Saturday, August 22, 2009


Here's an annoying thing about Blogger: when I start a post and then finish it later, it posts itself in the order in which it would appear, as if I had finished and posted it the day I began writing it.

For example, I started this post on the 15th but just wrote it out today. Now it looks like I posted it on the 15th. What the heck is the point of that?! HOw does anyone know I wrote something new?

I guess from now on, I'll have to copy and paste drafted content into a "new post" every time I want to finish something I started previously.

Also, anyone know why you have to upload photos in the REVERSE order you want them to appear within a post? Do you photo bloggers use an external photo uploader or something to bypass this silly thing?


::10 years on::

Last weekend, I happened to take Dora with me to downtown Langley, where (I had forgotten) Arts Alive was taking place. This annual event shuts down the one-way strip of Fraser Highway and it becomes a pedestrian-only area where local artists can display and sell their work. I was taking Dora to the Big Dog Little Dog Bakery for some marrow bones and training treats, but was surprised that I couldn't access the street by car. So we parked behind Fraser and walked into the crowds among the kiosks, which is always a good opportunity for her to test her heeling skills among the chaos of people and kids and strollers and wheelchairs, etc.

After buying what we needed at the bakery, we continued down the street to see what else was available and I eventually heard the sound of a jazz combo playing. We wandered over to the old Coast Capital Savings building and, lo' and behold, who was playing but my local jazz idols, Campbell Ryga (sax), Jodi Proznik (stand-up bass) and Brad Turner (trumpet)!

I was quite the band geek in high school and while I excelled more in my concert band ventures than my jazz band skills, I still prefer to watch/listen to jazz/big band. I played the trumpet and while I was no prodigy, our band did win some pretty prestigious awards and was invited to represent Canada at the 2000 World Exposition in Hanover, Germany. But I still remember the days of the Surrey Jazz Festival and the UBC Honour Bands, where we'd sit in awe of Brad Turner, et al., as they flawlessly, and effortlessly, created the sounds of pure genius with their ensembles. I remember doing a master class with Mr. Turner and being so nervous to play in front of him - I felt like the biggest fraud because I may have been good at hitting the high notes and reading what was on the page, but I was embarrassingly bad at improvising, which is a "must-have" skill as a jazz musician.

While Dora and I stood there and watched, Brad and Campbell were sitting out on one number, hanging at the rear of the open-air stage while the other members of the combo played a tune. Now, I may be 38 weeks pregnant and I know I looked haggard that day, having just planned to make the one stop at the bakery without putting any thought into my housewife-ish appearance. And it has been 10 years since I last "worked" with Brad Turner. But I'll be darned if, when I spotted the players and realized who I was watching, Brad didn't look straight at me and recognize that we had met before. I wasn't about to approach him to chat after their set because I looked so gross and sweaty (no makeup, you get the picture - I really just shouldn't have been seen in public that day!). But it was the coolest thing ever and it made me wonder what would have happened if I had pursued music education after high school instead of journalism? If I had chosen what I loved rather than what I was good at? Being recognized by someone so influential from that time in my life, who knew me only from that "scene," made me think about how different life can turn out based on one decision. Where would I be? Would I have even been able to learn the things he teaches now at Capilano College? I honestly don't know if I had enough talent. But it would be so cool to know.

That one glance we shared last weekend is probably a glance he shares with former "students" all the time - "I think I've taught that girl/guy," he must say to himself, as he goes on with his day. But it was much more meaningful to me. I am so grateful for the way my life has turned out - and I'd really have it no other way! But wouldn't it be neat to know if we had what it took? If we would have succeeded somewhere else? If I could have spent my early 20s playing in smokey cabarets in Paris and Zurich and Barcelona and Dusseldorf? If music would have become my life?

I guess I'll never know...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

::happy anniversary, wayne::

Three years ago today was the best day of my life. We spent the morning preparing for our life's biggest commitment: to each other. We spent the afternoon in God's house, making vows to one another in front of friends and family to honour and respect one another until the Lord takes us home. We spent the evening celebrating our union and looking forward to the days, months and years ahead, trusting that God would guide us through the best times and the worst. I've never been so sure of anything in my life and I know I married a man who cares so deeply for me that I can rely on him for anything.

While I am a natural worry wart and I get slightly frantic if I can't see far enough into my future so I can prepare myself for what's next, our marriage Scripture helps me keep things in perspective: Luke 12:22-31.

22Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Wayne, you've made me the happiest woman alive for the past three years, even if a third of them has been spent apart. God has been with us and has kept our connection strong. I can't wait to see what's in store in the years to come - all in due time, of course. ;)

Cheers, honey!

::what's your colour personality?::

I love quizzes that reveal a piece of myself I'd never thought of in a certain way before. Here, I've stolen Imogen Lamport's link to House Beautiful, which has a quiz that helps you pinpoint what colours inspire you most.

1. What’s the first color you see in the morning? "Homespun Linen" (a light grey) - the colour we've painted our master bedroom to go with the French Grape feature wall behind our bed. Although sometimes the first thing I see is a white and brown combo, if Dora's snout is in my face, reminding me that she needs to go for her morning pee. :)

2. What color are your eyes? Blue with grey undertones

3. What color do you wear the most? Probably brown, although I am very partial to teal and cream

4. What color do you never wear? Yellow - I have two yellow shirts that are just the right shade. But any other shades in that family make me look funny. I actually NEVER wear orange although it does look quite nice with my skin tone.

5. What color do you wear when you want to feel sexy? Black, I suppose. But I have a sexy Grecian gown that's brown and beaded, too.

6. What color gets you the most compliments? Um, green, I think.

7. What color is your lipstick? Wine shine...but I mostly wear just clear lip plumper. I do have a great orange-y red. Lipstick makes my lips look smaller on my round face. Plus, my teeth are unevenly coloured, so it makes them stick out more, too.

8. What color was your living room when you were growing up? Ugh - navy blue wallpaper with little flowers, pink and cream? So '80s.

9. What color was your bedroom when you were growing up? Bubblegum pink! Never let a five-year-old choose her own paint and wallpaper if you don't intend to redecorate until she's 15!

10. What color are your sheets? Crisp white to go with the brown bedding.

11. What color was your favorite crayon as a child? I honestly don't know. I wasn't a fan of crayons.

12. What color is your car? Black.

13. What color was your prom dress? Cream with gold threading

14. What’s your favorite gemstone? Amber - all variations

15. What is your favourite flower? Orchid (my wedding flower)

16. What color makes you happiest? The summertime combo of orange, hot pink and lime green!

17. What color depresses you? Very yellow green - like swampwater (ick)

18. What color calms you? Green

19. What color makes you grind your teeth? Anything flourescent

20. What color would you like to try, but are scared to? I'd love to have a room painted black with ALL white furnishings and frames on the wall. Of course, this room would need glass French doors facing south east, so the natural light would brighten the room.

Clearly, I'm partial to greens and browns - very earth-tone oriented. What is your colour personality?

::buttermilk cake update::

(See previous post for link to recipe)

So the Buttermilk Cake turned out to be DELISH - I froze the layers in plastic wrap the night I made it, saving for an occasion I'd need to contribute something edible to a soiree. Yesterday, my mom had my cousin, her four kids, a family friend and me over for a lovely mid-afternoon lunch on the deck and I brought the cake. It got RAVE reviews and, even after a week in the freezer, was terribly moist and dense. We added blueberries to the mix (and drizzled over top a hint of the chocolate icing leftover from the Pioneer Woman's Best Sheet Cake. Ever.), and my mom had also whipped up some coconut cream custard, which we had on the side. What a treat. There's a leftover piece waiting for me in the fridge right now, actually...

On an apologetic note, I have neglected my blogging commitment this week as I've been a) adjusting to life on mat leave, and b) busy nesting. I spent the weekend finishing the nursery and doing baby laundry, which led to other chores around here that I've been putting off. Some spontaneous napping has been know known to happen, too. :)

I do have some posts started that I will finish and publish soon, but they may be a bit sporadic.

Today's lesson - buttermilk is a wonderfully splendid thing!

Monday, August 10, 2009

::weekends are for eating::

After making the Pioneer Woman's "Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever." (who am I to argue? I'd never even heard of sheet cake until I saw her recipe) on Friday night for Saturday's luncheon with les parents and les grandparents, I had a lot of leftover buttermilk to deal with. (Why can't they sell buttermilk in 500 mL or even 250 mL cartons, like they do with regular milk and half-and-half? Who ever needs a full litre of the stuff?) Anyway, determined to use the buttermilk and not let it sit and go rancid in my fridge door, I decided to make buttermilk pancakes for myself yesterday morning.

Now, when you think of pancake breakfasts, most of us think of big family celebrations, like Christmas morning, or community days events where the firefighters man the huge flat top grill while kids with balloons tied 'round their wrists line up for flapjacks and proceed to smother them with salted butter and Aunt Jemimah "syrup." And if you're lucky, your breakfast sausages will soak up all that leftover syrup and you can feel your arteries clogging as you chew.

But cooking and eating pancakes alone is not exactly However, what a pregnant woman wants, a pregnant woman (usually) gets. I wanted pancakes, and so I made them.

The best recipe I could find online (that's right - I don't have an "old faithful" pancake recipe that I swear by...yet) was this: fruit-topped buttermilk pancakes. Not only were they mighty tasty, but the fruit puree on top in lieu of syrup was DELISH! I don't know why I would never have thought to puree and heat fruit as a topping but I'm sure glad "Arlene Butler" did! I can still taste it...probably because I only ate two big ones yesterday and had the leftovers for breakfast today. Ha. These pancakes reheated nicely and the fruit puree kept well - leftovers could be used stirred into yogurt or a smoothie. Some tweaks I made to the recipe:

-first, I halved it to serve 3 instead of 6 (sad, I know)
-I substituted honey for the brown sugar in the fruit puree
-I substituted apple sauce for the vegetable oil in the pancakes
-I did still add a smidgen of REAL maple syrup to the pancakes when I served them. Any excuse to eat real maple syrup is a good one, I say

If this sounds too healthy for you, try it first, you won't believe it. The vanilla in the batter really bumps up the sweetness of the pancakes, too, so the flavours all around are amazing.

For those of you now craving buttermilk pancakes but don't want to buy it JUST for the recipe (because you know it won't get used), try one of these substitutes instead. And yes, I DO wish I'd thought to research buttermilk substitutes before buy an entire litre of it. :)

For each 1 cup buttermilk called for in a recipe, use 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream;


1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup;


1 cup milk plus 1 3/4 tablespoons cream of tartar;


1/4 cup buttermilk powder and 1 cup water

*UPDATE: With STILL more buttermilk to use up, I'll baking up this Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream and freezing the layers tonight for use at another time. Doesn't it look delightful? That should about do it for my litre of buttermilk!

Friday, August 7, 2009

::the seam::

Is it not the most ANNOYING thing to receive a fresh Tim Horton's coffee where the lid opening seems to be strategically placed over the seam of the cup? That drives me nuts! You take a sip and one drop gets caught between the expanding overlapping pieces of cup which inevitably drips onto your shirt as you drive. ARGH! Plus, the more you drink from it, the softer the cardboard gets on your lip and you end up with bits of cup on your tongue at the end of the coffee.

Man, if I worked at Timmy's for just ONE day, things would be straightened out pretty quickly...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

::on bargains and probiotics::

My mom recommended I do the Activia 14-day challenge a few months ago. Being pregnant and having yogurt virtually EVERY morning for some protein before walking the dog, I switched brands and gave it a whirl. Supposedly, the "probiotics" in this yogurt are supposed to "help regulate your digestive system naturally as part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle." She swore by the difference it made in her digestion so I figured it would be worth a try.

I didn't notice a thing. Not one thing.

Maybe that's good! Maybe that says my digestive system is in working order and doesn't need to be messed with. Then I realized that I'm a) creating a lot of waste with these 100g snack-pack portions, b) paying an awful lot for something I could (and sometimes did) eat two of every day, and c) taking in a lot of extra ingredients and almost DOUBLE the sugar of regular, unsweetened, plain yogurt (which I love).

So I ditched the challenge and went on the hunt for a more economic, more pure yogurt that I could buy in a decent size.

Behold - the beast of all yogurt beasts!

That's right, kids - this is 4 kg (!) of plain yogurt. Guess how much at Superstore? $7.99! I had never noticed these tubs before but it was like the heavens opened and rained down yogurt manna. Now, maybe you're one of those people who needs the fruit mixed in and the super-duper creamy yogurt to choke the stuff down. But I could literally eat plain yogurt at every meal and not get bored. I love it and it's been GREAT in a pinch if I stay up too late at night and get hungry right before bed. If you think 4 kg is a lot of yogurt, believe me when I say I go through one of these in about 2 1/2 weeks.

The best part is, I can come home and preportion it into tupperware to have ready to go each morning! Whether it's a quick snack before walking the dog or adding it to a fruit smoothie for breakfast, this stuff is awesome and I'm pointing it out because if your family is a yogurt-loving family, you should know about this ridiculous deal.

I even used it to whip up a batch of fresh blackberry frozen yogurt last night, with the beautiful wild blackberries gifted to me by Gabrielle, Dora's daycare mom. Here's the recipe. I substituted honey for sugar - let's hope it turns out!

::simple pleasures::

How is it that such a simple find could make life so grand in a moment?

Well, I suppose anyone who shops at Winners or Homesense would say, "VERY easily!"

This lovely accordion file is EXACTLY what I've been looking for for more than a year (hey, I wasn't actively looking, okay? Just keeping my eyes peeled until the right one came the right price!). Because I rip recipes out of magazines and print them off from the web, I have not been diligent in transferring my growing collection to recipe cards and inserting them in the albums I bought LAST year to organize them. Instead, while I had sorted them into categories (chicken, desserts, appies, etc.), I had merely paperclipped them together in chunks, shoved them in a manila file folder and kept them in my recipe book cupboard - next to the still-packaged recipe cards. It was a bloody mess every time I went to look for a recipe, not to mention putting them back, when I would often just throw the used recipe on top of the file to reinsert "later." Of course, this happened 15 or so times before I'd get annoyed enough, need to make a certain recipe again and now had to shuffle through a pile of mismatched and unsorted recipes to find the one I wanted, defeating the purpose of the original categorization.

So when I found this folder at Homesense the other day for $7.99, I snatched it up with glee and excitedly brought it home. It's so adorable and was such a great deal. And in 20 minutes of labelling the tabs, unclipping and stuffing recipes into pre-existing pockets, my "recipe sorting project" was complete! No more dreading the hours I'd have to spend painstakingly handwriting each recipe on matching cards and inserting them into photo holders in an album. Balls to that, I say!

So there you have it - it's a little scary, actually, that something so insignificant can lift such a burden. It's instant nesting at its best!

::bacon makes everything better::

This is a motto of Wayne's: bacon makes everything better. And it really, truly does. For a while there, I was eating turkey bacon (or "turbacon," as I've heard it called). But, much like my thoughts on diet pop (found in #13 on the list in my previous post), I have gone back to the real thing. I think turkey bacon has even more junk in it to make it taste and look like "real" turkey than it's worth. So when I do eat bacon, it's real meat, baby. Trans fats and all...

The point is that I have stumbled upon a new creation, one so seemingly absurd that you'd at first recoil at the thought. But then, the more I think about it, the more curious I become. What am I referring to?

Chocolate Covered Bacon. Yuh huh!

Unfortunately, I just went grocery shopping at lunch and did not buy bacon. But next time, I will, and I will be making this. I will definitely need help eating it, though! Perhaps I'll make it one of my farewell recipe attempts next week at the office!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Can't think of much to write today so I'm stealing this little questionnaire from Sharon.

1 What's the last thing you put in your mouth? Water

2 Have you ever kissed anyone named Matthew? Ummm, no.

3 Where was your default picture taken? At home

4 Who was the last person you rode in a car with under the age of 20? My cousins Emily and Kylah (ages 8 and 6) - yesterday!

5 Can you play guitar hero? I think so. That's the one for Wii, right? I like the drums.

6 Last time you walked further than a block? This morning. Every morning, walking Dora.

7 Name someone that made you laugh today? Hm, I'm not in a very good mood today due to lack of sleep. I guess Dora would be it - does she count?

8 How late did you stay up last night and why? Too late - 11:30. WOUldn't be bad if I could sleep until my alarm goes off at 6 am. 'Cept that I woke up at 4 am instead. Boo for that.

9 If you could move somewhere else, would you? Absolutely. But BC will always be HOME.

10 Ever been kissed under fireworks? I don't think so. If I have, it obviously wasn't memorable.

11 Do you believe ex's can be friends? No, it's a bit dangerous.

12 Do you like calling or texting better? Meh - calling if you're going to get to the point. I have such bad reception in my house that I have to stop what I'm doing just to talk to you, so I'm not keen on chit chat. Texting is fine but again, it takes a while so it better be for a reason. I'd rather email (hey, I'm a writer!) or set up a date and then talk face to face.

13 How do you feel about Diet Dr Pepper? Diet anything is gross. Don't be deceived by "artificial" sugar. Shouldn't the word "artificial" tip you off that it's a fake of an already bad thing?! Yuck. If you're going to drink pop, just drink the original!

14 When was the last time you cried really hard? Last month sometime? Hormones. Missing Wayne. You know...

15 Where is your biological father right now? Probably chillin' with a cold one at home with Mum and my little bro.

16 Where are you right now? At my computer

17 What bed did you sleep in last night? Mine

18 What was the last thing someone bought for you? A bunch of goodies at a baby shower last Wednesday.

19 Who took your profile picture? I did.

20 Who was the last person you took a picture of? Danielle at her brother's wedding.

21 Was yesterday better than today? Yes - I didn't work. :)

22 Can you live a day without TV? Yes. Easily. But I used to watch a lot.

23 Are you a bad influence? Depends on my mood. haha

24 What items could you not go without during the day? TUMS, my phone to talk to Wayne, water and FOOD!

25 Would you share a drink with a stranger? No way! Sicko! You never know who has oral herpes, or who is a carrier.

26 Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? Cousin Sarah - popped out baby #4, Oliver.

27 What does the last text message in your inbox say? "I think I'm being assessed tonight. Pray for me!" (Wayne's doing a field exercise this week -- he was assessed and he passed!!! He's now a fully qualified Command Post Officer AND Safety Officer)

28 What are you wearing? Maternity jean shorts, teal cami, yellow plaid shirt

29 How many times have you been pulled over by the police? Once. Got off with a warning. I honestly didn't know pulling a u-turn on an advanced green was illegal (I was 20, okay?)

30 If we were to look in your inbox, what would we find? pages and pages of undeleted emails

31 Has anyone ever called you perfect before? My husband. :) He's a good liar.

32 What song is stuck in your head? Over the weekend, The Remainder by Death Cab was going around and around...

33 Someone knocks on your window at 2 am, who do you want it to be? Publisher's Clearinghouse. Or the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew.

34 What gets in your way of your sleeping? Being my most creative and alert after 9 pm. :( Boo.

35 Who was your last missed call on your cell phone? Mum.

36 Can you handle the truth? I prefer it. Don't beat around the bush - it wastes everyone's time.

37 What was the last book you read? Still reading Julie & Julia.

38 Is there something you always wear? Underwear?

39 Have you ever crawled through a window? Yes.

40 What is something that can always make you feel better? A hug from Wayne. Or a snuggle from Dora. In that order.

41 What do you want right now? A snack. And a good night's sleep!

42 Look behind you, what do you see? a side table, a chair, a lamp, and a shelf

43 Have you ever worked in a food place? Pick one: McDonald's, Northview Golf Club, catering, Sammy J Pepper's, Boston Pizza, Kelly O'Bryan's, Moxie's, Dublin Crossing Irish Pub...

Monday, August 3, 2009

::9 to go::

Well tomorrow is the beginning of the end, I think. Only nine more working days until I'm officially on maternity leave. Scary. Part of me wonders what I'll do when I wake up on August 17 with no where to be. The other part of me wonders how I'll get everything done in only three weeks before baby arrives! I'm doing a lot of that lately - waffling, feeling one way then another. Feeling excited and up for the birthing challenge one moment, then scared s***less the next!

Two women I know gave birth yesterday and though they are both "doing fine," I always wonder how they really feel. It's always bugged me when people say, "Soandso gave birth to a healthy baby boy/girl last night. Both mom and baby are 'doing fine.' " What the heck is that? I'm pretty sure that if you just pushed something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a lemon, you wouldn't exactly be doing "fine." Elated? Yes. Glad it's over? Yes. Exhausted? Definitely. But "fine"? Um, isn't "fine" what you say when your husband asks how you are, when he should CLEARLY know there's a problem, that he's most likely caused? Isn't "fine" that pat answer you give when a co-worker or church greeter asks how are you are but you know they don't really want an answer? I think, in terms of birth, when people say "fine," it means the mom and baby survived without serious complications. But that could mean MANY things and it seems to always be so hush-hush when it comes to what actually happened in the birth room. It's like an exclusive club you can only join if you actually give birth yourself. I guess I'll be going through the hazing process for this club membership in about 4 weeks' time - but when I bust outta that joint (SMH), I'll be sure to let you know EXACTLY how I'm feeling. None of this "fine" crap.

A chuckle for the day.