Mine? Oh well, it sucked. Here's what happened. First a little of the back story:
Our minivan has a gas gauge issue. When it goes below 1/4 of a tank of gas, the sensor goes nuts bouncing up and down so you never know exactly how much you have. We've been filling it to the top when it starts doing this just to be sure.
Before Scott left for London Sunday it was doing it's thing so Scott put $30 gas in it (my first red flag... he should have filled it like we usually do) and said the ominous words: "That should keep you until I get back." (2nd red flag... I should have seen the ominous warning in that statement. I watch movies.)
Cut to yesterday morning. I start the car as it was freezing. It started no problem and I walked Henry to the bus stop. When I got back 5 minutes, the car had stopped running. Uh oh. I get in and try to turn it over. The car makes that comical trying to start sound. But it's not so not funny when it's happening to you, is it? And of course I know what's wrong. Out of gas.
Luckily I'm married to a guy's guy and know there must be a gas can in the garage. Unfortunately there are two. One looked black even through the red plastic but was helpfully labelled "NFG" which I know in Scott-language means "no fucking good". I turn to the second one and it's less than a quarter full with nothing labelled on it. "Please let this stuff be good", I pray as I tip the stuff into the gas tank. I get into the car and try to turn it over. Nothing. Damn.
I go into the house and think. I have 10 minutes before I have to be at work. I hear my neighbour shovelling and hastily put on my coat. I run over and ask for a ride to the gas station to fill up the gas tank.
Unfortunately his wife had the car. But fortunately he had a full gas can to lend me. Gotta love Canadians with snowblowers! He comes over to help and tips his entire can into my car. I get in, positive that this will work. It doesn't. My neighbour surmises that it must be because of the angle of our driveway which tips in towards the house. We have to get the car level.
Dammit! I can't put the car into the garage, it's full of stuff. And lots of it. So I have to face facts. I have to call our roadside assistance service. They tell me 45 minutes or less. Yay! I can get to work within the hour. I sit. And wait. And wait. 2 hours later the tow truck finally pulls up. He said he couldn't find the house as he was looking for a white van. Uh Oh. This "new" van isn't covered by our plan. I'll have to pay out of pocket. I don't care. I just want to get the hell out of here. The View is so boring.
Tow-guy pulls the car onto the level street and the traitorous machine fires up beautifully. I drive to the gas station bank machine with tow guy in close pursuit. When I get the $48, I wave it at tow-guy who refuses to take it. What? He called the depot while I was inside and they told him to waive the fee. Whew. Thank heaven for small mercies. See? A winning smile does have it's advantages. I threw $5 at him for his time (I realize now that was probably insulting), filled the tank to the rim and got to work only 3 hours late.
It's an "I got nothing" day so I thought I'd post the recipes for those chocolate cupcakes I made a while back. I don't hold with people who say they can't cook. If you can read, you can cook. I never make up recipes. I rarely add to established recipes. I just read and do. Easy peasy. I can follow instructions. Looks like I pass kindergarten.
Yield 18 decadent over-the-top cupcakes
Ingredients Chocolate Mousse: 1/2 cup heavy cream 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Pastry bag and coupler Wilton tip 12
1 batch chocolate cupcakes (below) Chocolate sprinkles 1.5 batches Italian Meringue Buttercream 11 oz. bittersweet chocolate melted and cooled
Large star tip
Directions: 1. To make chocolate mousse, in a medium sized chilled bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Fold in melted chocolate until mixture is smooth. Refrigerate until chilled.
2. Place mousse in pastry bag fitted with 12 tip and insert right down into the centre of each cupcake. Squeeze to fill with mousse. As soon as the top of the cupcake begins to expand and crack, ease up on pressure-- the cupcake has taken as much filling as it can. (Aim for about 1 tbsp. filling per cupcake.) Refrigerate cupcakes while you proceed.
3. Place the buttercream in a large bowl and beat in the melted chocolate. Using pastry bag with large star tip frost each cupcake with a large swirl on top. Sprinkle chocolate sprinkles on top.
1.5 cups flour .5 c cocoa powder 3/4 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 c unsalted butter at room temperature 1 1/3 c sugar 1 tsp vanilla 2 eggs 1 c milk at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place 18 cupcake liners in tins
2. Whisk flour, cocoa, soda and salt in a small bowl, set aside.
3. On medium high speed, beat butter until cream. Add sugar gradually beating about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla then eggs one at a time. Add the flour in 4 additions alternately with the milk, beating between additions.
4. Divide evenly between cupcake cups. I use an ice cream scoop. Bake for 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes then remove cupcakes to cool completely.
Italian Meringue Buttercream
2/3 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar 1/4 c water 4 egg whites at room temperature 1/2 tsp cream of tartar 1.5 c unsalted butter at room temperature
1. Place 2/3 cup sugar and the water in a small pot. Stir to wet sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, swirling pan occasionally. Dip pastry brush in cold water and wash down sugar crystals from the sides of the pot once or twice. Turn down heat to simmer gently.
2. Place the egg whites in a clean grease free mixing bowl and whip until frothy. Add cream of tartar and turn speed to medium high. When soft peaks form, add remaining 3 tbsps sugar gradually. Continue whipping until stiff glossy peaks form.
3. Bring the sugar-water mixture to a rapid boil and cook until it reaches 248 to 250F. Pour a thin, steady stream over meringue, without pouring any on the rotating whip or the sides of the bowl. Whip on high speed until cool. When the bowl is no longer warm, stop the machine. On medium speed add the butter until buttercream in completely smooth.
Actually I've been doing it for years but only just now thought it was weird. Audrey has been asking for weeks about getting another Webkinz. She really wants a kangaroo and we had 2 left at my store on Friday. I had one put aside and will pick it up today. I would have forgotten but she hadn't (of course) and reminded me (for the millionth time) this morning. Honestly, if I show up tonight without that thing I may as well bump up my trip to London by a few weeks.
Well, here comes the weird thing. As you all know, I'm over 40. Reminding me at 7 in the morning to do something at 10 will usually result in a humiliating oversight. So I promptly took off my thumb ring and moved it to my middle finger. Sounds relatively sane so far, right? That's because I neglected to mention the fact that I whispered what I needed to remember to the ring. How bizarre is that? It's the old string-on-the-finger trick updated and with an added dab of Karen crazy.
It's yet another illustration of how nutty I really am.
I wanted to do an Oscar recap today but I'm still feeling, well, pms-y. I'll still do it but it'll have quite the grouchy slant. See, Scott told me about a month ago that he'd be overseas for the Oscar telecast that we've been watching together ever since Kathy left. We still saw all the Best Picture nominees together but he was on a plane during the really big show last night. Watching the show alone in my jammies, compounded with the fact that I'm pms-ing, had a sore back from nothing but age, Ellen Page and Juno didn't win and falling asleep during the middle of the show didn't help matters any.
It was my second worse Oscar show in recent memory. The worst ever? The year my bestest friend and Oscar buddy (as long as she's on the same continent as I am) Kathy moved to England from Miami leaving me Oscar-friend free. That year I drank a whole bottle of plonk my myself, fell asleep during the red carpet festivities and woke up at about 2:45am during a Knight Rider rerun. Yup, I missed the entire show. That was a bad one. I'm not blaming Kathy or anything, I'm just saying. That it's her fault and stuff. Moving on...
Last night's telecast. I thought John Stewart was funny as usual. I loved that he gave the woman who co-wrote the Original Song winner a chance to say her speech after she got shafted because her partner spoke first. Classy. Also very sweet? Diablo Cody's speech. She burst into tears at the end. Awwww.
My favourite dress? Umm... Salma Hayak looked great. Heidi Klum looked gorgeous and I loved the maternity dresses this year. Yucky dress? Well, I know she's not famous but holy crap, what was Daniel Day-Lewis' wife wife wearing? I actually had a physical reaction to that outfit. The giant jewels... the colours... oh, my eyes.
Other than that, The show was okay. Just because I couldn't wait to go to bed was no indictment of the show. I was just being Mrs. Cranky-Pants. We'll chat tomorrow.
Okay. The Oscars are tomorrow and Scott and I finally saw the last movie. We've seen all 5 best picture nominees and I wanted to share my second annual haiku movie review of them all. Take them as you will. I'm just glad I can make an educated guess tomorrow night. Have fun watching the big show. My (somewhat wordier) review on that circus Monday morning. To hold you until then:
There Will Be Blood "I drink your milkshake!" Bizarre and quotable line My reaction? "Whaaaa???..."
Atonement A little girl's lie Wrecks an epic love story I loved that green dress.
Michael Clayton A shady lawyer Saved because he likes horses Oh boy, was George pissed.
Juno Pregnant teen Juno Asks the eternal question: Am I cool or not?
No Country For Old Men Javier Bardem Scared me shitless... he's so bad And that's just his hair.
My heart wants Juno to win. It was the most funny and accessible and had the most Canadian connections (both leads and director are Canucks, eh? And it was filmed here) but I think they'll give it to There Will be Blood. The "academy" likes sledgehammer acting, overwrought music and picture postcard-like photography. Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow. Have fun!
I was sweeping the hallway this morning and whining out loud that there was a rabbit dropping outside Audrey's door. To which she replied "That's crazy, dude." Grrrr... I hate when people use dude. I hate even more when women are called dude but mostly I hate being called dude. Especially by my child. There are only 3 beings on planet earth, a place with a population of over 6 billion who call me mum. And they'd better do it. Anyway, this is what I thought. Being a busy morning like it is, I just kept sweeping and grunted to her "Don't call me dude". She replied "Sorry... That's crazy, dudette." Sigh.
Two people I know whose initials start with "J" have a birthday today. One from the start of my life and one in my life today.
Jackie was my first ever best friend. We hung almost exclusively together from grade 4 till grade 10. In CEGEP we drifted apart. Most of it was because, frankly, in grade 11 I turned into a total bitch, became friends with the "cool kids" and left her behind. I can't believe she ever forgave me for that. We're not really close now but I call her on her birthday and she calls me on mine. It's always a blast to hear from her. I can't wait to talk to her later.
Julie became my friend after her daughter and mine were classmates. We were close to the same age and had a lot of the same interests. Even though she moved to a nearby suburb and her daughter goes to a different school, Audrey and Sarah are still good friends and see each other often for sleepovers and playdates (which is odd for this age since it's "usually out of sight out of mind") and Julie and I still go to movies, have shopping trips, coffees and go for runs with her. She and my buddy Norah (whose birthday was Tuesday) are my bestest girls right now.
So that's my birthday blog for today. It looks like May was a busy month for many parents out there. I'm just saying...
Michelle commented yesterday in my blog that she'd like to see me post the recipes that I use in my handy dandy cupcake cookbook from time to time. I wholeheartedly agree and to spare you all from my intolerable "I got nothing" blogs, I could write out my latest cupcake recipe. Genius. It's a wonder I didn't come up with it myself! Thanks Michelle.
Talking about cupcakes (as I often do lately), a few months ago I discovered an amazing miniscule baked confection transportation device (like how I went all government description on your asses?) that lets my kids take a gorgeous iced cupcake to school without it being squashed flat. It's called a cup-a-cake. Absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately I had to buy it online which removes the wonderfully overwhelming impulse buying instinct I feel in a kitchen accessories store. So what I'm going to do is take a cup-a-cake (complete with a fresh Hostess With The Mostess as a bribe) and an order form to Warren at my favourite kitchen store and see if he can order them in. You know, working in a kitchen store would be my ultimate retail job. Sigh. Imagine the discounts. The deep deep discounts... Ummmmmmm.....what was I saying?
Anyway have a yummy day. On a side note, today is Kevin's (my personal trainer) birthday. He's the big 2-3. Wow... to have your whole life ahead of you like that. Lucky little guy. But now that I think about it, at 23 I was already living with Scott. Wow. We sure have been together a looooooooong time.
My blog's a bit late today because I slept in. Why? It's Family Day in Ontario. It's a holiday that we're supposed to spend with your family. Yay! Government imposed togetherness! Actually, it doesn't work for us as Scott works for the federal government so he has to work, poor lamb. And we're so close to the Quebec border that there are tons of people (including 2 of my co-workers) who have the day off but their kids have to go to school since the holiday is provincial. Lucky buggers! I mean poor things.
This holiday is the first concrete example of a campaign promise gone horribly right. To gloss it over, one of the guys who wanted to get into power promised a three day weekend between New Years and Easter (which is intolerably long in the dead of winter around here) and voila! he got in and he actually kept his promise and here we are.
So I'm off to bake another batch of cupcakes with my family. You Ontarians enjoy your holiday and everyone else, enjoy your Monday. See you tomorrow!
I've become manic about about it. I can't seem to stop making them. Monday I went to the bookstore to buy Audrey the Spiderwick Chronicles and I couldn't help but walk by the baking section. I saw a picture of a cupcake and I was gone. They were so pretty and so easy that I read the book for longer than I should have then couldn't leave it in the store. I took the beauty home and read it cover to cover, falling in love more and more every step of the way. I had to make these creations.
Fortunately I had a birthday party at my work and Scott had a staff meeting so the first batch (the chocolate ones) was gone before I could shamelessly gorge myself. But the children were so sad that I gave them all away that I made another batch (the orange) just for them. I have so much fun making them, I wish they were diet. Oh well. There are worse things to obsess over. The book is called A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes. Yum.
And to celebrate, here's a list of things I love (besides Scott and the kids which goes without saying... or in this case, writing):
Cake (lately cupcakes) The smell of freshly clean clothes (namely Bounce) Holidays French fries (namely poutine) Christian Louboutin Makeup Hot showers Meals I don't have to cook People who follow through with what they say (bad or good) Having money TV The Internet Jewellry Blogs People with faith (of any kind) Music that makes me dance Books that make me laugh My friends Bacon Dragonboating Myself Baking
I'm sure there are plenty more but I can't think of anything else right now. And I have to get ready for work. Have a terrific Valentine's Day everyone. Shucks, I love you guys.
So on the weekend Scott and I saw Michael Clayton. It was another case of having no idea when I sat down what kind of movie it was going to be. The only thing I knew was that George Clooney was in it. I had no idea about the plot, the year it was set, any other stars... nothing. I like that. I kinda thought it took place in the 50s but that was left over from the last George Clooney Oscar movie.
It was about lawyers and a class action suit. It takes place in the present day. A little like Erin Brockovich but without the cleavage. Immediately you'd think it'd bore me to tears but it was quite good. A lot of intrigue and mystery. It totally held my interest.
We've only seen 2 so far but here are my rankings anyway: 1) Michael Clayton 2) There Will Be Blood
Because Valentine's Day is coming up, I think we'll see Atonement. Again, I'm not familiar with the plot but I think there's a love story in there somewhere. Finger's crossed.
I loved the Grammys over the weekend. I heard that it was the least watched Grammy awards show in a long time if not ever. Whaaaaa?
The performances were amazing. I loved every one except for Josh Groban when I loaded the dishwasher and the country guy (whose name I don't even know) when I went out to plug in the car. But the others? Wow.
Tina Turner and Beyonce? How can a 60+ year old woman keep up with B? That Cirque Du Soleil thing with the Beatles songs? I got goosebumps. The Foos? Huminahuminahumina. Even Carrie Underwood impressed me. And she's country, people.
I hear they actually gave out awards. Is that true? Well, I hope everyone got what they deserved. You know who didn't? Amy Winehouse. I don't want to be a prude but should the academy be rewarding this rummy? Sets a bad example to kids, doesn't she? And what about the musicians who work hard and keep their noses clean (literally and figuratively)? I'm just saying.
No, not the sweet sweet condiment but our phantom baby girl.
Scott and I were talking about a friend whe recently found out she was pregnant and we were discussing names for a girl. One of us said "what about Maple?" and our latent rock-star-ridiculous-name radar went off. Surprisingly both of us loved it. How weird is that? We were trying it out with our last name and marvelling at how Canadian it is. It sort of fits our criteria too. It's simple, easily spelled, people have heard of it (although not as a given name) and we both like it. And if you knew how much trouble we had with choosing Henry's name, you know how much that means.
Unfortunately (or maybe more accurately, fortunately for Maple herself) Scott's boys no longer swim so there's very little chance of a Maple Kaye. The more I think about it that's perfectly okay. I still like the name but people wold sure think we've lost our ever-loving minds, wouldn't they?
I can't chat long since I'm blogging from work today. Scott and the kids are home so I couldn't get near the computer. There's no one else here at work until 1pm so I thought I'd screw the pooch for a few minutes and say hi to you all. I could seriously do this all day but someone will notice that I haven't done any work. Oh well.
So have a happy Friday and I'll talk to you all next week. We're seeing some more Oscar nominees this weekend so I'll chat about that plus more on my trip to London and what that means blog-wise. Joyeux fete de semaine!
Hey I know I'm a couple of days late and a dollar short but I love the Super Bowl. Ads. The Super Bowl ads. Did I hesitate there? Huh. I mean the commercials that air during the big game. The game? I don't know. Who was playing again?
Rather than be subjected to the game, I choose to watch the ads somewhere online after the "festivities" are over. This year they're all in one place to make it easier. Good. So enjoy the ads without the distraction of that pesky game. Now if the could make the Grey Cup ads a bit more exciting. You know like the game. Four downs are for wussies, eh, people? I'm just saying.
So over the weekend Scott and I saw the first of our Oscar Best Picture nominee. We checked out There Will Be Blood starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It was quite interesting, actually. It was no Notting Hill, but what can you do? My blog title refers to the climactic scene at the end. I must have cracked up for 5 minutes when my neighbour offered it up as the alternate title.
This year, we're going to try to take our neighbours Randy and Julie to the movies with us. It's fun to see and discuss these movies with another couple and they're super keen. We're going to try to see 2 movies this weekend: Atonement and No Country For Old Men. After that it'll be Michael Clayton and the one we all can't wait for: Juno. Should be a popcorn-filled couple of weeks.
What? What American political thing? Nah, I'm not interested in that stuff. I'm talking World Nutella Day, people! Manna of the gods. Cocoa flavoured heaven. The only chocolate spread that's allowed for breakfast in my house. It's so yummy that even this girl who's chocolate indifferent can't ignore the pull of this creamy, hazelnutty treat.
How am I celebrating? Yesterday I made Nutella cupcakes and I'm bringing them to work today. And after dinner I'm going to indulge in one of my favourite treats. It's so simple and delicious it's criminal. Here's the recipe: get salted pretzels. Grab the Nutella jar. Dip. Ooooohhh yeaaaaah.
So happy World Nutella Day, people. It's a good day. A Super Tuesday.
I meant to write a blog before I left for the passport office but it totally slipped my mind.
Passport office you ask? Why I'm glad you did. I have the opportunity to go to Merry Olde the first week of April and I had let my passport expire. That necessitated a trip to my local passport office. But first I had to get my photo taken. Canadian law now says that I have to gaze unsmilingly into the camera for this photo. As those of you who know me in person and you who know me in photographs, this is virtually impossible unless you catch me unawares. I'm like a 2 year old. As soon as the camera comes out I start posing. The poor girl at the photo place had to keep telling me to:
a) "stop smiling" b) "no teeth" c) "more serious" d) any combination of the above
Of course telling me that stuff is like telling a teenager not to laugh in church. It just made it worse. I kept giggling and blowing raspberries to try to relax my face. Finally she got something usable and off to the passport place I went.
I thought I'd have to wait in a long line with a bunch of frustrated would-be travellers and a few terrorists but that wasn't the case. I was greeted at the front door by a friendly kid who asked if he could help me. He took my name and asked me to sit off to the side and wait till they called my name. I was the only one there. About 2 minutes later a cute little old lady sat beside me and we started chatting about the weather. We were just starting to get to the reasons for our passports when they called my name. Seriously it was less than 5 minutes after I sat down. The girl checked that my form was properly filled out, that my photos were included and I paid and that was it. It. Done in under an hour including the 15 minute wait for the photos and the 10 minute drive to the passport office. It took me longer to write this blog. Never let it be said that this country doesn't rock. And I should have my brand spanking new passport in my hot little hands by the first week of March.
The other day I was training with Kevin and he told me that I'm losing weight in my stomach. While most days that would delight me no end, I promptly told him that I was holding it in. Then I released the hounds. "You're pushing that out", he replied with surprise. "Nope, that's all me, baby."
I don't want to assume anything but I'm pretty sure most women are like me. We don't suck in our guts per se, but we just tense a bit to (for want of a better term) take the edge off. Sort of smooth out the silouhette. He was totally surprised about this when I mentioned it and I asked him to ask his female friends. Then I realized that his female friends are all probably 20 years old and already have amazing abs. So I'm asking you, my "friends of a certain age", if I'm the only one who ever so slightly sucks in my gut every waking moment. It's hard work but really, people, I'm trying to spare you the nausea of seeing what I got going on below the belt. 3 pregnancies + 3 c-sections = 6 kinds of not pretty.
Am I on my own here?
Have a terrific weekend. I know I will. Mine started about 10 minutes ago when I found out that the kids' school buses were cancelled due to a dump of 20cms of snow we're expecting in the next few hours. Looks like it's baking day!
I'm a married mother of 3. I'm Canadian. I'm a Whovian, a sci-fi nerd, a ukulele player, knitter, cartoon/animé lover and a tv/pop culture-holic, I keep a blog that inflates my already swollen ego. I'm not all that interesting but I have high self-esteem which makes up for it.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's talk about the stuff I love.