Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

Tuesday Timewasters: 14 BEST Tweets from No Name Brands

No, you read that correctly. No Name Brands. The Brand.

So my obsession with all things Twitter continues with @nonamebrands.

I love them!

For those who don’t know, No Name Brands is a line of generic grocery items owned by the Loblaw Company in Canada. They’re sold in a bunch of stores around the country, the nearest one to me being Real Canadian Superstore.

They have quite distinctive packaging: black font on yellow background, and have very very generic product names.

BUT, their Twitter account is where they really shine. Here are some of my favorite Tweets of theirs for you to enjoy!

And of course, they’ve been posting helpful tweets such as:

They also live-Tweeted the Emmys and Oscars!! WHICH. WAS. AMAZING. Here’s a taster, read from bottom to top. Head to their Twitter for more!

ending paragraph.

signing off.

Categories
Cooking food recipes

Loco Moco

This is a Hawaiian dish The Canadian One fell in love with back in April 2015 when we were off in Oahu getting married (more on that another time). It’s basically white rice nestled under a hamburger and a fried egg and then covered in brown gravy. The versions he tried, and there were multiple over the week we were there including our wedding night dinner, also contained fried onions. The one at the Dole Plantation had the hamburger smothered in beef chili which is the one I tried and loved.

Just to go back to the fact that he ate this on our wedding night.

20150416_155133

We had, originally, booked a table in a fancy restaurant for the evening of our wedding. It was just to two of us so we figured we’d splurge on somewhere nice. However, the night before our wedding, we ate take out on our hotel balcony from a place opposite our hotel called Chai’s Waikiki Hawaiian Fusion. It was cheap, tasty, I could walk there and back in heels and there was a lot of food. I had the Grilled Hawaiian BBQ Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, Salad and Rice and he had the Loco Moco. The following day, we decided we wanted the take-out again and so we cancelled our fancy restaurant booking and headed to the take-out place in full wedding outfits, got our food (both getting the exact same orders from the night before), ate it on our balcony and then blew our fancy restaurant money on overpriced, colorful cocktails at the bars downstairs. It was glorious.

20150416_170452

Moving on. 

A quick Google for Loco Moco recipes lead me down a rabbit hole of similar-yet-slightly-different variations of the dish so I came up with a kind of hybrid version. Since I can’t have dairy, gluten or egg, I used my own trusted recipe for hamburgers.

RECIPE: LOCO MOCO – Makes 1 Meal for 2

Loco Moco is basically a bed of white rice with a hamburger nestled on top, a egg on top of that, fried onions sprinkled on the egg and gravy poured over the whole thing. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Cooking for more, add more burgers, rice and eggs. Easy.

For two people, you will need: 

2 hamburgers, store bought or make your own

2 eggs

White rice

Sliced onions

Gravy – I guess any kind of beef gravy will do, I have my own recipe below. 

Usually I’ll make the white rice and some fried onions (slice onions, fry them in vegetable oil until crispy and golden) first and then I grill the burger. I leave the egg and the gravy to last. 

The gravy is a little more intricate: Add to pan (if you used a grill pan or frying pan to make the burgers, use that and scrape up all the lovely burger bits) 1 cup of beef stock, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp of soy sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat. Mix 1 tb of cornstarch with 2 tbs of water and add to pan. Return to heat. Whisk whisk whisk until thick. If you want thicker, add more cornstarch/water mixture, if you want thinner, add more water and whisk.

Construct Loco Moco: Rice then burger then onions then egg (if using) then pour gravy over it and then eat.

Glorious.

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor timewasters

Tuesday Timewasters: 29 Best Tweets from Lawrence PD's Twitter Account

Sometime last year, I became obsessed with the Lawrence PD Twitter account. Someone in my feed reposted something of theirs and in typical fashion on a 1 hour bus ride, I went down a rabbit hole of reading ALL. THEIR. TWEETS.

Things I know about them:

They have two dogs: Cheeseburger….

…And Deuce:

Cheeseburger is more popular though. It causes….problems….

They encourage people not to crime.

And encourage people to help them solve crimes – both were found. #yaytwitter

They also give helpful life tips:

Here are some more of my favorites:

This same Tweet-a-long went a little off topic for a bit:

Officer Inman’s mom also made a appearance and later cupcakes did indeed arrive at the station!

If you want more, I highly recommend this thread:

Thanks Lawrence PD, for both keeping the residences of Lawrence safe and everyone else amusing.

Post more Cheeseburger.

Categories
Cooking food recipes

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Friday is Fry-day in our home. I like making fries on a Friday. I have no idea why or even how this happened. It just began as a pattern and stuck. The fries are pretty simple; they are frozen oven fries so I just follow the instructions on the package. 

SPICY BBQ CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS (in the oven)

For the sauce, we use an adapted version of Barbecue Chicken Legs by The Pioneer Woman

1 tsp onion powder

1-2 tbs tomato paste

1/2 cup no-sugar ketchup (or regular ketchup) 

1 tsp garlic powder

3 tbs white vinegar (more or less to taste) 

1 tb Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp molasses (optional) 

2 tbs chipotle adobo sauce or 2 tsp ground chipotle powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder (optional)

1/4 tsp smoked paprika powder (optional) 

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, heat gently and stir until throughly mixed. This bubbles and splashes a bit. Not gonna lie. I sometimes make double and freeze half. 

For the drumsticks – makes 12:

Olive Oil

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Rub olive oil over the drumsticks and then sprinkle them with some salt and pepper.

Bake at 425F for 25 minutes, flip them and bake for another 20 minutes.

Add the sauce, cover with foil and bake for 3 minutes. 

You can broil them after this for a few minutes to get them charred a little if you want while basting them with a little of the sauce. I’m lazy so I usually don’t! I dip my fries in the excess sauce. I just LOVE it. 

This also works as a wing sauce. Just FYI.

Categories
Canada humor

Would You Walk a Plank 80 Stories Above the Ground for Cake or Kittens?

Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in a trial of some new virtual reality software being created by a company called Hone, here in Calgary.

Hone uses virtual reality and augmented reality to help train people in how to deal with high-risk, high-stress environments. Using a combination of psychology and technology, Hone hopes to have a positive influence on how people approach stress management in the future.

It was through my work – which has nothing to do with VR – that I ended up in a boardroom at 8:25am on a Friday morning pondering what exactly I had signed up for.

Back in December, Hone came in and had ten of our staff members take part in round one of testing. One of those staff members was my boss. I was highly interested in what was happening and mentioned that I would like to be considered if they ever come back. My boss, true to her word, volunteered me and BOOM, I was in.

I was super excited. I’d never experienced virtual reality before. It looked awesome! I knew nothing about it or about VR in general or Hone or what time it was at or how long it would take or what I would need.

So I blocked off the whole day and began hoping it was a game.

It was not a game.

The session was called Applied Stress Management. This is a topic I am highly interested in. I’m apparently a super stressed individual however I don’t always realize it. The first person to point this out to me was my dentist after I cracked and/or broke several teeth though clenching in my sleep – not even kidding – …and then a TMJ specialist who took all of five minutes to diagnose me with TMJ. What a waste of an afternoon off work.

However, this was back in Jan 2018, 18 months after my mother had died and right amid the three months where we had bought a house, got a puppy that seemed allergic to sleep, I changed jobs, it was winter and life was a sleepless, -30 degree, I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing jumble.

Things being better now, I was curious to what my stress levels would be in an unknown situation.

The main thing I was hoping to get out of the session was to learn techniques to stop myself from freaking out during my biggest fear: driving.

I hate driving. I have always hated driving. When I first learned how to drive in Ireland, I got stuck on a roundabout because I refused to leave it. Another time, I created a traffic jam on the street, panicked, stalled the (manual) car too much and had to get out – in the MIDDLE OF THE TRAFFIC JAM I CAUSED – to let my mother drive.

Here in Calgary, I relearned how to drive 4 years ago, got my license and then drove 1-2 times a year after that. Usually to the airport or the mechanics and back. Or sometimes just back. Why drive there when the person I’m dropping off can do that?!

Just thinking about makes me panic. When I sit in the driver’s seat I immediately get all hot and flustered. I sweat a lot. If I have to drive somewhere, I used to have to bring a change of cardigan or shirt….Too much information? Incidentally, after 20+ years, I finally found a deodorant that works for me! No Pong (bicarb free version) – All natural, comes in a cute little pot that sometimes annoyingly difficult to open when it’s 6:30am, not an ad, I just really love it! It doesn’t help with stress but it does help my clothing. #thelittlethings

Moving on.

So, I go into this session thinking this can maybe help with my fear. Or at least help me not spend an entire day panicking about having to drive somewhere when I know I have to drive somewhere.

First up was a presentation by Alex Jackson. And let me tell you, Alex is awesome. A very calming individual. Bit like a living Ted Talk. There were graphs and things to look at and none of it was confusing. Alex’s presentation was informative, engaging and slightly terrifying when he described what we would be doing.

We would be donning our super awesome VR googles and some other techy things that monitor skin and heart rate.

Not so bad.

Then we would be getting into a virtual reality elevator which opens onto a rooftop.

So far so good.

Then we would be walking along a plank 80 stories above the ground to get a piece of cake and bring it back into the elevator.

Cool.

Cool, cool, cool.

Cool.

I should mention in addition to the virtual cake there was also real cake available baked by Alex’s sister. She felt bad that Alex was potentially going to traumatize us all by making us walk a plank to get virtual cake while there was no real cake there to sooth us.

No, I’m serious.

Suggestion for Hone: Kittens. I woulda bounced along that plank if there were kittens available to play with. #justsayin

So here I am, standing in a small room with Alex, Phil – also from Hone who I’d just met – and two other guys at computer monitors whose names I didn’t get. Alex is explaining to me how it’s going to work.

In front of me, a guy is setting up a real wooden plank on the carpet. This thing is about 2-3 inches from the ground maybe. I’m looking at it and looking at Alex thinking I can totally walk along this. My only fear was twisting an ankle in my heels cos I 100% ignored the ‘wear tennis shoes’ part of the email.

Alex has me clip a small sensor to my ear and puts little cotton and Velcro finger sensor thingys on the first two fingers on my left hand.

He then lowers the goggles on to my face and HOLY SH*T.

I was transported to a busy city street. I was opposite a park. There was a butterfly. I was fascinated by the butterfly. It seemed so real. I almost wanted to touch it.

It sounded real. I could hear people and traffic and nature.

I immediately felt hot and flustered and I hadn’t even done anything yet!

I started looking around and completely missed some of my instructions.

Dammit.

I get into the elevator behind me, press a button and wait. The elevator goes up. I can see a gap in the door that shows we are moving up but I don’t focus on it. Instead I look around the elevator. There’s a small warning sign, some buttons for other floors and no mirror. I am listening to the elevator music. It’s quite soothing and not so bad, I can do this, this is….

…the doors open.

‘Ou wind…’ I say out loud. I didn’t actually realize I’d said this aloud until Phil told me later.

It legitimately looked like I was 80 stories up. I was suddenly terrified. And I’m not scared of heights!

What am I doing? The cake. Right.

Where’s the cake? Oh…there. Right in front of me. At the end of the plank.

I walk forward a little, hit the real plank and almost trip.

Good start.

As I take a step up onto the real plank, VR me steps onto the VR plank. The calibration was just the slightest bit off so I was half on the VR plank, half on nothing on my VR screen. It was surreal.

The real plank wobbles.

Awesome.

I shuffle along the plank. Shuuuuuufffle. Slowly. Slooooowly. When I got as close as I was willing to get to the cake I waved the wand I was given. Nothing happened. I’d have to get closer.

Then I heard ‘Push the trigger button’….and stopped shuffling. I bent down, waved the wand dramatically in the cake’s general direction, grabbed the cake, shuffled backwards and back into the elevator.

Let’s remember, I am still in a carpeted boardroom in an auditorium in my work building on a plank two inches off the ground.

It felt like that scene in Ant Man where this hugely dramatic thing is happening on screen and then we pan out and it’s just a little train going around.

Alex asks if I want to try again but this time ignore the cake and jump off the plank.

Do. I. Want. To…What?

Why would I want to do that?

How would I…? No. No I do not.

No.

Of course, I said yes because I was already here and I’d gotten the cake and…ugh, why not?

Back into the elevator I go. Up to the roof I go. The music drowns out Alex’s instructions so I hear nothing until I reach the top. I look through the gap in the elevator this time. I ask what happens when I jump. Do I land? #validquestion

No. I don’t land. It all goes white and angelic music plays. I burst into laughter. I start feeling better. Alex talks me through breathing and visualising my goal: Jumping off the plank.

Why couldn’t there be kittens?

I stepped out onto the plank. It was re-calibrated this time and was in line with me.

IT. WAS. SO. REAL.

I was nervous. This was a fear that I didn’t think I needed to overcome! But alas, there I was, knowing logically where I was, that this wasn’t real, I was just stepping onto carpet not an 80 story drop.

I scrunched up into defensive mode, the clenched hands against my chest move I do when someone startles me or that time I watched IT, the new one. Still not sure about that movie. I mean, did I like it enough to watch the sequel? It’s hard to tell.

Back to the plank.

It’s one step.

Just a step. Onto carpet. Not off a building.

I ask if I have to keep my eyes open as I fall.

No.

OK. I can do this. I nervously giggle at the absurdity of me being scared by this. Yet I STILL DIDN’T MOVE.

Alex explained where he was in the room and I instinctually prepared to jump/step off towards his voice.

I am not doing it. Or am I doing it? Should I do it? I can’t be scared by this. It’s not real. It feels real. But it’s not real. I should just jump. Should I jump? I mean, what if…f*ck it.

I stepped off.

My foot hit the not-plushy-cos-it’s-a-boardroom carpet while my VR self plummeted 80 stories to the white screen and angelic music. I watched the whole time. It was freaky, exhilarating and then very funny. The angelic music. It was just such an absurd ending.

Then I respawned.

I was on the ground. I took off the googles.

Next up was a check on my stress levels on a readout.

As you can see, I was slightly freaked out the entire way through it would seem, peaking at several specific points:

  1. When I put the headset on
  2. When I was looking through the elevator crack
  3. When I exited the elevator
  4. While making decisions on what to do
  5. RIGHT before I jumped (that one was obvious)

Overall, it was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again without question. I’m already wondering if they plan to come back for a third round of needing volunteers.

I even recommended to The Canadian One that he should try it as – even though I did get him up into a hot air balloon last summer – he is terrified of heights and this may help him.

In terms of driving, I still haven’t gotten back behind the wheel but it’s winter and snow driving is not the time to overcome that fear. It seems more like a summer fear-busting task, no?

Incidentally, during the debrief we were asked if we think anything else would motivate us more than cake.

I immediately thought of kittens however opted not to suggest that as others seems happy to walk a plank for cake.

Then the planner in me gets involved and it’s like, where would you get the kittens? You’d need litter boxes. And food. And someone could be allergic. And would you rent them or adopt kittens for this task? And how many kittens? And would the owners of the boardroom you are renting allow animals? And what if someone got scratched? Would it be an OH&S problem? There’d be reports and paperwork. It would be a whole thing.

It wouldn’t work.

Or would it?

What do you guys think?

Would you walk a plank 80 stories up for cake or kittens?

Categories
Cooking food recipes

IRISH FLAG SHOTS

OK, so first off, I LOVE these shots! They are tasty, have alcohol in them, look super cool and are the PERFECT item to bring to a potluck. Sure, everyone loves a good spinach dip but what they really want is a colourful shot made with Jello and vodka.

In an effort not to mislead anyone, these are not an ‘oh shit I forgot to make something for the potluck tomorrow, lemme whip up a batch of these’ type of potluck item. No. These take time. Usually I’ll start making them three days out, doing a colour a day until the party. I have done a colour one night, one the next morning, one that evening, giving the total time just a day and a half but that’s because I was naive and wasn’t aware they were going to be a requested item at the party I was going to.

Along with making too much Irish Soda Bread and juggling yelling Spuddys, my next St. Patrick’s Day party contribution is 100% these shots. Every year.

Full disclosure, I once woke up the morning after a party and ate one for breakfast forgetting there was vodka in it. Hair of the dog right?!

Before we get started, if anyone needs an HR-friendly St. Patrick’s Day playlist, I made a great one on Spotify: #paddynotpatty – look me up!  

IRISH FLAG SHOTS

(Makes 40 shots)

1 packet of lime green Jello

1 packet of orange Jello

1 can of coconut milk (full fat, like why get healthy now?)

1 packet of gelatine

Vodka or Rum (a clear colourless alcohol works best) 

Step 1: 

Mix 1 cup of boiling water into the green jelly powder until dissolved. Stir slowly. You don’t want to stir too vigorously and create foam! Add 1/2 cup of cold water and 1/2 cup of vodka to the mixture. Carefully fill 1/3 of the shot glasses with the green jello mixture. 

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight until jello is set. 

Step 2: 

Make up one pouch of gelatine as directed on packet (usually it’s just mix with 1/2 of boiling water but maybe just make sure that’s what it says on the packet you bought). Then mix 1/2 cup of vodka and 3/4 of coconut milk into the gelatine. 

Carefully fill another 1/3 of the shot glasses with the white mixture. 

Return to fridge for another 3hrs or overnight until set. 

Step 3: 

Same as Step 1 but with orange instead of green! 

Mix 1 cup of boiling water into the orange jelly powder until dissolved. Stir slowly. You don’t want to stir too vigorously and create foam! Add 1/2 cup of cold water and 1/2 cup of vodka to the mixture. Carefully fill the last 1/3 of the shot glasses with the orange jello mixture. 

Return to fridge for another 3hrs or overnight until set. 

BOOM. 

IRISH FLAG SHOTS and you’re the hit of the party! 

*You can also make these non-alcoholic by subbing water where ever you see ‘vodka’. 

 

Categories
Cooking food

Irish Soda Bread

Skip the bloggy part and SHOW ME THE RECIPE!

OK so this is, by far, the easiest recipe ever. It’s not fancy. It doesn’t involve a million ingredients. And it’s not at all gluten free, but let’s not hold that against it. Just because I can’t eat it anymore, doesn’t mean everyone else can’t eat it anymore. 

I make this yearly around St. Patrick’s Day. Usually several batches at a time. I take it to parties. I hand it out at my own party. I send people home from parties with it. I usually spend the day after the party emailing the recipe to curious people who spent the evening wondering how I made the bread from just 4 ingredients and 30 minutes of my evening. 

It’s the first thing I learned how to bake in Home Economics class when I was in secondary school in Dublin and one year I taught a group of youth from a community centre in Calgary how to bake it. I actually couldn’t remember how to make it as an adult and had to call upon my friend, who’s a primary school teacher back home, to explain it to me. I’m also not entirely sure if it was the first thing I learned how to bake or if it’s just the only thing I remember baking…except those milk drops…which we don’t speak of….because I dropped them all taking them out of the oven. 

I was so sad. 

Anyway, this is a simple, no fuss recipe that’s really hard to get wrong and I won’t bore you with more paragraphs to scroll past about the history of Irish Soda Bread. However if you are interested in the history of Irish Soda Bread, The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread has got a website for you! 

And yes, you can add raisins to the bread if you’re feeling extra fancy but then you’re veering into Tea Cake / Scone territory. 

IRISH SODA BREAD

#funfact: this recipe fits neatly on a Post-It note

3.5 cups all-purpose flour

1.5 cups buttermilk (plus more if needed)

3/4tsp baking soda

1tsp salt

Mix flour, salt and baking soda together. Form well in middle. Add buttermilk. Mix with a wooden spoon until juuuuust combined and still lumpy.

Turn out onto floured surface. Kneed for a few seconds, add a little buttermilk if needed.

Shape into a round and cut an X on it.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.

To test of it’s done, knock on the bottom of the loaf and if it sounds hollow, it is done. I recommend holding it upside down in an oven mitten cos it sounds easy tapping on the bottom of a loaf of bread fresh from the oven…but it is not. 

Categories
Cooking food recipes

Fricot aka Acadian Stew

Skip the bloggy bit and SHOW ME THE RECIPE!

Being from Cape Breton, this is one of The Canadian One’s favourite stews. His grandmother used to make it for him when he was younger and he would always talk about it. One year, he got the recipe from his cousin and we set out to recreate it.

The Canadian One took me to Cape Breton for the first time this past summer. We ventured east with my father-in-law and brother-in-law and had a fun filled 5 days together.

Here we are with our obligatory lighthouse photo. There’s also one of us with the fiddle and of us at a barn party and of us driving across the bridge…but one photo of our trip is probably enough for you guys.

We actually tried to go to that lighthouse the day before but no one could remember where it was, and did we miss the turn or is the turn up ahead or is the turn elsewhere…is that the lighthouse there…no…so instead we all went to Walmart – I can’t remember why but at the time there was a valid reason – and we set out the next morning to find it again…after TCO’s cousin put it into my Google map for us to find.

Back to the recipe!

Now, traditionally it would be made with chicken but we usually use turkey as with there just being two of us, whenever we cook a large turkey, we have turkey for daaaays. I’ll roast the turkey and then we will carve it up, portioning some of it into freezer baggies to make fricot with later in the week/month/year.

It’s a simple stew made using ingredients you probably have on hand most of the time, except for one, Summer Savory. But fear not, it’s not an herb you need to spend a lot of money on hunting for it in a fancy store. I get mine at Silk Road Spices because that’s where I buy all my spices and herbs but you can get it at any large grocer store. By coincidence, Silk Road Spices’ version of Summer Savory is actually grown in Nova Scotia!

FRICOT

1 tb butter (or vegan butter if you are dairy-free)

2 cups of cooked, diced Turkey or Chicken

1 Onion, diced

4-5 Carrots, diced

4-5 Potatoes, diced

2 tsp Dried Summer Savory

1 cup chicken stock (optional but recommended)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Throw everything into pot. Cover with water. Boil. Stir. Then simmer for 1.5-2 hrs.

OR

Throw everything into Instant Pot, cover with water, bring to boil on SAUTE function and then slow cook on HIGH for 4 hours.

If you want, you can thicken it with a little flour (or GF flour) or you can take a scoop out, blend it and return it to the pot. I’m a big fan of thickening with blended soup.

Serve with buttered bread rolls. 

Categories
dog funny humor

Love Daisy xoxo

Dear Shauna,

I hope you remember me. You were my foster mom a year ago. In November 2017, I, along with 47 of my closest friends, were rescued from up north of Alberta in High Level. I was 5 months old. I was listed as a solo orphan on my intake form. There was a CTV newscast about us. I’m featured at 1:42.

I just want you to know, I’m doing great. You chose me a great family and a year later I’ve come a long way from being Bree – AARCS Adoptable Puppy No. A37174273.

Coming to live here was a whirlwind. While I was at your house learning things like how to sit and how to pee outside, my mommy and daddy had just bought their first home and were on the hunt for a puppy to add to their growing brood of three cats. Having gotten two cats from AARCS already, they naturally turned to AARCS for their canine companion. Originally they chose a different dog and applied for him but were told they needed to pick a back-up dog in case the first didn’t work out. On a whim, they picked me as mommy thought I looked like an Andrex puppy she saw on TV growing up. There was one problem though, I had another application pending. They figured they weren’t getting me, I was adorable, I was bound to be scooped up at my first meet-n-greet.

Then an email came. They were told ‘that other dog’ wasn’t suitable – it has CH like my sister Pickles and needed a home with another dog. But there was good news, I was available!

On December 7th 2017, they huddled in the car and had a phone interview outside mommy’s work Christmas party. The following day they had a successful first meet and greet at your house. On the drive over, daddy had to coach mommy about being so near a dog. She was afraid of dogs. I made a beeline for her as soon as she walked in. She sat on the floor with me. She petted me and played with my ears. She kept apologizing to you for getting glitter on your floor. It was from her Christmas party the night before.

They went home and spent the entire night unpacking boxes. They were getting the house ready for the second meet and greet at their home the next morning. They hung pictures. Set up furniture. Displayed Christmas ornaments. They went to bed a few hours before we arrived.

We came over and hung out for a bit. You commented on how the house looked great! You couldn’t believe they’d just bought the house 15 days previously. Mommy smiled like it had looked this great for the past 15 days and hoped I wouldn’t run into down the basement aka box city. Instead, I fell asleep on the floor. You’d kept me up late the night before, you’d had friends over. You asked if they wanted to come pick me up later that day and they both jumped at the chance. The adoption was going through. Mommy had some paperwork to fill in. While you left with me, mommy and daddy rushed out and bought every dog item at Walmart they could find including my new best friend, Foxy!

Best Friends:

  1. Foxy


That afternoon, I moved in.

And thus began my mission to befriend my new family: mommy, daddy, and my cat brother and sisters, Louie, Pickles and Purrkins.

I didn’t like the heat in the house at the start. Having lived outside a lot of my life, I found it hard to adjust to a soft bed and a warm house so I would spend a lot of time on the floor in front of an air purifier mommy bought me that blasted cold air. It was heaven.


But I soon got used to it and began to try to take over the couches and beds and any soft area I could find.


We went for walks and I loved the outside. I struggled on the leash (and still do) but I love the snow so I got a loooooong leash so I could practice recall and diving head first into snow piles.


I enrolled in puppy school where I met one of my fellow puppies from my rescue. Together we learned fun things like walking nicely, listening and THERE WERE TREATS!! If you did exactly or almost exactly or made a valid attempt to do what the teacher wanted, YOU. GOT. CHEESE…..CHEESE!!!

I almost failed because I smiled too much, rolled around too much, tried to befriend all the humans and was labelled ‘a little ditzy’ but eventually I graduated puppy school!


And THEN I joined daycare and became queen of the castle! The daycare people love me and I love being at day care. It’s my favourite day of the week! I even stayed there for three nights when mommy and daddy got stuck in a snow storm and the highway shut down. They couldn’t come get me and daycare took such good care of me. I’m there in the middle, surveying my realm.


Back at home, my mission to befriend my siblings was going…well…ish….I quickly won over one of my sisters, Purrkins. She had grown up with a family dog but was surrendered to AARCS when she and her four kittens were viscously attacked by the same family dog. They ended up with mommy and daddy as a foster group but mommy refused to give Purrkins back! Luckily, Purrkins holds no ill-will towards dogs and loves me. We’re best friends.

Best Friends:

  1. Foxy
  2. Purrkins


I struggled a little with my other sister…and my brother just never comes near me…he’s not featured in this letter…


Then the BEST THING EVER HAPPENED! Mommy signed up to Barkbox and I had new toys arrive in the mail EVERY MONTH. I loved one of my toys, a pigeon I named Pidgy, soooooo much. I took him outside to pee. I napped with him. I brought him all around the house. I showed him my kennel and my bed and where the water dish is. I let him drink water from the dish and nap in my bed when I wasn’t using it. In fact, when Barkbox got wind of how much I loved him, they drew a picture of me with him and sent me a card!

Best Friends:

  1. Pidgy
  2. Foxy
  3. Purrkins (sorry Purrkins….)


I also guard the house. While mommy and daddy watch TV, sleep, or make food I protect us from cars, humans, bunnies, cats, humans with boxes, leaves, birds, smaller humans, other puppies, even smaller humans and halloween lawn decorations. Those things will kill you.

I save us each and every day, Shauna.

EACH AND EVERY DAY.


Actually, that’s a lie…when they make food, Purrkins, Pickles and I stand awkwardly close to mommy get a taster of some early dinner…It only sometimes works but that just means we need to try harder.

The entire AARCS posse! 


With mommy and daddy, we celebrate all the holidays! I’d never celebrated a holiday before so I wasn’t sure what was required. There was Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter! There are hats and photos and dinners and usually chicken and treats and GIFTS!!! DID YOU KNOW ABOUT GIFTS?? You just wait and wait and it’s like normal day and then a hat gets put on your head and you sit nicely and a picture is taken and then there’s cheese and THEN THERE ARE GIFTS!!


OMG OMG OMG AND SHAUNA, GUESS WHAT?!! THEN CAME MY BIRTHDAY!!!

AND I TURNED ONE!

AND.

I.

GOT.

A.

PUPCAKE.

And a hat. Every holiday has a hat. Humans…I dunno.


In the summer, I learned fetch…kinda…sorta….a little….I mean…I went after the stick, that counts, right?!

Also this year, I ran two marathons! TWO!!! One to raise money for the Calgary Humane Society and one for AARCS!

AND I GOT A MEDAL!!

I look sad but that’s my staring at cheese face. I take cheese very seriously. (I’m also dressed as a unicorn – mommy, daddy, Pickles and I were all unicorns for Halloween!)

I also rode the bus to a party!!

The party was at a bar. I was allowed in. I tried to make friends with EVERY HUMAN I SAW!

It was so much fun. I wriggled out of my collar to mingle but mommy and daddy ran after me after another human stopped me.


At the moment, my favourite things are cheese, the dog park, cheese, making new friends, the snow, cheese, did I mention cheese?

Best Friends:

  1. Pidgy
  2. Purrkins
  3. Socky. My sock mommy’s friend gifted me. It’s a real sock. I love him.

Foxy left. He got a hole and then he got fixed and then he got another hole and then he went away. I patiently await his return. Any day now, he’ll be back and threaten Purrkins’ spot in the Daisy’s Top Three Best Friends List.

This fall, I’ve been working on getting over my fear of water….At first I would jump over puddles and now look at me! I still won’t go into the river but I’m working my way up to it.

Also, Shauna, have you ever seen a duck? They are like birds that SWIM! LOOK AT THOSE DUCKS!! DO YOU SEE THOSE DUCKS? THEY’RE DUCKS!


In the year I’ve lived here I’ve done a lot. I’ve achieved a lot. I’ve eaten many questionable things where mommy was 100% positive I would die. An entire bag of compost. That extension cord. That other cord. All those tissues. Several receipts. Oh oh, that roll of duct tape. She 100% thought I would die from that.

I was on medication to stop me eating my poop for a while.

I also threw up worms on the bed in the middle of the night. They wriggled around on the duvet. Neither mommy nor daddy could eat spaghetti for weeks.

But mostly Shauna, I am writing this to let you know I am happy. I am healthy. I am loved.

And on the one year anniversary of my adoption, I wanted to say thank you to you and AARCS.

Thank you for rescuing me.

Thank you for bringing me to Calgary.

Thank you for picking my parents.

You have changed my whole life.

And I love it.

Love Daisy xoxo

Categories
Cooking diet food humor vegan

Wake Up Smoo-Teas: The Caffeinated Smoothie

SpaghettiBolognese (8)

Skip the bloggy bit and SHOW ME THE RECIPE!

I’ve written about my love of smoothies previously. I have two a day. One at 6:30am before I get on the bus to work and one at 4pm before I get on the bus home. I find they are filling but don’t make me feel stuffed. They’re the perfect light breakfast for me as eating a full breakfast and going on a 1hr bumpy bus ride don’t really mix all that well. The afternoon one keeps me sated enough to last from afternoon snack to dinnertime. And again, no throwing up on a bumpy bus ride home. #win

The addition of tea came about because in the mornings I liked to have a cup of tea and a glass of water and a morning smoothie. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever woken up at 5:20am and tried to stuff that much liquid into your body and then jump on a bus but…let’s just say it works out well for no one. 

No. 

One. 

Moving on. 

It’s been a year of these smoothies and I looooove them. I have the same thing, every morning. I thought I would get bored but I didn’t. It became a habit. The day we ran out of bananas one Friday and I couldn’t make my smoothies, I didn’t know what to do. Do I just drink the tea? Do I put the tea with the strawberries? Am I going to miss my bus? I’m going to miss my bus. I gotta go. 

30 minutes into my bus ride, I was tired, hot, starving and had a migraine. 

Now we buy 15+ bananas a week. 2 a day for me. 1 a day for The Canadian One. #potassiumoverload

Oh except when I have my period, I crave vodka and bananas….and only one of those I can consume at work.

I have to eat the third banana at home.

I’m kidding. 

I’ve lovingly named these Smoo-Teas…get it? Cos it’s a smoothie AND a tea….Nevermind. 

Smoo-Tea for One

(Double ingredients for 2…and so on…#math) 

Black or Green Tea cooled. I usually brew mine in the evening and cool it overnight in the fridge. I use Barry’s Original Blend Irish Tea my brother sends me in the mail. I’ve also used orange pekoe tea (Tetley) and green tea. 

1/2 cup of mixed berries (I buy frozen berries, I’m lazy) 

1 Banana

An approximate shot glass of Orange Juice 

I also add a shot of Kombucha when I have some, chia seeds when I remember or GF oat flour when I have some lying around after a cooking session 

Throw everything in a blender. 

Blend. 

Drink. 

OR put into mason jar, bring to work, consume at your leisure. 

Do you say lee-jure or leh-jure? Genuine question. It’s like my continuing Pap-er-us v Pap-i-rus debate. (Card-shop people will get that!) Like….WHICH IS IT?!! 

Also, if anyone is curious about the Kombucha I use when I remember to buy some, I like this one. I’m going through their cocktail flavours since my boss got one free at an event and, by poxy, it became mine! (THAT’S MY TREE IN THE BACKGROUND!!! I OWN A TREE!!!) 

20180708_185759_HDR.jpg

Categories
comedy funny humor

Tuesday Timewasters: Admin Edition

I have been an admin assistant for almost 3 years. 2.5 years with one company and 3 months with this new company. I adoooore my new company and my boss. Also, math is not my strongest asset.
Here are some things I happened upon I could not relate to more in my old job…and one I could not relate to more in my new one!
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Now you’re wondering when Administrative Professionals’ Day is, aren’t you?
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It’s not today, don’t worry.
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Nor was it yesterday.
36522e00c9422e7a5cb93ccc10be2d1d
But good news!
Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 8.03.30 PM
You still have time to buy a gift!
A whole 24 hours in fact!
Screenshot_2018-04-23-19-53-22.png
Post-its are nice.
019504206b28bcab03df24192a3c53d9
Or vodka.
Only those two will be accepted as gifts.
Failing that, not walking to my desk to tell me you sent me an email asking me to print a piece of paper to the printer you walked past on your way to my desk would be nice.
Unrelated: regarding one of the posts above, I was asked to plan my own goodbye party and book the restaurant. #truestory
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Because today was password reset day and within an hour I was swearing at my computer.
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I have never related to something more.
Never.
Ever.
And finally, this:
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Not office related but….I just couldn’t not post it!
That face you just made reading that, that confused face, I would like free rein to make that face at people just once a day.
Maybe twice.
Three tops!
Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day – It’s April 25th! 🙂

Categories
humor

‘I did my homework with a paintbrush.’ – Quote Friday 06/15

Reposted: Originally published 06/15/2012 (my puppy’s birthday!)

Quote Friday: A round-up of the best quotes from my elementary school students in South Korea this week!

First up, a non-school quote:

Girl at party last weekend: ‘Where are you from?’

Me: ‘Ireland.’

Girl: ‘Oh, Ireland, Texas?’

Me: ‘No, Ireland the country.’

…Pause…

Girl: ‘You must think I’m really stupid.’

Me: ‘Actually, I’ve been asked that exact question before.’

***

In the middle of repeating vocabulary:

Kid: ‘Teacher, I’m hungry.’

Me: ‘That’s nice. I don’t care.’

Kid: ‘You don’t have food??’

Me: ‘I’m not giving you food!’

Suddenly, a piece of candy hits him on the side of the head. We all turn to see one little boy has throw a candy at him. The kid picks it up and throws it back at kid 2. I take it away from them both and put it on my desk.

Kid 2 has a funny look on his face. I look at him, quizzically. He lifts his hand to reveal a second candy, smiles and then bursts out laughing.

***

Me: ‘What’s skipping?”

Papa Smurf
Do I look like I skip to you?!

Entire class, breaking into The Smurfs theme song: ‘La la la la la la la la la la la!!’

Me: ‘What? That’s The Smurfs! Skipping is this.’

I skip across the classroom.

Kid: ‘Yes, you look like a Smurf.’

Me: ‘Did you just call me a Smurf?’

Kid: ‘Yes, look.’

He gets up and skips across the classroom just like I did.

Kid: ‘See, like a Smurf.’

I look unconvinced.

Kid: ‘I’ll do one more time.’

He does.

Kid: “See. A Smurf.’

***

Kid: ‘I did my homework with a paintbrush.’

Me: ‘What?’

Kid: “I didn’t have a pencil.’

***

One kid touches another kid’s arm.

Kid: ‘Teacher, he’s touching ME!!! Teacher, he’s GAY!!’

***

While studying ‘like’:

Me: ‘What does your mommy like?’ (options on the page include a variation of fruits and vegetables)

Kid: ‘My mom likes money.’

Kid 2: ‘My mom doesn’t like dad.’

***

Two boys are hitting each other with pencils.

Me: “What are you doing?!’

Kid: ‘We’re swordfighting!!’

***

There is paper ALL over my floor.

Me: “What the hell is all this on my floor?!!’

Kid 1: ‘Oh my God, you said a bad word!!’

Me: ‘No, I didn’t.’

Kid 1: ‘Yes, you did! You said ‘what the hell’!’

Me: ‘No, I didn’t!!’

Kid 1: ‘I hear you!!!’

Kid 2: ‘The fan and the paper and whoooosh and paper on floor.’

Kid 1: ‘YOU SAID A BAD WORD!!’

***

From The Canadian One and his Kindergarten students:

I was teaching my students can and will.

One wrote ‘I can ride a bike’ and then, ‘Soon I will smoke.’

That’s a good goal!
 
***
 
While I’m checking off a name, a kid grabs a marker and proceeds to write on the board. She’s written the first letter, a ‘C’, when I grab her hand.
 
Me: ‘WAIT!’
 
The kid looks down to see she’s holding a permanent marker.
 
Kid: ‘Oh no!!’
 
Me: ‘Oh my God!’
 
Kid: ‘Wait, I can fix.’
 
Me: ‘What?’
 
The kid grabs a normal board marker, colors in the ‘C’ and erases the whole thing off the board. It’s spotless and no trace is left.
 
Me: ‘Wow, that’s magic!!’
 
Kid 2: ‘It’s no magic, it’s SCIENCE!!’ (shaking her head at me!)
 
***
 
A kid is looking under the desk and making a disgusted face. She puts up her hand.
 
Kid: ‘Teacher, come here. Look.’ (pointing under the desk)
 
I look at her skeptically.
 
Kid: ‘It’s ok. No bug.’
 
***
 
A kid speaks Korean in my class several times so as punishment I make her stand up with one hand on her head and the other over her mouth. She’s wearing a green sweater. Her friend next to her bursts into laughter.
 
Kid: ‘Hahahaha, she look like a cactus!!!!’
 
***
*Buy the Quote Friday book: Watch Out For The Hedgehog – available now on Smashwords , Amazon , Barnes & Noble and Kobo. * 
Categories
Cooking diet food health lactose free recipes

BBQ Beef Burgers

I originally wrote about making pork burgers waaaay back when I lived in Korea. Ground pork was significantly cheaper than ground beef so we made do with the pork and adapted a lot of recipes to suit. This was also back before I discovered I was gluten and lactose intolerant so I refer to my love of cheese a lot in my original post. I miss you cheese. 

But alas, life moves on and now that I’ve been in Canada five years, we tend to buy more ground beef than ground pork nowadays. 

Also our summers here are awesome…when they eventually arrive #isthissecondwinter…and we have a deck and a BBQ and a liquor store within walking distance. It would almost be illegal if we didn’t fire up some burgers every now and then! 

BBQ Beef Burgers (can sub pork if you want) 

Makes 4 burgers

500g Ground Beef

1/2tsp salt

1/2tsp pepper 

2-3tbls Tomato Ketchup (we use No-Sugar Tomato Ketchup) 

3/4 cup breadcrumbs – can be gluten free

2tbs BBQ Seasoning (we like Sharples Ranch Smoky Barbeque Rub or Barbeque Belt Chicken & Rib Rub – but for real, you can use any. Experiment.) 

1. With wet hands, mix together all ingredients until they come together nicely

2. Form into four balls and flatten into burger shapes or use a burger press to make them all uniform. 

3. Grill to your liking. 

These freezer sooooo well! Once you’ve formed them into the patty shape, simply place them, uncooked, in a Ziploc baggie, separating each patty with some parchment paper. Label and freeze. I like to make 8-10 burgers at a time and freeze them all. They make easy weekday dinners such as the classic burger and fries or Loco Moco. 

Click for more recipes!

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor internet random

Tuesday Timewasters – 04/17

We’re back with a weekly roundup of five awesome timewasters for you to avoid doing anything productive today!
Sorry not sorry.
Happy Timewasting!

  1. 10 Honey Recipes For Every Occasion – Buzzfeed

One can never have too many honey recipes. Although, if anyone has any hints on how to stop my honey hardening, requiring a soak in hot water and then…well, it explodes.
Ugh. Honey on the floor.
Why?
(Bonus points for the awesome URL with this one! ‘those donuts tho’!)

2. Periodic Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad.

It’s exactly that.
EXACTLY. THAT.

3. Magnets and Marbles

Still from Magnets and Marbles

*Rabbit Hole Alert*
Ok, so this I became every so slightly obsessed with one day and wasted a lot of data on my phone watching You Tube videos of magical magnetic marbles doing their own version of Rube Goldberg Machines.

4. …I am genuinely unsure how to describe this….

Safe for work.
Also don’t sit too close to the screen.
I warned you.
Yep.

5. 12 Weird Things The Have Washed Ashore – Mental Floss

God, I wish I was there the day they found the life-sized E.T.. Could you imagine?
(I had trouble typing that sentence as I was laughing so much!)

Still got time to waste? For more Timewasters, check out:

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor Korea South Korea

So how did YOU end up in Korea?

So how did you end up in Korea?

*This was written 6 years ago, a year before I left Korea for Canada* 

I get asked this question a lot and so here…here is how I ended up in Korea: 

Recently, I called a lawyer. 

A lawyer in Canada, no less. This lawyer I called was very polite and helpful, apparently it’s the Maple Leaf disposition. He asked how I found out about his company as I was calling all the way from South Korea (‘South Korea, wow!’ ‘Yeah, I get that a lot when I call overseas from here.’). I explained I googled what I was looking for and clicked the first one I found with a Facebook page. Although it is also worth noting I was drinking a vodka and orange in an Irish bar on a school night while calling him…. 

This morning, I had a visa medical exam. A pretty standard test. One I’ve had a few times for my Korean visa so I knew the drill. Blood, chest x-ray, pee in paper cup, see doctor, deny knowing what an illegal drug is, the usual. On one of the stack of forms I had to fill in to give permission for them to view my medical records, test me for a wide varity of diseases, declare I wasn’t lying in any of my statements, give them custody of my first-born and the rights to name him Bob (one those is not true), it asked for my future occupation in my intended country of residence. Pointing out I wasn’t moving for another 12 months and hadn’t planned that yet, I was told to put ‘housewife’.

And so I did. 

I laughed and shook my head and wrote the word on the page.

In a mere 48 hours, I’d called a lawyer, had a visa medical and declared myself a future housewife. 

My entire life I’ve just kinda fallen into thing. Not really making conscious life decisions. I’ve just been presented with an opportunity and going with it, confident in the knowledge that it’ll all be fine. It’s no coincidence one of my favourite phrases is ‘Let’s see how this all plays out, shall we?’ 

I stumbled into going to university in England. I was unsure about what I wanted to do with my life and unwilling to choose computing suggested by one career counsellor and to ‘give up the idea of directing a movie because my teeth were not straight enough. So when I talk or give direction people will not understand me and HOW can I direct a movie if people can’t understand me’ (direct quote that will stay with me for life) by another career counsellor after I said I wanted to write movies.

To the UK I went, to study writing and film (a completely useless degree in hindsight). Unlike universities in the US where you can study many different things in the lead up to your eventual degree, in Ireland and the UK at 17 we have to choose our path and stick to it. Every course I took lead directly to the degree I applied for. I applied to ten universities, got into four, picked the one with the open day that was soon, flew over, looked around and signed up to attend in September.

Graduating at 20, I fell into working as a project supervisor at my previous job. 

How? 

I was there when the previous project supervisor quit. That’s it. That’s all it took. I just happened to be there in the building. Later, when I moved into human resources, again, it was because I was there when the previous HR girl quit. For a while I was doing project supervising, HR, interviewing potential staff, running training seminars, doing wages (a terrifying month) and flying to Germany to brief new center managers. I took a two week holiday and went to Washington DC. It took three people to do my job while I was gone. 

Having gone to Salzburg on a Sound of Music tour with my mother for her 50th birthday, I returned to my job bored and unhappy. I didn’t like it. It was depressing and I could do it drunk, hungover, half asleep, on the tail end of a bar hopping pub crawl (I kid you not!) and could coordinate client documents while talking on the phone, supervising staff and playing on the Internet all at the same time. The challenge was gone and thus I put in for a transfer. To London. My transfer approved, my contract drawn up and ready to be signed, apartment hunting was a go-go and I was packing my house up.

Six weeks later I was on a flight to Korea to start a new life. 

It’s funny how these things just….happen.

So what happened? 

Nothing.

Nothing at all. 

Nothing major or dramatic or life changing. Nothing I can pinpoint on my life map and say ‘this was the event that caused it’. I just woke up one day and realised if I don’t leave now, now, this very second….if I don’t make the decision to leave when I get the chance, when my current contract is up, I’ll never leave. And then I’ll stay. I’ll stay here in a job I don’t like. In a country I really have no reason to be. With a car I can’t drive and a lethargic attitude towards work that ranks it just barely above ‘napping’. I’ll stay and be that person in the bar who stayed too long.

I needed a change. I needed to leave. And I needed to do it now while the idea was new and fresh and I was suddenly motivated. My contract at work was up for renewel. My current landlord was looking into selling off his house and thus, I’d have to move anyway. The stars were aligning and it was my shot!

A quick phone call later and i was offered a chance to either move to Korea the following month or Japan in 6 months. I choose Korea, because it was sooner and hanging around for 6 months would lead to a change of heart, second guessing and I have a short attention span. Left for 6 months to stew and think, I’d back out. I told my job. (‘I moving to Korea.’ ‘Korea…where’s that?’ ‘KOREA.’ ‘Ohhhhhh KOREA….I seeeeee.’) I sold everything that wouldn’t fit in my Opel Corsa on eBay and my mother drove me back to Dublin to await my Korean visa. 

A few weeks later, visa and one way plane ticket in hand, large suitcase borrowed from my mother, and a world of opportunity ahead of me, I left on a plane to start anew. It would be a few weeks before I got around to reading the Lonely Planet guide I’d brought with me and a few more before I discovered what ‘Skype’ is…and I worked for eBay when they acquired Skype which made that so much worse. 

Oh, how badly prepared I’d been when I arrived.

But alas how could I know that one decision, that decision to pack everything up and start again would change my life the way it did. 

I didn’t. 

I took a shot.

And now, as I prepare for yet another country move, people keep asking if I’m scared, apprehensive, what if it all goes wrong, what if it doesn’t work out…etc.

To them I say, maybe it will. Maybe it will go wrong. Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe it’ll be the greatest decision I’ve ever made. Maybe, maybe, maybe. 

I don’t want the ‘maybes’ to rule my life. For every ‘maybe yes’, there’s a ‘maybe no’. For every person that says ‘Maybe it’s a good idea’ there’s another saying ‘Maybe it’s a terrible idea. You should stay here’.

When I moved to England, people said I’d be back within a month. I said ‘Maybe.’ I returned 6 years later. 

When I moved to Korea, people said, ‘Ohhh it’s so dangerous there! You won’t be safe!’. I said ‘Maybe.’ I’ve been here 3 years and 4 months. The most dangerous thing that has ever happened to me was almost being hit by a taxi cab when I walked out in front of it.

In less than a year, I move to Canada. People say it may not work out. That couples who meet in Korea and leave together don’t last. That we’ll regret it. That we won’t find jobs. That we’ll have no money. That it’s cold. That I’ll hate it. That it’s a risk.

To them, I say ‘Maybe.’ 

But for now, let’s just agree on one thing, let’s all sit back, relax and see how this all plays out, shall we?

#spoileralert #itworkedouy

(Oh and that’s The Canadian One with my Pingu the Penguin in his backpack in the pictures above on the day we moved me from my apartment into his!) 

Categories
Canada funny health humor leep

That time I almost had surgery, then didn’t….and then did….

So remember a few months back I told you about how I was convinced my foo was trying to kill me and the doctors thought they were wrong but I was going back for a retest anyway…you know, because doctors like to make sure everything is cool?

Well. 

They weren’t wrong. 

Everything is not cool. 

F*ck. 

So now instead of being the friend who got the dreaded-bad-results-PAP only for it to turn out to be incorrect and perfectly fine, I’m the friend who had the dreaded-bad-results-PAP was told actually you’re fine and then told not quite and then…oh people, it’s a story. 

Bring wine. 

The day after this post was published, I went back for my retest biopsy. Same routine. Vinegar on foo, sting sting sting because I shaved the night before – don’t do that – then snip snip snip, then wait wait wait. It was during this waiting period, I ended up at a walk-in clinic for an unrelated reason and SAW my results on the computer. It said HSIL and the word ‘sarcoma’…

I mentioned the results to the doctor. She turned and said ‘Oh, they are going to need to talk to you.’ – referring to the colposcopy clinic. 

Now, if you ever have results you are unsure of and your walk-in doctor advises you to call your actual doctor, you should do that and not do what I did.

Which was Google it.

And then cry.

And drink vodka.

And cry some more. 

There are no oat cookies in this story. Just vodka. 

The biopsy was on November 8th and after what seemed like an entire lifetime – like we literally decided to buy a house, bought a house, went to Disneyland on vacation and then moved into said house by the time they called on November 30th. It was a weird month. After some minor chitchat about results, they quickly scheduled me for LEEP surgery a week later Dec 8th.

Ugh. 

Like….

Ugh. 

I get a pre-surgery call from the nurse to talk me through things. 

Her: ‘And then they will inject you with numbing agent, just like at the dentist.” 

Me: ‘That’s not where they inject me at the dentist….’ 

And

Her: ‘Do you have your pamphlet?’ 

Me: ‘The yellow pamphlet?’ 

Her: ‘Yeah! The yellow pamphlet.’ 

ME: ‘No…I lost the yellow pamphlet.’ 

My nurse was done with me before I even went to the hospital! 

Skip forward to a week later, The Canadian One takes the day off work and we both head into the hospital for the ol’ LEEP. I get there, sign the consent forms, quickly decline The Canadian One viewing the surgery because, again, NO ONE needs to see their foo on the ‘big screen’, and I’m whisked into the room with the stirrups. 

The nurse had shown me several pictures of what will happen – cartoon style. The last picture had the woman’s cervix looking completely normal. 

Me: ‘Oh, it grows back? I didn’t know that. That’s cool.” 

Her: ‘Oh, no. It doesn’t. That’s…just a picture.’ 

Me: ‘That’s misleading.’ 

Nurse: ‘You’re not the first person to say that….’ 

She hates me. 

I get into my gown, my phone starts to ring, I accidentally answer it and then hang up. I found out later it was my family doctor trying to call another Jennifer and called me by accident. I shake like a leaf as I get up on the table and have some kinda grounding sticker stuck to my ass. Another nurse tries to talk to me. She’s all soothing and nice until….

Her: ‘You know sometimes, we work ourselves up and it’s really not that bad.’ 

Me: ‘Or you Google it.” 

Her, dead serious: ‘Yeah, that was stupid.’ 

I laughed so hard I almost peed. 

The doctor comes in, stirrups, vinegar, iodine, looks around inside the foo-dome and THEN TURNS the big screen towards me. 

What? 

No. 

Why? 

What are we…Why is…WOW, I missed a lot of areas when I shaved…is that…hmmm, so that’s what it looks like in there…that’s….why are we looking at this? 

Doctor: ‘You see this area?’ – pointing at an area of my cervix…I assume. God, it was all so pink and…pink…but there was a largish area of white. I assume that’s the bit that’s actively trying to kill me. 

Me: ‘..yes?’ 

Doctor: ‘It is too large to be removed. We need to refer you to the cancer ward for general anesthetic.’ 

Me: ‘The….What?’ 

Head. Desk. Now. 

Turns out the area that was mistakenly diagnosed as bad then fine then bad now needed more extensive surgery than me being awake would allow. 

Someone will call you in around 8-10 weeks to schedule the appointment, they said. If they don’t, call us back. 

Yep. 

Like….

Yep.

Ugh. 

F*ck. 

Although, having not had surgery, we decided to go Christmas shopping at the mall. As soon as we got there, I realized I would have rathered have the surgery.

Daisy, our new puppy!

#alltheregrets

So Christmas comes and goes. We got a puppy, I got a new job – a promotion, it’s awesome – and life kinda meanders along, me waiting for the phone, the 7 month old lab retriever thinking 2am on a work night is party time. 

Smash cut to Monday of this week – today is Thursday for anyone reading this not on the day it’s published. I call the clinic to find out if there’s any updates on my surgery. I have a new job, I want to give plenty of notice that I will betaking a few days off. I call and leave a voicemail and they call me back. 

And here’s where my full-on complaint to AHS kicks in. I spoke to the rudest woman I have ever spoken to in my life. She started off telling me she doesn’t know who I am despite me leaving my full name, spelling of my name and phone number and reason for calling on the voicemail – I explain again and she says ‘well, I don’t have your chart and I don’t know where it is’. I’ve been to this clinic 5 times for biopsies and once for an aborted LEEP, this clinic has a file on me. She said doesn’t know why I would call her, I should call my surgeon for my OR time. MY. SURGEON. Like…ugh. I explain I don’t have a surgeon – cos who does – and that her clinic was supposed to give me my OR date and if they didn’t I was to call in 8-10 weeks. It had been 10 weeks. She said I was a ‘non-priority’, she, again, ‘didn’t understand why I was even calling’ and that she thought ‘LEEP in the OR shouldn’t even be an option for people’. I explained it wasn’t really MY choice to have this done and I initially had been scheduled for being awake…you know, writing this is just making me mad again. Basically she didn’t have my chart, didn’t know who I was and made me sit on the phone and defend a diagnosis she didn’t agree with that a doctor at her clinic made. I cried after that phone call. It was awful. 

She also spend a lot of time on the phone repeatedly asking why I was calling her. BECAUSE. YOUR. CLINIC. TOLD. ME. TO. 

Also who chooses to have a LEEP?!

Who? 

Like you know what would be fun to do today, a LEEP?! YES, OMG YAY, LET’S DO THAT. 

Bitch.

I wrote a complaint to AHS because no adult should be made to feel bad about their diagnosis and for following a clinic’s instructions. 

I await their response. 

As it turns out, she didn’t have my chart because I was already transferred to the cancer centre so I called them instead. The nurse wasn’t available until Tuesday so I waited until the next day. 

9am, she calls. I’m scheduled for the next day. Valentine’s day. 

No, really. 

The. Very. Next. Day.

Like, yesterday. 

Yesterday, I had a LEEP, cone biopsy and LASER surgery in the OR.

Yesterday. 

With less than 24 hours notice. 

No wait, that’s a lie, I had 26hrs and 20mins of notice. Which is fine, my work was cool about it and 26hrs is enough time to shave your legs but still…

It was all very simple. Check in. Meet some very nice nurses. Befriended the girl waiting next to me. Both wallow in the fact that it was 2:20pm and, having fasted since midnight, we were both starving. I was promised a sandwich after by my nurse. 

I got into my gown and booties and was sent back out into the waiting area to The Canadian One. I ran back out to him: “LOOK AT MY BOOTIES!!!! Gimme your phone!!!” They had taken my phone from me. 

My super sexy surgery booties!

Eventually, after 4 hours of waiting and convincing myself I was going to die from starvation – and messing up parking so we ended up paying $29 – I got called into the OR for my surgery. I chitchatted with the nurse about my puppy, she showed me pictures of her puppy and poof, I was in recovery. 

I was dizzy and confused. It was like falling asleep during a movie and waking up during the end credits like…wait…what happened. I still don’t know what happened at the end of American Made. I should really just Google it. 

I was soon offered my sandwich but couldn’t eat it as ya know, the gluten and dairy thing but the nurses found me an apple juice. After peeing, going through one and half baggies of liquid in my IV and then getting the IV out, I was free to go home. 

Nurse: ‘How’s your pain?’

Me: ‘My hand hurts.’

Nurse: ‘That doesn’t count.’ 

Me: ‘Then it’s ok.’

Nurse: ‘Do you want a barf bag for the ride home?’

Me: ‘No. I am starving. I don’t think I’ll be throwing up.’

Me, post surgery and lookin’ slightly more than regular-Irish-girl pale

I made The Canadian One drive me straight to Five Guys from the hospital for an after-surgery burger in a lettuce wrap and fries. It was glorious. Then he picked up the puppy from daycare and we binge watched Shameless US for the night. 

Six more months until my follow-up biopsy and the all-clear….

Back to #waiting for me.

And vodka. 

Waiting and vodka. 

And cramping. 

Waiting and vodka and cramping. 

Quick poll: It’s almost 3pm in the afternoon, can one sustain themselves post-surgery on gummy bears and vodka?

#askingforafriend

Categories
Canada comedy funny health humor

You know how I’m convinced my foo is trying to kill me…

So I talk a lot about how I am convinced my foo is trying to kill me. Every month, my period rolls ’round and I tell this website, Facebook, Twitter, my friends, my cats, The Canadian One, anyone who’ll listen that I am convinced that my foo and all it’s connecting parts including but not limited to the main foo-dome (or uterus if you’re a doctor) is actively trying to kill me.

Sure, I dull it with heat pads and vodka and painkillers and, did I mention Vodka, but yet still, it downs me each month and costs me a valuable sick day I could be using as vacation time.

It tries to kill me. Snuff me out. Steal my energy and make me eat all the oat cookies.

THEN it makes me cry because there are no more oat cookies.

And then I feel sick because you’re not supposed to bake and eat 12 oat cookies in 30 minutes.

To sum up, I was/am/will forever be convinced my foo wants me dead.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that that might actually be true.

I’m not nuts.

It IS trying to kill me.

Ok, lemme back up.

So about 3 years ago, I had a serious of failed PAP tests – always a fun time – and I was sent off to the colposcopy clinic where I had a series of biopsies. These fun lil let’s-rinse-you-out-with-vinegar-and-cut-off-slivers-of-your-skin tests resulted in a ‘low grade changes’ result. Other than ‘You’re 100% healthy’, one would assume that’s the next best thing.

I was sent home and told to return in 6 months.

I returned.

We vinegared up the foo and got to snipping. THIS time I remembered to take Motrin before the test so it went muuuuuch better than the first one. The results were the same as the first so I waited another 6 months.

Again, I returned. Motrined up. We biopsied. We got the same results. However as it was my third visit, I was offered the chance to watch the foo biopsy on the big screen.

I politely declined.

No one wants to see their foo magnified up on the big screen.

No. One.

This time, since there were no changes in results from the first time, I was released back to my family doctor.

FREEDOM!

I was told I needed 3 more all-clear PAPs in 18 months to be considered fine.

Over the next year, I collected 2 fully fledged perfectly healthy PAP tests (and a yeast infection from some ear infection medicine because….ugh…life).

And then came the third.

‘You have HSIL. You need to return to colposcopy.’ 

Like…COME ON!! #soclose

I was told what this meant. There was a possibility of ‘pre-cancer’ and a LEEP. I would need time off work. I had a wedding coming up in the USA. This was seriously going to interfere with all this. I cried on the train and began to miss my sunglasses. My face seriously puffs up when I cry. I can’t watch puppy videos at work. Ever.

Now here is where I went wrong.

I Googled.

I literally cannot stress this enough: DO. NOT. GOOGLE. LEEP. SURGERY. And then hit images. Don’t. Just…don’t.

The Canadian One threatened to confiscate my phone. He, at regular intervals, would send me gifs of Michael Scott yelling NOOOOOO.

The only thing that calmed me down was a Reddit thread where people explained it actually wasn’t that bad and that you shouldn’t Google it.

Reddit.

Reddit, the place I turned to last year when there was a Red Bull shortage in Calgary. (That’s true, you can probably still find my question. I have no idea how to log into Reddit so it must still be there)

Two weeks later, I find myself in the colposcopy clinic again. Feet cold in the stirrups, happy I remembered a pad and took the Motrin, staring at the ceiling, the big screen, declining the offer to watch, chitchatting with the nurse about summer plans (it was my fourth, I knew the drill).

The doctor said she saw some HSIL, we talked about my trip to the USA, when my LEEP would be, when the biopsy results would be back to see how deep the abnormal cells go.

Two weeks later I get the call.

Results are in.

That was quick. The last time I had to call them.

‘Oh my God, it’s bad.’ I say.

‘You don’t know that. We said we would call either way.’ said the nurse, no air of emotion in her voice. I had no idea if she was calling with good or bad news.

She confirmed I am who I say I am and then said it.

All the biopsies were perfectly normal. The PAP was wrong.

What the sh*t?! – Actual Quote

After swearing at her a few more times and then apologizing several times and making her explain again…and again what she meant by ‘all clear’…I thanked her, arranged my 6 month follow up to check that the biopsy results were consistent and hung up.

So now I’m left in this position: Either my PAP was wrong and I’m that friend you get to tell all your other friends about who’s PAP was wrong and she was fine.

Or I’m not fine, the biopsy was wrong and I am f*cked.

My 6 month follow up is tomorrow…

Ugh, I need an oat cookie.

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

‘I’m a bee!!’ – Halloween Memories

While trying to explain Halloween in Ireland to The Canadian One I was remembering all sorts of different traditions we have that are different from his.

For one, in my family we never carved a Jack-O’-Lantern (or Pumpkin). People in Ireland did but in my family we just didn’t do it.

Pumpkin Spiced PicklesOur pumpkin…with our cat…dressed as a pumpkin. Note: Only one of us is excited in this photo. And it’s not her. 

As child, we would dress up, go trick-or-treating, drop all our candy at home and hit the bonfire for some staring at fire and watching of fireworks. Other side-traditions that may have been more my-family-centric included finding the cat, coaxing the cat indoors, locking the cat in the living room, hiding all the wood in the weeks leading up to the bonfire night (for fear of it being stolen) and, of course, no Halloween was complete without the eating of the Halloween Brack.

Barmbrack

Oddly, The Canadian One actually already knows about barmbrack. A few months ago, he excitedly told me about this Irish fruitcake that was baked on an episode of Deadwood he’d seen the night before. He said there were items baked into the fruit cake and…

I stopped him there.

“Like a ring and whatnot?” I asked.

“YES!! You know about this cake? Is it a thing?” he exclaimed.

‘Is it a thing?’ is an often asked question in our house.

“Yeah, it’s called brack. Like Halloween brack. Or barmbrack. We eat it at Halloween. It’s got stuff inside it. You know, I was always so excited to get the ring from the brack when I was little. You buy it at Dunnes.”

He stared at me. It was the same expression he had on his face when I was acting out the game ‘conkers’ to him. I often forget when I’m explaining things to people who didn’t grow up with this being normalcy, they may find it fascinating.

I almost told him about bobbing for apples but opted out of it. Also thinking about bobbing for apples now. I mean, you get one kid with a cold playing that game and everyone is wiped out! 

It’s strange to think back on some of the things we did as kids on Halloween. As a child the only rules were be home before dark (and ‘stop slamming the frikkin’ door on your way in and out’). My mother never really knew where we were or what we were doing. We went out unsupervised trick-or-treating. We would wander too close to the bonfire which was basically a pile of wood in the middle of a grassy community area set alight. My brother said there was a shopping trolley on it this year. We ate our candy without thinking twice about if it could be dangerous. Is wasn’t so much, ‘was there poison in our apples?’ it was more ‘why did someone give us apples? Which house was that, let’s never visit again.’

And why were there always so many peanuts in shells. 

So. Many. 

No one ever worried about allergies. Or gluten. Or dairy. 

Me as Julia

Me, as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, aged 7 or 8

As for costumes, I’ve dressed as a plethora of different things growing up including, but not limited to, my hooker outfit above. I wanted to be Pretty Woman. I went around telling people I was a hooker until my mother told me I should probably just tell people I was Julia Roberts.

My mother would make all my costumes (yes, including the one above). I was a robot one year in a cardboard box covered in tin foil and remember being sad I couldn’t pee most of the night. People used me as a candy table for a bit. I was the World Cup another year with a gold covered lampshade on my head. I won a costume competition. I was a witch. A ghost. I dressed all in white once and stuck a glowing star to my chest and was the Star of Bethlehem (the curse of attending an all-girls catholic school). 

Witch

Me as a witch

As an adult I’ve been a snowman…

Snowman

With Stan looking dapper as a cat. 

…and Minnie Mouse in the same weekend. This is me (a mere 24 hours after the above photo was taken in a 2am McDonald’s dance-off with Spiderman…that ended in a song because of course…). Poor Stan looking embarrassed in the background:

Minnie

Last year I decided to be a bee. 

In Canada I’ve been a bee twice. Once while working at a call center a bunch of us dressed as worker bees.

Get it. 

Worker Bees. 

Hahahahahaha. 

No? 

Nevermind. 

But last year, I made the whole family get in on the bee theme: 

20161029_214013

Only one of us is truly happy in this photo

photogrid_1477794224383

I would later get drunk and yell excitedly ‘I’m a bee!!!” at a Calgary police officer sitting in a truck as we were leaving a Halloween party. ‘He’s a beekeeper!!!’ I would continue to yell across the sidewalk to him as I pointed at The Canadian One. The cop waved to me and yelled back, ‘I KNOW!! WE MET YOU EARLIER!” 

Oh yeah. That’s right. 

He was the same cop who complemented The Canadian One on his beekeeper outfit and suggested we round up all the many bees at the party and take a picture with them. 

We didn’t. 

But dammit, we should have! 

It was only later when I was looking at old pictures to find the one of me as a witch, I remembered this: I was a bee before. In Spain. With my brother. 

20161101_190543

Again, one of us is way more excited than the other. 

I’ve now dressed as a bee three times in my lifetime. 

None of them were in Ireland. 

Go figure. 

What are some of your Halloween memories or traditions? Got a funny childhood costume you want to share? 

Categories
Cooking diet food humor vegan

Lazy Lemon Iced Tea

Lazy Lemon Iced Tea

This 30+ degree weather has really tipped my iced tea addiction over the edge. I recently went through this heart thing whereby I had to wear a fun heart monitor for 48 hours and couldn’t shower. (full disclosure: you should read the word fun as if it were in sarcastic font)

Anyway, I was told not to drink coffee for the month of tests so I switched to tea. And like any good Irish girl, I took to tea like..well…a girl who’s coffee has been taken away from her and she’s left with little option.

Incidentally, this was not the first time I was told to give up coffee.

When I was experiencing acid reflux, I was told to quit coffee and alcohol or take pills for 30 days. I choose the pills. What? I sense you judging me! I get up at 5:20am. I would die. I told my doctor this. I didn’t even bother making up a story. I just said no. He gave me the pills. When I returned 30 days later, he asked how giving up coffee went. I told him I did not do that. He gave me more pills. I got better. I stopped taking the pills. I still drank coffee.

I also experience migraines, have since I was 19. I’ve been told several times over the years to give up coffee, it will help with your migraines, it will reduce them, you might get better, blah blah blah…

Turns out, a by product of giving up coffee for this heart monitor thing is a reduction in migraines.

So…

I was wrong.

(Or those weird weather phenomenons called Chinooks that happen in Calgary have ended and it’s a coincidence. We’ll find out for sure next winter.)

Moving on.

Back to the iced tea.

I decided to learn how to make iced tea and very very rapidly decided I loooove iced tea. I made pitchers of it. I put it in the fridge. I hung around waiting for it to cool, for it to absorb the lemons, to become icy liquid gold. However, I happened upon a problem. A daily iced tea for one was the problem.

Now, there are multiple recipes for iced tea online and believe me, I have tried many of them. When I don’t feel lazy, I make iced tea with a pot on the stove with cut up lemons and measured out sugar but when you wake up at 5:20am and are already sweating from the heat, you want a caffeinated drink with iced. Or at least I do anyway.

And it was a problem.

Until I came up with a solution. (The fizz is from my addiction to Starbucks Iced Tea Lemonade…you can leave out the fizz if you want)

Lazy Lemon Iced Tea

(originally I called this Lazy Girl’s Lemon Iced Tea but thought I might get emails…but I just wanted you to know, that’s what I call it when I’m not on the Internet)

2 Orange Pekoe tea bags

250ml hot water

1-2 tsp lemon juice

250ml Club Soda or sparkling water (or regular cold water if you don’t like fizz)

1tsp of sugar (optional)

Handful of ice cubes

Place both tea bags, sugar (if using) and hot water in a 500ml mason jar (or some kinda 500ml holding, hot water resistant vessel)

Allow to steep for 4-5 minutes and then take out the tea bags. At this point, depending on how much of a hurry I’m in, I will either place the tea in the fridge to cool down or I’ll just shove a bunch of ice cubes into the mason jar and hope for the best.

Mix in the lemon juice and add enough Club Soda to fill the mason jar.

Add straw. Drink.

Sometimes I’ll use flavoured tea bags like Black Tea with Blackcurrants or Black Tea and Raspberries and will omit the sugar and lemon.

(I am not driving in this photo…just to be clear! I also, when I posted it on Facebook, needed to clarify we are not drinking alcohol. It is just iced tea!)

Categories
Canada

Six Months Ago Today, My Mother Died…

December 14th 2013 – just before she got on the plane

The last time I saw my mother was December 14th 2013, the day before her birthday. She was crying as we parted at Calgary Airport. As I watched her go through the gated area and head to the line for security, her head suddenly popped back behind the security agent so she could wave to me one more time. For a moment, a thought enveloped my head, ‘What if this is the last time I ever see my mother?’. 

Of course, there was no reason to think this. She was 54 at the time (turning 55 the next day). She was planning to come visit me in Canada again. The Canadian One, my mother and I had just spend a week celebrating a mini Christmas. We chose a day. We celebrated Christmas. We woke up early. We had gifts. We ate turkey and stuffing and all the trimmings all cooked by her. We drank a lot and ate too much and I tried to figure out how to make my new food processor work.

I successfully chopped a carrot.

I was very excited. 

***

380377_10150512266681346_149031057_nThe last time I spoke to my mother was January 1st 2015. 

It’s a story not worth going into now. 

We argued. 

It was one of many and it had come to a boiling point of no return. 

It happened. 

It’s done. 

And I’m positive neither of us thought it would be forever. 

***

On the morning of June 13th 2016 at 6:55am my brother called me just as I was arriving at work.

He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

I live in Calgary, Canada.

He never calls me.

Our mother, who’d recently had hip surgery but had already been released from hospital earlier that week, was taken back into hospital less than 24 hours previously suffering from pneumonia, my brother told me. The doctors have said it’s 50/50, my brother explained. If copy-of-holiday-176the antibiotics don’t work, it’s game over, he continued. 

Will she die? Tell me exactly what the doctors said. Should I come home? I asked, sinking into a soft couch in the lobby of the tower that houses my office. 

No. No, he said. Let’s wait. The doctors say they will update me at this time tomorrow. But if this doesn’t work, that’s it. Game over. 

He said it again. 

Game over. 

I agreed not to come back. He didn’t seem overly panicked and seemed to have things in hand so I headed up to work and said I would check in with him in a few hours. I told my manager what was happening and started to make arrangements in case I had to leave with short notice. Transferred files onto a shared drive. Finished off some pending work that needed to be done that week. Made a list of all the things I needed to bring in case I was in a state of panic when I got the call and needed The Canadian One to pack for me. 

Middle of the day, no updates. My brother had left the hospital and due to the time difference was asleep most of the time I was awake. I assured my manager that the doctor’s update was at 7am the following morning and that I would be in work (as I work at 7am) the next day. 

At 2.43am on June 14th 2016 my phone rang. I thought it was my alarm and turned the ringing off.

And that’s when I heard it. 

The Canadian’s One’s phone. 

It started to ring. 

I knew right away.

I knew it was not good.

I knew I was getting on a plane. 

A friend once told me ‘In the middle of the night, if one phone rings, it could be anything. If both phone rings, it’s an emergency.’ 

My brother called my phone again and told me when he got to the hospital three doctors took him into a room and sat him down. It was at that moment he knew things were f*cked. He went on to explain she was on life support. The antibiotics didn’t work. She had anywhere between 24 hours and a week left. 

He was alone at the hospital. 

I was the only person he had called. 

Promising to call back with my flight details shortly, I hung up the phone, grabbed my computer, woke The Canadian One and sent a message to my mother’s sister to get her to call me. I didn’t know her phone number. By 3:40am I was booked on a one-way 10am Westjet flight to Dublin from Calgary via Ottawa and St. John’s, had spoken to my aunt who called her two brothers and they were all on their way to the hospital to be with my mother and brother. 

168655_181943268509766_8371819_nThe Canadian One took my packing list and started finding stuff. I located all the credit cards, took every piece of ID I could find, I text my manager and was trying to get in contact with my friend in Ireland to get a ride home from the airport. I was due to arrive at 7:15am. She said she’d pick me up. 

“Should I take a black dress and shoes?…I should take a black dress and shoes.” I said, asking and answering my own question. 

It was decided The Canadian One would stay and care for the cats and follow me if she died. There was no use both of us being off work for the next however-long. 

At 6am, there were no new updates and I had checked into my flight online and picked my seat. I was in the middle seat for my first flight but the aisle for my next two.

I could live with that.

I planned to nap. 

By 7am, I was at the door, ready to go. There was an eerie calmness that came with my extreme panic. I had stopped processing new information and the only task was the task in front of me. 

We needed petrol for the car. 

Done. 

Where do I leave my bag at check-in? 

Done. 

Am I hungry? 

No. 

Is that my gate? 

I waited in line for security, the same security I had bid goodbye to my mother at exactly 2.5 years earlier. I wondered if I should be crying. I wasn’t.

Should I be crying?

Should I be more panicked?

How am I supposed to feel? 

The security agent said to go to the left but the right looks shorter. What do I do? 

I went right. 

Am I hungry? 

Still no. 

Should I be? 

Am I doing this right? I feel like I should be more panicked. 

Is that my gate? 

Oh, I remember this place. There’s a Starbucks here. Isn’t there? Do I want coffee? Maybe I should have a Jugo Juice. 

Should I have a Jugo Juice? 

Do I need to pee? 

I should call the bank and tell them I was going to be in Ireland with my cards. 

Am I hungry? 

I bought some glucose tablets and ate one. 

I wasn’t hungry but I also didn’t want to deal with a low-blood sugar migraine. 

At 9:13am, my brother sent an update that she only had a few minutes left. He was in the hospital room. I didn’t call him. It seemed inappropriate. If he could have called, he would have. 

I waited for another update. 

I paced around. 

I boarded my plane.

I found my seat. 

In the middle between two people. 

I stared at my phone.

I waited. 

I sent a text at 9:31am to tell him I was on the plane and I had to turn off my phone. 

I put my phone into airplane mode. 

I stared at it. 

I took it back out of airplane mode. 

Should I put it back into airplane mode? 

What if something happens? 

What if I need…

…It lit up and started to ring. 

It was my brother. 

She was gone. 

I looked out the window. 

He was still talking.

I started talking. 

I didn’t know what to say. 

I think I said ‘OK’.

I think I asked if he was OK.

I had to turn off my phone.

I said once I’m in the air I would email him. 

I hung up. 

I text The Canadian One and then turned my phone back into airplane mode. 

I stared at my tray table. 

I stared at the back of the seat in front of me. 

We started down the runway. 

I had no idea what to do. 

As I burst into tears uncontrollably I suddenly remembered that although I had had the foresight to bring tissues onto the plane with me, I did not think to keep them with me. I looked up at the overhead storage above me, remembering my bag is up there. 

I started wiping my face on my cardigan, soaking it. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the woman next to me start frantically searching in her bag. She’s pulling things out. She’s moving things around. She finds a little packet of tissues with two left and silently gives me one and then the other. 

I sat on the plane with four hours ahead of me, drying my face and clutching my phone.

I stared at the tray table in front of me again. 

I tried to calm down. 

I tried to stop crying. 

I tried breath normally and to focus but it was useless.

All I could think was…

…well….

…now what…

spa50349

 

Categories
comedy conversations entertainment funny humor

I Recently Made A Weird Discovery…

I recently made a weird discovery…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I discovered that my phone had been recording every phone call made on my phone from Feb 2015-Jan 2016. 

Every phone call. 

Now, while you may be thinking, ‘HOLY SHIT!! WTF?!!! SPIES!!! MALWARE!! OMG!’. I immediately thought, ‘Ohhhh…so that app did work.’ 

See here’s what happened, I downloaded an app back in February 2015 to record my voicemails separately as my phone will only save three and then starts deleting them. I had the bright idea that if I could record the voicemails separately, if I needed the information later, I could retrieve it.

It was a solid plan.

I would run the app, call the voicemail and the app would automatically record it.

Perfect.

However, I couldn’t figure out how to use the app and quickly abandoned it. Then, while cleaning out my apps in January because I had run out of memory (there’s that mystery solved), I deleted the call recording app. 

Over the year, I had updated my phone. Turned off and on my phone. Closed all apps hundreds of times. Had a battery problem where it kept shutting off (a problem that just kinda went away by itself…). And still, this app kept on chugging away.

Until, when testing out my new C25K app’s in-app music, it pulled from my ‘music’ folder a call The Canadian One made to me on his first night in Hamilton for work.

Not a great soundbite to workout to.

shopping-cart-1467039-638x542As strange as it was to discover it did record all my calls, I also realized 95% of the calls were from The Canadian One…at a grocery store…mostly regarding the shopping list. Things like:

“They have no onions.”

“HOW CAN THEY NOT HAVE RUFFLES?!! THERE’S BEEN A SPIKE IN RUFFLE SALES.”

“The toilet roll is not on sale…what do I do?”

“I’m going to Safeway. Your bread isn’t here.”

And the other 5% were my doctor and dentist confirming appointments.

I do not lead a very exciting phone call life.

I listened to maybe 10 to get the gist of them – they were so clear it was like I had recorded it in the room with both people – and then I deleted them.

I deleted the HUNDREDS of calls my phone had been saving.

It was very weird.

And probably very illegal.

But mostly, very weird.

Categories
sad

A Month Ago Today, I Wrote This Eulogy For My Mother…

Mam 1Our mother loved Christmas.

She loved the tree, the decorations, the food, so much food! She loved the fairy on the top of the tree that never stayed on right but we still kept for as long as either me or Ross can remember.

She loved the long process of making the pudding, crafting our grandmother’s stuffing and meticulously decorating the tree.

And she loved giving presents. Watching us unwrap our gifts, our faces lighting up. She never cared what we bought her, just that we liked what she got us.

She also loved helping people. She would always tell me, ‘It’s nice to be nice’. And that’s how she lived. She loved helping people and making them smile.

mam 2I once mentioned to her about a winter hat I’d seen in a shop in Korea. It was nothing special. I had mentioned it along with many other things I’d seen and done that day. She took an interest in the hat though. What colour was it?

White, I said.

Then I tried to describe it.

‘It had a pom-pom on top, and the inside it was kinda fleecy and it had ear flaps, it will be good for the winter’, I said.

I went to bed after the call, not thinking much of it, and woke up the next morning to a picture in my inbox. It was the exact hat that I had described. White, pom-pom, fleece lining, ear flaps. It was accompanied by a simple email:

‘Is this the hat you saw? I made it for you, I’ll get it in the post today. Mam.’mam 3

She loved surprises. When I was at university, she once burst into a bar I was in the UK dressed head to toe as a leprechaun to surprise me for St. Patrick’s Day.

She loved to travel. Be it to London and Paris to support Ross while he ran marathons, Korea and Canada to see me. Over the years, mam and Ross got to fulfill life goals by travelling to Formula One races, Cheltenham and Barcelona. She walked the Great Wall of China and would regularly travel to Washington to visit Uncle Seamus.

But her greatest joy was always seeing other people happy. Her face would light up when she would get to give us things be it our favourite meal she has cooked out of the blue.

Or a My Little Pony Schoolhouse she flew to London on a day trip to get me for Christmas one year.

Or a lollipop she’d brought back us from the petrol station when she went in to pay. She got me one once when I was in my 20’s and was so giddy handing it to me!

And that’s who she was. She was fun-loving and adventurous. She believed in putting a smile on people’s faces. And she believed…

…that always…

…no matter what…

…that it is nice to be nice.

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Mam: Dec 15th 1957 – June 14th 2016

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

The Road To 5K: Injured Runner

The road to 5k copy-2

It’s been a few weeks since my last update on how my Road to 5K is going and…

…it’s not been going well.

In my second week of training, I started to get these twinges in my right knee. I didn’t think much of it. Maybe it was from suddenly starting to do an exercise that didn’t involve Netflix and the couch. Or from having an inability to run in a straight line.

Why is that so difficult?  

The first time it happened, I ignored it. Meh, it’s nothing. Just the usual muscle pain associated with new exercise. It soon wore off and I was fine. The second time, it took longer for me to get over it. I sat around my house, my knee feeling hot and puffy but generally looking fine. Normal. Like a normal knee should look.

No swelling. 

No redness. 

No bruising.

Again, I thought, maybe it’s normal.

It was not.

I jogged again two days later – keeping with my every-second-day schedule – and quit midway through. The pain was shooting through me and I worried I would become stranded a 15 minute jog from home unable to walk. I briefly considered locating a Car2Go and then realized I should probably just continue walking.

I went home and lay on the couch, sad.

Then it hurt when I walked. Or when I stood. Or when I was just sitting around at my desk.

It had become a problem.

I put heat on it.

You should not put heat on it.

I called my regular physiotherapist thinking that may be the solution but she was out of town. I quickly acquired a new one and set up an appointment for the following week.

I happened to be seeing my regular doctor for completely unrelated issue (renewing a migraine meds prescription) and casually asked if I should be using heat or ice. We established no heat. Heat makes it worse and I got a prescription for some kinda, I don’t know, like gloopy gel you rub on your knee. It’s sort of the consistency of Vaseline. It’s weird. I’m not sure I like it. And I’m not sure it does anything.

And also I lost it somewhere.

My appointment with the physio came and poof, I was quickly diagnosed with patellofemoral injury aka Runner’s Knee.

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Seriously. Was there ever a more apt name for an injury?

I got all taped up, got given my set of exercises to do and was ordered to jog a little on Sunday…which I failed to do. It was raining.

And I was hungover.

But mainly, the rain thing.

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I returned to physio on Monday and, having been through a year of physio before and knowing these lovely magical people don’t take kindly to bullshit, I trailing my ‘Hi, how are you?’ with ‘I have done minimum exercise and didn’t jog’.

Just wanted to admit that right off the bat.

We did a little physio, some ultrasounding, some stretches and I was sent home with the same exercises and schedule I had failed to follow the previous week. We also discovered pain in my left knee and things started to look bleak for the marathon.

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Between my second and third appointment, the following Monday, I managed 2 short jogs (I did Week 1: Day 1 again, twice) and got through some of the exercises I was given.

Yes yes, I know, you should follow your physio’s advice, blah blah blah.

You try it.

Moving on.

The pain was hovering around a 1 on the 1 to stabbed-in-the-eyeball scale and I was feeling pretty good. At my third, and last, appointment (13 days from Race Day), my left knee had healed and my right knee was doing so much better I was given new exercises, the go-ahead to at least attempt the race and a doctor’s note to excuse me from the fire drill that was due in my building. I work on the 40th floor. Evacuating during a fire drill from that height is bad enough when you are completely fine (hot, pissed off, and wishing you’d brought your coffee doesn’t count here), but with an injured knee, a 5K race looming and 3 physio appointments behind you, it’s not a good idea.

Which brings me to 6 days ago. I set out, sans Couch25K app, to just generally get a feel for what the distance of 5K felt like. I miscalculated the yellow ball in the sky and overheated almost as soon as I left the apartment. I made it to 4.16km before I genuinely thought the sun would kill me and I needed to wear less clothing.

Two days later it snowed (welcome to Calgary), so I waited until the following day. It was rainy and windy so I dressed appropriately in long pants, a t-shirt and sweater. About 20 minutes in I felt ill. I was hot, nauseous, a little dizzy and winded and, let’s be fair, I wasn’t really going that fast I should not have felt like that.

Then it happened.

I got itchy.

All over my legs.

I was overheating and itchy and my chest started to hurt. My breathing, however, was fine and I quickly worked out this was not an emergency situation. I slowed to a snail pace and meandered home hitting 4.06km

Once in the door, without the distraction of the outside, the itching intensified. I took off my sweater and pants and stared at my legs.

Hives.

FRIKKIN HIVES!

EVERYWHERE!

My legs looked like bubble wrap.

I grabbed an ice pack for me knee and a glass of cold water and sat down…then did what any normal person would do in this situation. I took a picture of my legs and sent it to The Canadian One.

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This a picture of my matching ice pack, dress and knee tape. Not the hives. Sorry. 

I do enjoy co-ordination. 

The hives disappeared within 40 minutes and I narrowed the cause down to:

  1. Allergy to exercise – which is a real thing according to the Internet
  2. Some freak allergic reaction to spending too much time outdoors (freak allergic reactions are not too uncommon for me…remember that throat closing incident?) 
  3. The migraine medication I took before I left the house to jog triggered a reaction

Now, while it is most likely that last one, I did seriously consider the first one as the answer.

Not giving up, I jogged 2.5km yesterday and, though my different-pants-I-wore-a-lot-when-training were itchy, they did not produce any hives leading to believe perhaps the itching was imaginary this second time. 

Tomorrow I’ll attempt another 4-5km (today I’m taking a break) and I’ll update you on #HiveGate. And yes, I carry my EpiPen on my runs now…it’s in my cellphone holder belt…and is super inconvenient! Where am I suppose to put my phone now?!

Remember 6 weeks ago when I was like ‘Oh, hey, you know what might be fun, running a marathon. Yes, I know I’ve never run or even exercised before but how hard can it be?!’….A hurt knee, $50 worth of running clothes, 3 physiotherapy appointments and an outbreak of hives later and I think my brother may have put it best:

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And yes, it routinely takes him 24 hours to respond to my texts. 

However, I am still determined to do this 5K. If it takes me an hour to wander through the thing, I will do it. I set out on this mission and I am going to achieve it.

I WANT MY MEDAL!

Wait……do I get a medal? I should look that up.

OR The Canadian One can just get arts and craftsy and fashion one out of gold foil and Sharpies.

I would say ‘out of tin foil’ but I want a gold one goddammit.


Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

The Road To 5K: Day 3

The Road To 5K: The End of Week Two

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor

I Provide A Running Commentary For A Baseball Game….

I have only recently taken to baseball.

Three years ago, a week into living in Canada-land, my father-in-law took us to see a Blue Jays game with my brother-in-law and his kids. I had never seen a baseball game before which is surprising given its prevalence in Korea. I spent the game mostly having no idea what was going on and no idea when it would end. The thing I was most excited about, and excited about the entire month leading up to the game…and in the car ride to the game…and at dinner before the game was the FOAM MITTEN!!

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FOAM MITTEN!!!

My father-in-law bought me a foam mitten after listening to me talk about it for days. I had always wanted a foam mitten as growing up I’d always seen them on American TV shows and thought they were the epitome of Americana. Or rather, Canada-ana…?

Or well, technically it would be Americana since Canada is part of North America…right?

Right?!

And before anyone starts kicking off on my Facebook, it is not the same as the ‘Republic of Ireland is part of the UK’ debate.

Because that is wrong.

And Canada actually is part of the continent of North America.

Geographically.

Boom.

Moving on.

Now I understood the basic rules from playing rounders at home, a game very similar to baseball but with less intricate rules. Of course, we would play using our sweaters as bases and a tennis racket as a bat but still, same concept. You hit the ball. You run. You stop at a base. Someone can tag you out while you’re running about or before you get to a base. The other team runs around the field like maniacs with no formal position other than ‘over there on the left’, ‘over there on the right – mind the STOP sign there next to you’ and ‘somewhere around this kinda middle area’. Also there are no baseball gloves in rounders 

Last year, around the same time the Jays started to get good, The Canadian One got really into baseball.

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I have no idea what’s happening here. None. At all.

And since we still had the Sports package from Telus which I hadn’t cancelled after hockey season (because their hold time is ridiculous!) we caught a few games. 

By the time we lost and were knocked out, I came away from the season knowing three things:

  1. Bautista rides a scooter home from work.
  2. The Jays really like throwing champagne on each other.
  3. And I really liked the Japanese fella. 

This year, I aimed to come away with a bit more information. I learned his name was Kawasaki. I learned he was traded to the Cubs. And I learned that I had learned pointless information. 

And so, I have been diligently asking questions about the games the past month. But since I am struggling with names, I have just renamed the players and it’s up to The Canadian One to remember who is who.

Which brings us to this past Wednesday, The Canadian One got stuck at work during the baseball game. Now, usually I would record the baseball game and we would watch it when he gets home at 8pm however this was an early game, it started at 1pm, so we both missed it.

At about 5pm, he text me to find out the score and I discovered the game was still afoot. I spent the next 90 minutes providing commentary of the game while he was working. (FYI I knew in this particular game the pitcher bats as it was explained to me both the day before and the day before that. Also I can spell nobody’s name…just the general gist of their name is usually sufficient for The Canadian One.)

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screenshot_2016-05-12-13-21-592.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-052.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-122.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-232.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-302.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-413.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-472.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-12-50-372.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-242.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-332.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-442.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-12-51-122.jpg.jpgI feel like I might have a little more to learn.

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor

The Road To 5K: The End Of Week Two

The road to 5k copy-2

And so I come to the end of week 2 and get my nifty new app skin to not even pay attention to other that when I press ‘Start Workout’ and bitch about why my Spotify isn’t working. 

screenshot_2016-04-18-17-05-43.pngSpending two weeks jogging around my neighbourhood has made me realize that a lot of people use our quiet little area for learning how to drive. Hell, it’s where I learned how to drive. It only gets a little weird when I’m jogging faster than they are driving. Or when they stop randomly thinking I’m going to jump out onto the road and become a risk to them. 

I think this with every pedestrian I come across. 

Week 2: Workout 1 started off just like all the other workouts and when the jog beep kicked in and said I would be jogging for 90 seconds instead of 1 minute, I swore. 

Aloud. 

In my nice quiet neighbourhood. 

It was not my finest moment.

I did, however, make it up the small incline (the mini hill, if you will) while jogging without stopping. OK so I wanted to stop. I needed to stop. I thought I was going to keel over on someone’s pristine lawn. But alas, I did not. And I made it up the top of the ‘hill’ before the walk beep went off.

Going back to the lawn for a second, I feel like we are barely out of the depths of winter and people are already out gardening. I mean, come on, it’s Calgary. There could be a snowstorm next week and yet a few days of sunshine and everyone’s lawns look freshly mowed and green. 

…ish.

Greenish. More of a browny green.

Week 2: Workout 3 had several things going against it: 

  1. It was Monday afternoon.
  2. It was hot.
  3. It was Monday afternoon.

I was technically supposed to jog every 2nd day so Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday BUT I missed Sunday because it was our wedding anniversary on Saturday and well….I didn’t feel like it. For our anniversary, we spent some time at the park playing badminton. We quickly discovered our shuttlecock wasn’t very good so we ventured off to a nearby Sportchek, picked up better shuttlecocks and returned to the park. Then we went out and ended up at a trivia night at a local bar drinking half priced vodka and whiskey. We cleverly named our team (of two people) ‘Anniversary1′ and bagged free drinks from the bar and from a neighbouring table. 

Needless to say I was in no shape to jog on Sunday when I woke up. Unless tired, hungover and preferring to lie on the cold, hardwood floors of the apartment is considered a ‘shape’.

Around 2pm, feeling guilty about not jogging, we decided to venture out. After pumping up our tires and squishing our bikes into the car, we hit the park trail and went biking along a trail instead. 

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View on the trail

And then it was suddenly Monday. 

And hot.

So. Hot.

And I had to jog.

Dammit. 

As it turns out, I was actually fine. More than fine. I was super fine. OK, no, like somewhere in between fine and super fine.

I jogged around during the last workout of the Week 2 training session and was pleasantly surprised when the jog beep told me I was on jog 6 of 6.

I have discovered with the arrival of the sunshine, I have a new jogging nemisis other than the out of breathness, overheating and general achiness that’s become my default setting. Sprinklers. I almost got attacked by a wayward sprinkler on Monday. I narrowly avoided it after briefly considering running through it, arms spread out, soaring like a deranged sweaty eagle regretting some of its most recent life decisions. 

Namely, jogging at 4pm in the afternoon heat.

Oh well, onto Week 3. 

Also, on a side note and unrelated to jogging: I saw this bird in the park, it’s not a goose…what is it?!!! He looks like he’s wearing a little tuxedo. 

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Edit: It’s a pheasant! Thanks Courtney!!

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

The Road To 5K: Day 3

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor Korea South Korea

How I Met The Canadian One

April 16th 2015

People always ask me ‘How did you and The Canadian One meet?’, ‘Why is your blog called The Ketchup War?’ and ‘Why is the printer beeping? Can you come fix it?”

To answer that last question first, I have no idea. I’ll turn it off and turn it on and if that doesn’t work, I’ll call IT.

Except it always works. And then people think I know how to fix the printer.

Looking at our beginning, if how The Canadian One and I met was a TV show, it would be full of annoying near-misses that keep the storyline alive and almost-meet-cutes around sweeps week.

How I Met Your Mother The Canadian One

3871_99952386345_2340153_nSeason 1: Spring 2008 – 12 Days In And Still Jetlagged

My second weekend in Korea back in May 2008, I got invited to a poker game at my supervising teacher’s home and it was there that I met a long-haired guy we shall dub Drummer-Boy. He had lived in my apartment and worked at my school the year before and was swiftly beating me at poker. I’ve covered my skills (or lack thereof) at poker previously but the fact that he took all my money is not the point here. I liked Drummer-Boy. He was my first new friend outside of my workmates that I had made, he lived an hour and a half away in Seoul and the subject of how his mother made Teletubbies quickly came up.

Teletubbies!

TELE-TUBBIES!

Moving on.

After a brief chat, we discovered we’d both worked in the same chain of betting shops in the UK around the same time a few years prior. We even figured we may have even spoken on the phone a handful of times as it was often required to call other branches to verify information.

Unstoppable Trio
H, Patrick and Me: An Unstoppable Trio

While living in Cheonan, an hour and a half south of Seoul, I had somehow managed to live in a three bedroom apartment alone for the first few months until Em arrived. Drummer-Boy would often come visit old friends (and new friends) in my town and crash in one of my spare rooms.

We would go on to become firm friends, hanging out in his town (Seoul) and my town (Cheonan). He introduced me to his friend H, from Scotland, who would go on to become my travel and touring buddy (and partner-in-crime) in the years to come.

I, meanwhile, would visit Seoul a lot over the next 2 years, sleeping on H’s floor and spending our evenings watching Drummer-Boy’s band, Angry Bear, play in local bars and clubs.

And that, kids, is how I met…your Uncle Patrick. 

Christmas Tree
My 2009 Christmas Tree

Season 2: Christmas 2009 – A Trip Back To Cheonan

In 2009, Patrick brought his British friend, Sam, to Christmas dinner at our poker buddy’s home. Both Em and I had moved out of Cheonan by this time – having completed our year-long contracts there – and were living separately up nearer to Seoul. We met up and journeyed down to our old home town together, stopping in at a Burger King for a pre-dinner lunch of burgers and fries.

Now, Sam was memorable for three things:

1. He was also drummer but in a different band

2. He was also British, like Patrick

And 3. He insisted on calling me British for the entire night. 

Some weeks later, as I’m leaving a magazine launch party with Em not paying a bit of attention to the band on stage, I suddenly spot my British nemesis from Christmas dinner on stage playing drums with the band. A passing “Hey, isn’t that Sam from Christmas dinner?” and a confirmation that yes it is and we were whisked out of the club and onto somewhere else.

The band Sam was playing with was Bedroom States…

It was their first live show…

And The Canadian One was their lead singer.

MountainSeason 3: Spring 2010: An Album and a Retreat

Between March 2010 and April 2010, I would move back to Cheonan and The Canadian One and I would attend two Angry Bear events in small venues and never meet. 

The first was the Angry Bear first album launch that I attended with H, maybe Em and my date from speed dating a few weeks before. Yes, I went speed dating. Yes, it was awesome. I’ll tell you about it sometime. Actually, there’s a picture of me attached to an article online written by the guy I went on the date with. However, due to a dispute I had with that publication, I’m not linking to it. The guy was nice though. He was there covering the event for an article he was writing and I ended up dating him for a short period of time. For the record, my dispute with the publication and the non-successful continuation of my dates with my speed-date date were unconnected. That ridiculousness would come years later.

IMG_2050The second event both The Canadian One and I attended at the same time was the following month. H and I had signed ourselves up for a Buddhist Temple Retreat and I was up in Seoul to catch the bus with her early the next morning. The retreat seemed like a really good idea at the time however Patrick’s band was playing a gig the night before and since I was up in Seoul for the retreat anyway, we figured, meh, let’s go.

They were playing in a bar behind a coffee shop with a man dressed as a clown tending bar. I want to say it was 80’s night but it was Korea so it’s entirely possible it was just a regular Friday.

As we were early we went off to play darts in the corner and take advantage of the cheap shots that were on offer that night. The band arrived, we stood around with them for a bit, then went off and danced and hung out by ourselves. We were working on drumming up support for our cause to pressure the band into playing an old song of theirs. We loved the song but they rarely played it anymore as it was several years old (although it would be the last song I heard them play live at our leaving-Korea party). Our plan that night basically consisted of us gathering a small crowd to yell the name of the song at the band during every song interval until our plan worked.

After several rounds of drunk people yelling ‘Clementine’ at them, they caved.

Hours before our tour bus left and we were still at the party. Or rather, we were outside the party on the street with one of us throwing up (H) and the other not helping at all (me). At this point the Buddhist retreat was seeming like one of those plans you make for a Saturday night on a Tuesday but when Saturday rolls ‘round you’re thinking ‘Someone cancel, SOMEONE CANCEL, GOOD GOD PLEASE!!’ so you can just stay home.

But we still made it.

I remember being hungover, wearing inappropriate shoes for a hike I wasn’t warned about and ultimately becoming upset and frustrated during a ‘relaxing’ lotus flower making session. 

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My mouth is smiling but my eyes say ‘Kill me’

 

I also recall eating flower pancakes and no, that’s not a misspelling. I do mean flower.

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Flower pancakes…literally. Flowers. 

As it turned out, in that very same bar on that very same night was The Canadian One. He was at the same clown-man-behind-the-bar-show as us and had we hung out with the band more and not been off downing colourful shots and gathering a posse, we would have met.

Season 4: Summer 2010 – The Almost Meet

At the end of July 2010, I had a week off work which coincided with the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Icheon. H, Em and I all decided we would go and camp for all three days of the festival. We bought our tickets, planned our weekend and I jetted off to Jeju-do for the few days prior and did exciting things like beach drinking and visiting sex parks

sex park
This is the least graphic photo I could find that I took at the sex park

 

When I got back, I was dying of a cold (probably due to the massive amounts of beach drinking I did) and not feeling the tent-sleeping aspect of the trip. I eventually turned up two days late but had missed meeting The Canadian One who’d been there hanging out with Patrick and left a few hours prior to my arrival.

This would also become the weekend everyone referred to as ‘Remember that time Jenny was 2 days late for the musical festival?’

IMG_2045Season 5: Fall 2010 – A Train of Wine & Dance

Skipping forward to November 2010 and Patrick’s band had acquired a fourth member. The fourth member actually joined prior to summer but this was the first opportunity we would have to see them as a new four-piece. When Patrick called to tell me about adding a guitar player, I made fun of him.

“Why would you need two guitar players?”, I said. “Get a keyboard player. Keyboard players are cool.”

H and I were invited to their show and planned to go, however, it did clash with a Wine Train we were going on for H’s birthday. 

‘What’s a Wine Train?’, you say.  

Well, let me tell you.

A Wine Train is tour-guided day of drinking wine on a train, in a vineyard, at some kinda museum type place and then some arts and crafts to round out the day. It ends with more wine and bad dancing on the train home.

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Fairly certain I’m drunk here

 

I found out later that in preparation for us perhaps actually turning up for the show, the band had practiced the song H and I loved with the new guitar player. They had fully explaining our peer pressure antics and general ‘play our goddamn song’ mentality to him.

Patrick, however, theorized that we would not make it due to an overabundance of wine and merriment. 

Patrick knew us very well.

We didn’t make it anywhere near the gig.

In fact, I’m surprised we all made it home at a decent hour.

Season 6: Winter 2010 – Six Seasons and A Movie

Days after the Wine Train, Patrick announced his band would be coming to my town, Cheonan, and playing at our local hangout. I busied myself promoting the band’s gig. First I made my own tiny poster:

angry Bear poster
This was about the size of a large Post-It

 

And then Patrick mailed me some ‘official’ posters.

H was coming down too and we quickly made dinner plans for his band and us and another friend. December 3rd rolls around and I arrived to dinner.

Late.

Meh.

At least I wasn’t two days late for a musical festival kinda late.

When I got there, no food had been ordered, only drinks. I sat down next to Patrick, who was sitting next to their new guitarist:

The Canadian One.

I struck up a conversation with the little information I had: He was a guitarist. He was in a different band. Then he joined Patrick’s band. I was disappointed he was not a keyboard player. I thought perhaps I shouldn’t open with that. And that was literally it.

Our first conversation went something like:

Me: “So, I hear they stole you from another band?”

The Canadian One: “Well, no. I’m still in the other band. And in this band.”

Me: “What’s the other band?”

TCO: “Bedroom States.”

Me: “SAM’S BAND?!!”

TCO: “You know Sam?”

Me: “Yeah, he came to Christmas dinner last year. He kept calling me British.”

TCO: “You’re not British.”

Me: “No.”

We chatted a little about his other band and this new band and then he says: “I was in a band before Bedroom States called Animal Dads.”

And I stopped.

Me: “Wait…what?! I have your album on my iPod….”

And that was true.

As it turns out, waaaaaay back in March 2009 (so over a year and a half prior) Patrick had invited H and I to his friend’s band’s album launch. We went because we’re supportive like that and the bar had a great happy hour deal. Let’s be fair, we were probably more leaning towards the latter reasoning.

We paid to get in, got our albums, drank our drinks, danced our little hearts out and went home. We paid zero attention to the band on stage and moved on with our lives. Back at my apartment the following day, I put my CD into my laptop which automatically copied albums onto my iPod.

And thus I ended up with this album on my iPod.

The band: Animal Dads.

The lead singer: The Canadian One.

After the gig in Cheonan, he offered to buy me a drink for my wonderful ‘postering’ and promoting of the gig. I explained how, due to a misunderstanding, the barman actually bought me flowers as he thought we were promoting my birthday.

I also told him about how I was unimpressed that he wasn’t a keyboard player.

He spoke to Patrick about if I was single and if it was OK if he asked me out.

We chatted some more…

And then later that night….

He asked me out aaaaaaaanddddddd….

I said…

No.

2010 tree
My 2010 Christmas Tree

Series Finale – Part 1: Winter 2010 – Seoul-Mates

Our series finale, 2-parter episode opens on December 4th 2010 at a train station in Cheonan a mere 12 hours after I declined The Canadian One’s date offer.

Patrick, The Bass Player and I are all catching the same train up to Seoul as I was going work at a music festival for the most of the day and night and they lived there. The Canadian One and The Other Guitarist had left earlier in the morning.   

While The Bass Player watched over the guitars, Patrick and I ventured to the ticket line. We were standing in line…waiting…waiting….waiting…and when we got to being the next to be served, an old man cut in front of us like a ninja and was at the ticket desk.

Patrick exchanged some words in Korean with the old man and then sighed, looking forlorn and defeated. He looked down at me: 

“I said ‘no, it’s ok, you can go first, that’s fiiiine’ to him but clearly I don’t do sarcasm very well in Korean because he just thanked me.” – Patrick

IMG_2047The next 12 hours would be a montage of me working at the Rubber Seoul 2010 World AIDS Day Music Festival (a festival I would later go on to run for two years). Included would be: 

My friend and I modelling the small beaded doll pins we were selling.

Being paid to stop trying to sell tickets to a group of people:

“Stickers are $1? If we pay you $5 and take no stickers, will you go away?” – Guys

“YES!” – Us

Me dressing as a condom and trying desperately not to be knocked over by drunk people. 

No seriously. 

I can’t find a picture. 

But drunk people are mean. They kept trying to trip me up! 

I had memorable conversation while handing out free condoms (dressed in normal clothes, my condom-costume hour was up). I hand one to a girl, who turns to look at her date, looks back at me and says:

“No, thanks.” 

And hands me the condom back.

And then finally, I vividly remember dancing with my friend to ‘We No Speak Americano’ by Yolanda Be Cool at the after-party and spotting The Canadian One and Patrick standing nearby. The Canadian One asked if he could buy me a drink and I said yes. I told him about my speed dating adventure from earlier in the year and we decided to pretend we were speed dating. 

We sat opposite each other at a table.

We took it seriously.

And then we got kicked out of the bar because it was 3am and they were closing so we all headed home in our different directions.

To be continued….  

xmas eve
Christmas Eve dinner at a friend’s

Season Finale – Part 2: Christmas Day 2010 – First Date? 

We montage through the next few weeks. 

Given the 1.5 hour distance between us, The Canadian One and I would chat briefly and intermittently on Facebook and via text. Then it became less intermittent and more frequent. And then it was no longer brief and no longer intermittent and was pretty much taking up all of our spare time.

And here’s where the coincidental only-on-TV thing happens: The Canadian One was supposed to head to Ireland – where I am from and where he had never been – for a wedding over Christmas while I was off to sunny Malaysia with H for some winter beach time. A misspelling in his name ended with his ticket being cancelled last minute and he ended up spending Christmas in Seoul (while his friends jetted off for the wedding). Meanwhile I found myself in Seoul on Christmas Day to see a ballet and to fly out to Malaysia with H early on Boxing Day morning.

maylasia bound
Me and H, Malaysia 2010

The Canadian One and I had arranged to meet for a drink near where he lived after I had said goodbye to my friends. After a miscommunication about which train station to meet at, we eventually located each other and headed to a bar and then to his place to watch a Christmas movie we’d earlier voted on.

He’d said Gremlins.

I’d said Die Hard.

Clearly we both have the same idea of what a Christmas movie is.

But we watched Gremlins.

He gave me a one half of a small penguin magnet set as a Christmas gift as I’d mentioned my favourite animals were penguins. I put it in my purse and it travelled to Malaysia with me as I flew out the very next morning with H.

He kept the matching one on his fridge.

A year and a half later, it would be reunited with The Canadian One’s penguin and now they live together on our fridge holding up our wedding photo from exactly a year ago today. 

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Our Wedding Day: April 16th 2015 – Held up by penguin magnets and a fluffy pineapple

It’s funny how some things just work out. 

Categories
Canada funny humor running

The Road To 5K: Day 3

The road to 5k copy-2

And so I come to the end of my first week of training. In a mere 6 days, I’ve gone from a couch-loving, Netflix-watching Irish girl to a couch-loving, Netflix-watching Irish girl who can also jog a 3.5km without dying.

Much.

Dying much. 

“I hate healthy living. There’s no alcohol and you have to jog.” – Me, deciding to only drink on weekends while doing this jogging malarkey.

Week 1: Workout 3 was actually easier than the rest. I managed to get through Jogs 1-4 without begging for it to end. There was no feeling like I might throw up. No feeling like I won’t make it. There was a lot of out of breathness and chest pain but oddly no leg pain and the trusty side stitch didn’t appear until Jog 7. I drank a smoothie an hour before my jog having learned from Workout 2 not to eat right before a jog or bad things can happen.

The workout, though void of drama, was full of many firsts and Moosh’s dad drove up alongside me at one point, cheering me on as I sailed through the neighbourhood in the sun.

With the end of my period nearing, it was my first time jogging while wearing a mini Lunapad, a material pad you use instead of a pantyliner at the end of your period or on ‘light’ days. Unlike disposable pads, they aren’t sticky so a main worry was that they would slip about. I switched over to them for daily pantyliner usage a while back as I’m not a fan of the disposable ones they sell in stores. I did not switch over to Lunapads for period usage so I had done Workouts 1 and 2 wearing a regular Kotex pad. Now, I figured jogging with a Lunapad would be uncomfortable as it took me a while to get used to wearing them in general but it was actually fine. I forgot about it the moment I got outside and any concern I had regarding chafing or slippage disappeared the moment the first Jog Beep started and I realized that I would have to actually jog now.

Workout 3 also marked the first time I went jogging after a full day of work. Workouts 1 and 2 were on a half day and a day off respectively. However getting up at 5:20am, working all day and then jogging at 5pm as soon as I got home hadn’t made me even more tired like I thought. Instead I found I was full of energy and ended up cooking Irish Stew, writing and then cleaning the kitchen. 

Unfortunately, the workout was the first time I actually slowed to a walk during one of my jogs. I’d accidentally reached the hill quicker than usual and 10 seconds before the Walk Beep went off, I just began walking up the hill. Hill Jogging I am not ready for. 

My trip to Winners resulted in some cheap but pretty essentials and, let me tell you, a proper fitted sports bra to hold my tiny muffins in place lead to a much more comfortable session this time around. I ran with my new little waist strap to hold my phone and keys and it made all the difference. The freedom to swing my arms around without care was a nice novelty for about 10 minutes. 

To figure out my distance, I downloaded the Map My Run app and had a few minutes of trial and error trying to get C25K, Map My Run and Spotify to all work at the same time. Tip: Open C25K first. Turns out my house to Moosh’s and back is 3.5km. 

Showing The Canadian One my little running map upon my return he pointed out how I was zigzagging all over the place while going straight. It looked like a small child freehand drew a straight line from point A to point B. At one point I zigzagged across the street and then back again. I was trying not to scare a walking-lady by jogging up behind her…and then randomly slowing down right in front of her when the Walk Beep kicked in.

Tomorrow kicks off Week 2:Workout 1 and rain. It’s supposed to rain. But I’m Irish. A little rain has never stopped me from going outside before. 

Although any threat of snow, and I refuse to even get into the car!

And on to Week 2!

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

Categories
Cooking diet recipes vegan

Vegan Chickpea Curry Soup

Vegan Chickpea Curry Soup(Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Gluten-Free)

I always try to keep chickpeas on hand. I buy dried chickpeas in bulk, soak 3-4 cups of them overnight and then rinse them and boil them for 1.5 hours the next day. Once cooled, I freeze them in 2 cup measurements in Ziploc baggies. Then, whenever I want chickpeas, I just defrost a baggie and boom, the chickpeas are ready to go. I throw them into curries, soups, sprinkle them over our salads, mush them up to make falafels or roast them until crispy and snack on them. Sometimes when it’s just a soup, however, I’ll skip the defrosting step and just dump the baggie of frozen chickpeas into the hot liquid and allow them to defrost while cooking. 

This recipe was more of a what-do-I-have-in-the-fridge type of meal more so than something I set out to purposely make. It was late, I needed something for lunch the next day and wasn’t feeling venturing out in the snow to the grocery store for supplies. I’ve since tweaked it and cooked it many times since and we now frequently take it to work for lunch. 20160405_180903-2

1 tbs coconut oil

2 cups chickpeas

2-3 tomatoes, diced

1 onion, diced

1-1 1/2 tbs Yellow Curry Powder

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup of water

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp each of ginger, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Salt and pepper

  1. Fry the coconut oil over a medium heat with the onions and garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add curry powder, ginger, ground coriander, turmeric and garam masala (and cayenne if using) and stir. 
  3. Add chickpeas and tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. 
  4. Add coconut milk and water and bring to the boil. 
  5. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add more water if you think it is too dry. 

Serve with alone or with rice. 

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This refrigerates well however the coconut milk will solidify a little in the fridge so be sure to heat it up before eating it. It is also freezer friendly. I separate it into 2-person portions in Ziploc baggies, label and freeze flat. 

More Recipes: 

Irish Stew

Lucy’s Mum’s Chilli Con Carne

Spaghetti Bolognese 

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor running

The Road To 5K: Day 2

The road to 5k copy-2

Previously on The Road To 5K: The Prelude and Day 1.

Yesterday morning, I breathlessly completed Week 1: Workout 2 on the C25K app and, though I had figured it would be easier than Workout 1, I was wrong. It was not.

It was much harder.

My body was still sore from the first workout two days before and as soon as I hit the pavement, I knew it was going to be rough.

I got through the 5 minute warmup walk, passed the playground and realized I was incorrect in my last post, it was not a hippo the baby was on, it was a purple dinosaur.

During Jog 1, I was almost immediately out of breath and my throat started to burn. The jogging minute felt like an eternity and I almost quit right there and then. I reached a stop sign and almost considered heeding its warning but kept going.

I used Walk 1 to slow down and catch my breath before the next Jog Beep kicked in.

Jog 2 was awful. My chest burned, my mouth was filling with hot saliva, I was overheating already. I was not going to make it.

During Jogs 3 and 4 I was starting to get into a little bit of a stride. I made it to my turning point, Moosh’s House, and was on the way back to my house.

I had crossed the halfway point. Things were going well. Things were looking up!

Then I started to feel like I might throw up. I started jogging slow enough you could almost call it a fast, bouncy walk. My brother had told me to try to jog slow like if I was going any slow I could consider it a fast walk, but not quite. I was trying to aim for that speed. As I didn’t want to actually  physically stop, I alternated between fast and slow as I bounced along the sidewalk.

I began to realize eating a cereal bar right before I left the house was not a good idea and began to panic about what would happen if I really did throw up.

A while back, I got sent home from work ill. I was sweating, pale (more pale than usual for an Irish girl) and visibly hot. My manager called a cab (the company paid for it) and sent me home. Midway though the journey, I asked the cabbie to pull over as I was going to vomit. He stopped in the middle of the road in a suburban neighbourhood, I jumped out and threw up several times on an apartment building lawn. A shirtless man watched me from his balcony as a row of cars began to pile up behind my cab. It was a very classy moment for me.

It was noonish, I was wearing an office outfit and nice shoes (I was very concerned about getting puke on my shoes) and there I was, throwing up several times on a pristine lawn.

I got back into the cab, the cabbie thanked me for telling him advance that I was ill (apparently most people don’t) and off we went to my apartment.

Good times.

I imagined throwing up in my own neighbourhood to be like that, except it would be a house lawn not an apartment building, which is somehow so much worse!

And as I jogged past the now-completed trampoline I started taking deep breaths which didn’t help and I started coughing.

I managed to fumble through the rest of the workout, ending at my house at the exact moment the workout ended. The first time I had to go around the block on more time as I was a little faster.

The pain afterwards was less intense, however, and today I feel absolutely fine. I headed to Winners to pick up a sports bra and a belt to keep my phone in so I don’t have to carry it during my next workout and am overall more positive about this whole thing.

I’m not longer looking at this as a larger goal of ‘Running 5K’, but more of a smaller, achievable goal of ‘Running Jogs 1-4 without thinking I’m dying’.

Once I do that, I’ll up it to ‘Running Jogs 1-6 without death’.

Then it’s just a quick hop, skip and a job to the 5k!

Right…?

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

 

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment humor running

The Road To 5K: Day 1

The road to 5k copy-2

For ‘The Road To 5K: The Prelude’, click here

So it’s the morning after the first training session the night before and….ouch! Had I written this post last night, I would have replaced ‘ouch’ with ‘OH GOD WHYYYYY?!’. But alas, I waited.  All that lying on the floor overheating, downing water and eating Chickpea Curry Soup kinda took up a lot of my afternoon.

At the end of Day 1 I came out of the workout knowing one thing: my favourite part of the entire thing was the cool down 5 minute walk at the end.

But let’s start at the beginning.

My brother had given me advice of don’t jog too quickly on the first one, keep an eye on what I eat beforehand and how it affects me (Does it make me ill? Lethargic? Give me energy?) and if I start to feel sick or waver, I should slow down and just walk, get that distance in.  

The first hurdle I hit was my phone battery was dying so 1.5 hours and two laundry loads later, I was finally ready to at least leave the house. 

The next hurdle was what to wear. I quickly located my short yoga pants, a sports bra, t-shirt and light sweater. Most of this had been purchased and never worn when I had aspirations to do yoga some months back. I bought the clothes. I bought the Groupon. The Groupon expired. No yoga was done. The clothes sat pristine in the wardrobe. 

After that was the location. I had decided to run around my neighborhood as it’s quiet and not too hilly. I opted to run in a rectangular shape starting and ending at my home as I wanted to avoid zigzagging all over the place and getting myself lost in the suburban maze of pointy houses, bungalows and trees. I picked a location that would be roughly midway through my session and dubbed that my turning point. We could also call it Moosh’s House. 

Moosh
Moosh at my house

He lives at my turning point, the point in which I should head back towards my house in order to end the workout there on time.

I was using the C25K app and once I worked out how to get Spotify to play at the same time as the training app (open C25K, open Spotify, play Spotify, start workout), I was off. The workout instructions were pretty easy to follow and the trainer’s voice was not nearly as annoying as my GPS’s voice.

God, that GPS I just…Nevermind. A rant for another time.

Running race
Photo by Sergis Blog

Workout 1: Day 1 basically consists of a 5 minute warm-up walk followed by 1 minute of jogging then 90 seconds of walking then 1 minute of jogging, then walking, and so on for 20 minutes. Then there’s another 5 minute cool down walk. It tells you how many jogging sessions you have left, 3 of 8, and so on. It also tells you when you are halfway done which was nice to hear.

Jog 1 of 8 went ok. I kept a nice pace and thought to myself I could do this, I can do seven more of these, it’s all good. I jogged past a playground where a woman was taking off her shoes and unclipping a small child from her stroller. She stood to survey the empty playground as I went by.  

Jog 2 was a little harder. There was a slight incline to the road. My chest started to burn. I was keeping a ‘conversational pace’ (pace in which you could still carry a conversation) but I was still getting out of breath. It was day 2 of my period and I already needed to pee which was elevating my discomfort.

Jogs 3 and 4 were awful. My legs started to hurt. I became convinced I wouldn’t even make it to my halfway point. I could see Moosh’s House in the distance and it helped a little but it wasn’t enough to make me not start to panic and doubt that this was a bad idea. Me? Running? 5K? WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!

running 2
Photo by Jordan Fischer

On the walk after Jog 4, having made it to Moosh’s and turned around, my app congratulating me on making it to the halfway point and I felt a little better. I was spurred on. If I could do half, maybe I can do three-quarters, right? I sped up my walk to get over a hill before the jog beep and during Jog 5 realized running downhill was actually quite nice and also one of my neighbors has a really pretty porch.

I was beginning to overheat at this point and carrying my phone and keys in my hand were becoming inconvenient. I originally had them in my pocket, but the keys jangled and the phone kept tapping against me. I need to come up with a better storage system for them. The distracting feeling of needing to pee was diminishing, replaced with a cramping feeling I couldn’t distinguish as period pain or workout death, I mean related…workout related.

It was during Walk 6/Jog 6 I began to return my thoughts to the seemingly insurmountable task of running an entire 5K. I mean, I couldn’t even run for 1 minute without my legs burning, a stabbing pain in my rib cage and a general feeling of ‘WHY THE FUCK AM I DOING THIS?’ washing over me with each escaping bead of sweat! Then I passed by a yard with three guys in it trying to assemble a trampoline while small, impatient kids crowded them and was instantly enthralled. One stood with, what I imagine to be, an instruction sheet while the other two men stared at the half completed trampoline. Their confused faces made me flashback to trying to put the Cat Tower together or anytime we’ve bought anything from IKEA.  A safety net lay strewn on the grass nearby and a kid was bouncing his hands on the side of the trampoline itching to climb onto it as I panted past. 

For the entire of Jog 7 I kept repeating ‘I can do this, I can do this’. In my head. Not aloud. I didn’t want to be that weird jogger talking to herself. I was already not exactly jogging in a straight line and I had awkwardly caught up to an orange-jacketed walker and didn’t know what to do. I crossed the street and heard the walk beep. 

Jog 8 actually went OK. It was the last one so it had that going for it. I passed by the playground again where the woman was now perching her 1 year old-ish (too small to walk) child on a bouncy hippo type thing. She was cooing and talking to the baby while the baby just kinda stared at her with almost the same expression as the trampoline-constructors.

During the 5 minute cool down, I recapped my first workout. I noted the cereal bar and handful of All-Dressed Ruffles I’d eaten beforehand had no negative effects on me…although I can’t say for sure they had a positive effect.

Then it was done and I got my virtual trophy.

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The entire 30 minutes felt a lot shorter once it was over, however each jogging minute felt like an eternity. My Spotify playlist served me well, Classic Rock Workout by Spotify UK, and as ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ blared through my little headphones during the cool down, I felt victorious.

And today, with my legs hurting and my stomach muscles feeling like they have been awoken from a life-long hibernation, I can’t help but think now I just have to do this three times a week for seven more weeks. 

Easy, right?

RIGHT?! 

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

Next: 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

Categories
Apps Canada comedy funny humor

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The road to 5k copy-2

I’ve never run in my life.

Not once.

Not ever.

I used to see kids running around on the playground when I worked in Korea and think, ‘I couldn’t run like that if a bear was chasing me’. And now that I live in Alberta and the chances of an actual bear chasing me is significantly more likely than on the streets of Seoul, I STILL think the exact same thing.

‘I couldn’t run if a fucking bear was chasing me. I would just get eaten.’

So, on Sunday, with The Canadian One at work, I decided to change all that and take up running.

I downloaded the C25K app on my phone (because it was free) and…well, that’s all I did that day apart from the three episodes of Scandal I watched. Oh and that one episode of Law & Order: SVU.

On Monday I was ill and home from work and by the time Tuesday rolled around, I’d kinda abandoned my spur of the moment idea only to have it reawakened on Wednesday.

I saw an ad for the Calgary Marathon and, though at the time I was struggling to breathe due to period pain at the time, I decided I would sign up.

So basically, in a nutshell, I’ve decided to run a marathon.

The Calgary Marathon.

Ok, not the full marathon.

Just the 5K.

But come on, I’m planning to go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 3.1 miles in the space of 7 weeks.

If anything, this is going to be entertaining to witness.

When I texted my brother to tell him I was going to run a 5K, he laughed. And laughed. And laughed a bit more. And then gave me some advice.

He’s run the full Dublin, London and Paris marathons and the advice he gave seemed sound.

Training starts today so I’ll update you on how it goes. I’ve decided to add a little incentive to it so I actually do it so I signed up to the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. I chose to support the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), who, not only do fantastic work in animal rescue, they are also the people we adopted Pickles from a year ago!

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(You can see more pictures of her on her Instagram: @picklesatnoon if you’re into cute cat pictures)

Feel free to sponsor me HERE or just follow along on my progress/downfall (we’ll delete as appropriate later) here.

‘This should be interesting’, she says, typing on her laptop, eating a handful of Ruffles and contemplating rum, ‘Very interesting.’

Read More: 

The Road To 5K: Day 1

The Road To 5K: Day 2

Categories
Canada comedy diet funny humor internet

The Energy Crisis Is Over!

You will all be happy to know the energy crisis of 2016 has been resolved.

The Red Bull energy crisis that is.

You see, I eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sesame-free and preservative-free diet (not by choice) and, because The Canadian One is diabetic, we also eat low-carb. Salad. Lots of colorful vegetables. Salad. Fruit. Grains. Salad. Chickpeas. Lentils. Did I mention salad?

Given this, I do not feel bad about my 2 Red Bull a week habit.

Not at all.

Not one little bit.  

The Canadian One: “Do you want a coffee?”

Me: “No. I don’t. I wish coffee came cold…and carbonated…and came in a tropical flavor.”

The Canadian: “That’s a completely different drink you are describing. That’s not coffee.”

Me: “No. It’s Red Bull. I want a Red Bull.”

Now, a few weeks ago, I started to noticed stock of Yellow Red Bull dwindling in the local Walmart. Thinking nothing of it except maybe Wally’s was not stocking it anymore, I wandered to the 7-11 across the street to discover they were sporting just the original and no-sugar versions.

A week later, I noticed the convenience store in my work building had only original flavor and a few color flavors and Shoppers had ONLY colored flavors.

I mentioned to The Canadian One I thought something was going on in Calgary with the Red Bull and I started to get suspicious.

A few days later, I mentioned it again.

And then again.

And then last week, I went into full ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING THE RED BULL??’ mode when Shoppers’ designated Red Bull fridge was completely empty and Safeway only had 8 Green Red Bulls in stock.

Green.

Like seriously, what bullshit.

Green.

Who drinks Green Red Bull? Nobody. That’s why it was the only flavor in stock. It’s like Blue flavor. Why does it exist?

So The Canadian suggested asking Reddit. He loves Reddit. My only interaction with Reddit has been him showing me things on Reddit on his phone.

A quick tutorial on Reddit later and my question is up online.

Lo and behold, within 10 hours, I had heard from someone who works in the building of the old distributors and someone who works for the new distributors, someone who got suspicious like me and emailed Red Bull HQ, several people who had noticed it but not to the point of investigating it, and a bunch of usual suspects complaining about Red Bull in general (bad taste, unhealthy, blah blah blah) that I kinda just glossed over.
 
Turns out the changeover to the new distributors did not go as smoothly as hoped and there was a supply problem in the west of Canada. The problem has since been resolved and Red Bull shall be winging its way back into stores very shortly.

My excitement at solving this mystery was slightly dampened when The Canadian One pointed out that at any point in the past three weeks, I could have solved this with one question to any of the staff members of any of those stores by asking:

‘Hey, so what’s going on with the Red Bull shortage?’

But my way was more fun.

Now to solve the next mystery: Why were there 4 police cars and an ambulance outside the Wendy’s yesterday?!!

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor

11 Fun Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

  

1. St. Patrick was actually British. The Irish kidnapped him and forced him to work alone on a mountain as a shepherd. One day, he escaped and returned to Britain where he studied Christianity for many years. He later returned to Ireland to teach the small island about Christianity and spread the word of the Holy Trinity. 

2. He is widely believed to have gotten rid of all the snakes from Ireland.

3. Though now associated with the colour green, St. Patrick’s colour actually used to be blue. 

4. Until 1970, as it was declared a public holiday, no pub was allowed to open in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day.

5. In 1903, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in Ireland. 

6. It’s St. Paddy’s Day not St. Patty’s Day. Patty is a girl’s name. And the name of a hamburger. And something you would get decked for if you called a guy it in Ireland.

7. March 17th is the day of his death, not birth.

8. It was St. Patrick who granted permission to St. Brigid to allow women to propose to men on Feb 29th.

9. Other than also being Irish, leprechauns have nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. There is, however, a museum dedicated to them in Dublin. 

10. Despite many depictions to the contrary, the four-leaf clover also has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick used the shamrock, with its three leaves, to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland and thus making it a constant symbol of Ireland. 

11. The shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world happens in Dripsey, Co. Cork and travels between two of the town’s pubs.

Categories
Cooking diet food lactose free recipes

What We Ate This Month: January 2016

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“Are you on a diet? This one looks less like cake.” – says the lady in the department next to mine, meaning well when asking if I wanted something from the tray of desserts she was toting around offering people.


This is probably the question I get asked the most. I decline food. I’m a decliner. I decline chocolate. I decline cake. I say ‘no thank you, I’m full from lunch’ to a vast array of cute and delicious looking mini treats that will make me tremendously ill due to my food intolerances.

This particular time, when asked if I was on a diet, I did my usual giggle and said, ‘No, of course not!’

One of her co-workers looks at me. 

“I can’t have dairy, chocolate, gluten, eggs or soy…so basically anything fun!”, I explain. 

He laughs and tells me there’s leftover Starbucks coffee in the kitchen, I should go help myself to some of that.

The second most asked question I get is, ‘Wait, so what DO you eat?!”.

THIS post is an attempt to answer that question.

I keep a meticulous track of our food. What we eat. What’s in the freezer. What food we have in the house and what I plan on doing with it. At the start of each month I do an inventory of our pantry and freezer and then everything I can make with the food and then everything I want to make that month. I have rarely, if ever, walked into a grocery not knowing what I needed, what I was going to use it for and which day I was going to use it. However, since the month and the meals are ever evolving sometimes the monthly plan changes and I swap meals around, get tired and resort to a simple stir-fry or pull something from the freezer that’s already cooked.

“Do you want 3/4 of a white onion?” – text from my neighbour offering me leftovers. 

I declined. Politely. I didn’t want to say ‘I’m not scheduled to need an onion until Wednesday’. 

We eat pretty simply and cheap. Healthy by proxy of disease and intolerances. Convenience is a big factor for me too. After working all day, I’m no more interested in creating a gourmet meal than I am in running a 25K marathon. Below you’ll find a list of the meals we ate in January first followed by further explanation of each dish. You’ll see a lot of meals doubled which just saves me time. Eat one now, eat one the following week and no cooking.You’ll also see a lot of stew just because I like to throw on a pot of stuff when I get home from work and then leave it to simmer away while I do other things. 

January 2016: What We Ate This Month

January 1st 2016: Loco Moco with Rice

January 2nd 2016: Spaghetti Bolognese

January 3rd 2016: Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Pineapple and Rice

January 4th 2016: Beef Stir-Fry and Rice

January 5th 2016: Irish Stew

January 6th 2016: Sausage Stir-Fry and Rice

January 7th  2016: Fricot

January 8th 2016: Chicken Drumsticks and Fries

January 9th 2016: Turkey Chilli and Rice

January 10th 2016: Loco Moco with Rice

January 11th 2016: Ham, Potatoes and Vegetables: We bought a baked ham for $5 on sale at the grocery store – we actually bought 4 of them and froze them – and we baked it. It took about 1.5hrs in the oven and required zero supervision from me. We had it along with mashed potatoes (with unsweetened cashew milk and dairy-free butter) and boiled carrots tossed in dairy-free butter and parsley. 

January 12th 2016: Leftover Ham, Potatoes and Vegetables – as above.

January 13th 2016: Chickpea & Sausage Stew with Rice

January 14th 2016: Meatballs and Pasta: Meatballs and Pasta: For the meatballs, I used this recipe and for the sauce, I used this recipe. 

January 15th 2016: Steak and Fries: We grilled up steaks along with baking frozen fries and had them alongside some peas. We also had Chimichurri sauce. We tried Chimichurri at The Keg when we were gifted $100 to spend there by The New Roomie and decided we would try make it at home. We bought some Argentinian Chimichurri mix from The Silk Road, Calgary, followed their instructions and spooned it over our cooked steaks. It’s been a staple ever since. 

January 16th 2016: Spaghetti Bolognese

January 17th 2016: Indian Butter Chicken Curry and Rice – From a packet, Asian Home Gourmet Indian Butter Chicken, except I substituted dairy-free butter for the butter and coconut milk for the yogurt. 

January 18th 2016: Meatballs and Pasta: For the meatballs, I used this recipe and for the sauce, I used this recipe

January 19th 2016: Beef Stir-Fry and Rice – For this one we tried a package sauce I bought at Co-Op. I would not recommend it.

January 20th 2016: Sausage and Pepper Pasta

January 21st 2016: Chicken Vindaloo Curry and Rice

January 22nd 2016: Chicken Drumsticks and Fries

January 23rd 2016: Sausage and Pepper Pasta

January 24th 2016: Eat Out: Fatburger – We had a Groupon. I had the lettuce wrapped Fatburger and a lemonade. 

January 25th 2016: Steak, Potato and Peas: Same steaks as January 15th, with mashed potatoes (with unsweetened cashew milk and dairy-free butter) and peas. 

January 26th 2016: Irish Stew

January 27th 2016: Eat Out: I was home late after being at a leaving party for a manager at work so we had Safeway Roast Chicken and McDonald’s Fries.

January 28th 2016: Chickpea and Sausage Stew with Rice

January 29th 2016: Beef Madras and Rice

January 30th 2016: Pork Chilli and Rice – I added some ground chipotle powder and some jalapeños. 

January 31st 2016: Eat at Friend’s House: We had Smashburger, who have the BEST website for people with food allergies. #fact.

*A note about rice: We have a rice cooker so for just the 2 of us eating, I throw in a half a cup of rice and let it cook away by itself while I’m preparing the rest of the meal.

*No, I am not sponsored by The Silk Road Spices, Calgary. I just really like their spices!

January 1st: LOCO MOCO

This is a Hawaiian dish The Canadian One fell in love with back in April when we were off in Oahu getting married (more on that another time). It’s basically white rice nestled under a hamburger and a fried egg and then covered in brown gravy. The versions he tried, and there were multiple over the week we were there including our wedding night dinner, also contained fried onions. The one at the Dole Plantation had the hamburger smothered in beef chilli which is the one I tried and loved.

Just to go back to the fact that he ate this on our wedding night.

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Wedding Day!

We had, originally, booked a table in a fancy restaurant for the evening of our wedding. It was just to two of us so we figured we’d splurge on somewhere nice. However, the night before our wedding, we ate take out on our hotel balcony from a place opposite our hotel called Chai’s Waikiki Hawaiian Fusion. It was cheap, tasty, I could walk there and back in heels and there was a lot of food. I had the Grilled Hawaiian BBQ Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, Salad and Rice and he had the Loco Moco. The following day, we decided we wanted the take-out again and so we cancelled our fancy restaurant booking and headed to the take-out place in full wedding outfits, got our food (both getting the exact same orders from the night before), ate it on our balcony and then blew our fancy restaurant money on overpriced, colorful cocktails at the bars downstairs. It was glorious.

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Moving on. 

A quick Google for Loco Moco recipes lead me down a rabbit hole of similar-yet-slightly-different variations of the dish so I came up with a kind of hybrid version. Since I can’t have dairy, gluten or egg, I used my own trusted recipe for hamburgers.

RECIPE: BURGERS / MEATBALLS

Previously, I covered how to make pork burgers and meatballs here. This recipe uses basically the same concept of same ingredients, different foods. If I’m making a big batch of this, I will usually use a combination of ground beef and ground pork but if I’m just making two burgers, I’ll use only ground beef.

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To make what’s in the above picture, I used:

1kg ground beef

1kg ground pork

1tb garlic powder

1tb onion powder

A big squirt of tomato ketchup, BBQ sauce or some other kinda burger sauce – I used burger sauce I had in the fridge.

A large handful of breadcrumbs

4 tb of milk – I used unsweetened cashew milk…and I measured with a shot glass. So it was like 2 shots of milk but start with 1 shot and add as needed. 

Salt and pepper – just shake as much as you want in

Mix together. If it’s too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If it’s too dry, add more milk. Shape into whatever you are making: meatballs or hamburgers.

The recipe is pretty fluid. Sometimes I don’t add garlic. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I add paprika. Or chilli powder. Or oregano. Or nutritional yeast. I experiment a lot with different flavours. Sometimes I’ll just use ground beef and nothing else. 

Then I’ll cook the meatballs, cool them and freeze them in batches of 12 in the freezer. I make sure to bake at least 40 as a few invariably get eaten during the packing-into-the-freezer-baggie process.

RECIPE: LOCO MOCO – Makes 1 Meal for 2

Loco Moco is basically a bed of white rice with a hamburger nestled on top, a egg on top of that, fried onions sprinkled on the egg and gravy poured over the whole thing. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Cooking for more, add more burgers, rice and eggs. Easy. For two people, you will need: 

2 hamburgers

2 eggs

White rice

Sliced onions

Gravy – I guess any kind of beef gravy will do, I have my own recipe below. 

Usually I’ll make the white rice and some fried onions (slice onions, fry them in vegetable oil until crispy and golden) first and then I grill the burger. I leave the egg and the gravy to last. 

The gravy is a little more intricate: Add to pan (if you used a grill pan or frying pan to make the burgers, use that and scrape up all the lovely burger bits) 1 cup of beef stock, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (which is not always gluten free but has never harmed me so I just gloss over it), salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat. Mix 1 tb of cornstarch with 2 tbs of water and add to pan. Return to heat. Whisk whisk whisk until thick. If you want thicker, add more cornstarch/water mixture, if you want thinner, add more water and whisk.

Construct Loco Moco: Rice then burger then onions then egg (if using) then pour gravy over it and then eat.

Glorious.

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January 3rd: SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS WITH PINEAPPLE AND RICE – Makes 1 Meal for 2 with leftovers

Sweet & Sour Anything is a difficult thing for us to eat. With The Canadian One being diabetic, the classic versions of Sweet & Sour sauce I kept coming across all contained sugar and sugar and sugar and pineapple juice, and that’s just not quite going to work for us. I found a nice recipe in The Joy of Cooking and set about adapting it as I had half a can of chopped pineapple leftover and I wanted to use it up. The only meat I could find to mix with is was the meatballs which I’d left out from the day before’s burger/meatball making bonanza to make with pasta sauce then changed my mind when I saw the pineapple in the fridge.

I love pineapple.

Sweet & Sour Anything with Pineapple and Rice – Adapted from Joy Of Cooking

For this recipe, I immediately started to see what I could sub out that was high in sugar. First to go was the actual sugar in the recipe. It called for 1/2 cup of sugar so I substituted a tablespoon of Splenda. For the 3/4 cup of pineapple juice I simply added 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice and froze the rest from the can. I added ½ cup of diced onion, 1 tb of No-Sugar Ketchup and cut down on the chicken stock and vinegar as there were just two of us.

1 cup chicken stock

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 tb no-sugar ketchup (or any ketchup) 

2 tbs pineapple juice

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/3 cup white vinegar (or less to taste)

A sprinkle of salt

3-4 slices of pineapple, diced

1 tb cornstarch + 1 tb of water

Add a little oil to the pan. Fry onion for 2-3 minutes stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn. Next you can add whatever raw meat (diced chicken, pork, beef) you are using and fry until lightly browned. If you are using cooked meat like meatballs or leftover chicken or ham, skip to the next step.

Add green pepper and stir-fry a little more. 

Next add all the other ingredients except the pineapple and cornstarch.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add pineapple and cooked meat if using. 

Simmer for 10-15 more minutes.   

Remove from heat. Whisk the cornstarch and water together and add to pan.

Return pan to heat and stir until thickened.

Serve over rice. 

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January 4th / 6th / 19th: STIR-FRY

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Stir-fry is my go-to when I’m feeling lazy. It’s quick, easy and I can use up a bunch of veggies from the fridge all in one shot. I usually throw a half a cup of rice in the rice cooker before I do anything so at least that is on and requires zero attention from me. For my beef stir-fry I use thinly sliced beef, different colored bell peppers, sliced onions and carrots cut into little sticks. If I think I may be making stir-fry in the week, I usually cut up all the veggies at once and store them in little Tupperwares in the fridge so I can just throw together a stir-fry at the last minute. 

And by ‘last minute’ I mean, I have woken from a nap to discover there is nothing defrosted and it’s 7:45pm. 

For the beef, I buy a huge round of beef from Costco and cut it up. I get four steaks, four baggies of stew meat and 2 baggies of stir-fry beef. To get it so thinly sliced, I cut the beef into thinish slabs and lay them out on parchment paper. Very carefully, I then balance the parchment paper on a tray and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. One it’s frozen, I take it out, slice it up nice and thin, portion it back into separate baggies, label and refreeze. This way it will defrost super quick, cook super quick and be table-ready from the freezer to the plate in 30 minutes.

For the stir-fry on the 4th, I used a Chinese 5-Spice Sauce (below) and for the Beef Stir-Fry on the 19th, I used an Asian Home Gourmet Szechuan Sauce I picked up at the Co-Op. I recognized it from living in Korea and couldn’t remember if we liked it so figured we’d try it again. We didn’t like it and I now remember why we only ever had it that once. 

For the Sausage Stir-Fry two days later on the 6th, I used the same veggies as the Beef Stir-Fry as I had halved the bell peppers and onions for the first stir-fry and wanted to use up the other halves before they went weird in the fridge. And the onion smell each time I opened the fridge served as both an inspiration to cook anything stir-fry and a reminder to buy a new baking soda thingy for the fridge. I also used two smokies we had in the fridge and sliced them up into half-moon shapes. 

The sauce for the one on the 6th, however, is the best part. For this one, I made my homemade stir-fry sauce: Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce. OK, so the name is a little obvious BUT it IS soy-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Just to be clear, I know I can’t have dairy and have been told to limit or eliminate gluten from my diet. The soy is on the fence. The whole saga is documented here but for the sake of argument, I basically eat something that may have soy in it, if it makes me sick, I don’t eat it again, if it doesn’t make me sick, I do eat it again. It’s a very simple process. I’ve avoided tofu and soy sauce anyway just to limit them but I can tolerate soybean oil and the teeny bit of soy that’s in some foods. For the soy-free ‘soy sauce’, I use this recipe. I make a large batch and then freeze it in an ice-cube tray for later use.

RECIPE: SPICY STIR-FRY SAUCE 

3-4 tbs soy sauce or not-soy soy sauce

2 tbs white vinegar

1 cup of beef / chicken / vegetable stock

1/2 tb Splenda

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tb minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder

1 tb Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp onion powder

1-2 tsp Sriracha

2 tsp cornstarch

I sometimes also add 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika or ground chipotle powder just to give it a little more of a smoky flavour. 

Throw all the ingredients EXCEPT the cornstarch into a bowl/jug/something to hold it all in and mix it about a little. I put it all in a mason jar and shake it. Works like a charm. 

RECIPE: CHINESE 5-SPICE STIR-FRY SAUCE

1 tbs Chinese 5-spice powder (I use this one

½ – 1 cup of beef stock (depending on how saucy you want your stir-fry)

2 tbs soy sauce or not-soy soy sauce

1 tb cornstarch.

RECIPE: BASIC STIR-FRY – Makes 2 meals for 2 sometimes with leftovers for the next day

Oil

1 cup of sliced chicken/beef/tofu/pork

2 carrots, sliced into sticks

½ each of 2 different colored peppers, sliced (or just one colored pepper. Red is nice. Or green. Orange is kinda cool. But not yellow. I’m kidding. Any colour pepper you’ve got is fine. It’s a stir-fry, not a painting.)

1 onion, sliced (try keep all the sliced veggies the same-ish size) 

The instructions for all the stir-fries are pretty much the same.  

Fry a small bit of oil in large frying pan or wok, if you’re feeling fancy and happen to have one. I use vegetable oil or canola oil. 

Then fry up some sliced onion and garlic, add the beef or chicken or whatever meat you are using. Fry until browned, continually stirring. 

Add the carrots and peppers and stir-fry for maybe 5-6 minutes.

For Chinese 5-Spice Stir-Fry: 

Add Chinese 5-Spice powder and stir-fry for 1 minute, stirring consistently.

Add beef stock and soy sauce / not-soy soy sauce. Bring to boil and simmer for 10-15 more minutes.

Mix cornstarch with 2 tbs of water. Remove pan from heat, add cornstarch mixture, return pan to heat and stir until thickened. 

For Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce:

Skip over the ‘add Chinese 5-spice powder’ step and just add your sauce mixture from the jug/bowl/jar and bring to boil then simmer for 10-15 more minutes. I usually simmer until the rice cooker beeps and the meat is cooked. 

Mix cornstarch with 2 tbs of water. Remove pan from heat, add cornstarch mixture, return pan to heat and stir until thickened.

For the package stir-fry sauce, follow the instructions on the package. Obviously. 

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January 7th: FRICOT – Makes 4 bowls of soup

The Canadian One would constantly talk about a soup his grandmother would make him called Fricot. I wasn’t until recently that we realized it was not written how it was pronounced, ‘Fricko’, it was actually ‘Fricot’, a traditional Acadian stew. As a result, the misspelling made it difficult to work out exactly what goes into it other than his memory of turkey and potatoes. The Canadian One’s cousin eventually gave us an idea of what went into it and through trial and error after each holiday with leftover turkey, the Quest for Fricot began. Of course, NOW we have looked up a recipe and realized it is very similar to the one we came up with and are rather proud of our little version. 

2 cups cooked and shredded turkey or chicken

1 cup carrot, diced

1 onion, diced

2 tbs butter

3 potatoes, diced

4 cups chicken stock

1tsp each of dried sage, thyme, marjoram

Salt and pepper

1 tsp garlic, crushed, optional but I like it

Melt butter in large pan. Fry onions and garlic a little until soft. Toss all other ingredients in. I throw in some Silk Road All-Purpose Blend sometimes. Just a tablespoon. Bring to boil. Simmer for 1-2 hours. I usually just put it on while I’m doing other stuff in the kitchen like watching Scandal on my iPad or Instgramming pictures of my cats. We serve it with buns or bread. 

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January 8th: CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS & FRIES – Makes enough for 8-10 drumsticks

Friday is Fry-day in our home. I like making fries on a Friday. I have no idea why or even how this happened. It just began as a pattern and stuck. The fries are pretty simple; they are frozen oven fries so I just follow the instructions on the package. 

For the sauce, we use an adapted version of Barbecue Chicken Legs by The Pioneer Woman

1 tsp onion powder

1-2 tbs tomato paste

1/2 cup no-sugar ketchup (or regular ketchup) 

1 tsp garlic powder

3 tbs white vinegar (more or less to taste) 

1 tb Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp molasses

2 tbs chipotle adobo sauce or 2 tsp ground chipotle powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder (optional)

1 tb Splenda (optional)

1/4 tsp smoked paprika powder (optional) 

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, heat gently and stir until throughly mixed. This bubbles and splashes a bit. Not gonna lie. I sometimes make double and freeze half. 

For the drumsticks, we rub oil (usually olive oil) over the chicken and then sprinkle it with some salt and pepper and bake at 425F for 20 minutes, flip it and bake for another 20 minutes, then add the sauce, reduce heat to 350F, cover with foil, bake for 5 minutes, flip and kinda spoon the sauce over it (or use a brush if you have one) and bake for another 5 minutes. 

I dip my fries in the excess sauce. I just LOVE it. 

This also works as a wing sauce. Just FYI. 

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January 9th: LEFTOVER TURKEY CHILLI  – Makes 2-3 meals for 2

We had a LOT of turkey leftover from Christmas dinner. It being just the two of us, and given my penchant for buying large turkeys on sale and stuffing our freezer with them, it leads to an extraordinary amount of leftovers. And let’s be honest, after eating nothing but turkey for 2-3 days over the holidays, you’re done. You need something else. Like a steak.

Whenever there’s a large turkey cooked, I (meaning not me at all, The Canadian One) cuts off enough meat for 2 dinners and puts it aside and then cuts off all the rest of the meat, and I slice it, portion it out and freeze it. I would make stock out of the carcass however my current pot is not large enough and into the trash the bones go. 

This chili came about because during a month-end freezer inventory, I found a small baggie of frozen sweetcorn and a baggie with a cup of cooked kidney beans in it. Coupling that with a tin of chopped tomatoes, an onion and the remainder of a sandwich baggie of frozen tomato paste, we had ourselves a meal.

Vegetable or coconut oil

1 cup cooked turkey

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup cooked kidney beans

1 large can diced tomatoes

2 tbs of tomato paste

½ cup of sweetcorn

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

A sprinkling of red chilli flakes or diced jalapeños (optional)

Heat oil in pan or pot. Add onion and garlic and fry until softened. 

After that, I usually just dump all of the rest of the ingredients into the pot, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. I’m sure there is an actual order I should be adding these all to the pot but in the interest of time and ease, I don’t seek it out.

This, incidentally, would also work as a slow-cooker recipe. Probably fry onion and garlic, add to slow cooker along with all the other ingredients and then put it on low for 6 hours. If anyone tries that, let me know. 

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January 13th: CHICKPEA & SAUSAGE STEW WITH RICE – Makes 2-3 meals for 2

This was more of a what-do-we-have-in-the-fridge type of stew more so than a gourmet-fancy-follow-a-recipe type of thing. I buy a lot of dried chickpeas, soak 3 cups of them overnight, boil them the following day and then freeze them in 1 cup baggies in the freezer to add to whatever I want. 

For this I laid out all the ingredients I could find on the table and came up with the plan to toss everything into a pot and hope for the best. I like all those things separately, there was no reason I could think of as to why it wouldn’t all work together. 

1 cup chickpeas

2 smokie sausages, diced

1 can of whole tomatoes

Some tomato paste, it looked like about a tablespoon. It was a frozen square. I feel like when it melted, it was about a tablespoon. I just threw it into the pot frozen. 

1 onion, diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced aka bashed with a frying pan until small 

1 red bell pepper, diced. It was actually 3/4 of a bell pepper because some of it had gone a little soft. 

2 tsp mild chilli powder

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup of chicken stock

Red chilli flakes and chopped jalapeno peppers

Frozen sweetcorn, a handful

I fried up the garlic and onion in some oil and added them to a large pot. Then I basically threw everything else into the pot and brought it to a boil. Then I simmered it for about an hour with the lid on. 

You can also make this without the sausage. Obviously. 

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January 21st: CHICKEN VINDALOO CURRY AND RICE – Makes 1 meal for 2

This curry is HOT, I’m not gonna lie. The first time I had it, I put a lot of curry powder in it and had to add a little coconut milk to mine to mellow it out a bit. 

1 tb Vindaloo curry powder (I used The Silk Road’s Vindaloo curry blend) Add more or less to taste. I suggest the first time you make it, use less and then build from there. 

2 chicken breasts, diced (or meat/vegetables of choice)

2 tomatoes, diced

2 tbs tomato paste

1-2 tsp red wine vinegar (to taste)

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 cup water / stock

Blend the tomato paste, curry powder and vinegar into a paste and marinate the chicken in it in the fridge for an hour or so. I sometimes just gloss right over this step if I feel like it. I mean, we’re the ones eating it, if we don’t mind, who cares? If you DO mind, however, please do marinate it for a bit in the fridge. 

Fry up the garlic and onion until soft in a little oil. I use vegetable oil or coconut oil. 

Add chicken mixture and fry, stirring, until the chicken is browned on the outside. 

Add tomatoes and water/stock to pan. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Serve with rice. 

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January 23rd: SAUSAGE AND PEPPER PASTA – Makes 2-3 meals for 2

This is a recipe I got from CrockPot Diabetic Recipes but adapted it for use on the stove and not the slow-cooker. 

I kept the basic ingredients the same except I used Mild Italian Pork Sausages and not the chicken sausages called for in the recipe.

4 mild Italian sausages (or any sausage, really)

1 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced (again, I just whack it a few times with a pot until it’s all small)

1 large can of whole tomatoes

A mixture of sliced peppers (red, green, yellow, orange) making up about 2 cups, if you have them. If not just slice up 2 different coloured peppers. 

1 tbs dried basil

1 tsp red chilli flakes

Salt and Pepper

Remove the sausages from their casings, cut into little balls and fry in a frying pan with a little oil until browned. Tip into a large pot. 

Add onion and garlic to the frying pan and fry until soft. Tip into the large pot. 

Add all the other ingredients to the large pot. Stir it around, bring to boil, cover and simmer for an hour. 

Serve with pasta. 

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 January 29th: BEEF MADRAS AND FRIES – Makes 1 meal for 2

This requires marinating overnight. Unlike the earlier curry, I’ve never skipped over the marinating of the beef. Also, I usually serve this with rice but lately we’ve been having it with fries…and here’s why:

We had a friend visiting from Chicago a few months back and, as you do when friends come to town, we went out and got drunk, returning home at 2am…ish, starving. I threw some fries in the oven and located some leftover Beef Madras from dinner earlier in the fridge.

I heated it up, poured it over the cooked fries poutine-style and we ate it with a side of Sriracha and tomato ketchup. Now, you may be scrunching up your nose at this, but it was the best thing we had ever tasted and we felt like geniuses. It just worked. We have no idea why.

We later tried it again, after not consuming copious amounts of beer and vodka and it still worked. It was glorious and thus a new, unusual dish was born.