Wednesday, August 30, 2006

super freak

there are times when I honestly can't get enough of lulu.
I really love being with her, day in and day out.
But every once and a while every parent needs a night off.
So big daddy and I went on a date last night.
we went to The Jamie Kennedy wine bar for a bite before catching an early movie.
I've been a few times before and was never overly impressed, especially since they didn't take reservations.
But since we went early we managed to get a table right away.
I knew it was going to be a good night when we spotted the Hitching Post "Santa Maria" 2004 Pinot on the wine list.
One of my all time favourites and seemingly impossible to get.
Vintages unfortunately doesn't carry it, and we can only occasionally find it in the states.
it's worth going there just for the wine, but the food was also fantastic.
we shared a Rabbit Rillette with prune compote & walnut tuiles
and the Grilled Octopus with Chorizo & tomatoes.
the House-made red Fife wheat sourdough bread was excellent.
Big daddy had the grilled beef short ribs with pickled cucumbers
and I had the entrecote of beef with late summer vegetables.
I love the nice small portions, loads of flavour without the guilt of feeling like you ate far too much.
we finished with a plate of artisanal cheeses which were all fantastic. The chevre being my favourite.
we went to see Little Miss Sunshine and absolutely LOVED it.
I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
after the movie we strolled down front street enjoying the most perfect weather and admiring all the great old architecture.
We stopped into Solforino Gelato for a little something sweet.
We had such a great night.
Actually, I have to say a perfect night.
I went to bed with visions of Rick James dancing in my head...
she's super freaky...
MUST see: little.miss.sunshine.
really really perfect.
well, in a very imperfect kind of way.

Monday, August 28, 2006

gone fishing

Had a pretty low key weekend.
Friday night we went out for dinner and rented a movie.
Finally saw Walk The Line and really enjoyed it. I was singing burning ring of fire all weekend...
Oh and Reese Witherspoon's wardrobe was fabulous. Loved it. She looked so good.
Lulu decided she wanted to stay up and hangout with mommy and daddy, and was dancing all around to Johnny Cash.
(and making DouDou her bunny dance with her)
We ended up watching her more than the movie, she was very entertaining to say the least.
I figured, big deal, it's one night, she feels like being with us a little longer, let's indulge her...
I had full intentions of hitting the gym both Saturday and Sunday, but I just didn't feel like it.
Instead I felt like hanging out with my two favourite people, reading the paper, sipping coffee and listening to music on a rainy weekend.
screw the crunches, and cardio. The muffin top can be banished another day.
Besides, I did manage to make it a few times during the week, so I didn't feel too guilty.
We made an attempt to check out the Busker-fest down on Front st.
It was absolutely packed with people.
I am VERY claustrophobic, and got tired of getting my flip-flops stepped on so we didn't stay long.
We watched some balloon "artists" but the line-up to get one was ridiculous, so we just checked them out from the side lines.
lulu was mesmerized.
I just kept thinking that their fingers must be so sore by the end of the day.
Unfortunately that was about all we had the patience for, and I was paranoid that someone was going to ram into lulu's tiny knees in her stroller or brush up against us with a cigarette.
Why do people smoke in crowded public places anyhow?
we actually wanted to stop into the St. Lawrence market to pick up some fresh fish at Dominic's fish market.
My second favourite fish monger aside from Pisces on Yonge st.
I decided to make some home-made shrimp wontons for dinner.
I don't know what it is about rainy weekends, but I always get in the mood for dim-sum, so I figured I would make my own.
Very easy, and very delicious.
Mince some shrimp, (pork or chicken)
add some grated lemon rind, garlic, chopped water chestnuts, salt and pepper, wrap in a wonton wrapper and viola,
home-made dumplings.
Next time I might add some chopped peanuts and coriander to pork..mmmm.
we also had some steamed bass with bokchoy with a lemongrass chilli sauce.
I love frozen dumplings as well and I actually found some curried lamb ones that are excellent.
but there is something extra tasty about dumplings that you make yourself.
Unfortunately during dinner, Lulu was screaming from her crib the entire time, Full-On-Temper-tantrum.
Throwing out all the pillows, blankets and even the sacred DouDou.
someone decided she wasn't interested in going to bed at 8:00 on the weekends and wants to stay up to party with mommy and daddy....
We indulged her one night, did we make a mistake in doing that? damn.
eventually we let her exhaust herself and we drown out the screams with several glasses of excellent wine that Big daddy picked up from Vintages (can't remember the name of the wine but it was very good and very effective..)
we sat on the front porch listening the the rain, sipping our wine...
and okay I confess...holding Lulu in her blanket as she slept....damn...she has us by the balls....
Can I help it if she can't get enough of us?
but it's Monday, looks like she is back on track...sleeping soundly right on schedule.
I do love mondays.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

winners & losers

I have to admit, I've never really been a big fan of winners. (the Canadian discount store)
I've never been able to figure out what the big hoopla is all about.
I know, I know..This will probably make me pretty unpopular.
There seems to be a lot of die hard Winners fans out there.
But I just don't get it.
The buzzing florescent lights.
The over-crowded racks of what seems to me like a bunch of crap that regular retail stores don't want to carry.
The prices never really seem THAT great to me.
People are darn right aggressive too.
"umm, excuse me..."
"hands off! I saw that pilling polyester sweater first!!"
geez, I just wanted to get by...
But I do have several friends that always seem to come out as winners at Winners.
Me "Oooh, great top. Very cute."
Friend " Thanks...Marc Jacobs, regular $250. But I got it for $ Winners..." said with smug satisfaction.
This never seems to happen to me.
I inevitably leave the store feeling overwhelmed and annoyed.
I know, you have to be patient and go often and have a good eye for a good bargain.
But patience really isn't one of my strong suits.
I would much rather pay more, and leisurely browse through rows of neatly, thoughtfully merchandized clothing.
A little customer service is greatly appreciated too.
You won't find that at winners.
It's every man err...woman..for themselves.
But there is definitely one big fan of winners in our household.
Lulu looooves the place.
She was in heaven there the other day.
She was trying on hats, purses, scarves, socks, you name it.
She was totally diggin' the toy section too.
She scored a cute pair of suede Mary janes regular $45.00 for $14.99,
a fabulous metallic pink purse for $3.99 and a My Pretty Pony for $9.99!
I could have been imagining this, but when I put her back in her stroller and we left with all her winners loot,
I swear she looked up at me with an expression of smug satisfaction.....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

summer time blues

I'm not sure what it is about this time of year, but I often find myself feeling a bit anxious right before the first week of September.
Maybe it's some kind of weird flash back to that nervous excitement I felt years ago, before going back to school.
When I was a kid in some ways I couldn't wait to start school after a long summer off.
The smell of all my new school supplies, fresh pencils, erasers and new three ring paper all stacked neatly into my brand new binder.
I couldn't wait to take my first notes, in my most legible handwriting- of course.
My new lunch-box and thermos.
I loved my plastic orange scooby-doo lunch-box and in the earlier years my metal Holly Hobby lunch box.
I thought they were THE coolest.
Now available on Ebay.
But the main thing was my new back to school fall clothes.
I would wear that polyester argyle sweater, long sleeved button down, treetorn runners and jordash jeans despite the fact that it was still technically summer and around 25 degrees if it killed me.
I was an early victim to fashion (albeit bad fashion), what can I say?
I would get a fresh start with a new teacher and a new homeroom class.
"This year I would be a straight A student...."
Err, right.
But there were also those nerves, and the feeling of melancholy saying good-bye to summer.
All the nights spent sleeping in my orange tent in the back yard or on camping trips, reading my Nancy Drews by flashlight.
The forts and tree houses my brother and I would build and all the fun we would have playing in the woods with our friends.
Going to swim at the public pool, eating Fries with gravy, ketchup chips, Mr. Freezies and Fudgicles
(this was way before calories were a remote consideration, and fortunately for me I was a skinny kid)
My summer friends.
Riding around on my bright red banana seat bike with tennis balls and coloured straws between the spokes.
Trying to keep up with my brother and his friends doing wheelies and riding over home-made ramps.
who needs a BMX..? I'll show 'em...
watching Captain Kangaroo, Santa Barbara and The Price is Right in the middle of the day...because I could.
ahh.. good times.
But I was thinking that in a few short years lulu will be starting school. gulp.
On one hand I'll be so excited for her, and on the other I'll be holding back the tears.
My little baby will be starting school for the first time.
will her experiences be completely different from mine?
will she love school and do well? will she make lots of friends and will her teacher like her?
Okay I have to stop thinking about this, talk about self inflicted unnecessary anxiety.
She's only 15 (16 tomorrow) months old for god's sake!
we have nothing but time.
But this summer flew by. It's the most over used cliché around here lately,
but Time really does Fly.
Some things don't really change that much though.
I am looking forward to a new season, fresh start so to speak.
And I'd be lying if I said I couldn't wait to wear my new argyle sweater..only this time I traded the polyester for cashmere....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

kiss a cod

well we are back on the "mainland" safe and sound.
we successfully surprised my nan for her 85th birthday and her heart is still in working order.
In addition to surprising my grandmother we surprised my mom's seven brothers and sisters, spouses and cousins.
We had a great time and lulu looooved all the east coast hospitality.
I never go to Newfoundland for the food or the weather but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised this time around.
The sun was shining and the ocean was glistening and everything seemed greener than I remember it ever being.
We had some nice meals, a few new restaurants have opened and are quite decent.
I actually had some amazing sushi that I was really impressed with.
The last time I visited, the food was...well not good.
The famous Chess's fish & chips was nothing to write home about...grease, grease and more grease.
The majority of menus consist of typical Pub grub and not the good kind.
I guess food is an after thought on George st.
Pints and screech being the main attraction.
they do like to party on "The Rock".
So I was pleasantly surprised by some nice light seafood (cod) dishes that I had.
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to go out to my favourite uncle's country house this time.
(set on an ocean cliff in Lower Island Cove)
Breathtakingly beautiful, yet rugged and untouched.
Last visit he made us a kick ass Jigs Dinner and peas pudd'in.
Jigs dinner consisting of corn beef, turnip and their greens, potato, carrot and a bunch of other stuff boiled in the same pot.
Sounds kind of gross, but is actually really tasty.
Oh we also had "spotted dick" for dessert.
I wouldn't begin to try to figure out was it actually was, other than very good. I'm a mainlander afterall.
No cod tounges or fish n' brews this time either. awe shucks.
But the main reason we were there was for family.
and what a family it is.
My nan looks good and I believe has quite a few years ahead of her.
she had four boys and four girls, all so similar yet all so completely different.
I find it fasinating to watch them all interact with each other.
It's hard not to have a few favourites, and lulu seemed to gravitate to the same people that I do.
They are all pretty great, with maybe one or two exceptions, but what an incredibly loving family.
She fit right in. The piano playing, singing and dancing.
Those crazy newfies.
It was so nice to be a part of a large family.
Whenever big daddy and I are at a park we always look enviously at the large families having big family barbecues.
All the generations having so much fun together.
I grew up away from all my relatives so it was always pretty quiet and low key for my parents, brother and myself.
Definitely no kitchen parties and spoon playing happening at our house.
It was amazing to witness lulu with all my cousins (mostly high-school age)
even the 14-16 year old boys wanted to hold her and give her hugs and kisses.
It was so sweet. They are all such good, down to earth teenagers.
I was impressed.
In some ways I wish we had a huge family that lived closer so that she could experience that love and closeness more often than every few years.
But for now it's just us.
Fortunately she will grow up close to one set of grandparents
(I was never that fortunate)
My mom and lulu have really bonded, especially after this trip.
Come to think of it so did my mom and I.
It must have been hard for her to move away from all that love and closeness when she was just 18 years old,
I see that now more than ever.
But I am grateful to her for showing me so much and exposing me to so many new and exciting places.
we may have been a small family, but we were (and are for the most part) a happy one.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

no monkey business

we are off on yet another adventure in the sky.
this will be lulu's fifth time in a plane.
I'm not overly thrilled about flying tomorrow.
All these new restrictions sound like one big hassle (as if travelling with a 15 month old toddler isn't hassle enough)
I understand why these restrictions need to be in place.
On one hand, I'm grateful for the extra security measures.
On the other, I'm thinking...
longer line ups= greater opportunity for lulu to get restless and start fussing and freaking out.
which = more anxiety for mommy (who is always anxious flying, regardless of the latest security measures)
NO juice, water or sippy cups allowed. what the..???
Only baby formula, which the mother must drink in front of security...uh, yuck.
formula is pretty nasty, not looking forward to taking a swig of it at 7 a.m.
I still can't figure out why lulu actually likes the stuff, though she mostly drinks regular milk now.
I keep the canned 12-18 month old transition stuff incase of emergencies.
I guess tomorrow will have to fall into that category.
No bottled water for me. big drag. so much for staying hydrated (and sane).
But worst lip gloss!!!
There is sure to be many a pair of parched and chapped lips roaming the airports.
I always like to "freshen up" before we land, so that I don't feel like a complete slob when we arrive at our destination.
It's bad enough that my hair is usually matted at the back from rubbing against the polyester headrest.
My skin undoubtedly gets a tad more...shall we say..shiny when travelling,
which of course leads up to a lovely blemish to contend with. Nice.
But now I can't apply my beloved Origins #20 pink sands, which has a touch of peppermint so it doubles as a breath freshener.......argh...
In all seriousness,
I'm glad that things have tightened up at the airport, it's far better than the alternative.
What a bunch of idiots these terrorists are to want to blow up innocent people...
don't they know that they are really ruining it for us lip gloss wearing mamas?
Fortunately, it's only a four hour flight.
where to? you might be wondering...
That will remain a surprise.
Because that's what we are doing. My mom, lulu and I.
We are embarking on a big surprise trip for someone (very near and dear to us)'s 85 birthday....
ooops I'm going to give it away.
I just hope we don't give the ol' doll a heart attack.
I mean, is it really wise to sneak up on an 85 year old and yell
I certainly hope so.

Friday, August 11, 2006

market mania

I wish I could say that I picked these from my very own organic garden in my backyard...
but no, they were bought just like the rest of the food that we eat.
But I did get to meet the person who quite possibly grew and picked them.
There are so many fantastic local fruits and veg available at the moment.
tis' the season and I'm feeling very jolly.
I have been doing the rounds to all the organic farmer's markets,
and there really are some fantastic foods available.
We went to the Dufferin Grove market yesterday.
It's a great park, and the market is small but offers some good finds.
I picked up some delicious sweet potato bread and had a really delicious kamut, zucchini and apricot muffin to tide me over until dinner.
Big daddy couldn't resist the fresh garlic chive sour dough bread. really great but pass the breath mints.
I also got a bag of mini buns for lulu which offered a sampling selection of all their breads.
the beet bread is awesome, and she loved it.
That about covers our carb intake for a while.
I also scored some golden and candy cane beets.
Can't wait to roast them and mix them with the beautiful beet top greens and some crumbled goats cheese.
There was some beautiful swiss chard, kale, purple beans, fresh onions and fresh garlic as well.
Lulu dove face first (literally as we were sitting on a blanket on a hill) into a pint of wild Ontario blueberries.
she was wearing a purple sun-dress so the berries kind of blended in nicely.
There isn't a huge selection of things but what they have is organic, fresh and inexpensive.
We also went to the Distillery last Sunday where they host a farmer's market as well.
I recognized a lot of the same vendors but there were also some different ones.
The yellow teardrop tomatoes and huge field tomatoes that we picked up actually tasted like real tomatoes. Imagine that.
The st. lawrence is always fun on saturdays and riverdale has a market on tuesday I think.
It's so nice to eat things that are locally grown and even better if they are organic and pestiside free.
This weekend is the Niagara peach festival, which sadly I will not be attending, but I will post my all time favorite peach vanilla jam recipe soon.
It's really good, if I do say so myself.
I may have a hard time picking up fruit and veg next time I'm at Loblaws,
it's just not the same.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

open jar

So often through out the day I think of some profound (or at least I like to think so) subject that I want to write about.
The situation in the middle east.
the growing disparity between rich and poor in this country.
the environment.
gas guzzling suv's (see above)
our obsession with celebrities.
playground politics.
breast vs. bottle.
female friendships.
memories from the past.
Insecurities, phobias, fears..(see above)
my point is that I would love to sit down, take my time and write about stuff that really matters to me.
But the reality is that the main thing that really matters to me these days is lulu (and big daddy of course)
I want to keep things light-hearted and fun...because that's really where my head (and heart) are at the moment.
plus, whenever I do actually get a chance to sit down and write, I kind of forget everything I originally wanted to say.
I really admire some of the really talented writers out there that really wear their hearts on their..well..blogs.
It takes a lot of courage to spill some of those beans and open up.
I guess I'm not totally there yet.
Still working on that part of myself and my blog, but I'll get there eventually.
Openness..hmm..If you met me in person, I doubt you would describe me as "closed off".
I like to think of myself as open, but slightly guarded.
So for now I'll just share a little "open" jar of pure goodness with y'all.
Royal gala apples dipped in to this jar of pear, cinnamon caramel sauce is pure heaven...mmm...

Friday, August 04, 2006


And I thought we were hot...
I'm glad I'm not a sheep (or is it a lamb???)
imagine sporting a wool coat when it's 45 degree Celsius outside? thank-you.
we spent the week trying to entertain lulu and keep cool...what else is new?
a trip to an air conditioned Toys R Us sounded like a good place to hang out.
Besides, we were on a quest to find a wagon.
She goes bananas when she sees other kids in them,
and she's like a wild animal these days when I try to buckle her into her stroller.
So I caved and bought her one.
Anything to keep the peace.
we hit the wading pool in our neighbourhood and she was in heaven.
splashing and playing with the other toddlers.
She really goes nuts watching the older kids running around in the water,
she was squealing with delight.
I just wish she would stop drinking the pool water....I cringe when I imagine how much pee is actually in there....
I swear she looks at me, pauses, smirks, then makes her move and takes a huge gulp,
then looks back at me with the expression...ha ha, I'm drinking pee water and you can't stop me!!
she wins.
Lulu-1 /mommy-0
actually if you factor in the stroller/wagon thing it's more like
Lulu-2/ mommy-0
My parents came into town for a couple of days, so that's always a fantastic distraction.
Nice for me to be able to take on another small freelance gig. thank-god for grandparents.
she's walking everywhere now so we are always on the hunt for soft grass for her to practice on.
It was really cute watching her walking all by herself following a gang of pigeons (a.k.a rats with wings)....
but to her they are just pretty "bihhdies" really adorable.
she has a few little scrapes and bruises on her knees but is getting more and more confident everyday.
She points to her knee and sais boo boo. I could melt.
It's so much fun watching her grow each day into this little girl.
She's still only 15 months and pretty petite so she still seems like a little baby to me,
but then she surprises me by uttering a new word or doing something totally hilarious (like putting big daddy's underwear on her head) and I realize what a little individual she really is. little lamb.