Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Santa's Little Helper

I was cleaning off my memory card, and look at what I found.

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Oh hello, I'm just hiding in the wrapping paper.
Since you can't see me, go away.

The tacky blotting of 80's colour is my own little experiment in Picassa, a program which I have recently discovered. Anyone have a photo of themselves holding a rose? Can I interest you in removing the colour from the rest of the picture, but still keeping the red rose, rosie? It makes for such a timeless picture.

Or better yet, I could blur the picture so you look like you're in a hallucinogenic dream.

Also timeless.

Anyhow, I'm getting off track. I took this picture two weeks ago when I was wrapping my family's Christmas gifts. The wrapping festivities were assembly-line style wherein I would wrap the present in Christmas paper, then dance it over to Dan and he'd cover up the package in brown post wrap.  The system would have worked perfectly if not for the peanut gallery (Dan) mocking my wrap jobs.

Now here's the thing about me: I really, really put a lot of effort into trying to decide what to buy people for Christmas and birthdays, but then I put no effort at all into wrapping the gift. I can't help it! It seems like such a waste of time trying to make something look pretty that's just going to be ripped open in 3.2 seconds. There was a point in time when my family could look under our Christmas tree and tell just by how a present was wrapped, if it was from me or not.

Does the parcel have a balling up of extra paper at both ends of the box? That one's from Caitie.

Does the parcel have three different colours of wrapping paper covering the box because someone can't figure out how much paper to cut? That one's from Caitie.

Is the parcel void of bows or ribbons? That one's from Caitie.

Does the parcel have clean lines, curling ribbons, and a neatly printed card? That one is not from Caitie.

Here's a question: does the poor wrap job void the gift of special meaning? No seriously, I want to know. Because if so, I guess I need to learn to try harder. Or, you know, give the presents to Dan to wrap.

So to illustrate just how differently we operate, you need to understand how different our gift wrapping stations looked: my station had sheared off razors of paper everywhere, a roll of packing tape dangling off the side of the table, and a blue pen leaking ink everywhere; Dan's tidy station had extra paper carefully placed to the side, squares of tape already cut and hanging off the table for easy use, and no leaking stationary.

He is so Swiss! I swear they teach them this stuff in school. In fact, Dan said they used to have to write in fountain pen for one penmanship exercise, and if they didn't blot the extra ink it would smudge and they would loose marks for being untidy.

OMG! I think while he was a Swiss schoolboy diligently practicing tidy penmanship I was a Canadian schoolgirl sounding a battle cry before wildly rolling down the school's sledding hill, wearing a dress, trying to beat my friends to the bottom. Sometimes I feel like I'm a perfect heathen next to Dan's Swiss roots.

So given all this, I handed Dan the last of my parents' gifts to wrap in post paper and he held the package in his hands and shook his head sadly from side to side. To paint a picture, the gift is wrapped in two jagged pieces of mismatched paper and there's a lot of tape holding it together.

"You know sweets," he sighed in weary resignation while glancing at my wrap station, "at this point in our Swiss adventure I have stopped hoping for your seamless integration. At best I can only hope for peaceful co-existence."

Standing before him still in my pajamas with crazy bedhead sticking out everywhere, I wiped an inky hand across my nose, watched our Canadian barn cat death roll himself into the remaining Christmas wrap and start shredding it to bits, while I replied: Huh? What do you mean by that?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Zibelemaerit

Today was the Onion Market in Bern, and I have got a few pictures to share with everyone. I missed the market last year because I was in transit returning from my cousin's wedding, but I've heard from a few people that it's quite the event and one should try and catch it. Last night Dan and I were lounging around making plans for today--his last day of holidays--and trying to decide when we were going to hit up the market.

"Well you know Cait, some of the vendors are set-up and selling their goods as early as 4 a.m."

Then I blinked.

A lot.

"I am not going anywhere at 4 a.m. unless it's to be shuttled to my private yacht off the coast of France."

"Okay, how about 6 a.m. Everything is open and in full swing then; everyone who has to work tomorrow will catch it then before they go to work."

"Do you even know me at all?"

We ended up showing up today at around 11, and it was packed. Honestly, maybe it's worth going early just so you can actually have a chance to browse the wares being sold at the vendor booths because really for most of the time I spent there I just felt like I was a cow in a chute, being pushed along the streets. If you stopped moving or tried to veer sideways to a booth, you got trampled. So needless to say I didn't really check out a lot of the vendor stands, most of which were selling (because this is an onion market) braided ropes of onions, though there were a lot of different wares being sold too. Dan and I were more interested in the food carts and it was fun to be part of the crowd, eat some divine garlic bread, and sip hot gluehwein.

The first thing I noticed though, when stepping off the bus, is that the streets were absolutely carpeted in confetti; this brings me to the one thing you need to be prepared for: kids (teens and tykes alike) walk around with bags of confetti and plastic hammers that make a squeaking sound. The point is they reach into their bag and throw handfuls of confetti at your face, rub it into your hair, and then bonk you over the head with the plastic hammer. It seems quite violent and unnecessary to me, the Canadian, but Dan said it's tradition and he used to be one of the little terrors holding a squeaking hammer and bag of confetti.

Of course, today he was rather immune to it because there was no one tall enough to throw confetti at his face, rub it in his hair, or hit him over the head with a squeaking toy hammer. I had to take a few for the team.

It was really fun.

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Though next year, I'm going to team up with a kid so I can do some confetti throwing of my own.

Friday, 25 November 2011

But Beyonce Makes It Look Easy

Given the title to this post, you are probably thinking that I was trying to copy the moves Beyonce herself ripped off in her 'Love on Top' video.


Um, of course I did. What else does one do when wrapping Christmas presents (that need to get sent off ASAP so they will be under Canadian Christmas trees) but make a YouTube playlist and dance around?

And trust me, I don't look like Beyonce when trying to do this video.

I look better.

Okay, I don't. Basically I just flail around and knock the cats' water bowl over. Anyhow, this is all getting rather real and embarrassing. But if you watch the video, at one point there's a costume change (or five) and she's dancing around in heels. This baffles me because I can hardly walk in heels, let alone dance in them. And because I can hardly walk in heels it makes sense that I should purchase a pair when looking to replace an everyday pair of shoes, does it not?

So does everyone remember my London funk shoes? Well, this past October they were officially run into the ground and I needed to get a new pair. This is par for the course; I go through one pair of shoes a year because I hate shoe shopping so I find one pair and then stick with them until there comes a point when the shoes become so worn out that trodden-upon gum becomes stuck to my big toe instead of the sole of my shoe. So I ventured into Bern to find a suitable replacement when I passed a gorgeous shoe store that had lovely feminine shoes angled seductively in the window.

"Maybe I do need to know how to wear high heels. I am a grown ass woman, and I need to accept the fact that sometimes being comfortable when you walk isn't all that matters! Stateliness is key!"

So riding on this euphoric high of subversive feminism, I went in to try and find a pair that would fit my small but wide feet.

I did.

And without further ado, here are the shoes I purchased with the intent to make them my new everyday autumnal footwear.

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The first time I wore these, I made it to the bus stop before my feet were so numb I had to hobble home to change shoes.  The second time I wore them I made it all the way into Bern wherein I then stuck strictly to a one block radius of the Bahnhoff before stumping home, Tiny Tim style. The third time I wore these Dan and I were going to do a little pub crawl, but I couldn't walk so we stayed at the restaurant at the Bahnhoff.

They are a real delight.

The only reason I keep subjecting myself to their contorting cruelty is because they look damn good (and they cost a lot and Dan said I'd never wear them again and I have to prove him wrong). Needless to say, these have not become my everyday shoes and instead I've been wearing a pair of my boots around all the time.

A pair of flat-soled boots that Beyonce wouldn't be caught dead walking the streets of Paris in (not to imply they're ugly, because they're not; they're just flat-soled). So on Wednesday Dan and I were walking home--me in my boots--when I was ironically asking how anyone could wear high heels all the time. They are a major hazard. This last sentence was uttered at the precise moment when I stepped awkwardly off a curb and felt my right foot bend sideways at a ninety-degree angle so that my body weight was briefly resting on my ankle.

I felt things crunch and pop in my foot.

Then I uttered a string of painful expletives as I hopped around, unable to put any weight on my foot. It's just a sprain, and on Wednesday night I had a pretty sweet golf-ball sized growth attached to my ankle that thankfully has almost gone away, but I'm still stumping around Tiny Tim style.

Sigh.

I'm a mess.

I can't walk in heels, apparently I also can't walk in flats, and I definitely can't do the Love on Top dance moves.

Maybe I just need to evolve backwards and become a sea dwelling mammal. I'm an excellent swimmer after all, and am very graceful in the water.

But people, I need to know: is it just me? Am I the only one who can't wear heels? They hurt for everyone, right? And some people are just better at dealing with it?

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

We Have Arrived!

Forget Dan's Swiss passport or my little card-thingy that says I'm a resident. Want to know how we really know that we're in Switzerland?

We received our very first passive aggressive note!

Hooray!

Passive aggressive notes are very widespread where we live, which is why we were joking that Mrs. First Floor Fornicator would probably get one for her loud antics. In fact, the people who live just below us had a passive aggressive note taped to their door about a month or so ago, wherein one person in the building expressed concern as follows:

Good day. Your dogs bark constantly, all day long because you leave them alone for too long. It is unbearable. Do something about this immediately or the authorities will be contacted. Friendly Greetings.

I mean, isn't that just the best? There was no attempt on the author's part to hide their contempt or judgment, though s/he did remember their manners by extending a courtesy at the end. Considering that we have Cosmo--the loudest cat of all time--Dan and I stayed out of the barking dog showdown of 2011 because it was hardly our place to complain when we ourselves do not house an angel. Though, we have it on good authority that Cosmo is only loud when we are home.

(Basically, we're whipped by our cat and when he cries we jump to meet his needs so he'll be quiet. But that's not the point of this story.)

So anyhow, we have managed to avoid a passive aggressive note for over a year and half but now we have one of our very own! And it's hilarious!

Here's how it unfolds:

Saturday morning we are heading into Bern for our typical Saturday morning coffee date. Dan stops at the mailbox to grab his financial paper, and we discover the mailman has been around extra early with a bundle of junk mail and fliers. As we leave the building, Dan stuffs the junk mail into the outside trash can and we go to Bern.

Yesterday evening we are returning home and we open the mailbox to collect our mail. Amongst Monday morning's junk mail we find Saturday's soiled junk mail with a scribbled note on one envelope.

Good day Herr S----,

This is a reminder that paper must always be recycled. It cannot be thrown into the trash. In the future, make sure all your paper is disposed of correctly. Friendly Greetings.

Are you understanding this, Internet?

Do you comprehend?

Let me break it down for you, if you haven't had your coffee. This means that someone dug through the outside trash in order to retrieve our junk mail and then stuffed the soiled mail back in our box.

Let's all pause a moment to picture this irritated citizen taking time out of their day to dig through the trash, to write a note on our discarded junk, then to stuff it back into our box. Now let's laugh at them. But seriously, we have officially been CH-ed*. Now can we please get our Brownie badge to sew onto our sash? Task completed: pissing someone off enough in order to be taught an anonymous lesson.

Next task? Discarding junk mail without our name on it so they will have to use DNA analysis to match it to the correct mail box.

What? I have to keep them on their toes.

Friendly Greetings! 

(*That's a thing. I just made it up. CH being the abbreviation for Switzerland. Pass it on.)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Postage Was Outlandish

Africa, I know that as a continent yours is one with many trials: famine, health epidemics, poverty, corruption, and visiting celebrities who throw self-serving concerts and parties because it's cool to care, but only if a lot of people are going to see you caring (right Bruce Springsteen?).

Given all this, is it fair for me to burden you with one more problem when you already have to deal with corruption amongst your nations, and ambiguous angling celebrity?

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It probably isn't fair, is it? Well, no matter...

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...he didn't meet shipping standards anyhow.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Sound Bites (A PG-13 Post)

So I will preface this post by saying that Dan and I realize we are supposed to be mature 30 year olds who do not start getting all grade 7 "Oh my god! Listen to that! They're having s-x!" when hearing our neighbours. We realize we're supposed to be mature, but we're not.

We totally get all grade 7.

So a few times Dan has come home after work and mentioned that when passing by a neighbouring apartment complex, there are a lot of shrieks and cries and Rated R sounds coming from an open first floor window. Then we giggle about it because we aren't mature.

So this afternoon we were returning from an amazing day in Bern wherein I scored the deal of a lifetime (details to come, though don't get too excited. It's not like I encountered a lady giving away free Bernese Mountain Dog puppies because that would have been the deal of  seven lifetimes and I'd be in hospital right now because I would have passed out from sheer joy and probably got run over by a tram), and as we were passing the aforementioned apartment complex I was chattering away about something when Dan stopped dead in his tracks and put his finger to his lips, announcing I was to be quiet.

And that's when I too finally heard her: Mrs. First Floor Fornicator filling the Saturday afternoon with her amorous bellows.

"Holy crap," I whispered, "she could be in yodelling contests!"

Then Dan started laughing and we ran up the stairs to our building, making jokes at her expense because we are juvenile.

"Dan, her windows are wide open! She wants people to know, she does! Oh my god! I mean, she's right across from the apartment playground; kids could swing into her window. Can you even imagine the passive aggressive notes that must get left on her door? Please lower the decibel on the cries of your coupling. We have children who are asking questions and are concerned if you're hurt. Friendly Greetings, your annoyed Swiss neighbour."

Then Dan told the joke of a lifetime. The joke that has proven why we are married.

"I know why she always at it in the afternoon."

"Why?"

"Because she has to comply with Switzerland's apartment noise rules: no vacuuming, no showering, and no howling after 8 p.m."

Then I collapsed against the side of our building and choked on my laughter, while Mrs. First Floor Fornicator's neighbour stood on her balcony with a shop vac and a scowl on her face, vacuuming up leaf debris and trying to drown out the shrieks.

***

You just never now what's going to happen when you wake up in the morning. Happy Saturday, everyone.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Like A Bowl Full of Jelly(Beans)

I have a confession to make: I love food.

Grocery shopping has always been the highlight of my week. Of course when I first moved out of Mom and Dad's house, my grocery shopping trips were a huge treat because that is literally all I would buy: treats. I went crazy buying every single thing my mom normally didn't have in stock: Cap 'N Crunch, chocolate milk, Asian noodle soups, potato chips, fancy cheeses, and frozen chicken nuggets. Then I would lug my goods home and promptly run out of food three days later because treats do not a meal make. This went on for about a month because I was stubbornly of the opinion that I AM AN ADULT AND ADULTS EAT WHATEVER WE WANT before realizing, I am an adult and I need to eat some mofo vegetables and fruit before I collapse from scurvy and/or mineral deficiencies.

I know how to cook and have known how to cook since I was a young teenager, so once my fridge was stocked with ingredients, I did get my cooking on. And the best part about this new phase in my grown up life? I always had leftovers for lunch, and I didn't have to grocery shop as much as I used to because real food lasts way longer than a bag of Mr. Christie's Rainbow Chip Cookies. Go figure.

But then Dan and I moved in together and for the first time in my life I had to deal with a picky eater. I don't know about anyone else out there, but my sisters and I were literally not allowed to be picky eaters. We had no allergies or special dietary considerations, so if we didn't eat what was cooked for us, we didn't eat. Simple as that. And today my sisters and I are generally not picky eaters; we will try most things people make for us, and decide from there if we like it. So imagine my utter confusion when I started making dinners for Dan and I, and he would examine the plate with squinted eyes and quiz me about the ingredients before taking a bite.

Dan was a picky eater!

The horror.

Fact: picky eaters annoy the piss out of me. JUST TRY A BITE.

Anyhow, to be fair he wasn't nearly as bad as some picky eaters I've come across but I did have my moments where he'd be chewing a mouthful of something--with a furrow in his brow--and I would find myself gripping my dinner knife just a little more tightly than is considered psychologically sound. But as with all relationships we have found our groove, and these days there are rarely  moments when there is something that Dan has a trepid distrust of eating.

Until last night.

On my last trip to the grocery store there were some heirloom baby tomatoes on sale, and I got positively giddy over these. Of course heirloom tomatoes are readily available at the Saturday morning farmer's market but people, I can't get up early enough to make it to that. Be serious. So when they showed up on the shelf of my grocery store I bought a glorious assortment with the plan to turn them into a simple tomato salad served alongside chicken and lemon potatoes.

As I was washing them up last night I thought that the colours of these little acidic fruits were so beautiful, and when jostled all together the tomatoes reminded me of jellybeans.

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So glorious!

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Such pretty little beans.

So I prepared the meal and we sat down to eat. As the meal wore on, I noticed a little collection of the purple tomatoes piling up at the corner of Dan's plate.

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They're like gemstones.

"Sweets, why aren't you eating the purple tomatoes?"

Then Dan gave me a sheepish side-look before responding, "Because, they're purple. Tomatoes are supposed to be red."

"Are you for real? Have you even tried a bite?"

"But sweets, they're purple. They look like they're rotting."

"Dan, have you tried a bite?"

"No."

"You have to try a bite. You're thirty years old, this is crazy."

"Seriously?"

"Yes, seriously. It tastes exactly like the red ones."

Then Dan speared one purple tomato, took a deep, holding breath (the sort of breath one might take before changing a baby's diaper), squeezed his eyes tightly closed and quickly shoved that tomato in his mouth before starting to chew in a frenzied panic. I mean, with a production like that you'd think I'd asked him to eat a baby tarantula instead of a tomato.

"Alright," he gulped. "I ate one! I ate one! Do I have to eat the rest?"

It was impossible not to laugh.  And now I know what somebody is getting in their stocking this year instead of an orange.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Timelines: It's Been Two Years (And A Few Days)

It was a late September evening, and Dan was sitting in our living room in a green leather chair that was lopsided and had claw marks raked through the thin material; the laptop was balanced on his knees and I was crouched beside him on the floor with my arms folded on the arm rest and my nose buried under my left elbow. Dan's fingers were clickety-clicking over the keys for awhile, then it was quiet.

"Alright," he sighed, leaning back heavily in the chair. "That's it. It's booked. I leave in just over a month."

A plane ticket to Switzerland. Without me.

No job when he landed.

A potential return date five months from when he departed, should the job hunt not be bountiful.

I burst into tears. 

***

The week before Dan left I was in a dizzy haze. He was ploughing through his clothes and belongings, deciding what to throw away, what to save for a potential move, and what to immediately pack with him. During these purges I generally would be lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling and thinking, "Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out."

I was an emotional wreck: we were going after what we wanted, but the ensuing months were going to be hard. Though as I lay on the floor, staring at the popcorn ceiling of our 1970's newly renovated apartment, I had absolutely no idea how hard it would be.

But in order to make it, I knew I had to keep remembering breathe in, breathe out.

***

I constantly felt like I had just stepped a shaky foot off that carnival G-force ride known as the Zipper. For days, bile was the only taste at the back of my throat. My eyes were red rimmed from lack of sleep, too much crying, and an irritating dryness from standing directly in front of a wind tunnel that was tossing me around against my will, even though I had willed that wind tunnel to throw my life into chaos.

***

We threw a going-away, good luck, dinner for Dan and I kept a magnum of sparkling wine next to my plate and got sloppily drunk. All the pictures show me laughing.

I was terrified.

***

November 9, 2009 was the longest night. We stayed awake for hours and hours, trying not to fall asleep, but eventually loosing the battle. At 5 a.m. I heard the shower running, and I felt my stomach twist into a ball of anxiety that would (in hindsight) remain that way for the next seven months.

Dan gave each of the cats a long hug, kissed his coffee table good-bye, and in the stillness of a bitterly cold 5:30 morning we left the apartment to drive to the airport. We went slow, hardly speaking, creeping towards that shale ledge that felt like it was going to crumble under our feet.

At the airport we stared at each other across a cafeteria table, holding hands, letting our coffees grow cold, while telling each other it would be fine. What we were doing was easy compared to the separations others had no choice over. And considering the following day was Remembrance Day, I felt so egocentric to be feeling sadness over the fact my husband going to Europe to find a job. It's not like he was going to war. Like we would never hold hands again. I felt so self-absorbed to bemoan a departure that we had booked the ticket for, that we had planned for and been excited for.  

But it still didn't make saying goodbye any easier.

Kamloops has a small airport, and it's a bit unusual to see people crying at the departures gate. Especially at 6:30 in the morning when the rest of the passengers are business people heading to Vancouver for a day of meetings.

People stared, and I wanted to tell them all to f-ck off and mind their own business.

I watched Dan go through security, before I fled the airport and drove home through a screen of tears.

Everyone told me I didn't have to go work that day, but I went anyhow because it was easier than staying at home feeling sorry for myself when I had no reason to feel sorry.

***

He called me from Toronto at lunch time.

He was on his way.

***

That night my sisters came over to keep me company.

It was the first time I actually realized that if I moved, we wouldn't be near each other anymore.

That wasn't a good night.

I slept on his side of the bed.

***

He called me at 3:52 a.m. to tell me he'd landed safely and was at his family's house. I was wide awake, waiting for the call.

November 11, 2009.

Day 1.

***

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A Post About Post

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At the turn of the 20th Century, members of the Universal Postal Union commissioned this monument.

When snail mail was the only mail.

When a letter was passed from hand to hand to hand, around the world.

Instead of pixel to pixel.

(My, how times have changed.)

When a simple package sent from Switzerland to Canada arrived within a handful of weeks.

Instead of...oh, wait.

It still takes more than a handful of weeks to send a snail package from Switzerland to Canada.

(My, how times have not changed.)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

What Would Martha Do?

I love hosting dinner parties, but I don't do it that often. Namely because I go crazy overboard with planning and ideas and lists, and by the time the night of the actual dinner rolls around I am exhausted and want everyone to leave as soon as they've shovelled the last morsel into their mouth.

I am an amazing hostess, as you can tell.

On Sunday I threw a 'Thanksgiving' dinner for Dan's family. Since this is Switzerland, no one was available on 'the fly' when I threw out the invitation two weeks before our real Thanksgiving in October. Dudes, this is serious stuff. I've never done anything on the fly with any born and bred Swiss person; there is at least a four week minimum needed to plan any social event.

So at the beginning of October everyone inked this November dinner into their calendars and my planning commenced. If you were to have come to our home anywhere between mid-October to last Saturday, there is a good chance that I would have sat you down and asked for your opinion on a range of topics from: What do you think of smoked salmon canapes? to: Are cloth napkins making a come back? Or are we all still of the opinion that the resulting laundry isn't worth the hassle?

Of course the one thing I didn't spend a lot of time considering was my main course menu, because I can rock that like nobody's business: succulent roasted chickens, steamed broccoli, potatoes mashed with chives, gravy, and a savoury bacon and rosemary stuffing. However, my preoccupation with what to serve for an appetizer and what to serve for dessert are different stories, and good grief but did I ever spend copious evening hours pouring over Martha Stewart's website. In fact, I think I can say with assurance that nobody knows that website better than I do at the moment. And when I would get overwhelmed with the selection of 'elegant appetizers' and 'seasonal appetizers' and 'casual appetizers' I would take a break and flip to her pets section where I would read up on all of Martha's cats and her Chow Chows, and Francesca and Sharkey (OMG I know her dogs' names. Send help.). Then I would flip over to her blog and curse all her and her friends' perfect New England homes. Then I'd feel sad that I didn't have a New England mansion with ebony Frisians grazing in the back paddock, and so I'd go back to the recipe section to visually eat away my sorrows.

It was a very tumultuous time, as you can tell.

In the end, I went with what I thought would be a very twee and cutesy dessert because I wanted to make something that wouldn't be too different from anything they'd tasted before, but would still have a distinct Canadian je ne sais quoi quality to it.

Behold, my idea:

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Owl cupcakes!

The decorating idea didn't come from Martha--that was found by falling through an Internet worm hole that I will never find again--but I got the chocolate cupcake recipe from her.

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We're a whoot!

My friend came over on Saturday night and helped me decorate these babies, and we also made some maple walnut cupcakes too, but I don't have a picture of those because they aren't as awesome looking as OWL CUPCAKES. Though, they actually tasted delicious and all the cupcakes were a huge hit.

And about the appetizer, you ask? Well I was going to make a smoked salmon mousse, but when I tested the recipe on Thursday night it failed miserably and I lost my mind.

WHO NEEDS APPETIZERS?

WHY ARE THEY A BIG THING?

WE'RE HAVING AN ENORMOUS DINNER.

 I QUIT!

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So I went with a simpler spread of meat and cheese.

As everyone was chowing down on the sausage, they kept commenting on how good and unusual it was. What kind had I bought? Since I had just grabbed a cured sausage off the shelf thinking, 'eh, they're all the same' I was perplexed why they were making a big deal out of it.

So I grabbed the package to show them. Everyone passed the package around and murmured that they would never have thought to buy this.  How unusual, but good. What a surprise. A tasty surprise. Maybe they wouldn't be averse to buying it next time.

I was getting really confused.

What?

What had I bought? What I had done?

Internet, it turns out the sausage that I carelessly grabbed was...SHEEP SAUSAGE.

Ack!

I was horrified and shocked and terribly confused, and everyone laughed heartily. I feel quite confident Martha would not have made that blunder. Always trust the foreigner to provide a few laughs (and delicious cupcakes).

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Are You Afraid Of The Fog?

A couple of Sundays ago it was a very foggy day; the sort of fog that swamps your view and leaves sailors searching for the flash of a lighthouse. I spent an incredibly lazy morning wherein I turned one of our living room chairs to face the window so I could sit and sip tea while I watched the thick clouds of fog brush past our windows with gossamer finger tips.

Later that afternoon Dan and I decided to go for a walk in our neighbourhood just as the fog was starting to lift, and the bright autumn colours started to flash as beacons of light.

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It was a rejuvenating stroll down foggy lanes, and it felt a bit magical: like the world whispered a language that only we could hear through those earth-bound clouds.

Fog by day is enchanting.

But fog at night can feel like a trick. 

So last night after we finished dinner we went for our semi-regular after-dinner walk, and when we stepped outside the evening fog rushed around us in a suffocating cloud of humidity, clamping its hand over our mouths and holding those gossamer hands over our eyes so we could hardly see the glow of the street lights. But we set off on our way, and eventually we became accustomed to the heavy clouds that clung to our shoulders and leapfrogged in front of us.

In fact, we got so used to our soupy environment, and not being able to see anything, that I became quite convinced we were the only people who were daring enough to be out on a night like that. So much to Dan's mortification, I decided to serenade him with a song that I thought I knew all the words to: Kelly Clarkson's 'Low', in case you're wondering. What?! It was a 69 cent download on iTunes recently, I had to buy it! (I also bought Salt & Peppa's 'Shoop'. Classic!) So anyhow I was singing away, and as we turned a corner I heard a rustling of leaves and when I looked to the left there was a beast crouched in the shrubbery looking at us with wild eyes over its shoulder!

I jumped about fifty feet off the ground and the next lyrics on my lips turned into a hybrid of yelping/swearing.

A beast! In the shrubbery! On a foggy night! A BEAST.

"Calm down," Dan hissed, yanking on my hand. "It's just a guy bending down to pick up dog crap."

"It's not a beast? It's just a man picking up...dog crap? But the wild eyes?"

"Probably your singing."

So then I started laughing. Really, really hard. The kind of hard where no sound comes out. I think I was just thankful to be alive, and not in danger of being dragged by a beast back to some spooky castle where all the dishes and spoons and candlesticks are alive and are going to sing for me to be their guest.

It was just a guy picking up after his dog! Oh, the humour!

So I was still laughing my fool head off when we got further down the street and standing behind a shrub (shrubs should not be allowed to grow on foggy nights) is a man standing poker straight, holding in his hand some little device that flashes red and blue. He was just standing there! I was convinced that he was using the fog as an invisibility cloak, so that when we walked by the shrubs he would reach through AND GRAB US.

I was so surprised to have encountered not one but TWO beasts within one block, that I exclaimed quite loudly (forgetting that everyone can probably understand English), "What is that guy DOING? He's just standing behind a hedge, IN THE FOG. WHAT A CREEP, LET'S GET OUT OF HERE."

"Would you just relax. You are the definition of an overactive imagination."

"But it's like the X-Files out here! It's frigging creepy!"

"I totally had a crush on Scully."

"What?! Where did that come from?"

"You mentioned the X-Files, such a great show."

"They always wore terrible jackets. Double breasted trench coats that swept down to the ground; Scully was too short to wear those."

"It was the 90's, crazy things happened."

"Yeah, like alien abductions on foggy nights. And I don't want to get captured by a beast or a shrub-perv so let's go home!"

"Man, I love foggy nights."

"Yeah, me too."

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Our Album Cover

DSC_0095

Should we ever decide to record an album, this is going to be our cover.

It will probably be an album of lullabies or relaxing sounds.