The greatness of sandwiches

A while back, I talked about a journal I stumbled upon, called 642 Things to Write About. I’ve been fairly diligent in writing every day, sometimes twice. So as part of the new direction of this blog, I give you the second in this creative writing series.

“The greatness of sandwiches.”

Sandwiches are perfect. Straight up, they are legitimately p-e-r-f-e-c-t. They don’t discriminate in their length or width or smell, if they’re regulated as a side to a soup, or if they’re your entree. Sandwiches just want to be there for you, to be eaten, and savoured. The perfect sandwich will aim to please you so greatly, you’ll come back to them. They are not unlike your own personal yes-man. Hungry? Yes-man. Want a delicious sandwich that’s the perfect mix of protein, seasoning, garnish and cheese? Yes-man. I reiterate, sandwiches, you are perfect.

If done right, you, the eater, are faced with this perfect equilibrium of your choice of protein, dairy, vegetables and bread. This is the stuff dreams are made of. A good sandwich can fill you up. A great sandwich can turn your day around and put you in a better mood. An epic sandwich? That will change your life in a way you never imagined.

Consuming an epic sandwich means you’ve hit some various criteria: the ideal crunch-to-softness ratio has been achieved, there’s just enough flavouring to your meat or substitute so as to not overpower you, the right combination of salty and sweet has been met in your vegetable additions and somewhere in there, you’ve added in delicious cheese to ooze every where, or bring out the flavours further in your wonderful gastro-experiment.

Case and point, this example from a local Vancouver eatery, Meat and Bread, their slow braised beef brisket with cabbage.

I have consumed many a sandwich in my day, from the ho-hum mystery lunch meat specials, to a solid PBJ (Organic peanut butter and home made jam, of course), to amazing finds on the go in Vancouver and abroad. Thankfully, sandwiches are one way that experimenting with foods and combinations can actually pay off once in a while. Your adventurous nature is often rewarded in the symphony of deliciousness that unfolds with your first bite. I can verify this is a thing. No, seriously, if you’re ever in Florence, head over to i due fratellini, order the cinghiale piccante con caprino and then come back here and tell me I changed your life.

Prosciutto panini
Prosciutto and provolone on a homemade bun, i due frattelini (please note the massive size of this amazing sandiwch).

The fact that someone can even question the greatness that is the sandwich breaks my heart. ‘Breaking bread’ is a time honoured tradition with friends and family, but why bother breaking it in the first place if you don’t intend on piling it high with amazing ingredients, revering it for what it is (the best sit down or on the go food around), and stuffing your face?

 

 

 

Plea to a Houseplant

I was recently turned toward this journal, 642 Things to Write About and found my creative juices rejuvenated for the first time in a while.  As a result, this little blog of mine is going to have a new shape and feel to it in the coming months.

Starting with today’s entry, my first in the journal. The topic chosen at random: “A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.” This is, oddly, the absolute best jumping-off point for me, creatively speaking. For as anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting me knows that I’m a killer. A cold-blooded shrubbery killer. There has never been a plant, or tree, or garden I have encountered that I have not managed to bring to the verge of death, or carry right over to Hades.

And so, I give you my plea to all houseplants.

Why do I need you to live? Because I really really need to stop being a murderer. A vicious, serial-plant-murderer. Honestly, unless you’re a cactus, there is little hope for you. And even then, let’s be real, I’ve offed a few of your brethren. You should be well aware that I cannot guarantee your well-being while in my presence, and for this I am dreadfully sorry. You didn’t know when you were given to me that you were approaching your certain death sooner than anticipated. Really, your life span with me as your guardian depends on your will to live, my leafy green friend. So, live! Choose life! Choose flourishing leaves and flowering petals! Fight the good fight, and persevere against all odds. Trust me, I will do everything right, and somehow, you will wilt, dry out, or worse, inexplicably drown. (I’m looking at you, mysterious 4-inch tropical, circa 2008). For once in my life, I’d like to know I didn’t assist in a plant-suicide, and that my mere presence does not want to make you keel over. I know I can do it. I just need a willing compatriot. So, plant life, bring me your tried and true warrior, and let us prove the nay-sayers wrong! Long live the perennial!

Death to Plant Life

The One Where Her Guard Fell

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for a while, but never really had the cajones to do it. This last year has been tough, amazing, but tough, in all aspects of life. So I figure doing some cathartic writing therapy, before charging into 2014 was as good a time as any. This is going to get personal fast, but we all know I wear my heart on my sleeve. For better or worse.

The best way to attack this is to break it down, categorically. We’ll briefly touch on friendships, career(s), and love. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Friendship:
About a year ago, it became clear to me that someone I thought would be in my life forever, as my best friend, would not in fact be that person. I’ve been told time and again that people are in our lives sometimes for a certain length of time to teach us about ourselves, and move on. I firmly believe this was what she was to me now. We’ll call her AB. We had a great ride, I mean, I can honestly say that I have never, and likely will never pick up a girl at a bar again on St. Patrick’s Day, by offering to swap our dates for each other, and then end up leaving together without either of them. Upon moving back to Ottawa last year, she and I tried to dive right back in. Big mistake. A lot had changed for both of us, and we were not the same university students anymore. She decided to pull the rip cord, and I, though completely disapproving of her actions, did not push her. It is now a year later, and we have not spoken. Not to sound ungrateful, but her absence, though known,  has not necessarily been missed. Sure, I recall fondly our time together, memories and conversations. But my life has not suffered for it, there is no void. When I realized this, about 6 months into my imposed friendship exile, I knew I was at peace with it. I wish her only the best in life, hold no ill will, and thank her for everything she has taught me. This is not a conclusion that would have come so easily to me in the past. I would sit and over analyze it, pick apart everything said and figure out how to fix it. I fight for people I love, and friendships sometimes to a fault, and I know now that it’s ok to let someone step back if they need to, they’ll come back if they are meant to be in your life. Frankly, if I had gone into past-Meera-psycho-mode, I think this situation would be a lot more miserable than it was, and I don’t think either of us would have been OK with that.

Career(s):
If I can say one thing about 2013, it is that I have legitimately worked my ass off. (No, seriously, my ass is smaller than it used to be, I’m pissed). I have held down, at any given time, anywhere between one to four jobs, and at full steam put in 70-80 work weeks. Everything about my life at that time was amazing and miserable simultaneously. You know when people say that they really value work-life balance? Let’s just say I didn’t believe in it. While working these crazy hours, I sacrificed my health, my sanity, friends wondered who the zombie-like brown girl was in the room, and the person in my life took matters into their own hands, and turned off my cellphone, and laptop to just get me to watch a football game with him. This job consumed me. It came to a bit of an abrupt end, which absolutely caught me off guard, but also gave me a healthy dose of reality. I knew what I wanted out of a mentor, a boss, and this person did not fit the bill. Losing that job got me back to BC, (the place of my last missing mojo crisis) but this time I was coming back with my tail between my legs, but my head held high. Part of that mojo loss was placing expectations others had for me, above those of my own. I can’t function that way, especially when those people (the closest to me), do it out of love. I understand their concern, but them worrying about me, and constantly voicing their opinion on the matter became suffocating the last time. I knew that coming in, and asked for my space. Lo and behold, it took a while, but employment came in a tidal wave, and I am glad to say I am finishing off the year in a good place, and in Vancouver, somewhat permanently.*

Love:
Love is a fickle, unforgiving bitch. OK, maybe not totally true, but I have a point! I can honestly say that this past couple of years, I was in love, in lust, and just plain bored. Let’s begin with bored. You know when friends tell you that you should take up a hobby? Maybe actually take up a hobby, and don’t do what I did- date someone as a social experiment, realize you do like them a bit, but not as much as they you, and then brutally dump them hastily before a party because that wasn’t part of the plan. No one likes a bitch, let me tell you. Boy A, let’s call him, met me at a time where someone I like to refer to as “bored-Meera” showed up. She’s got a job, got a good group of friends, and decides to bring in some companionship to boot. Nothing serious, a dalliance, someone to go out with, spend some time with and then say thank you and move along. All-in-all a solid plan, until it blows up in your face. Boy A ended up falling for me a bit, this was a no-no. Not in the plans, and not what I wanted. I chose him for external factors that seemed to be ideally suited for where I was mentally at the time, and then he went and threw the caring wrench into it. Sorry to say, that relationship ended (on relatively good terms), we went our separate ways, and I fell in lust.

Enter #2, Hulk. Here was someone who was smart, funny, loved football (and played it too!), and seemingly loved a lot about me. The duper became the duped here. This is a situation where I thoroughly thought there was something substantial going on with us, assumed the feeling was mutual and never sought to clarify. This went on eight months. Note to future Meera: always clarify, it saves you a lot of time, and a lot of looking like a ass. Had I clarified, this could have been a mutually beneficial situation, instead, I was a little surly and a little upset for a time, but I got over it. I can say, looking back on my time with Hulk, I regret nothing, we were great fun while it lasted, it was nice to feel like a real woman, (my girls know what I mean), and I harbour no grudges. If anything, I thank him for making me realize the massive douche-nozzle (real term, I said so) I was to Boy A up there, and I am better for it.

The final chapter, #3. The one where her guard fell down. Hulk up there, he taught me to not be a jerk, but he also taught me to have my guard up, and not drop it so easily any more. Enter the Magnet. Something about this person has always kept me interested for the greater part of a decade. Be that on a mental, physical, spiritual level. He is the type of person that makes me so furious when we talk because he constantly challenges me on everything, but that can say one word or phrase and I give up. He had said, repeatedly since we had been together that we were going to change each other, whether we intended to or not. The Magnet was 100% correct. My constant questioning of his carefree nature and live in the moment attitude balanced out his lack of observation for the rules of relationships that I adhere to. I fell hard, fast, and absolutely was in denial of it, until it was too late. Magnet is the type of person who says whatever is on his mind about you, and “we” and does not question it. That’s a scary thing, to be presented with someone who cares for you so fiercely that they say, honestly so, they see a future with you. And when in my sarcastic nature challenge them to paint it out, the illustration is so realistic is scares the shit out of you. As we know, I am the take what you say with a grain of salt type person, and Magnet managed to beat that side out of me. I began to believe him, and eventually I saw it too, clearly. I told him I finally got what he was talking about, and I was in. If you could have seen the look on his face, it was like a kid that was just told “hey, it’s Christmas morning everyday for a year, oh, and you can eat ice cream for breakfast too”. His reaction to my revelation? “Finally, now I’m not the only one in this.”  You know it’s a bad break-up when I’m the one trying to hold back an all out sob because he emailed you to end things because shit got real for him. That’s when I knew precisely how bad it was. I don’t cry over men, I haven’t in a while, because I’m just as happy in a relationship as I am out. This just pulled the rug out from under me. Suddenly all of the trials I had been through the past year or two didn’t matter as much. My heart dropped, my breath went shallow: no, not him. It was a slap in the face, and kick in the gut at the same time. And moreover, email? WHO THE HELL DOES THAT? He was right, our relationship did change me, he gave me a sense of clarity in what I want in a partner, he also cleared up the what I don’ts. So, thank you Magnet, for finally answering the what-if. Our timing has, and likely always will be off, but I know I think perhaps you were more caught up in the idea of us than the reality of us. We will always be messy, complicated, tricky to navigate, and it could be glorious, or a disaster. We both knew there would be no in-between. Because, if you weren’t, you’d have stayed and fought. Let’s face it, you’re the first person who ever told me I was worth fighting for, and fortunately, that is the one thing that has not changed.

This verbal rant fills the void of blog posts from the fall, (see above writings for reasonings why), and also serves as a verbal confirmation that yes, I am doing all right, thank you. So 2014, I look to you for bigger, better and more enlightening occurrences.  Until then, enough real talk, I have a spiked hot chocolate with my name on it waiting for me.

I leave you with words of wisdom sent to me from the aforementioned best friend and bride of earlier this year:

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How To Torment Your Dog, As Seen By A 13-Month Old

Last week, I had the pleasure of being able to stay home and look after my sister’s family, and her adorable 13-month old daughter, who had a bad fever and ear infection. Before I get into the havoc she unleashed on the family pet, Bauer, I’d like to make a note of a few more random observations made this week.

Firstly, taking care of a sick child is like playing a game of chicken with a super-illness waiting to attack you. There is no where to run and hide, you WILL get sick, this is inevitable. You can immunize, shore up your vitamin C defences all you like, but all of it is futile. One tiny human managed to get 3 adult humans sick in the span of 24 hours, to varying degrees of potency. This transfer of illness has still not left us, and it’s been a week, thanks child.

Second, if I had to do this full time, I would be run ragged very quickly, so huge props to all the parents, and single parents out there reading this blog. For my week, I had two “kids”, the tiny human and Bauer, between the two of them, naps, diapers, feeding, cooking, and cleaning by the time 5 p.m. rolled around I probably would have paid someone to take over for an hour or two.

Now on to how my niece decided to occupy herself at home this week. As I mentioned, Bauer has been around the family for some time. He’s three years old now, and an old hand around the house. He runs this show. Correction, he ran this show. He has had three years to stake out his space, preferred space on the couch and general routine. Sorry buddy, the tiny human just railroaded your hard-plotted plans. 

My niece started off the week trying to hesitantly creep up to him to pat him. A harmless action and a pretty easy-going pup, it’s a win-win. He let her get just close enough and then scampered off to freedom. She then grew slowly more confident. I caught her belly flopping on his bed forcing him out of his own space. He didn’t complain, just found somewhere else to go hide out. A couple hours later, she figured out that he had the ability to walk like her, trouble was brewing.

The tiny human proceeded to chase him from place to place giggling all the way. She really upped her game though, when she realized that if she clapped her stackable cups together, in his face, he happened to move a little quicker. Queue the toddler chasing dog around the house banging cups together and laughing maniacally all the way. I admit, I do feel bad for him, he’s had all this time to himself and the peace and quiet, and “it” comes along and throws a wrench into everything.

Day three, she still hasn’t gotten enough amusement. B’s sleeping and snoring the morning away on his bed, and in walks the tiny human, who decides it’s her bed too. She belly-flops right beside him and catches his tail. A giggle and a bark arises, and soon, I see a tricoloured tail bolting past me to go anywhere that wasn’t here.

Another golden moment when I realized B was really just over having the tiny human around was playtime in her room. Sprawled on the floor reading books and babbling away, the tiny human was in her own world until she set her sights on him. I have to hand it to him, he’s a smart pooch. Crawling behind the rocking chair in to the crevice of space between the chair frame and the wall to hide, he’s little patch of serenity now. She tried as hard as she could, and just could not reach him, tough luck.

I’m sure the older and more dexterous she gets, the more tormented he’ll be. In the meantime, I’ll continue to document her reign of terror.

Church is in Session (The NHL is upon us)

The first week of October is brings with it many great things. Pumpkins start arriving on porches throughout my neighbourhood; the few deciduous trees in my lovely province begin to turn elegant shades of yellow, orange and red;  and cooler temperatures arrive, meaning sweater weather is upon us. Best of all, this means I can dust off my superstitions and get ready for another year for heart palpitating, anger-inducing and family-tie-testing hockey.

Yes, it’s Christmas in October for us die-hard fans. This year is especially great, coming off an NHL lockout that tested loyalties last year, a new collective bargaining agreement in place and rosters set, we can finally get rolling on a real season. I mentioned superstitions before, and I was not kidding. I take hockey very seriously. Last night, the first game of the season was on deck for my team, the Vancouver Canucks. I never, ever, watch the first game of the season. The handful of season openers I have watched, we’ve lost, embarrassingly so.

It’s for this reason I did my absolute best to avoid it on TV last night. Unsurprisingly, my brother-in-law turned it on at one point. Of course, I couldn’t look away. What was the result? Up 1-0 after two periods, and lost 4-1. I told them. I explicitly said, I don’t want to watch it, I can’t. So, thanks RDK, thanks a whole damn lot. I mean, sure, the Canucks historically seriously suck in October, but we didn’t need to start off with a loss.

Now begins 8 months of agony and boundless gloating. Things on the family front will stay stagnant until about December, then with the holiday cheer will come new levels of torment from kin and friends. This is life in Canada. People actually do get together on Saturday nights to “watch the game(s)”, it is our past-time. The Americans have baseball, football and Budweiser. We have hockey, poutine and Don Cherry. It’s just how the cookie crumbled.

Buckle up, gang this blog will continue to have light hockey commentary until hopefully June 2014. Next year is the year that keeps on giving in that sense, NHL and the Sochi Games will take place, and hopefully a Canadian repeat is in store for gold.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t (Also known as the Bride responds)

And now, a guest blog from my best friend, the bride whom I had the privilege to stand by on her wedding day:

Since we are on the topic of weddings, I asked the owner of this amazing blog, the Canadian Female, to let me throw in my two cents, and she reluctantly agreed. I am the previously mentioned bride and best friend.

The reason I wanted to throw in my two-cents, other than the clear abundance of opinion, is to touch on the other side of this equation.  And Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t sums it up quite nicely.

I have been married for a total of three weeks (which obviously makes me an expert in all marriage-related topics). Our wedding day was everything I could have wished for and more. I married an amazing, caring and hilarious man with my funny, gorgeous and very supportive best friend by my side.  Everything was perfectly executed, from the designer cake, to the blue Manolos, to the mandatory late-night guest dancing with a tie around his head.

However, I would lie if I said the whole wedding outlook didn’t raise a number of questions and concerns in my own head. As a woman in my mid-20s who has spent most, if not all, of her adult life in a committed relationship, it made me question if I was ready for the substantial leap of faith that marriage has come to signify to our generation.  The reality is that being single has a certain sexiness to it and being married is considered one of those huge milestones that must mean you have all of your shit together (which I do not, by the way), or that you are done experiencing life, and settling down is the natural progression before being written out of history all together.  Dramatic? Maybe. But also absolutely true.

I recently had someone approach me at a party, nothing more than a mere acquaintance, to interrogate me on why I got married. This person proceeded to then tell me that, at 24, I should be out there “living life” and “being happy” as if marriage was nothing short of a death sentence.  Such an asinine question merited an equal smarty-pants answer so I told him I wanted to get fat and getting married meant I could let myself go.  That look of shock, pure gold. Seriously, Master Card has nothing on that.

The point is, there are two serious lessons to be learned that no one bothers to teach young brides embarking on this wonderful journey.

  1. Your bouquet won’t even be wilted by the time everyone has dumped all of their expectations on you.  As romantic as wedding planning is, you will start receiving baby questions 24 hours out from your wedding. And house purchasing options. And ten-year planning tips. Because a wedding is nothing more than just an open door into your life and everyone will take the opportunity to offer their expectations of you and your husband. Prepare for it and laugh it off.
  2. Your friends will either be really supportive or really judgemental. There is no in-between and neither will be on purpose. As happy as people will be for you, your actions will make them question their own lives and decisions. All those questions that you ask yourself as a single gal in the face of commitment and your friends moving on with their lives, they still exist, you just have to pretend you have your shit together more because you’re apparently an adult now. Go figure.

In sweet, because this wasn’t very short, those questions never go away when you get married, you just have to decide what is beneficial for you, and damned be those naysayers. There will always be questions and second guesses, it has sadly become a staple of our generation. So rest assured single ladies, those of us who are hitched have no frigging clue what we’re doing most of the time either.

But it helps to have good open chats about both sides of the equation and, when that fails, have copious amounts of red wine with your best friend.

Wedding Day Sept 7, 2013

Wedding Day Sept 7, 2013

Let Them Eat Tiramisu Cupcakes, She Said

I try to visit my best friend in Toronto on the partial-regular (aka when my bank account permits, or another friend driving down takes pity on me).  This time round, the trip had a different feel and sentiment to it.  There were no deadlines, no commitments to social events, sports games or wedding-specific tasks to take care of.  For the first time in a while since she and her fiancé moved out of Ottawa, we have actually had time to enjoy each other’s company without the pressure of a deadline or departure.  This turn of events couldn’t have appeared at a better time, for me and for her I feel.  Both of us as of recently have been suffering from a case of the “lonely-s”.  The “lonely-s” are a side effect of being separated from most of our friends and families, going through the ebbs and flows of life.  In this specific case, the ebb.  The arrival of “spring” here in Canada brought with it a change of circumstance, in particular a lot of them for me.  A difference of opinion and need for personal space lead to my signing a lease, accepting my need to be selfish in a relationship lead to the dissolution of one that had potential, and lastly, a great opportunity career-wise turned out to not be the best fit.  And so, the spring of 2013 brought me back to a very familiar place: square one.  The only difference this time around is the location, Ottawa.

These reasons are more than likely why this venture to The Big Smoke ended up having more meaning and more necessity behind it than I initially thought.  Thankfully, this trip provided a respite to take a beat, step back from every thought racing through my mind and assess my next plan of attack.  In a way in which only she could, this process has been aided by delicious French food, champagne, macarons, sushi, and tonight, homemade pizza and tiramisu cupcakes.  There is something mind-clearing to cooking and baking for me.  Even if I am merely playing sous-chef, the act of focussing all of my energy into a tangible output calms me, focusses me, and gives me some brief peace of mind. (Double-edged life lesson right there, don’t you think?)

Alas, following a weekend of much needed family, friends, rest, and relaxation I head back to Ottawa with a heavy heart, and clear eyes.  I firmly believe the next few months will shape the next phase of my life, for better or worse.  It is only with this mindset that I can truly tackle the next steps in front of me these coming weeks.  With this realization, and new-found clarity, I have no choice but to end this post with a little baking therapy, in the form of the Tiramisu Cupcakes my best friend churned out last night.  I mean, you have to stop for the smallest pleasures in life.  There are no better.

Tiramisu Cupcake Recipe


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Summer sports, a love story

For as long as I can remember, aside from hockey, this has been a summer sports family. Specifically, the Summer Olympic games and Wimbledon are two non-miss events in the my household. In a normal year, summer sports season starts off with the Stanley Cup Finals, then we get a few months break and we’re in to Wimbledon. In 2012, it has been back-to-back action since May, we’ll take it. Way back, when I was just a little sprout, my dad and I would get up early on a weekend morning, go for a walk, come home to make breakfast and hunker down for the women’s or men’s finals at Wimbledon. When I say way back, I mean the mid-nineties glory days of Agassi’s mullet and Pistol Pete’s receding hairline. That’s old school.

Of course, as time passed and I grew older, this little tradition faded into the sunset. That is, until this past month. Back from a mini-vacation, I was woken up by my dad, and taken to breakfast, over which we watched Roger Federer hold a masterclass with some poor, unranked wild card player. It was only after leaving that much-frequented diner of the old days did I realize just how nice a tradition this was. Not a lot of kids these days have the opportunity to have these little moments just with one of your parents. A secret just for the two of you. By the time we got back home and into the house, we had our tails between our legs like two kids who just got caught thieving from the cookie jar.

Sports is one of the few ways my dad and I communicate, it’s our version of catching-up with each other, and checking in to make sure all’s good in our world. The patriarch of my family is not one for emotional sentiment, so this is how we work around that obstacle. In a lot of ways, that is why I am most thankful for summer this year. It lent itself well to a lot of little moments for some bonding time. We lucked out with Wimbledon and the Euro competition occurring within the same month, but to have that followed up by the XXX Summer Olympics? That’s a total bonus.

There are few occasions when everyone in the family can agree to watch the same TV program at the same time. This is one of them, no one complains when the Olympics are on, we all want to watch the opening and closing ceremonies, all the swimming events and athletics. It’s a strange sight to see in this household, and yet, we’ve been living in TV harmony for the greater part of the summer, well played sporting gods, well played. For most, quality time with the family is a meal, a board game or summer vacations, but hey, to each their own.

I’ll gladly take these few months of peaceful co-existence straight to the bank, you can keep your days at the cottage or on the lake. In the meantime, I’ll be the one on the couch with my dad, watching thousands of athletes live out their dream, and making a little family dream of my own come true.

The Quarterly Report

Seeing as 2012 has whipped by, I felt it was only right to reflect back on the resolutions for this year I set out back in January. Of course, for this to happen, a recap of sorts must occur (if you’d like the full blown version, you can refer back to the original post). For the sake of expediency, I’ll summarize quickly below.

  1. I blog at least once a week, by the end of 2012.
  2. I travel outside Canada once this year, (2012), for at least a week, job or no job.
  3. I am employed by March 1, 2012.
  4. I bake one item for all family celebrations this year, not repeating recipes.
  5. I improve my decorating and frosting skills by taking a class, or practicing a lot.
  6. I am more kind, and patient in all of my relationships (long-term goal).
  7. I dent my 30 x 30 goal*, in the next 3 years in a big, big way.
  8. I reconcile with “being selfish”- doing things for myself, for no other reason.
  9. I read 50 books by December 31, 2012.
  10. I learn a second language (again): French/Italian, from my school days (long-term).
  11. I get healthier, so as to prolong my life. Activities include: cardio, more yoga, hiking three times a week, to start (long-term goal).

Shamefully, I admit I have not blogged once a week. In fact, I’ve been lucky to get around to it once a month. This will, and should change moving forward. Perhaps it was a lack of inspiration, or write-worthy topics. Either way, this will be amended! Next up, I am pumped to admit that travel plans are in the works, this touches on numbers 2 and 7. Fall 2012 appears to be travel season for this Vancouverite, with a jump across the pond. I’m hoping to visit friends both new and old, one of whom I have been promising to visit since he left Canada in the summer of 2005!

On the employment front, this came to fruition at the end of February, technically 3 days prior to my March 1st prediction. Though my employment was only a temp gig, it got me out and about, with a pretty solid reference to boot. Graciously, they offered to extend my stay, but I had to decline, it’s hard enough trying to find out my path in life, let alone work a job that I know I would out grow in a short time frame.

As for my baking outlook, not too much has warranted my annexing of my kitchen this year. I helped my mom bake a few birthday cakes though, so I suppose that almost counts. I was, however, bequeathed with decorating and frosting duties, both of which I think have vastly improved from my starting position of not knowing anything two short years ago!

Since resolutions 6 and 8 are an on-going process, I cannot comment on any movement. I do feel that I have developed a greater sense of empathy and understanding for the relationships in my life that in the past have proven to be very difficult. If this counts as a positive evolution, I’ll take it.

My 50 Book Pledge has taken a slight back seat since about mid-March. The last book I chose to undertake has been pretty dense, laden with heavy themes. As a result, I’ve stalled at only 9 books thus far, when I should be about 12-14 books in. I’ll catch up, I have faith. I just need to keep plugging through Free World, even if I can only get a chapter in a night. The next 5 books are already lined up and waiting to go.

Resolutions 10 and 11; I’ve started re-learning Italian, in doing so, I realized just how much I missed learning, and how fast I picked it up to begin with. The human mind continues to shock me. As for 11, “getting healthy”, this one has been open to interpretation. I have managed to get myself in a gym 2-3 times a week, interspersed with a lot of walking to and fro around the city. In addition, I have made the conscious effort to make better, healthier food decisions. In my specific situation, healthier in this sense has morphed into less of the physical nature of health and more the mental. Throughout this unemployment process, and job hunt, I suppose I wasn’t aware of how much an emotional toll my body is taking. Mentally, it drains and deflates you, resulting in a sense of complacency. This situation truly came to light in the weeks, when I think I hit that proverbial wall: questioning my choices in life to this point, and questioning my predisposed “plan” for the future. Plans change, and that’s ok. That is perhaps the best advice I’ve received, though processing it has been harder than anticipated. I’m positive I am not the only 25 year old facing this juncture in life, but I am definitely the only 25 year old in my immediate family or extended social circle who is, which makes things a bit more difficult. Somehow, down the line, I misplaced a bit of me (that spark, drive, mojo), and I wasn’t really ready to accept and agree to that observation. It took hearing it from an outsider to have it really hit home. Now, it’s up to me to do some major soul-searching to figure out where my mojo went, or where it lies now.

With that soul-baring statement, I leave you, and hope that you wish me luck in my attempts to find whatever it is I am looking for.

A, B Sea-food disaster.

My family decided to head out, and treat ourselves to a lovely seafood (lobster) dinner this past weekend. Expectations were high, tastebuds salivating, and tummies rumbling. I’m sorry to say, we were let down. One of my brothers-in-law suggested to my father that we head out for “Lobsterfest” at a notable Vancouver restaurant, The Boathouse. This was planned so we could finally treat my father to a Lobster Thermidor dinner he’d been craving since our favourite haunt, The Cannery had closed the previous year. 5 of us went, and 4 decided that we would never return.

We’re not picky eaters. Sure, once upon a very recent time, I definitely was. Then I grew up. I was looking forward to some great seafood. After inspecting the menu, and recognizing that all of the restaurant’s lobster options were either bland or heavily doused in cream, my sister and I settled upon a Miso-crusted Halibut with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. Dad and brother-in-law ordered the Prime Rib and “Lobster Thermidor”; and Mom a chicken rice bowl of sorts. Of these, the only happy patron was my mother.

Riddle me this: in a restaurant based on, and known for their creative seafood dishes, why would the best plate at the table be the poultry?

The issues: the restaurant did not serve a “true” thermidor. Rather, they used a pre-made sauce, and mix it with about 45 grams of lobster meat and crab meat. This is a big deal. Lobster Thermidor is delicious, this concoction was not. Throughout the remainder of dinner, my father kept asking me to iPhone google all restaurants in Vancouver where he could get a proper Lobster Thermidor. Surely, this is not normal table talk when you’re out at a restaurant. Issue number two: under-cooked vegetables. It’s not rocket science people, green beans are fairly easily to cook. One side of the bean should not be mush, and the other stiff as a rock. Issue three: dry, chewy, fish. Nothing can ruin a palette more than dry, rubbery, chewy fish. My halibut was just that on the ends of the fillet, thankfully the middle was spared this atrocity. The same however, could not be said for my sister, hard and chewy throughout. She barely finished 2/3 of her $29 plate.

I wish I could say it was just the food that was lacklustre. I am very particular about the ambience of a food establishment. I observe and quietly judge the service, the table cloths,  the host, everything. The fact that on top of their perfectly fine white table cloths, this place had white poster paper was a bit disconcerting. However, this wasn’t the least enjoyable part for me, that would go to our server. Our far too talkative, small chatting server. I may be alone in this preference, but I enjoy when your server is knowledgeable, amiable, and leaves you the heck alone. This guy was the total opposite.

In conclusion, did we enjoy ourselves? No. Was the family consensus to never return? Yes.  What can we learn from this boys and girls? Don’t cheat on your menu, hire cooks who understand how to handle seafood, and choose servers based on their quiet strength. Sorry Boathouse (English Bay). I’m giving you two huge thumbs down.