts for next month's Social Media month. Hours spent on hold reporting, identifying, then finding I needed a new modem. Installing then distributing the new log in much to the relief of my housemates. Rather than giving me time to get things done, it tied everything up as I tried to get things fixed.

     But it's back. I swear I could kiss that little connection icon in my system tray. I have missed you so. If I said I would contact you, I apologise for the delay. If something is late, I promise I'll get to it, soon. My regular postings will resume, comments will be made, blogs will be read. (Except for yours Jennifer. I have no idea why but it won't load?? One more thing to try and figure out). That's right, be afraid, very afraid, cuz I'm back.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In the dark

     So, this week's coffee chat was a prompt. You're home alone, the power goes out.... what do you do?


     This is an easy one, but before I forget, I must back track briefly to last week, at the movies. It's your fault I remember this Rory so... Rory was talking about Corey , can't remember which one, led to the horrible reality show "The Two Coreys", got me thinking about stars in the 80's and Voila - Mega Python vs Gateroid. I swear it's a real movie, it was just on television.

     Why is this mention worthy? The stars, 80's singing sensations Tiffani vs Debbie Gibson (no one isn't mega python) There is even a slapping catfight between them. Gold I tell you. Truly one of the worst movies ever made. Who knows, maybe we'll see Justin and Selina square off in 20 years. We can only hope.

     Fast forward to this week, no power, home alone blah blah blah, what would I do? NOTHING
If by some miracle I had the house to myself, I'd relax and enjoy it. I don't have kids (of my own) so I'm pretty worry free. I have had the power go out on two occasions for extended periods.

     The summer was fine. Cooking on the BBQ, fire in the outdoor fire pit, drinking all the beer before it got warm. You've got to have priorities. It was an enjoyable and relaxing summer evening. Best part, I had an excuse to be late for work the next morning,  no alarm clock.

     The 26 hours without power in February were another matter at 28 degrees below zero. I always have candles around, I like the smell of them so we had some light. Then of course one of my housemates came down stairs with a full on light sabre to light up the room. Who are these tenants of mine?? Monkey Boy would have loved it.

     I have a gas stove so that was on for heat. The furnace is gas but without the electric fan, no heat cycle. My hot water is gas as well so that was fine. I am prepared so an old plug into the wall phone, we can contact the outside world. All good.

    I was amazed how fast the house cooled off. Strangely my stove does not heat three floors of house and 52 degrees is not comfortable. My "cave" was the coldest part of the house. The main floor was actually okay and upstairs was cool but bearable.

     The worst part was watching the grid come back on line. Across the street, power was back in a couple of hours, down the street the other way in about 12. I remember watching out the window (not scaring myself with my reflection) seeing Toronto light back up. Seeing the city go dark is a weird experience, but I'm prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse so...

     I can and have survived. Swing by Rory's and see how everyone else copes. Tomorrow, I'd like to thank the Academy. That's right, I got an award. Tell you all about it then.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Never Say Never

     Monday, Listicles, Stasha. Today our topic comes from Greta over at Not Enough Patience. Here were her words last Monday.

So, your topic (should you choose to accept it) is: "I'll Never...": The Top Ten Things You Said You Would NEVER Do And Have Caught Yourself Doing.

As a mom, there are a lot of things I've thought I'd never do/let my kids do/say to my kids. And there are a lot of things I've ended up doing/allowing/saying.

A LOT.

     I wasn't going to participate originally, I'm not a parent. I rarely tempt fate by saying "Never". It almost always comes back to bite you in the ass. Just going to read this week, have a laugh or two.

    Of course, "I'll never" has been careening around in my brain all week. That's when I came to a sad and disturbing realization. Here is my list, 10 things, as an unmarried, child free, man, I never thought I would have to say or do.

1 Clean your room. That has to be top of the list, my mom would laugh herself silly. Never thought I would ever have to utter those words, but when you can smell it all the way into the living room, yes, it is indeed time to clean your room.

2 Don't make me come up there. Usually followed by silence from the floor above.

3 Close your mouth when you chew. A direct result of being sprayed with food while at the dinner table.

Go before we leave. followed 10 minutes later by Why didn't you go before we left the house. Almost with out fail, every time any kind of travelling involved, 10 minutes from the house, begins the frantic search for a bathroom. Usually in code, Why don't we stop for a coffee.

Don't skateboard on the hardwood floors. Self explanatory.

The dishwasher is not a ride/toy. And now it has a dent in the side.

Go to your room. Never though I would have to enforce a time out.

Where ever you left it. In response to "Where is the.....?" or I can't find the..... I have to stop what I'm doing and find said object, which is usually right where I said it was if you'd only bother to look or put things back where they belong.

9 Pick up your toys. I can normally tell who is home, has been home and what they have been doing just by following the trail of discarded stuff through the house.

10 Potty training. Never thought I'd have to deal with that. Stand closer/Lift the seat or better yet Sit down. Either your aim or endowment isn't quite what you think it is. Imagine my surprise when that wasn't a hairball I went to pick up out of the shower drain.

      How does this happen you may wonder? For the last 13 years I have had housemates, 7 of us in a leased house previously, 5 of us here in the"Kitchen". And before you think I run a frat house, both male and female tenants over the years. Both equally as bad.

     Do my tenants see me as the benevolent, vaguely uncool, slightly bemused father figure? No. I have been cast in the stereotypical "Mom" role. Finder of lost things, doctor of hurts, fixer and cleaner upper of messes.
How in the hell???? Now I know why I find all the Mom blogs so funny. I can relate. Sigh.

     Having trouble with your little ones? Don't despair. When they're old enough, there is always a place for them here in the Kitchen aka The Home for Wayward Children. Well, I never.

     Thanks Greta, thanks a lot.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Savoury Sunday

     Ha, fooled you again. Still Friday, first course of medication hasn't quite kicked in, on with the second. Not sure what is going on, click here. Nothing says manly cold remedy like something you stir with a cinnamon stick. But I digress. Maybe the meds are kicking in.

     Before I lose any capacity for thought on to this Sunday's post, two more places to drop by if ever you are lacking for inspiration in the kitchen.

     The Gourmet Farm Girl. I love the way she cooks. (and am jonesing for a plate of that curry right now)


If only you could eat from the screen

 Lots of great recipes and an Etsy shop where you can pick up her spice blends, vinegars etc etc etc. (No she's not paying me, she may not even know I'm raving about her stuff)

      Another favourite, Generation Y Foodie. How can you resist food that looks this good. I can't.


     
     More great eating and beautiful pictures. (I really need to get out that new camera and learn how to use it) Two more places that I stop by to motivate me when I'm feeling a little ho-hum in the kitchen. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sweet Saturday

     Ah yes, Saturday again, what bits of deliciousness to share. Ha , fooled ya. I'm actually not posting a recipe, I'm passing the buck and linking up to three places you should alll visit.  Why you may ask?

     I am once again in the opening volleys of "the man cold". I thought it was just my allergies acting up but nooooooooooooo. Full on stuffed up head, runny nose, gravelly voice. I'm self medicating this evening. That's right, Dr Paul in preparation for a weekend of misery is writing this the night before, then hitting the schedule button. Then an evening of hot toddies. The lemon and honey have to be good for something right?
Tomorrow morning my sore head will just be the result of  my "homeopathic" remedies.

     Besides, I'm a little traumatised as well. Gearing up for Monday's Listicles post, topic supplied by Greta, I have come to a disturbing realization. This will of course require more self medicating. See you Monday. Thanks Greta. Thanks.

     First stop, Eggton and Kanye West's Apple Butter Idea Cake. I'm going to give this one a whirl tomorrow. After the meds wear off of course.

Breakfast cake. You heard me cake for breakfast

     All I have to do is dig through all the crap currently piled on my preserves to find the maple apple butter. Then, .....  While your over at Eggton, you have to look up the GRITS story, then read through all the comments. If that doesn't tickle your funny bone, check for a pulse.

     Then over to Amelia at Bon Appetempt for Juicy Satsuma Orange Cake. I'll be trying this one after the KW cake is gone. Should be good for Sunday.

Another breakfast cake. Health food really. It's got oranges in it.

     Now that I've fortified myself with all those nutrients from the apples and oranges a visit to Movita Beaucoup for a little indulgence, Caramilk Brownies and some very practical tips about your safety.

The perfect companion to all those resolutions I won't be keeping.

     Three stops for great food, mouth watering pictures and lots of laughs. Enjoy.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'll Show You Mine

     That's right folks, I'm going to show you mine. Why, because Jennifer asked me to. Now before you think I've gone all Anthony Weiner on you and click away, no it's not that kind of post. But there are dirty bits.



      Jennifer tasked us with showing our blog spots. You know those serene, inspirational places we rest our weary selves and let the magic flow. Or in my case, my room, the man cave if you will.

     Cave is really the best word for it in many ways. It is in the basement. Long, kind of narrow and dim. My housemates have the prime real estate above ground. I do have two windows that let in an annoying amount of light when I try and sleep in. This works because I am separated from everyone by a floor, the buffer zone. I don't disturb them leaving for work at 5:30 am and they know better than to disturb me, usually.

     It has a dirt floor, okay, dirt on the floor. I've been trying to re organise the basement this week and have tracked stuff everywhere. You have been warned, on to the dirty bits.


     The long view. My room has gradually been overtaken with stuff. I swear it didn't start out this way. My drafting table was originally in the other room but had to relocate as I accumulated even more crap to fill my house. That smudge on the wall, those are footprints. I lean back in my chair as I'm reading and walk the wall. Strange but true. It really doesn't have that high contrast in RL, time to get the pressure washer out again.


     The original Pinterest board. I'm very visual and I tack up everything from the vision board to business cards. Anything that catches my interest, is vaguely important or makes me laugh.


     I can easily see the television, because I procrastinate even while procrastinating. An edge of the never made bed, just in case I need a bit of a lie down after all that exercise from tapping away at the keyboard.



     A little bed side reading. As you may have noticed books everywhere is a common theme in my decorating scheme. There is also a bookshelf right outside my bedroom door to hold yet more of my literary treasures and one right opposite my desk. The one opposite my desk also has the chocolate stash. Just in case I need a little energy boost.



     The top of my drafting table, covered with current projects and assorted homeless objects. The socks are the result of "Sock Hospital". Gathering up all of the one ofs and after two washings if the mate is still MIA, out they go. A tragic fate but I do try and at least wear matching socks. People look at you funny when you don't.



     Finally, the coffee station. There is almost always coffee on.Truly my oldest friend. No kidding, that coffee maker is about 25 years old. I have gone through five or six in the kitchen but this poor, battered, old thing keeps going on and on. Much like Titanic.

     The cinnamon is for my coffee. The Windex is evidence I really do clean, or just a prop. You decide.

     The big bag of white powder is not recreational. It's rice flour for a recipe. It is currently in my room because, A, I know where to find it and B, it looks very much like the corn starch, potato starch, icing sugar and meringue powder that currently reside in my kitchen cabinets in three containers. Yes that's right. Four into three. Still not sure which has been inadvertently combined. I'm sure it will be a lovely surprise at dinner one night.

     If I'm not in the mood for coffee, perish the thought, there is the small beer and beverage fridge just outside my door opposite the book shelf. A guy's gotta have options.

     The thing I have noticed after perusing the other entries, other than my utter lack of domestic skills, is solitude. I couldn"t get anything done if I couldn't shut my door and shut the world out. I can't work on the couch, in the kitchen, the living room ..... Way too many distractions.

     I do however share a love of old school writing in actual notebooks, the back of envelopes, napkins, anything I can put a pen or pencil to. Occasionally, in the summer, I jot things down outside relaxing in my garden. No Blackberry, other than the bush, no tablet, no laptop. Just good old fashioned pen and paper. I find it strangely relaxing. Probably because I can write much faster than I can type.

     Swing by Jennifer's and check out all the other hot blog spots. Now you've seen mine, let's see yours.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

T.O.K. goes to the Movies

     Ya, I know, family month, busy, fewer posts blah blah blah. But Rorybore is family, so this isn't procrastinating. I swear. A showing of family support and love. That's the story I'm stickin' to.

     First Coffee Chat of 2012, Movies that make you go..... in my case, WTF. I can't believe I sat through this, I don't care about the money I want that hour and a half of my life back.

     I love movies. Having studied the more technical side of theatre, I can love a horrible movie for great costuming, cinematography.... or just plain ole lots of sh*t blows up. I can suspend disbelief, I have a very active imagination. I am very forgiving, with a wide range of what I will sit through. Everything from Blue Planet documentaries to Big Top Pee Wee. I have never actually got up, left and demanded a refund. Let's get to that list shall we.

     Hands down number 1 goes to , drum roll please, ET. I hated this movie. I mean as I was watching this particular sappy bit of merde I fantasized about having an rocket launcher to take that kid and his bike right out of the sky. Stay here, I'm not phoning home, I'm going home. You want cool ET sci fi, Close Encounters.

     I knew I wouldn't like this. I resisted the urge during the first run and all the hype. A "friend" having found out I had never seen it dragged me when it was re released. Oh how I wish I had kept my mouth shut. Any hoo, on with the list.

     Anything by Spike Lee. The worst part of this is, I usually like the premise. I have a brain, I can figure out those subtle social observations all on my own. I don't need you to beat me to death with your message.

     In the same vein, anything by Micheal Moore. If you want me to take you seriously, don't come across as such a giant douche. Again, I don't object to the lesson, it's the method.

     There are the crossover star vehicles.
Honey- Jessica Alba what were you thinking. I loved Dark Angel on the small screen.
Glitter - Okay Mariah, it was just crap from script to screening, I don't blame you. But for such a control freak diva, really, did you watch the dailies?
The Bodyguard - How did this train wreck ever get to the screen?
Showgirls - ????? Gina Gershon, what were you thinking? Did you need the pay cheque that bad?

    Sequels and remakes.
Pink Panther - Mr Martin, you make me laugh but to go up against Peter Sellers?
Saw II-VI - How many ways can you watch someone get offed? Points to the first one for originality but...
Scorpion King II and a third in the making - What? The first one wasn't that good.
The Mummy III, Curse of the whatever it was - Without Rachel it just wasn't the same. Sometimes you just have to let go.

     The ones that go on and on...............
Titanic - Longest movie ever. Creepy pairing with Leo and Kate, he looks like he's 10. Coolest special effects ever for the actual sinking of the ship, almost removed the creepy factor of the above.
The English Pati Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz See, I couldn't even type the title without falling asleep.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I loved the books, I liked the movies. Take out the New Zealand landscape documentary and it would have been much better and shorter. There is an extended version? Why? Then there was that weird Sam and Frodo gazing adoringly at each other all the time.  I kept half expecting a little hobbit on hobbit action in the next scene. Disturbing.

     Finally, my favourite category. What were you thinking?
Catwoman - Halle Berry, how could you? Although points for an Oscar and a Razzie in the same year.
The Postman, Waterworld, The Bodyguard, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves - Kevin, Kevin, Kevin
Blame it on Rio - No Mr Caine, I blame it on you.
Wolverine - Hugh, Liev how did it all go so wrong??

     As you can see, much like the Titanic theme song, I could go on and on and on. I won't. Just to give you a quick point of reference, some all time favourites.
Sunset Boulevard - Gloria Swanson was genius, Carol Burnett's lampooning was too
Gilda - Rita Hayworth, no equal
All of the Resident Evil movies - Mila, call me I think I'm in love
Pitch Black - no reason but I've watched this over and over and over
Underworld - Kate, I love you almost as much as Mila
Easy A - Emma Stone, you are brilliant. The best part of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Anything Tim Burton touches and finally I really do love those Blue Planet documentaries.

     There you go. TOK at the movies. Head on over to Rory's place to see what else made or should I say didn't make, the cut.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Odd Jobs

      It's Monday, Back to the grind after the fun and relaxation of the weekend, Monday. On the bright side, Listicles over at Stasha's. This week's topic is supplied by Varda at The Squashed Bologna, Top 10 Strange (odd, unusual,funny,interesting) Jobs you've had in your life.


    
     This should be a piece of cake, God knows I've worked at enough different places. This list can also include non paid jobs, things you were responsible for or oversaw and volunteer positions. That opens the field even wider. Here they are in no particular order.

1 Gladiolus Bulb Planter - The first paid job I ever had, I think I was about 12 or 13. Planting bulbs for my aunt and uncle at the greenhouse they owned. Ever planted an acre or two by hand? Fun times.

2 Crap Handler - This is a direct result of growing up on a farm, living in the country and having dairy farmers for both grandparents. I have an intimate relationship with shit. Cow, pig, sheep or my personal favourite poultry of any kind. I've shovelled it, spread it on fields, Hell, I've even worn it on occasion.
Perfect tie in to 3.

3 Vet's Assistant - By vet I mean my father, mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles. If you've got livestock, you've got to take care of them. I've helped deliver babies, given shots, pills, changed dressings, chopped off horns, tails and testicles (not to be confused with Listicles, subtle tie in, right Stasha?), snapped off teeth and just generally run around doing what I was told. The one thing I never had to do, thanks Dad, was put down an animal. My father always shouldered that responsibility.

4 Chicken Wrangler - That's right, as a kid my job (along with help from my cousins) was chasing/finding the chickens after their heads were removed. You've heard that expression " Running around like a chicken with their head cut off", I've lived it. One of my most vivid childhood memories is my cousin doubled over laughing as a chicken with no head kicked a soccer ball all over our yard. Good times, again.

5 Cowboy - I lived every kid's dream. Let me tell you, the dream is way more fun that the reality. We all had horses or ponies, everybody had cattle and no one had good fences. I've chased cattle all over Lanark county, on horseback and foot. I've been stepped on, kicked, run down, dragged and crushed between. The fun just never stopped I tell ya. It helped develop my colourful language skills.

6 Heavy Machine Operator -  I worked with my father for a year before venturing off to the city. Among other things I drove a dump truck and a grain combine. For whatever reason people never believe I grew up on a "real" farm. It was always fun seeing people's expressions from school as I drove one of the machines through town. I swear there was whiplash.

7 Park Ranger - Okay, ranger is overstating it. My mother was superintendent of one of the provincial parks and I worked with her. BEST JOB EVER. I spent a lot of the summer in a bathing suit cleaning the beach. Least favourite part, finding all the new and interesting places people would take a dump. Changing rooms, shower stalls, pretty much everywhere but the bathrooms.

8 Print Model - Again, way overstating it. Years and years ago, a lovely young woman approached me at a club and asked if I would be interested in doing a photo shoot the next day. She said she liked my look. In my semi drunken stupor, of course I agreed. I showed up the next morning for one of the strangest and oddly most boring days of my life. There were a bunch of us all in this rather non descript entry. We were ushered into one of the city's best known dungeons. This was the photo shoot, S&M and bondage gear. Of course by this time pride wouldn't let me back out, I didn't want to look like a woose, so... I had no idea. Some of the get ups were so elaborate. The boring part was sitting around (uncomfortably might I add) for most of the day, waiting for the actual shoot. No nudity, all staged, quite tame and professional. A bit of a let down actually. No real weirdness other than the situation I had found myself in. Of course I'm still available for print work, some one has to be the before model, right?

9 Hospitality Specialist - I have been a dishwasher, fired for being so clumsy and breaking too many dishes, fry cook, Scott's Chicken Villa, KFC at it's finest, fired for repeated lateness, bus boy, host, bartender/waiter, fired three times and re hired by the same place, manager, instructor, event planner and owner (or so I thought but that is another very long story). Some of the best times and worst nightmares have come from my long career in catering, restaurants and bars. The stories I could tell you.

10 Blogger/Family Historian - Of course I had to add this one. The experience thus far has been far more fulfilling that I had ever thought. The weird thing is how people react. I have only recently started flashing around my "blogger badge" and people and establishments suddenly treat me differently. You know like I have a clue or influence or something. That's been fun. We'll see how that plays out over the years.

     There you have it, my spin on my 10 strangest jobs. Quite the skill set I've developed over the years, no?
Don't forget to drop by Stasha's and see all the other amazing skills we've acquired.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Savoury Sunday, Canned Beef

     Probably not the Savoury Sunday you were expecting to start off 2012, canned beef. Sound a little unappealing? I couldn't disagree more.

     In honour of this being family month here in the Kitchen, this is a family tradition. My grandmother did it, as did my mom and now me. I have changed it a very little, only to make it safer.

     I love this stuff. I loathe even the smell of Corned Beef in a can or Spam. I've heard people compare this to them, not so. This is a way to preserve lesser cuts of meat without taking up valuable freezer space. It also has the advantage of being a quick meal if you are pressed for time or just plain don't feel like cooking. It's open, heat and serve, no defrosting, no additional preparation, no added colour, preservatives or flavours. You can eat it as is or use it as a soup or stew base. Always handy to have a few jars in the pantry.

     The only change I have made to this recipe is to cook it in a pressure canner. Both my mother and grandmother made this in a boiling water canner. That. Isn't. Safe. You're dealing with meat so there is a risk of botulism, pressure canning is the way to go. It gave me a chance to take Perry, my pressure canner, out for a spin. Yes, I name inanimate objects. That way I know who I'm swearing at.


 Perry, steaming away on the stove
No swearing, this time

Canned Beef

Ingredients
Beef, venison, moose or elk
Suet
Salt, table or sea

Directions
Prepare jars as per manufacturers instructions. My canner holds 7 quarts/litres, check your capacity
Cut meat into approximately 1 inch/2.5 cm cubes
Pack tightly into jars OR brown then pack in jars leaving 1 inch/2.5 cm of head space
Add 1/4 to 2 teaspoons of salt per jar - I use 1/4 for 500ml jars
Top with a 1 inch/2.5 cm cube of suet
Place lids and bands on jars, tighten bands to finger tip tightness
Place in pressure canner and process according to instructions for type and elevation.
Mine were 90 minutes at 10 lbs pressure
Let cool, remove from canner and check seals.
Wipe jars to clean. Trust me, they'll need it
Refrigerate any unsealed jars and use within 7 days
Properly sealed jars will keep for 1 year in a cool dark place.

I make this in 500 ml batches, that is the size that works best for me.
I've made this browned and raw. Raw is easier, browning looks better and has a slightly different taste.
Salt according to your personal taste.
You don't need the suet, but the cuts of beef used are normally very lean. The suet adds richness to the flavour.
Although you can add spices, it tastes better if you add them when you use rather then when you can this.
Always check with the manufacturer or Extension office for safe pressure canning guidelines.
I don't sterilize my jars for this. If you are processing for longer than 10 minutes you don't have to. Check with your local extension office if you don't believe me.
My jars go into the canner at room temperature. I've never had a problem with cracking or siphoning. Maybe just lucky?
If you have concerns about safety, bring this to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes before serving. It will eliminate the toxins botulism can create.

All ready to process

     This is pure comfort food for me. Pressed for time, thicken the juice into a gravy and serve over mashed potatoes. I've even been known to eat it right out of the jar. Quick, easy and delicious. It is simple to make, uses cuts that are sometimes a little harder to cook and have come out melt in your mouth tender and best of all leaves space in the freezer for things like my sour cherries for pie. I'd rather have room for pie than stewing beef any day. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sweet Saturday, Golden Cadillac

     The first Sweet Saturday post of 2012. What kick ass post to start the new year off right? I've got options. Mom's Maple Cheesecake, Barb's Chocolate Pecan Caramel Cheesecake, Marlyn's Barzipan Squares, her Peanut Butter Mice Cookies. So many sweet bits of deliciousness.

     I've eaten so much over the holidays. My house is still littered with boxes of truffles, cookies, squares and even more treats. You really can have too much of a good thing. How to combat sweet overload? Post a cocktail recipe, that's how. You can never have too many of those, right??


Frozen Golden Cadillac

Golden Cadillac
Ingredients
1 oz Galliano
1 oz White Creme de Cacao
1 oz cream
1/2 cup of ice

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
Shake until well mixed
Strain into a martini glass

     That is the classic recipe. I've made them like this but never drank them like this.

     The easiest way to make them is to combine everything and serve it in an old fashioned glass. I sub the 1 oz cream for 3 or 4 oz of milk. Too much chocolate? or vanilla? just play with the amounts of liqueur a little until you have what you like.

     You can make the classic recipe but instead of shaking it, blend it in a blender for a frozen cocktail. Sub the cream and ice for a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Perfection.

     Never had Galliano? It's an herbal liqueur. Top note of vanilla with a hint of anise and ginger for a finish. Paired with the Creme de Cacao you have a drink tasting of chocolate and vanilla, with a hint of licorice and ginger as an after taste. Just think how elegant 2012 will be serving this swishy after dinner drink. That's me, all class.

     There you go Rorybore, enjoy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Growing your family tree - Filtering information


     Another post about my experiences building the family trees that are here. A bit about some of the things that tripped me up at first that may help others in their searches.

     You have harassed, annoyed asked your relatives for information. How to use that start to build your tree further?

     I was lucky, I have living relatives who could take my tree back to my great great grandparents, my grandparents grandparents. I got some names, children, siblings etc, a few dates and some places.

     I assumed names would be the most important. Not so. It is surprising how many records list people with nick names rather than proper names. Surnames go through some wild spelling variations. The further back, the less formally information was collected, especially in rural areas. My great great grandparents tombstone lists their nick names not their proper names. Hard to find if you don't know both. This lack of formality varies from place to place, type of record to type of record. It goes back to  a time when communities were smaller and most people knew each other.

     Dates then, those have to be important. Again not so much. The further back the less important. Travelling clergy would baptise an entire family of children at a time when they were through an area. It would depend on how often they visited. People weren't very concerned about age. It didn't have a lot of bearing on how they lived their lives. The advent of labour laws and operating licenses changed that to our modern obsession with accurate dating of everything.

     The one thing I thought wouldn't be important, places, turned out to be very important. If you don't know where your ancestors lived, you don't know where to start looking for records. That makes a huge difference. I have spent many hours looking for people in the wrong places.

     Places also has a challenge. Boundaries changed, a lot. I'm speaking of Canada because that is where 80 percent of my research has been. You have to do a little digging to find what the place was at the time your ancestors were there. Canada West became Ontario, district boundaries changed then became provincial, new townships formed, then reformed, counties changed names, boundaries then amalgamated. There are layers and layers of records to look through.

     Places and surnames, the two places to start further digging. Throw in some given names and a few dates and you are on your way. Next up, I'll go through some of the records that were of the most help to me.

     Ever dug into your family's past? Any tips to share?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

If I could have your attention please!


     Ahem, I have an announcement to make, two actually.

     First, January is family month here in the "Kitchen". 

     As you may or may not know a big part of the blog is dedicated to my family research. Along the way I've gathered pictures, stories and some of my far flung cousins. All of my information is in serious need of an update. I'll be working on that throughout January. There might not be a lot of new posts, but there will be a lot of new material.

 For Family Members

If you have pictures, stories or recipes you'd like to share, email me. I'll include any new material as I'm doing the overhaul.

I'm slowly gathering things to do a memorial page for Leo, like I've already done for Grandma and Grandpa Fisher. If you have anything you'd like to contribute, email me. I'm hoping to have it ready by about June so....

For Non Family Members (there have to be a few of you who aren't connected to my family in some way)

If you'd like to share stories about your family or how you have researched your family tree, email me. I'd be more than happy to have a few guest posts.

     Second, February is social media month.

     As Google retires Friend Connect, learning how to use the various social media applications becomes a bit more important. I'm looking for authors to guest post about their experiences. Everything from rants about it being ineffective to raves and tutorials on how to use them. I am a rank amateur as the first post of February will show so don't be shy. I have a few authors on board but welcome more.  Nothing would please me more than 28 guest posts to follow my introduction. Hopefully a learning experience for all involved. Email me if you're interested.

     Thanks for listening, now I'm off to sift through over a thousand pictures and 300 family emails. Sure I can get it all done by January 31st.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gifts from the Heart

     Okay, I promise last post related to the holidays. 
     The biggest beef a lot of people have with the Christmas season is the rampant consumerism. Must have toys, advertising that starts just after Halloween, that whole keeping up with the Jones' mentality. I won't deny my family spends at Christmas, of course they do. BUT. Almost as much is spent on food for assorted holiday gatherings. Many of the gifts received are from the kitchen, or, the heart.

     My Mom out did herself this year.

     Last year in response to Ferd's smart assed Christmas list;
The Hope diamond = a blue Glo Pop ring with the Redneck letter of authenticity and curse removal
Peace on earth = A jar of dirt and a question mark( I suggested a jar of dirt with peas on top)
The bones of John Merrick(aka the Elephant Man) = a wolf skull with a letter explaining a little known fact he was indeed a werewolf

     We laughed until there were tears in our eyes. My mom also enlisted the help of the family in creating these unique responses. Fun for all involved.

     This year, my father received a scrap book detailing the history of our farm from its original crown land grant to the present. I got one detailing my life, from the baptismal certificate, through all the grade school photos and report cards to the present. It was awesome, she even included my baby bracelet from the hospital. Then there was Ferd, again. This is one of two photos he received, beautifully framed and mounted.

The associated title was,"Mama Mia, here I go again"

     So what you may ask? Here's the thing. This is the original photo


     She had photoshopped his head onto the other photo. He is terrified of our horses but is always asking for pictures for bragging rights at work. The Abba reference was supplied by my cousin because Ferd has an unusual fondness for the group. Once again, family participation and a good laugh all the way around.

     Although there were other gifts, these were the treasures. No designer labels, no outrageous price tags. Gifts of time and thought, from the heart. You're the best, Mom.


Monday, January 2, 2012

10 Resolutions for 2012

     This is a first for me, doing the Monday Listicles. I like the idea of resolutions I have no intention of keeping. Not that that would make them any different from other resolutions, I can resist anything but temptation in any way, shape or form. Swing by Stasha's to check out all the other resolutions we won't be keeping in the year ahead.



1 Make my bed everyday. If my mother couldn't make me......
2 Clean my room. A close second to #1. I know where everything is, on the floor.
3 Be clean shaven. I like Movember. I hate shaving. Who can survive all that blood loss?
4 Drink less coffee. Bwahahahahahahahahahaha, not a chance. Caffeine is an essential vitamin isn't it?
5 Eat a balanced breakfast. Do caffeine, nicotine and toothpaste hit all the food groups?
6 Lose weight. Okay, I probably will do that but just in case I'm keeping all the assorted sizes of clothes.
7 Exercise more. Any is more than none.
8 Finish one project before I start another. Multi tasking, people. Why waste good storage space?
9 Pay attention more. Sorry, where you talking to me?
10 Drive the speed limit. I can't believe lightning didn't strike me on that one.

     Ten resolutions I won't be keeping for 2012. Should I be worried stopping at ten was the hardest part?
What won't you be doing in the year ahead?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In with the New

   Happy 2012 

     How to start the new year? Resolutions? Not a chance, I don't make resolutions, I roll with it (as much as I'm able). Plans? Other than more aspirin, sleep and fluids? Some, nothing set in stone, but a general direction - very general. I tend to let the year unfold, offering up its opportunities and challenges as it will. What does 2012 hold in store? I can hardly wait to find out.

     It seems only fitting to start the new year by taking a quick look back at the year just passed.  I'll begin by saying thank you to all the people who have followed along with me here in the "Kitchen". I started it with a rather singular focus, oh how that has changed. Thanks for all the comments, emails and encouragement. The biggest surprise of 2011 has been the success of my little piece of cyberspace and how much I have enjoyed doing it.

     To all of you out there, may 2012 be a happy and prosperous year. (Mayan end of the world thing and a rather crappy movie even though I like John Cussack and Amanda Peet not withstanding) Enjoy.

     BTW, I was not alone in not knowing how to dress for the "Nice and Steezy" New Year's Eve Party. Lots of fun, some great get-ups and friends.  Thanks Tris and Heather. (and you too Dimitri LMAO)