For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Quickie Postie on a Toosday

Rushing out shortly. I'm having trouble getting up in the mornings, even when I want to get up earlier. Dunno if it's the change in season, taking my meds too late at night, my change in diet, or what, but I just wanna sleep. Gah!

But I also dislike being at work later than 7, so. Grr! It bothers me to be this slow to get my act together in the mornings of late. Whatever.

At least coming home isn't going to involve a lot of work! I don't really have any cooking to do this week. For my lunches, I've got my funky Italiano beans I make -- a bunch of little Italian sausage meatballs (squeeze it out of the casings and ball it up), canned cherry tomatoes, lots of mixed bell peppers and onions, all cooked up with a couple cups of beans (I used balck-eyed this time, borlotti and romano work great) and a bit of red wine and an entire bunch of basil. Great for lunches!

Then supper this week is just funky pita sandwiches. I've done pepper chicken (actually, it's Montreal steak spice, but it's awesome for chicken in this context), all sliced up and sauteed with lots of onions and peppers, then I cook up my diced asparagus, slice up nice ripe Roma tomatoes, some provolone, some avocado, and condiments, all stuffed into a pita, and presto. Dindin is served. All my veggies, some dairy, protein, carbs, the whole shebang in one easy meal.

But there's still the problem of having a hard time waking up in the morning! Oy vey. One of these days. The change of season usually slays me, so maybe it's just that. Hmm!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Don't Like Mondays But I Like the Song

It's Monday morning. Boo, hiss. But it's more like my Tuesday since I did work six hours yesterday, too. Still, I'm yawny and slow. Yawn. Groan. And crampy. Like Monday doesn't suck enough on its own, I need to get my period too. Kinda funny.

Actually, I'm in a pretty good mood. I'm still bitter that I've managed to fuck up my achilles. It's bothering me a little more than I would have expected. I still say it'll clear up pretty soon. I hope/think. Etc.

I'm looking at the new dollar rates. The Canuck buck's almost worth $1.05. Disconcerting to see America continue its rapid decrease. I'd never have thought this could happen as rapidly as it is. It's worrisome. I'm glad the Canadian dollar's worth more, but I'd like to have seen it happen in a more gradual way than this.

But, still, there was no reason our economy should've been in such a deep dive for so long. We DO own 1/3 the world's freshwater, and we DO have the second largest oil reserves in the world, second only to Saudi Arabia. Then you throw in silly other things like our wheat harvests, forests/timber potential, mining, and all that, and, yeah, who the fuck was doing these older valuations anyhow? Mickey Mouse?

It's like all the economists in the world suddenly had the lightbulb go on and realized how much Canada does have to offer. I'd been reading in some sources as far back as a decade ago that, by 2030, we'd be "the new OPEC" with our freshwater sources as the world becomes drier and more needy of water. Who knew they'd finally start looking at oil sands reserves, and we'd actually become the new OPEC based on oil alone? Quel fucked, Batman.

But the dollar's pretty spooky, how fast it's moving. At least we're not just strengthening against the Yankee buck, which would be alarming and a double-edged deathknell of sorts. We're strengthening against everyone's currency. It's just crazy shit, really. It's hip to be a Canuck buck.

Some are saying "oh, it'll go back down to a buck by the end of the year" but I think this news out of Alberta where Klein's government has raised the royalties on oil is pretty substantial. I can't see that not being a massive boost to the economy given that it's based largely on oil that our buck's getting so strong. Hmm.

Strange times here in Canada. On the one hand, I want to see the Canuck buck keep going because I think our economy's on the right track, but on the other, I'm terrified to see what happens if America continues crippling itself with its incredibly STUPID fucking banking industry and all the high-risk loans they're getting defaulted on, and the housing market crashing, et al. Wow. I can't believe what's happening south of the border. Strange, strange things afoot. How fucking moronic their credit industry is. I mean, shit, that's just incredible that they've let it go so far for so long. How could people NOT be defaulting on loans? How could the housing market NOT crash? What morons. Unbelievable.

Of course it's more complicated than that, but, still. Just makes ya wanna shake your head.

'course, also makes me even happier to live north of the 49th, too. Yay Canada.

Speaking of money... let's go make some! Yay jobs!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I'm pissed off. I somehow strained my left achilles last night. Not the end of the world, but not the Saturday I'd hoped to have. The masterplan included a small hike and a bunch of other stuff. Now I'm downsizing and just going to a friend's this afternoon for a housecooling.

(They're leaving the province, thus moving out of the house. Opposite of housewarming = housecooling? And if not, why not? Logic, people. LOGIC.)

Tonight's the much-loved Parade of the Lost Souls. It involves walking. I have a gimpy achilles. I want it to heal. Walking before it heals is probably not wise. But then there's not another Parade of Lost Souls until October 2008, so I'd be a fool to not go. Photo op! Photo op! Plus, the nephew's coming and he's never been. Funny watching him have his moments when he realizes he does NOT know everything "cool" after all. Snot-nosed punks... heh. They should stay 6 for a little longer. 11's when they get precocious.

Whatever. I'll probably do it, but it might mean curtailing activity for a day or two, WHICH IS SO NOT COOL, not when I'm just getting motivated to get fit! I am NOT PLEASED with the universe.

More importantly, I feel like a doofus! Know how it happened? I stood up to get off the couch. Fucking irony there, eh? I was cleaning house in between commercials last night, and all energetically hopped up to go do the last couple of dishes, then THWAP. Sproing went the achilles. Fuckin' dumb-ass, is what that is.

Anyhow, like I say, it's not all that bad. Should be a day or two of discomfort at the most if I don't go bein' a dumb-ass and pushing it. I'm also as amused as I am annoyed. I shall be fine. I just deserve to feel pissy about it for a half hour.

Gives me an opportunity to take an hour and finish reading Alex Garland's Coma. Good writer. I've like Garland since the first week The Beach landed on my shelf in the bookstore. I was always a big Graham Greene fan, and Garland seems to have followed in Greene's footsteps. Tesseract was terrific. And then the movie 28 Days Later? Ha. C'mon! Good at tapping into the mindset. Great at first-person narratives.

But reading about the coma and the weirdness of head injuries is a little off-putting. I'm being thrust into remembering just how much of my life I forget in the six months following my head injury in 2004. I don't remember that Christmas, I don't remember the hockey season, I don't remember what work was like, I don't remember anything. It's all just a blur of "I know I was there, but I shoulda got the t-shirt". (I do, however, have the blog... I should go back and read the six months from Sept'04 to March'05) It's a little disconcerting how much of your life slips from you when you're recuping from a head injury. My advice? Give serious concussions a pass. Not fun. No good.

Opt instead for a strained achilles. Now THAT is doable.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

All the Leaves are Brown, and the Sky isn't Grey

There's the smell of woodsmoke wafting into my bedroom. A sign the fall is upon us, despite the uncharacteristically sunny days Vancouver is experiencing as we head into -- wait for it -- an actual weekend, and in late October, no less. Sunshine is expected until Tuesday. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Or a Hobgoblin or something.

I just finished watching Grey's Anatomy. It ended with Meredith Grey finally deciding to dispose of her mother's ashes... letting them rinse from her hands under the showerheads in the O.R., just like her world-class, heartless surgeon mother would probably want, since she believed in nothing of an afterlife, nor of any religion.

I've been thinking of my mother a lot lately, and I don't really know what's predicated such thoughts, but there it is. There they are. Often.

Me, I let her ashes fall from the cardboard box we put her in, since she demanded we not spend "senseless" money on an urn -- "an overpriced vase", she said. So, there I was, on a sailboat whose name escapes me, out on the water on the Sunshine Coast, letting her ashes be carried by the breeze, when an errant gust blew up and instead sprayed her remains onto me.

Moral of the story: Never, ever wear suntan lotion when you're disposing of a loved one's ashes at sea. What can I say? It was a sunny, hot August day, and I felt sunscreen was called for. Oopsies. Oopsoes squared, really.

But her ashes not only landed on me, they stuck to me. I was forced to scrub her off with towels, then shower her off later. Until you've had the experience of knowing that your mother's ashes stuck to you are the closest you'll ever be tp her again again, you can't imagine what a morbidly amusing yet unbelievably torn moment that is. It's, honestly, the original "damned if you do, but certainly damned if you don't" moment.

Mom's wishes were to be scattered at sea via a sailboat. Not some testosterone-charged powerboat, or any piddly rowboat. It had to be a sailboat. And that's what we did. The winds showed up, naturally. Everyone aboard was drinking red wine, which my mother would have approved of on shore, but would have railed against on the seas... drinking and boating was irresponsible, she thought. She was nothing if not a very, very responsible captain of the sailing seas.

Those ruling the boat lost control of it more than once. The hat my Uncle Joe wore, that he'd worn for three decades of boating, blew off in a gust of wind. Every time we circled back and thought we had the hat saved, a sudden gust of wind would prevent us from rescuing it. Not once, not twice, but THREE times. And then, in an instant, this weird little whirlpool swept up and sucked that hat under. It was never seen again.

Also, every single one of us spilled wine on us. We all thought "she" was speaking to us from the grave and admonishing us for failing to adhere to safe sailing, and also for taking the cheater's way out, breaking the law, and scattering her ashes "too close" to shore, according to the law books. She was law-abiding to a fault. She never once cheated on her taxes until she was completely bankrupt in the year before her death, and then only as a matter of necessity. Lying was for liars, she'd say.

Our struggles onboard when merely trying to carry out her complicated wishes makes me laugh today. Made me laugh then, too. She was stout-hearted and never took the easy way out on confrontation, not that I recall. I liked it, honestly. I liked that it seemed she spoke from "the beyond".

She seemed to do that at the funeral, too. When I finished her eulogy, the windows in the room blew open and a massive gush of wind rushed in and filled the hall, sweeping everyone up in silence, and before we knew it, the wind was gone and all was once again silent. Kind of like a cosmic "I hear ya, and I bid thee farewell." The rest of the day was calm. I know, because my brother and I took a litre of wine and some glasses to the beach and hung with a friend of the family as the three of us got light-headed staring at the thing my mother loved more than life itself, the ocean. Never once did the wind blow. No, it was dead calm. Dead. Calm.

Every now and then I wish she was "normal" and had a grave, a place I could go and lie stooped against as I drown my losses in a good red wine, but she doesn't. She has the ocean. The ocean is my mother. What little, or rather what lot, is left of her. I sometimes go there, and the winds are like she's there with me. But I haven't gone there much in the last year. Not much at all. One of the last real times I spent on the ocean was February 21, 2006, her birthday, when I quit my job, thinking it was what I was "supposed" to do. I snapped a shot of the sunset, thinking it boded well for my future. (That photo is included here.)

How wrong I was. Sure, in some ways it was the right thing to do. I've gone through some real heady, trying experiences in the year and a half since. But I'm past that now. I've come full circle. I've done my hamster-in-a-wheel trick of trying so hard to get everywhere but honestly going nowhere, and now I'm back where I should've been all along. How much I have grown, though. And how much I believe in myself. How much I know what it is I can endure, and better yet, surpass, in all the days that lie before me. Had I the choice to do it all over again... well... against my better judgment, I'd probably do exactly what I did. I like the woman I am today versus the girl I was 19 months ago.

But the urge to visit with Mom is stronger than it's been in a long while. I'll not go to the Sunshine Coast and sit upon her bench there, though. I'll hike down to the ocean on Saturday, a lesser-travelled route where I can be sure of some escape from the madding crowds, and a little eery silence with which to spend some quality time with all that I've lost, and all that I've gained.

I like fighting the good fight. I like, better yet, knowing I've fought it and have come through, perhaps not unscathed, but come through nonetheless. Life shouldn't be easy. It shouldn't be without its challenges. It should be ripe with loss and love and trials and triumph. It should have all of those things, or it's nothing what life should be. Not the life of champions. Not the life of me. Me, I've lived the well-rounded life, and I don't mind it one bit. I'm ready to receive more of the same, but the different would also hit the spot.

Yeah, I'm thinking lots of Mom of late, but not in too bad a way. I figure wherever she is, she's well into her wine and cheese and crackers, and a snicker dances upon her lips as she amuses herself with my unnecessary struggles of late and the sudden calm I've happened upon. She, too, enjoyed a challenge, but she also enjoyed, like me, living to see the other side. And, if one of us had to do the living, I'm sure she would've chosen me.

The following is a poem I found in the month or two after her death, flipping through a poetry book on grieving. I typed it up, printed it, framed it, and it's been in my home these last eight years, and I suspect I shall have it around for the remainder of my days. I know my mother would have loved it, and if I can feel it has been true at the end of my life, then I will have lived a life to be proud of. It's from Horace's Odes.
Happy the man and happy he alone
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul or rain or shine
The joys I have possessed in spite of fate are mine.
Not heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been has been, and I have had my hour.
What else can I say? Some days I miss my mother, and some days I feel she's never really left me. Today, strangely enough, feels like the latter, and I really couldn't be happier. Here's to Horace and his Odes. Couldn't have said it better, but the Lord knows I've tried.


My LEGS feel like someone's stabbing them with long-tined forks and twisting muscle strands around 'em like you would sloppy spaghetti!

Gah! Walking up highrises = evil! But if I keep this up, I'll have the most powerful legs in the universe. Rawr! Groan. Oooooh, groan. GROAN.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Coming Soon to an Army Near You: Film Geeks!

Heh, heh, heh.

It seems The US Army has given up on the underprivileged turning out en masse to fight wars that maybe oughtn't be fought. Now they're turning to a whole new source:

They're advertising on the front page of Rotten Tomatoes. You know, that "please visit our sponsor, clicking on the above ad won't interrupt the loading of Rotten Tomatoes" ad. Ahh, Rotten Tomatoes, the bastion of all mainstream movie lovers... has sold out and run an Army ad.

Go Army! Go strong! Army strong! Built Ford tough!

In between nightly bouts of "don't ask, don't tell" in the barracks, you can have your fabulous Kubrick marathon! The memorable lines from Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket will seem like private jokes and you'll all get to chortle mirthfully as you relate so wholeheartedly to that fantastic Ode de Service. Lines such as, "These are great days we're living, bros. We are jolly green giants, walking the Earth with guns. These people we wasted here today are the finest human beings we will ever know. After we rotate back to the world, we're gonna miss not having anyone around that's worth shooting."

Why, if you're lucky, Uncle Sam might even be in cahoots with Orville Redenbacher and be able to fill those pesky carb cravings with buttery goodness. After all, it's not about getting the bad guy, it's about getting enough money for a college education... that you might not be alive for anyhow. Or maybe you'll be down a limb or two.

But just think! You'll at least get to travel the world! Well, the Middle East, anyhow. Okay, Iraq and Afghanistan, and maybe a pit stop at that big base in Germany, and, well, maybe Iran, if the travel agents -- err, boys in Washington -- have their way.

And, hey! There's even film-making opportunities! There's a fabulous facility in a place called Abu Ghraib that offers nothing but photogenic moments just waiting to be captured by your brilliant eye!

Go Army! Go strong! Army strong! Like a rock!

The Mysterious Case of Ze Missing Jar
And Toot-Be-Gone

I keep my various rices in jars on my window sill -- Thai red, Thai black, wild blend, brown Basmati, etc.

I get home tonight after a windy day, and one of the jars is missing! Not in the sink, not fallen on the counter, and not, even, outside.

Wherever could my sweet black rice have gone? Tragedy of tragedies!


In other news, this radical change in my diet -- no butter, whole grains, more veggies, less red meat, very little dairy, big honkin' bowls of granola or oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit, etc -- has finally ceased causing new acne (yay) and my pissy mood has evaporated (yay) but I'm still getting the horribly embarrassing gas...

The Toots, as they are less excitingly known. Goodness.

Finally I have realized that they make stuff for things like this, and no, not Beano, because it's not just "gas" gas -- it's "I have ROCKED the culinary casbah and incorporated massively healthy things in my diet and my body is jarred after 33 years of eating like an utter dietary moron" rebellion, and a total lack of all healthy enzymes.

I have now bought enzymes. Aha! At long last I shall have my pride back.

But this is good... It's hard to think "wow, I'm doing everything right!" when your body's sounding the literal alarm after every healthy meal. "Oh, I don't know how to process this. Excuse me while I make you fart again." It's stuff like that that makes you start thinking a Quarter Pounder with Cheese can't be all that bad if it didn't give you the Holy Toots after each meal.

However, I decided the good battle was definitely worth continuing to wage after learning that I've already lost 12+ pounds in just about 3 or 4 weeks of NOT dieting. Eating healthy, yes, but I don't "count calories" other than just being consciously aware of what I'm eating. I'm pretty much just ensuring I'm under "about 2,000" calories a day, give or take, but I don't worry about the numbers.

Tee hee! And NOW I'm starting to exercise. Ha! That weight loss number's gonna frickin' take an elevator to the top floor in no time at all. Coolios.

Dinner tonight -- a couple chicken sausages, some roasted root veggies, and a tomato/peppers/bocconcini salad. Does that sound like a diet? Fuck diets. :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

There's a new kitchen gadgetty thingie from Canadian Tire or someone, called "The Griddler".

Doesn't it sound like the worst Batman villain ever?

"I've been criss-crossed one time too man!" or "Don't press me!"

It's a whole world of Batman puns waiting to be spun! Whee! 'course, it's the Griddler! Lord knows I want one!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Planet of the Apes Redux: Helli in Delhi

I thought it was hysterically funny when I first heard tell of the monkey-mania Delhi, India was caught up in earlier this year. Monkeys had taken over parliament. I thought "send them to Ottawa... sounds like a step up!"

Monkeys are everywhere in Delhi. They've overtaken patios, balconeys, and even people's homes. The obvious answer is to start killing 'em, but the trouble is that there's a monkey god in the Hindu faith, and monkeys are considered the manifestation of him.

Now, though, things are escalating. The monkeys are now murdering bastards, having more or less killed the Deputy Mayor of Delhi.

No, really.

The story is here. But here's a snippet for ya.
The deputy mayor of the Indian capital Delhi died on Sunday after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys.

SS Bajwa suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the first-floor terrace of his home on Saturday morning trying to fight off the monkeys.
What was pretty amusing earlier this spring is getting pretty spooky now. I'm almost expecting Charlton Heston to enter stage left and find his monkey queen or something.

Insert hellacious screeching of monkeys here. (Now obviously they haven't been suiting up in Marine attire, that was found in a very amusing piece on RadarOnline, which you can read here. The photo up top, however, is just a sampling of the monkey menace in real Delhi life. And I thought squirrels were bad.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sleepyhead Steff

After a couple of weeks of sleeping six hours a night or less, often being unable to sleep before 3am, I've finally gotten so tired that I've fallen asleep at 6pm, slept for four hours, and now I'm only up because it seems like a risk staying asleep... I'd hate to wake up at 4am and not be able to sleep again.

So, now I'm up for an hour or so, but then I'll hopefully sleep hours and hours more. Yay sleep. YAY sleep.

Maybe my thinking is faulty. Well, maybe I'll be back in bed before the hour is out. Sweet. Sometimes you just gotta stop the presses, y'know.

PS: Finally saw The Queen. It was very good. Tapped into some old issues of mine, weirdly, which I didn't see coming, but I still dug it quite a bit. Then again, Helen Mirren has rocked for a very, very long time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rambling on a Friday Night

I have another few days of insanity, and then things will start to settle into something of a routine, I hope. I've not yet been able to find "routine" since leaving my last job and returning to the comforts of old, but I'm getting there. This week is the writer's fest, as well as a few other things that have been annoying, pesky little thingies I've had niggling at me to get done. I don't have any down time, really, this weekend, but that's all right.

It's all good.

Next week will be the ebbing of insanity, then the flow of routine will follow. Praise Jesus. Or someone, something.

I'm gettin' there. Healthwise, I'm still trying. My body, I think, is rebelling and this switch to a reasonable diet has resulted in all kinds of chaos, which I think is just all the crap of all my years just bubbling up to the surface. I have acne, stomach thingies, etc, but I'm not too concerned. I'm getting better and I know it... it's just the sudden change that's causing a little turbulence.

It's coming on three weeks without any butter or margarine, and while I'm not using a scale and I'm not counting calories or worrying much about what I eat, I already see a thinner face starting to stare back at me, and the bags and darkness under my eyes are gone. A couple more weeks will yield huge differences, I expect, and I'm now about to start phasing in an exercise plan. Baby steps.

Everything's starting to come together slowly, and I'm no fool... slowly's the only way change really is incorporated. I don't intend to follow a "diet". Fuck diets. The changes I'm making are changes I'm hoping will become lifelong habits. No butter, very little dairy, less bread, and everything else is as I want it to be. These are good things. :)

Monday will be fun -- I'm going to make Thai green curry from scratch... no paste for this girlie, not this time. Should be rich and vibrant and zesty and good.

Tuesday's the last day where I really need to watch my clock and worry about getting things together and being on schedule. After that, I have a more free-form life to live.

You know my week's been harried if I finally bought an alarm clock. I've been getting by on my "questionable" one for a long time. It worked well enough, but it broke back in September, ironically the day after I left my job where I always had to be on time. And while I don't need to get to work before 11, I plan to start using the clock again... I need to get into a routine with exercise. Nothing too intense -- a couple "stairclimber" events down the street, freeweights, and maybe a gym visit. Killing the fat in the diet is probably the most major thing to do in my life. Everything else is proverbial icing on my healthy cake.

What weirds me out, though, is I ain't missing butter. I always thought I would. I'm SO baffled that I'm not. Why'd it take so fucking long to figure out, eh?

Ahhh. Well. It's done now. Bring on the jam-packed busy weekend working the writer's fest and getting out, and then let's ease into a comfortable life, shall I? Fun fun.

Oh, and I gotta say... I'm dying to see the new Affleck-squared flick, Gone Baby Gone. Looks real damned good. I love gritty moralistic, ambiguous tales, and it'll be nice to see if B Affleck has finally found his niche in the film world. Acting surely wasn't it. (Although he did well in Changing Lanes... But everything else was pretty dubious at best.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Few Photos: Lynn Valley

It's been a while since I uploaded photos and accidentally erased a bunch of good ones off my card when I put 'em on my PC, but I'm too lazy to burn a disc and bring 'em over to my iBOOK so I can post 'em, so you'll have to make due with what I shot on the weekend.

Here's a few of the ones I came out with after visiting North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Park & Suspension Bridge.

Lynn Valley's probably the most visited park with the highest number of fatalities in this corner of the province. People have perished so often that signs and memorial benches litter the park, bringing home the reality that one or two people die nearly every year in what is one of the most popular natural tourist attractions around.

Me, I love the park and used to hike there a lot when I had a car, but now that I'm on a scooter I don't get there as often as I should. Regardless of all the fatalities, or perhaps because of them, I find it a very spiritual, peaceful, and restorative place to visit. That hike really did me in, but I felt fantastic afterwards. Methinks some more communing with nature needs to happen more often.

Anyhoo. Here's yer fix.

This one gives you some perspective. Click on the image to get a glimpse of the teeny-tiny little hikers next to our awesome second-growth forests. (Old-growth forests aren't around this part of the world much. You hafta head to Clayoquot, Carmannah, and other places in BC to get wowed by the insane monsters you'll find in BC. Still... these are nice. :)

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Baked Salmon with Lime, Cilantro, and Corn

Weird. I'm eating healthy. Who knew it could be this easy? Two weeks now sans butter or margarine at home. Dinner tonight? Salmon baked on a bed of fresh corn, red pepper, shallot, cilantro, and lime. Very, very good.

For anyone who's known me long at all, they know I don't do seafood. In bits and pieces over the last year I've occasionally expanded out. I've had some nice home-baked halibut and salmon, which I never thought I'd enjoy, but it turns out I'm learning to. It's all because of the staff party a couple years back at Rodney's Oyster House, when I vowed to my friend I'd try anything that came my way.

Because I can often cook circles around most people, I tend to have a "if the chef's an expert, I'm gonna try it" attitude about trusting professional kitchens, a la Rodney's. Who's gonna do oysters better than a 4-star house famous for it? No one. Right, so. I didn't mind anything I tried that night. It was all good.

The salmon I'm having tonight goes a little like this:

1 cup fresh corn off the cob
1/4 cup red pepper diced fine
1/2 shallet, diced fine
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze a half lime over that, mix it up. Put it all in the middle of a large sheet of aluminum foil. Put a 150-200 gram piece of wild salmon over it. A little salt and pepper, then put three lime slices over the salmon. Wrap the foil up and seal it tight, seam-side up. Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, and then open up and enjoy. Serves one. :)

Really, really good. I've made an extra bag of the corn, etc, which I'm freezing so I can come home, yank it out, saute it for a minute to get it thawed, throw a salmon on it and have a quickie, healthy meal sometime next week. Planning ahead. Tomorrow, though, my turkey stock gets strained, then it's time for a small batch of potato-leek soup and flax seed pita pockets with a peppers & chicken filling that'll be delish.

Gotta love hearty fall cooking. This healthy bent I'm on is strangely satisfying. Geez. Whodathunkit.

Friday, October 12, 2007

From Flighty to Deep in 60 Seconds or Less

Writing is organic. It's about starting with something and ending in a completely other place. Sure, you can plot your way through and stick to the gameplan, but there are times when just starting anywhere can take you pretty mind-boggling places. This is an example of that. I had no idea this was going where it went, and now with tear-stained cheeks coupled with a sadly strange little smile, I feel I've lifted a pretty heady load. If you're into writing, don't be afraid to go where it takes you. Anyhow. This gets intense, so if you're looking for sunshine and bubblegum, maybe you're better off heading down Sesame Street way, 'cos this ain't for you.

Yay, me. In case you missed that, YAY, ME!

I dunno. Just liking life tonight. This is good. The return to the old job is good now that I've cleared the stupid corporate-dream notions from my head that had fucked so much with my well-being. I was watching a show last night in which one of the protagonists commented something to the effect of, "It seems the older I get, the more I realize that everything I want is everything I had."

So, like, yeah. I'm there. Not entirely true, of course, because who I was isn't who I want to be anymore, not really. Some aspects of who I was have been sorely missed -- the days spent wandering record shops, hiking on the North Shore, stuff like that -- but the life I'm after is akin to the life I had, but with a whole new outlook, I guess.

I'm working hard -- HARD -- on my outlook. My old boss was a great lady, really top-notch as far as integrity and all that, but she was negative and seemed very unhappy about life (not all the time, though) and I guess I spent much of the summer really looking at that and looking at what I was becoming, and just realizing how wrong I was feeling about everything as a whole.

The hardest part about that, though, was that my old boss reminded me much of my mother towards the end of her life, how unhappy she had become, how bitter she grew and how angry she was at all the misfortune that seemed to come hurtling towards her. There's a big part of me that believes somehow that she attracted the cancer to her, and to this day that breaks my heart more than I'd ever care to admit. Being at that job kind of made me think far too much of such things, and far too often. Not good.

Being this happy tonight, for no apparent reason other than just being glad that I've spun my life into a far better direction, also fills me with a sadness that my mom had nothing of the kind in the year or two before her death.

Wow. Something pretty intense just washed over me. I just remembered the look in her eye on the Wednesday morning before I checked her into the hospital (which was Friday, so 16 days before she died). She was rendered very much incapacitated, which we would learn was because the tumours had grown so large, so fast they were crushing her organs and pressing on her spine (in a matter of weeks, too) so she was lying there on the sofa, and I was with a day off, so I sat on the floor next to her.

She was holding on to life so hard but I could see it in her eyes that something in her wanted to stop the fight. I looked at her and told her that if she needed to go, I would be strong enough to carry on, and that I'd rather she did what was best for her than worrying what was best for me, because hanging on for me and looking like she did then... well, that would be doing both of us some pretty horrific harm. I told her I'd look out for the family, and I'd keep her memory alive with my nephew, and that if he ever needed anyone, I'd be there for him. Let go, I told her. She squeezed my hand, then kissed it, said nothing, then we spoke of other things.

The spiral downwards after that was incredible. She bottomed out 24 hours later, and I was required to call her doctor at home to tell him that she couldn't keep fluids down and other bad things were happening. He told me she had to go to the hospital. That night, at about 9:00, was the last time she was ever at home.

The EMT guys hauled her out on a stretcher and told me she'd be fine, which was them blowing smoke out their asses as she looked far better than she really was. She told me she'd be fine, too, and that I should stay at home. I tried that, but at about 1:00am was overcome and hopped in my car, rushed off to emergency, and sat with her for the night. She brightened up so much when I walked into the sick bay at emergency and sat beside her.

Whew. I don't really want to write any more about that right now. There's about a half-dozen things revolving around her death that I've been waiting for the strength to write about, but I'm kidding myself if I think I'm there yet, even after eight years.

Suffice to say that the only thing good about a death like hers is, it makes you pretty fucking certain that death was the better of the options. One day, I'll tackle the rest of it. This is not that day.

But I guess why I began thinking about it is, I'm doing all the things she tried so hard to do -- changing her outlook, seizing the day, et al. And I'm succeeding where I can't help but believe she failed. She told me before her death that she admired my strength and wished more than anything that I'd never change my stubborn, driven ways. For a few years there, I lost grasp of that part of me. Truth be told, her death devastated me probably for at least the first five years after. It's hard to get over the loss of a hero.

Her weaknesses were understandable. That she was beaten before death wasn't her fault; the real estate market crashed and she lost her life savings by way of having to live on them for three years. In the years since her death, the real estate commission here in BC has changed the laws. Back then, you could only work in real estate. Picking up money elsewhere would result in losing your license, and the one thing she knew: she loved real estate. She died broke. Now, though, she would have been able to use her resources to get by in the lean times by taking in other income.

I'm both bitter and pleased about that.

Hmm. I've been thinking of her more this week. I don't know why. Just have. Maybe it has to do with Thanksgiving '98, when I took a look at her and thought "she won't be alive next year", then brushed that away and thought I was being ridiculous. I hope you never have to know what it's like to eyeball someone and be able to read in their vacant, hollow eyes that death seems a likely happenstance in the coming months. I was, however, more right than I'd ever have wanted to be. Something about that prescience haunts the hell out of me. What do you do when you're right about something like THAT, eh? What do you do when you're right about something like that, and you failed to do EVERYTHING in your power to prevent it?

Yeah, well, when you have a notion, you lemme know. Meanwhile, something about that'll always haunt me a little, but not as much as it could... I know her death had to happen for me to become the person I am. And that sucks, but it is what it is, and I'm happy with who I am. And I've said it before, I'll say it again... if I had to choose between her alive and me being the person I was then, versus her dead and me growing the way I've grown, well, hands down. Dead and now, you know? That's the choice. I would, however, like to have one more time with her at a pub with a plate of nachos and a pitcher of Guiness. THAT would be fantastic. (Our last time out was doing just that about 8 weeks before her death, when neither of us knew death was headed our way. Wonderful but vague memory.)

Sigh. I know she'd be happy as hell that I'm sitting around, drinking wine, being self-congratulatory, enjoying life, and planning my weekend to a T. She'd love that. She'd tell me it was the kind of thing she loved best about me, my want to be completely in the now, regardless of what others think.

So, I'm having a bitter-sweet moment. But I've written about something I didn't want to write about for the longest time. It gives me hope I might be able to face the rest of it and finally put a few demons to rest. There are much deeper crevasses to cross than this, though. I assure you.

But, for now, I've made progress. And I'm sad, yet proud. And I have a glass of wine waiting on me.

Tomorrow: turkey stock day, a gym visit, photography, nature, and some other self-indulgent things before I'm pressed with a very busy, very hectic week. And I have a few nice potentials looming on the horizon that I don't wish to jinx by writing about in advance. Maybe I can share soon, but for now I'll just savour the pleasing potentiality of all that is my life. And maybe miss my mom a little in the process, but that'll be a lifelong thing and I'm all right with that. (Beats the hell out of having a forgettable mother. How lucky I was.)

Hey, look. Letterman is on. Fantastic.

Murder Afoot and A Torso and A Leg

Wow. Harsh. An aspiring horror novelist has been found with body parts throughout his place. Creepy! The story is here on CNN Dude was writing a book on cannibalism... Ay yi yi.

I mean, write what you know but this is why god gave us imaginations, dude!

Back when I lived in the Yukon, I was in this townhouse complex, in #12, and a few months after I left the Yukon, my roomies told me that down the road at #33 was quite the happening... It's kinda icky, so...

Turns out some guys were sharing the big townhouse and when moving day came (they'd been evicted), the families of two of 'em showed up and were helping 'em get out, but the third roomie never showed up. They didn't have a choice, they had to get out, so naturally the families and friends of the two of the three guys were all helping out to get the guys out on time.

So, they head up to the third guy's room and proceed to begin emptying out the waterbed.

Apparently the water began oozing out and all, but the bed, instead of going flat, became an odd 5-footish lumpy thing. That's when they noticed all the duct tape on the back. Turns out our absent roomie had killed his girlfriend and had been sleeping with her body in his waterbed for some time.

Now... I've never seen written accounts of this. I wish to all hell I could get some verification on it, but my roomies weren't the types to tell tales out of school. Still. Google yields nothing except an old posting of mine. Bodes badly for the factualization, really. And if it ain't true, well, hell, it's a great story. Maybe now that Mexico Murder Guy is gonna be in jail awhile, he'll have the time to write about, hmm?

Y'know, back when I was young, obnoxious, and liked to push buttons ('what, that was only when you were young?') I had a few questions that were invariably gold for causing a commotion when hanging with friends. They included, "If you had to eat human flesh, how would you want it prepared?" and "If you had to kill someone and were awarded points on creativity, how would you do it?" Ahh, youth. Fun. (My answers back then were "gently grilled" and "two words: power tools -- rotary sander?")

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If I Wear A Flag, I Must Be a Patriot... Or a Sheep.

I shouldn't get into anything 'cos my breakfast is gonna get done in a hurry, but I just want to take a moment to bitch-slap some sense in Lou Dobbs' general direction.

He's up on his high-horse judging all those in the media and government in the last few days who are debating the wearing of USA flags on their lapels. He thinks Bill Moyers is "simply, utterly wrong" that the flag has been co-opted by corporate folk and has been turned into s less than what it once represented.

This whole mentality of "if you're American, PROVE it" is what others find so distasteful. I mean, how stupid are people that you need to continually wear itty-bitty flags to remind others or yourself that you're American? Pretty fucking stupid, apparently.

That's like me wearing a little flower to remember I'm a girl.

I am Canadian. I don't need a bumper sticker or a lapel pin to know it, nor to demonstrate it to others. Why stupid people like Lou Dobbs can't grasp that simple fact is baffling to me.

Read Lou's stupidity here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Why, HI! Update de Status de la Steff

Yawn. Is it Friday yet? What?! No?!

I got sick as soon as I switched jobs, and it's been really hanging around on me. Not taking me out of the picture completely, right, but just nagging at me enough to keep my energy down at around 2 on the Richter scale.

Nonetheless, I'm trying. Work's a chore and is about all I can handle this week. Despite that, I'm back to doing my little free weights routine I'd started then stopped the weekend that the cold really kicked my ass -- only to find my whole upper body seizing up all last week. Partly due to the change in jobs and the sitting-still-slouching-badly pose one adopts when falling ruthlessly deep into captioning.

I have, however, managed to keep that at bay a little. I think it's completely overcomeable (hey, it works) by way of continuing to stretch, etc, for the next while. Like I say, the only way around the pain is through it. Best advice I ever got was from my personal trainer when I was rehabbing my massive whiplash incurred fall '03, when she said "If it ain't changing the nature of your pain, it isn't a concern. Fight through it."

And while I'm not in constant pain usually, the nature of the way this feels is anything but alien to me, and I know what's causing it -- poor posture, not stretching enough, etc.

So this is good-ish. Work, then, will be endured, and I suspect it's only a matter of weeks before I've overcome this little obstacle. I'm not concerned about it, actually, just exasperated to feel this way right now, is all.

I also had a moment last week when I got to the bottom of my pound of butter and I stared at it, stunned, realizing I'd only bought it about 10 or so days before. Yet there it was: Gone. Forever on my hips, I thought, but necessarily so? And it was a little epiphany: For the first time ever, I realized I could live without butter.

You have NO idea what a culinary crutch butter has been for me. I mean, what's missing? Why, butter! There's no coincidence that "butter" and "better" have almost all the same letters, you know.

Anyhow, it's been 10 days since I've used either butter or margarine on anything at home. Much to my surprise, I haven't curled up and died, or anything untoward. Hmm. Who knew? Dry toast isn't entirely freakish. WHO KNEW?

Butter's been the worst thing I've done to myself, and throughout my entire life. I love butter. It's a CRIME that it's so bad for us! They didn't eat an apple in the Garden of Eden -- they had a slab of butter! Wise, too! But, yeah. My whole life's been an Ode De Butter. Hell, my ASS is an ode de butter, man.

But that's okay. I'm officially older, wiser. Naturally, my triumphant decision to axe butter was trumped by my kind/evil employers who bought me the rockingest, bestest chocolate-death cake EVER last week. I managed to force one of them to take 1/4 of it home, so I was left with only a quarter of the cake... enough for a slice four nights in a row. That about undid any of the goodness in my butter moratorium... even though I restrained myself daily. That week is over, however, arrive derci, too, and I've been good, very good, for three days now... including turkey day! Yay me.

And now I'll have a banana for supper. Too late to cook.

Let's bow our heads for a moment... for butter. You were far too good to us, Butter. Far, far too good. And will be missed. But don't let the door hitcha.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

In keeping with all the recent week and all, yet another migraine. My neck and shoulders are hating my new exercises, but it's not a "new" kind of pain, so I'm trying to just work through it. I see many muscle relaxants in the next few weeks and a lot of straining to be patient from yours truly, but the only way around the pain is through it, man. I don't think anyone who's endured the kind of accidents and mishaps I have in the last two decades can avoid going through this kind of discomfort when taking regimens up a few notches. The rewards will be awesome, though.

Anyhow. Despite the migraine, I have the last two of four loaves of bread just finishing up in the oven! My contribution to Thanksgiving. Which is where I'm off to now.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (Canadians, that is.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pushing Up Daisies

So there's a new series I only caught a few minutes of tonight, but the minutes I caught were pretty priceless. About a piemaker in a pie shop called The Pie Hole (heh heh) who has a knack for touching people post-mortem and being able to bring 'em back to life. He gets sucked into this murder-solving-for-reward-cash dealie by a questionably-scrupulous investigator. (The nutshell: Bring'em back to life in the morgue, ask who offed 'em, make 'em dead again, take info to solve crime, collect cash, rinse, and repeat.)

It's really hard to get too into it, especially since I saw only snippets, but it strikes me as a hilariously potential series. Could fall flat on its face if it lacks the depth I suspect it may not have and cannot sustain over the course of 26, 40, or more episodes that any good series requires.

But... imagine, if you will, that Tim Burton, John Waters, and Dead Like Me spawned a strange little cinematic lovechild. This, then, would be that.

And snappy dialogue written, it seems, by an unlikely hybrid of Ed Wood and David Mamet.

Yeah, this show could have legs, or it could fall to a quick death. It'll be interesting to see which occurs, but here's me hoping it's got legs like a Rockette, baby.

Pushing Up Daisies -- Wednesdays at 8, right before the Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice.

Oh, and if you're debating "Kid Nation or Pushing Up Daisies" for the 8pm slot, then it's about 180 degrees different. Go for quirky, oddball, and stress-relieving. Who needs to be left feeling sorry for 35 kids? C'mon! The Pie Hole beckons. You know it does. (Yes, I've seen both. Here's to being sick during the opening weeks of the TV season! At least I'm currenter. :P And making new words! Spiff!)