Stationary Drifting


Best Of: March

best of March

last of winter

march doggies

flowers & cards

/// quality time in Jarry Park && sun for longer && the last of winter /// Mars and Josie being adorable /// dog parking at Marche Jean Talon /// Consulting the cards /// Spring flowers to brighten grey days ///

I can’t believe its the end of March already! I feel like I just wrote the Best of Feb and Best of Blogs: Feb posts. If this blog is any indication of what my life is like, I pretty much DID just write those posts….March flew by and I have been fighting to keep on track with my life schedule. I didn’t blog as much as I would have liked to unfortunately. It slipped away in a flurry of sewing, applying for jobs, marking, and writing. And a little friend and couple time mixed in.

Here are some highlights:

Life:

march bowling

/// me lovin my new talent. Is it possible to be a bowling alley shark? /// Mars celebrating yet another spare, he is also better at bowling than pool ///

I think the thing I was the most excited about this month (besides sewing) was the oncoming spring. Winter is not my favourite. At all. I get really depressed with all the grey and I hate trying to get around in the snow. Montreal is a walking/biking city, the transit is decent but ALL of these modes of transport are a pain in the winter. Walking is hard, biking is impossible (for me, some people I know still do it), and transit is packed, hot and often late. Because of all of this I stay home a lot, taking my vitamin D pills and trying to remember times when I could go outside without 18 layers. Spring was in the air early this year, and although we got one last snow storm this month it has been warmer, sunnier and the snow is mostly gone. Which pleases me to no end. Also daylight savings means its lighter in the hours I’m awake, which does wonders for my mood. Saskatchewan has it right with the no daylight savings, its the worst.

2 of my favourite friends have birthdays in March. My platonic wife Corrie lives in Winnipeg so I didn’t get to celebrate her like I want to but my longest friend Felicia moved back to Montreal and we went bowling like a bunch of REALLY COOL 30 year olds. I turned out to be a lot better at bowling than pool and got TONS of strikes! It was a black light, jams from 1999 kind of night and we all danced and sang and cheered on each other for hours. I loved it. More bowling on the menu from now on.

Speaking of birthdays, we had a very belated birthday party for Mars on Corrie’s birthday. Since we were out west for his birthday and he didn’t get to celebrate with friends I wanted to make sure that he was celebrated properly in Montreal. An awesome group of people showed up to our favourite Salvadorian restaurant to eat a ridiculous amount of pupusas, then came back to our place for cake (a flourless chili chocolate cake I should post about), tequila sunrises and late night confessions of childhood crushes (mine was Leonardo Dicaprio). It was really lovely and I think my guy had a nice, if very bemused time. The flowers above are the leftovers from the bouquet I got him in celebration. The next day we went and saw a play about Mahalia Jackson. Which felt fancy and was a nice night out for the two of us.

I went to a few great shows this month, including a jam packed with talent show headlined by Invincible (Detroit) and hometown hero Akua. I got to meet a bunch of really talented people and sway to really great music (including my all time favourite MC who jumped on stage for a track <3).

Other than that it was all job applications, academic articles, marking and sick days on the couch. A classic March.

Crafts:

Sewing away to my heart’s content, which I’m planning a whole separate post for. So far I’ve made 3 dresses and 2 skirts. They turned out really well and I wear them all the time! I love planning up new things and trying to figure out how to make them. I’m still pretty impatient when I sew. I want to wear them immediately! I have to learn how to enjoy the process more, and also iron… I’m pretty proud of myself for not using patterns and still having pretty awesome results. I could use access to a serger though, jersey is kind of hard to sew with a regular machine.

Books:

Still reading White Teeth. BUT I’m almost done!

Recipes:

march food

/// my winning ribs before they were cooked, no after picture. I was too ready to eat a million ribs by the time they were done and forgot to take a photo /// one of my favourite, filling soup recipes from 101 cookbooks. Its especially good when sick like I was a few times this month ///

Mid month a group of friends and us had a rib off, where we all submitted a rack of ribs, ate our faces off and voted. I WON!! It was my first time ever making ribs and I won! I’m pretty damn chuffed with myself for it because I had some stiff competition. Also, I’m not usually the come-in-first type so it did wonders for my ego. Everyone’s were really really good though and the real winner was my stomach! We’ve been organizing chosen-family get togethers pretty often these days and its awesome. I love having amazing people to laugh with and talk about real shit with. Makes life so much sweeter.

And because I’m a firm believer is sharing recipes I’m going to post my Keetha’s 2 Die 4 Dry Rubbed Ribs this week!

In the meantime check out 101 cookbooks for the above soup’s recipe, Red Lentil Soup with Lemon. 101 cookbooks is one of the best cooking sites I know. I have one of Heidi’s books [super natural every day] and its great but you don’t need to buy a book (though I recommend it!) to access her recipes. The 101 cookbooks site is incredible, searchable, and super varied. Her food is healthy, simple, seasonal,and delicious. I really like this soup because its so hearty with the lentil and rice, it has greens and is flavoured with tumeric, cumin and mustard seeds. Add a the suggested spinach, and some yogurt or peppers goat cheese and its basically the best ever.  I ate it for 2 whole days when I was sick this month and it made me feel so much better. I actually made it again yesterday and I’m still loving it.

Music:

I’m still obsessed with songza and have been exploring all sorts of genres. My current favs (besides 90ies), are latin lady MCs, reggae, and bluegrass.

Sidenote:

I’m still trying to figure out good ways to post pictures. Sorry if things are weird. I’m struggling with sizing…

March in a nutshell. I can’t believe its over. April is going to have to be a bang up month so that I can catch up!


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Best Of: February

best of_feb collage
For such a short month February sure seemed long. I always feel this way about February though, when I’m dying from the cold and grey. February is the month that I most want to hibernate. Its too far past the holidays to still have that excitement in my system and too far from spring to feel like winter might possibly end. I still had an interesting month regardless of that. Mars and I took a short trip to Ottawa, I started swimming a few times a week to beat the trap of living and working in the same place and the inertia that came with that. I started thinking about what it means to be truly happy in what I do (no answers to that yet though, I image it will take more than a month), Mars and I had a really cute, at home, homemade Valentine’s day. It snowed A LOT. I baked a fair bit. February in a nutshell.

Here are some highlights:

Life:

pool triptech

Mars and I drove up to Ottawa for the weekend. He took me on a date to a pool hall and we both discovered we are far FAR worse at pool than either of us imagined (and I had no illusions of being a pool shark). It was super funny and I think we scandalized the other patrons by laughing so much…and kissing.

I’ve been working on creating a schedule for myself so that I am in a routine. Working from home is a trap of constantly flexible time and its easy to sleep in really late, get groceries at 9pm, clean the house at 3pm on a wednesday, etc. I’m trying to create a work/life/play schedule that is regular and consistent. I hear that that’s good for me or whatever. Part of this is getting exercise so I started taking myself off to the pool 3 times a week to swim 45mins of laps. Its a nice quiet time where I can kind of zone my brain out and remind my body that as much as I’d like to be hibernating, I’m not that kind of creature. Mars and I have been huge homebodies this month, partly because we’re broke and partly because its winter. We’re both working away on projects, watching a fair bit of netflix and having couch dates. Sometimes its nice to not go out for a while.

Crafts:

With the exception of massive amount of sewing I started on the night of the last day of Feb (and am therefore counting as a March activity). The only thing I think I made this month was the crochet heart mobile for Mars’ Valentine’s day present. Which I mostly made in January anyway. It was a variation of this pattern but I’m not much for following patterns (with the exception of lace, I don’t toy with those patterns!) so I can’t exactly say out to make it. Basically I made a bunch of hearts of different sizes, then made a crocheted top part (based kind of on this collar pattern). I attached the hearts to the top and to each other with crochet chains. That’s it! It took a while to make, partly because I was hiding it from Mars but it was nice to do in front of tv shows at night (I’m not super good at just sitting and watching tv without doing anything else).

Sorry for the fuzzy phone photo, its all I have.

Photo 2013-03-03 2 19 18 PM

Books:

I’m still reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith on my kobo. I’m going to have to pick up the pace a little if I want to reach my reading goal for the year. I’m enjoying the book but I have been busy with other things (and reading things on the internet). I mostly only read when I’m on the metro.

Photography:

I’ve recently become a huge fan of astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield who is currently in space and is taking absolutely incredible photos of the earth. He posts several a day to his facebook page and I check them every day. They are humbling and beautiful. A daily reminder that the world is a really special place.

Here’s an example from yesterday of the southernmost tip of Canada (click the photo to be taken to the source):

Recipes:

(photo belongs to smitten kitchen. Click to be taken to the site/recipe)

I love soup in the fall/winter and this carrot soup with lemon tahini and crisped chickpeas from smitten kitchen is my new absolute favourite. The lemon tahini is what really makes it. The light lemon flavour and the creaminess of the tahini in the soup is amazing. I had some difficulty with the chickpeas because they kept popping like pop corn in my oven and I was afraid of causing a fire so they didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked them. But still a nice texture. I made it with this flat bread (also from smitten kitchen) instead of pita because its fast and a staple in our house. We eat it a couple of times a week usually.

Music:

I was introduced to songza this past month and have been obsessed with it ever since. Its a curated site of SO many playlists. Basically when I log in it asks me what kind of mood I’m in then suggests playlists that work for that mood. I’ve been discovering lots of new (to me) music in between listening to hours and hours of 90ies jams. I’ve been on songza about a week and have a whole bunch of playlists saved. I think songza is my favourite new music this past month but here are some individual artists that got me toe tapping.

Nerina Pallot

Haim

So long February. Looking forward to March, I can feel the spring in the air….


4 simple goals: #3

Okay, its been a while since I posted about my simple goals and there are a lot of reasons for that. Not the least of which is that I haven’t had any real time to blog over the past while. I realized the other day that I am working 4 jobs at the moment AND trying to write my thesis. This means that I work a 40hr work week, and come home to work on at least 2 other jobs at night. For example, last Tuesday I worked from 10-6, came home and had a skype meeting for a facilitation contract I’m doing from 6:30-8pm, and then worked on my TA’ing stuff from 8-10pm. I didn’t even touch my thesis. Somewhere in there I’m trying to see M, maybe a couple of friends, call my family and do laundry and any number of other life things that need to happen. It doesn’t really allow for a lot of ‘me time’. Which I think is the thing I miss the most from my student life. Time to cook, check out the neighbourhood, do projects and crafts, listen to the radio, etc etc.

It also means that I haven’t been that good at keeping up with my goals.

Simple Goal #1 of eating more fresh plants has been going okay. I’ve been trying to consciously make sure that there is plant matter in my meals but the fresh stuff has been harder to keep on top of. Given the fact that I don’t really have time to grocery shop, or am too tired to grocery shop, I haven’t been as good about this as I could be. I’m going to try and redouble my efforts the rest of this month though and try to have some at least once a day and work up from there.

Simple Goal #2 has been kind of a flop. M and I spent a lot of time shopping last weekend with my little bit of birthday money and I found 1 cardigan and a cheap stretchy skirt. I like these 2 items a lot but given the amount of time, the number of stores I went into and the things I tried on, it was pretty dismal and I ended up spending my money on film, beads and food. The usual. I’m thinking I might foray into online shopping and see if that yields me better results. If anyone has experience in buying clothes online please send tips. I don’t really like the idea of buying things I can’t try on and am worried I’m going to spend a lot of time sending things back. But I like shops like ASOS, Ruche and Modcloth so hopefully I can find better things. The internet is an amazing place isn’t it?

So, with the so far rounding success moderate optimism of the first 2 goals. Here is SIMPLE GOAL #3: plan direction of stationary drifting

I’ve been really enjoying blogging since I moved over from tumblr earlier this year. I kind of prefer the static nature of an independent blog where I’m not so concerned about people reading, reblogging, networking, etc. Don’t get me wrong, tumblr can be really great for a lot of reasons. I’ve seen some amazing community building happen there but that wasn’t really what I was going for when I decided to start logging my life on the internet so here I am over here now.

I’ve gotten pretty into blogging since then, and into following other people’s blogs. I’ve been using the flipboard app on my ipad to keep track of all the ones I like to read on a daily basis (though I hear bloglovin’ is good too) and through following other people and a fair amount of nerding out on my part I’ve started trying to envision this blog as something more design friendly and aesthetically pleasing, on top of being my online personality. I’m not going to lie, I like the communities that I’ve seen happen through blogs, and (a little bit) the recognition from posting useful things. I certainly like watching my readership spike and grow. SO I’ve been thinking about buying my domain name and fooling around with graphics and making this place uniquely my own.

The reason this is on my goals list for fall is because partially its to remind me to put some attention towards this, and partially its to remind me to do little projects for myself for no other reason than because they make me happy. The blog itself is a project, the projects that happen on this blog are projects and the stuff I blog about are often projects too. Its a reminder to keep myself creative and in touch with myself. In that way, even just doing the small things project as often as I can has helped in keeping me grounded in thinking about the good things in my life and in having a small project to feel happy about. I think this might be the most successful goal I have so far and thank the universe for that.

So you can expect some geekiness around blogging, graphic design, programming and the internet to come out here over the next few months. I’ve been relying pretty heavily on the advice posted on a beautiful mess (also the ladies who inspired these goals). So yea, blogging. Gonna start doing more of that.


Small Things Project: Day 62 (sept 22)

So today it feels like fall, its rainy and grey and cooling off. I’m happy I got to sleep in and fuck around most of the day. I got to have brunch with my boo and spend some time watching dexter, doing some photoshop stuff for coming posts, and send some emails. Its been just over a week and I am already r.e.a.l.l.y missing the amount of time I used to have to myself to do things like cook and blog and whatever else. I miss home. Now that its fall I want to start knitting/crafting again so maybe I need to get that going. Its funny because now that I’m out all day during the week I’ve become even more of a home body. Like I need to soak up the time I have now that I have it. I’m trying to push myself to do more things though, this life needs to be more involved.

So yeah, happy for cool fall days and for time at home.

// I made a SMP logo and am testing it out to see if I like it in the posts, trying to style up the text a bit for when I don’t have photos ///


April is for resolutions

January is not a good month for resolutions. I feel like the world is ending in January. Its so dark and cold and all I want to do is curl up under the blankets, watch a movie and eat baked goods. Basically winter is like one long pms cycle for me. The beginning of January is the last possible time I ever want to do anything active or motivate myself to do stuff I really really don’t want to do. Besides, everyone knows that the new year starts Sept 1 with the start of a new school semester. I don’t care how long you’ve been out of school, the beginning of fall is when its time to start the calendar over again.

A great time for resolutions is the beginning of spring though. When the snow finally leaves, the air starts to get warmer, hope and enjoyment of life returns, and I have all sorts of new energy. Its the time of the year that I want to clean out all my cupboards and drawers, air out the house and start planting a garden. This is the time of year that I want to make life changes, to make resolutions and really feel like I have a chance of keeping them.

So that said, here are my new season life plans:

1. Be Healthier

This one is a 3 part-er some more immediate term and some longer term, as all get healthy plans are.

– Join a gym

Marseau bought a damn scale this week and now I know how much I weigh. I hate knowing how much I weigh, it makes me so self conscious about my weight. I know that I’ve been gaining weight as I get older (I am constantly reminded of this fact whenever I go home ~ why do people insist on commenting on other people’s weight by the way?). I’m trying to learn to be okay with this fact, and okay with not being the skinny ideal in general. My height, frame, genetics, love of good foods all keep me from looking like a supermodel. I have accepted that and frankly sometimes I think that models kinda look unhealthily skinny. Trying not to comment or judge other peoples’ weight either here. The truth is that ever since I stopped biking because I was too scared/in pain after my accident I haven’t really been getting any exercise. Even if climbing the stairs to my 3rd floor apartment with a load of groceries feels that way. I found a gym that’s 3 blocks away from me that has pilates, and I like pilates (waaaaaaay more than yoga, but that’s a different story), it also has spinning and I don’t know if I like spinning but I want to like it. It has a steam room and a regular gym part (that I’m less excited about) I think that if I like some of the classes I would go frequently and start feeling like I’m getting some exercise and get energy from that. My goal is to get healthy enough to join a boxing gym, I really want to learn how to fight. In the meantime though I just want to drop some weight and feel healthier. I don’t have any particular goal weight and I’m not going to diet/deprive myself. I just want to feel better in general.

Which leads me to my second point:

– Quit smoking

I’ve been a smoker for a long time now, and I’ve been quitting smoking about as long as I have been a smoker. I’ve never been particularly successful at it, in that I don’t think I ever have truly stopped. But its my goal to not smoke anymore by the time I’m 30. This gives me 6months of quitting, possible relapses and learning to be able to see people smoke or go to parties without wanting to smoke myself. Even more difficult will be watching Marseau smoke in front of me and not want one myself too. So, as of today I have a rule that I’m not going to smoke before 6pm. No more daytime smoking. Once that becomes easier I want to go down to no more than one smoke a day. My mid-term goal is to only smoke when I’m drinking by the end of April. Long term is to stop once and for all in 6months. I’ve never felt like I was exactly addicted to smoking, I mean I can stop for days or weeks without feeling shitty or getting cranky. I never have felt like I NEED a smoke. Its just very much a habit for me. Waiting for the bus, after eating a big meal, feeling socially awkward, needing to go outside for a bit, social times with smoker friends, writing a paper or grading and needing a short break, are all reasons to smoke for me. Its been the time filler or self care or stress reliever for me for going on…..8 years now. I can’t believe its been that long! I want to have pink lungs again (or whatever colour they are supposed to be). Plus smoking weakens my immune system and I don’t need more ways to be able to get sick.

Finally:

– Do a cleanse

I’ve never done one of these before. I used to be really disdainful of cleanses (quelle surprise, me being disdainful), maybe its because the people I knew who did cleanses just stopped eating and drank a lot of chili, maple syrup and lemon juice mixes. That always seemed (and still seems) ridiculous to me, and I don’t get how that can be healthy at all. I do get how going back to basics and cleaning out my body make sense though, and I like the kinds of cleanses that people I know now do, which include cutting out a lot of food things that are rough on the system, letting my body relax a bit and slowly reintroducing more complex foods one by one. I’m all into herbs and alt health care so this seems like less of a crazy thing to do than it did year ago. Even if this is the shortest term ‘get healthy’ goal of mine, I think it might be the hardest. Particularly not drinking coffee but also I’m bad at monitoring my food. It will be a good exercise in self-discipline. Which I really need because, life plan #2 is going to require a lot of it.

2. Finish my thesis

This shit is for real. I’ve been letting this large and scary amount of work paralyze me into inaction for way too long (just ask Marseau and my mom ~ the 2 most invested in me finishing). I sit in front of my computer every day and just look at it, and then I get up and tell myself that I need to get groceries, do the dishes, make dinner, finish someone’s bday present, whatever seems more manageable and less terrifying at the moment. The problem is that even if I’m not sitting here looking at it, its looking at me, from inside my head. I wake up early in the morning thinking about it, I feel guilty as soon as I wake up, and every time a friend asks me to do something my brain says that I can’t I should be working. Most people’s reaction to this kind of thing would be to just do it. My response is to ask first if you’ve ever written an academic book that you feel totally unprepared and unqualified to write and then when you do finally finish it you must sit in front of a panel of experts while they tear it apart? Sounds like a stress nightmare to me but its actually my life. Many of you may answer yes to that question, and kudos to you but this shit terrifies me. Which is not to say that I’m not going to do it. I am. Starting today I’m going to work at this like its my job, which of course, it is.

I should probably write something about getting a job and saving money, or being better about calling my family, or sleeping but I already feel like I’ve got a lot down there. The road to self-discipline can’t all be traveled in one day right? I don’t know, probably not, maybe I’ll look into it tomorrow or something….

 


Eating: Marseau Makes Meat (& cheese)

Marseau and I have come to an unspoken understanding about making food. I made big things occasionally (big meals, baked goods, soups to be frozen) and some staples (humus, bread) and he makes the in between meals. The delicious every day lunches and dinners. I like this set up a lot because it means that we eat well every day and have lots of yummy treats and snack foods. Plus it plays on our strengths, particularly mine of having bursts of energy around big projects and then sinking into cooking apathy. The decision on both our parts to stop eating out so much and start eating good, well-balance, homemade foods has been a good one. I feel a lot healthier, I eat better and more often, we save money, I feel nice and home-y when there is something delicious smelling cooking/baking away in the kitchen.

Sometimes we reverse our method though and Marseau cooks a huge meal. The kind that leaves me in a food coma and feeling so good. That guy can cook his ass off and knows his way around the spice shelf like no one I’ve met before.

Here are some of my favourites from the past little while.

The Stay-Home Date:

Pepperoni, spinach, hot peppers and cheeeeeese.

cheezy goodness

One day the other week we decided to have a stay home date. The kind where we make a delicious meal, drink some wine from the SAQ not the dep, and converse, maybe watch a movie on netflix in bed. A cozy night where we glory in the fact that we now live together. On this nights menu was homemade pizza. We took a stroll on over to Milano’s (the Italian grocery store in the neighbourhood) and got ourselves some of their pre-made pizza dough and some fresh sliced pepperoni that is so delicious it melts in the mouth. Living on the edge of Little Italy has its perks. Coupling that with spinach from the market and Silvie’s homemade pickled hot peppers we were on a pizza roll. It baked up so delicious and greasy, Marseau was adorable and insisted on serving me every slice I went back for and seasoning it himself with oregano and other good spices.

The Soul Food Night:

Featuring fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, garlic butter string beans and biscuits (that we didn’t eat because I eff’d them up)

one of the only shots I got because I was too busy eating. nom.

Marseau was missing the food back home in Philly, as well as the rest of home, so late one Friday night we decided to do up a soul food feast. Marseau was in charge of the fried chicken (breast not wings because I don’t like wings and he loves me that much), and the mac’ n cheese. I had the beans and the biscuits. Besides the small fire in the oven we caused when the oven and pan decided they couldn’t handle all the amazing mac n’ cheese deliciousness going on, Marseau cooked his ass off and prepped one helluva meal. I, on the other hand, didn’t really keep up my end of the bargain. I tried a new recipe from one of my healthy cookbooks for the biscuits (note to self: never try and make healthy biscuits again) which were too dense, barely rose and not buttery enough. Also as a result of the above mentioned small oven fire I had to take my dough over to our neighbour Jackie’s house to bake them and then proceeded to burn the bottoms of every single one. Total biscuit fail. Marseau doesn’t trust that I can make good biscuits now and I’m determined to prove that normally I make delicious ones (I made another batch this week that received a B grade. What a jerk)! On the up side Jackie joined us for the feast and we all laid around comatose for a good while after that. The beans were good too by the way, really garlic and butter-y just how I like them. Too garlicy for Marseau though, and I left him to cook them while I left to burn the hell out of the biscuits. Like I said, I really didn’t hold up my end of the deal on this dinner. I like to think I was a good conversationalist during it though…

I took almost no photos because I was too busy cooking and then eating. We had barely any leftovers, and what we jealously guarded from other people (no guests!) still only lasted one day.

Upside: we’re thinking of holding Soul Food Sundays as a fundraiser for our wedding! Must perfect biscuit recipe soon….

Burgers for the hell of it:

Cheeseburger (cheese INSIDE the burger) with maple glazed caramelized onions, chips and salsa, beer

caramelized onions are our new favourite garnish for everything

I don’t think we had a reason to make this big meal besides the fact that we were both craving protein and had the desire to eat our faces off (again). We were trying to pretend we were excited to make some sort of healthy rice and bean with veggies dish but as soon as Marseau proposed burgers I was down.

Marseau did up these thick, delicious burgers with lots of spice and (like the genius he is) put the cheese INSIDE the meat so that when they fried up the cheese melted ON THE INSIDE! I never thought of doing that, its crazy good. He also started a now household obsession for caramelized onions. These ones were a maple glazed version that added an amazing, sweet-ish tang to the spicey burger. Topped with lettuce, tomato, spicy mustard and the mayo/ketchup staples these monsters hit the spot like no other. They were so big though that it was hard to eat the chips and salad that went along with them.

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I’m stupid lucky to have this wonderful guy and amazing cook in my life, though I’m pretty sure he’s trying to fatten me up. With food like this though I’m more than happy to let him!

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I have some other food related posts coming up since I’ve been baking up a storm lately. Also a couple of knitting/craft ones. I’ve been really behind on my Small Things and 52 Themes projects so I’m going to try and catch up with those this week. Maybe I’ll do a personal post or something different soon too…I don’t know, my enthusiasm for blogging wanes slightly when I have a lot of work to do. These days I’m marking a ridiculous amount of undergrad papers and I feel like all my brain cells are being stolen. That said I do really like this space to write so keep checking back. I’ll have more rambling and hopefully somewhat interesting posts up here soon.