30.7.11

Looking for a Hot Tub, Baby, This Morning


Last night, Marc was up late hooking up the newest addition to our family. Yes, she weighs over 850 pounds, is slightly high-maintenance in the beginning, and a little tricky, but that doesn't matter. What matters, is her 55 jets, no-float lounger and multicoloured light show. 


Ball-In.


We've been waiting for about 5 weeks for our tub to arrive and FINALLY, on Wednesday, it did. However, it'd been pouring rain for a few days and the massive delivery truck couldn't really get up our driveway without risking a topple-over into our ditch. Thankfully, both the driver and I had our heads on straight and cut our losses. The LAST thing we needed to deal with was a semi-tractor-trailer having an "I've fallen and can't get up" moment. The driver could only get about halfway up, which left a SIGNIFICANT distance between where he dropped it and where it had to go. 

The Pickle was an excellent supervisor.


So, The Hubby called in reinforcements. 


The following should have a disclaimer...


DISCLAIMER: How NOT to Move a Hot Tub

(I'm not hating. I legitimately needed to look away between pictures because I was so nervous.)


Step 1: Tie skid with rock-climbing rope to back of truck.

Step 2: Drag hot tub across gravel driveway and uneven grass...without wheels. There'll be some scraping. It's cool.

Step 3: Keep driving slowly, successfully avoid being clotheslined (via literal clothesline) until you reach your destination. Don't be alarmed as the skid starts to break apart. I mean, there'll be three of you and 850 pounds divided by three is only about three hundred pounds...per person, so if it drops, it's really not a big deal. Right?

Step 4: If your skid manages to survive, make sure your truck has 4-wheel drive as you may need to drive into a forest; be prepared.

A little finagling later (not photographed as all hands were called on-deck, so to speak) and - BAM - hot tub!

Something I thought I'd never do: order bulk water NOT in a bottle. We're on a well though, and there's a lot of minerals, so the hot tub lady suggested we get some delivered. 

He had a huge hose (that's what s/he said).

WHEEEEEE! The water went in great, we did the chemicals last night and now it's 100 degrees!!



Now, all that's left (haha...'all') is to build our amazingly-designed deck! That's an August project, though. Until then, I'll be chillin' in the backyard. Of course, by 'chillin' I really mean 'hottin'.





29.7.11

Book Club Friday: 13 Little Blue Envelopes


Happy Book Club Friday! YAY!!





This week, I'm reviewing THIS


*throws back curtain*



13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson


From the Back:

Would you follow the directions?
Would you travel around the world?
Would you open the envelopes one by one?

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/third/bloke-about-town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous – though utterly romantic – results. But will she ever see him again?

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.


My Take:

This book was a great read. I follow Maureen Johnson on Twitter and, frankly, she’s HILARIOUS (yes, ALL-CAPS are MOST DEFINITELY APPROPRIATE in measuring her funniness - start following her immediately).  It’s YA, technically, as Ginny’s 17, but had me entertained from start to finish.

The novel is a worldwide scavenger hunt. Ginny’s eccentric aunt dies of cancer, at the age of 35, and essentially re-creates her own teen-travel-adventure for her niece. Starting in NYC, Ginny boards a plane – alone – to head to London, her first destination. Her Runaway Aunt (as she refers to herself) left 13 little blue envelopes in the hands of special people she’d met, to lead Ginny along. And trust me, she sends Ginny EVERYWHERE! I loved not being able to guess where she was heading next.

Although there were times that I feared Ginny would get into trouble, it made me smile because that’s how great a writer Maureen Johnson is. Ginny’s teen voice is super authentic and she acts just like any other seventeen-year-old: she’s impulsive, quick-to-anger, funny and kind. I spent some time travelling around Europe when I was a late teen and this book was like a trip down memory lane (with the added nervousness of being almost-thirty and seeing that some of Ginny’s decisions weren’t exactly well-thought-out).

I loved how Ginny got to see her Aunt as a ‘real person,’ through the 13 letters. Even though she wasn’t really a main character, Ms. Johnson put in just enough for me to believe that a 35-year-old woman would pay for her 17-year-old niece to take a solo-European-adventure.

The characters Ginny meets along the way are all over the place: artists, owners of restaurants, a dude who works at Harrods, and they all give Ginny a different perspective on life and how Ginny’s Aunt chose to live hers.


I giggled.


I shed a few stray tears.


I may have hugged the book after turning the last page.


The sequel’s out now, and if you peruse Maureen Johnson’s website, you’ll see that she’s written MANY books. I’m definitely going to pick up another one; I suggest you do the same!


28.7.11

One Man Army


I popped downtown this morning, as The Boys had run out of food, and on my way home I saw something I haven't seen in a while....


a protest.


Now, this wasn't just ANY protest. But a ONE PERSON PROTEST (frankly, the best kind).


Back in the day, I would've pulled over and had a little chat with the megaphoned dude outside our local police department, but I've learned over the years that those who choose solo-protesting often aren't terribly concerned with personal hygeine. So, instead of chatting, I stayed on the opposite side of the street with my window down to hear what he was unhappy about.


Please excuse the horrible picture, but I didn't want to get spotted and 'poke the bear', so to speak.



So sign #1 reads: Fascism must be Confronted and Destroyed!


The sign he's holding reads: Fredericton Police use KGB Practices


Now, after listening for about three minutes, I seriously had no idea what the dude was talking about. Something about Quebec and fascism, but he really didn't explain himself well. I'm not saying that he doesn't have anything to protest, but I think his fascism point is a little off. As are his claims that the Freddy police use KGB practices. I mean, this is the SAME department that's giving away free pizza if they see you pulled over on the side of the road while chatting on your cell. 


I'm fairly certain that Stalin and Mussolini weren't giving out coupons. 


Also, if the Fredericton Police Department really WAS using KGB-style policies, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have been protesting for very long.


Just sayin'.


Still. You've gotta give the guy a little credit. It's freaking HOT outside today.

25.7.11

Magic Mesh: The Silent Killer



Okay, so "killer" might be a bit extreme, but "humiliator" or "serious vet bill-er" just don't have the same ring.


There's an infomercial for a product called Magic Mesh. It's a screen "door" with a line of magnets in the middle so you can walk through it without having to actually open a door.


At first glance, it seems like a good idea. I mean, all of these people are smiling AND carrying things!



There's also a picture of a dog walking through the screen.




So, here's the dealio. This is the worst idea ever.


Why?


Because I'd fully get used to walking through a screen and TOTALLY be that girl who CONTINUALLY walks through everybody else's non-magic-mesh screen door. 
It's happened before, I wanted to die.


*insert high-level of humiliation*


I imagine that dogs would be the same, but their injuries would be more severe because they'd probably be running. My puppies are kinda dumb (sometimes) and if they learned that they could run through a door without waiting for it to be opened, they'd FOR SURE run into a glass door.


- SLAM -


*insert excessively large vet bill for broken puppy nose*



This seems like a good idea, but we're all a little too stupid in this house for such a dangerous product (I kid, I kid...but not really).




24.7.11

Limited Attention Span

For the past week, I've been losing my mind. I take steroids on a daily basis to control the hyper-reproduction of cells in my lungs (Not to be confused with steroids a la Jersey Shore. I am not a juice-head gorilla) and had to up them considerably on Monday.

One of the MANY side-effects of steroids is feeling restless (read: wanting to peel off your own skin and run around the house screaming, while re-tiling your bathroom floor, learning a new song on the piano and eating everything in sight)

It's an interesting trap, having the uncontrollable urge to do things, because when I'm this sick...well, I can't really do much.


What does that mean?


Well, it means that Marc becomes an extension of myself. 


He loves it (not really).


From Tuesday to Friday, I was stuck in the living room, rocking back and forth on the couch, when I noticed that I hated the way our furniture was arranged. Now, I'm aware that it could have been was the meds talking, but after three days, I just couldn't take it anymore.

So, we spent our Friday night and most of Saturday rearranging the furniture in our living room and dining room. Of course, by "we" I really that Marc moved everything while I stood in a corner and pointed. 

Although it REALLY DOES look better now, Marc was pooped by the time we were finished, so we went to the store to rent a movie to watch....in our AMAZINGLY re-designed living room (ha).


We picked Limitless and some chips and dip.


Spoiler Alert: It sucked.


Now, it might have been because of my flea-like attention span (sponsored by Prednisone) but MAN, it STANK!

It was SO boring! Like Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (which was an oxymoron if I'd ever seen one as I almost fell asleep watching it) with way more violence (including one gross scene where Mr. Cooper pretends he's in the Twilight movie, playing the role of Edward..ick). 

Plus, the beautiful Bradley looked like a TRAIN WRECK half of the time. His chiselled face and sparkling eyes were one of the reasons I wanted to watch the movie in the first place. Robert de Niro was only in the flick for about ten seconds, and he also kind of sucked. I ended up leaving the room to play Scrabble on-line with my step-mom. 

We haven't rented a movie in quite some time and it was a total bummer that Limitless was surprisingly limited in its ability to be entertaining. Has anyone seen anything GOOD, lately (on DvD....seeing a movie in a theatre is kind of like a death-trap for me).

It's only supposed to be a high of 24 today, which means that we can go back outside! Only 40% humidity!! Hurray!!

My lungs are on the mend now, thank goodness, so hopefully I can FINALLY go tubing next weekend. I can't believe that July's almost over and I still haven't gone yet. Stupid freaking lung cells...*grumble, grumble*

Well, I hear Marc getting up now, which means it's time for...


Bacon Sunday!!


YAY!!


(Bacon Sunday is something we made-up where we make a package of bacon and then....well...eat it. It's awesome. Bacon makes everything better, except for hyper-reproductive cell production...Boo)


Have a great last day of the weekend, everyone!


23.7.11

Too Cool for School

It's been about a million degrees here, the last couple of days. From the Twitter-verse, it seems to be the same almost everywhere. I haven't been feeling all that great, as a three-year old girl sneezed on me in line at the grocery store last week and infected me with her germs (I kid, I kid...but not really), so the combo of more medication and edible-air a la humidity means that these dogs aren't getting walked.

That doesn't mean that they don't need exercise though, so I've taken to going out four of five times a day and throwing their Most Favourite Toy of All-Time:

The Green Ball.




If you've ever been over to our house, then you know The Pickle is more than slightly obsessed with The Green Ball. Back in the day, it used to be red, but that one eventually fell apart. Now it's green. 


If The Pickle had to choose between us and The Green Ball, he'd choose The Ball. (It's cool, we've accepted it).


Cheese or The Green Ball? The Ball.


Drinking water because The Pickle's been running around in fourty degree weather and is in danger of passing out from dehydration or The Green Ball? You can probably guess which he'd choose. (For reals. I have to physically take The Ball away from him or he won't drop it to drink).


So, a few days ago, we headed outside to play a little fetch. Pepi likes to play, but The Pickle gets VERY competitive - body checks included. After a couple of rounds where The Pickle was a bit of a dick, Pepi decided that this is how he'd play fetch.



So I throw the ball and The Pickle takes off. Ps. How hilariously-small does he look?


He's running as fast as he can, panting loudly all the way.


This is Pepi's reaction, "Oh, look...you got the ball...whatever." I swear he yawned and rolled his eyes after The Pickle passed him. Pepi thinks that he's part feline, as he licks his paws to clean his face, chases birds and pets bugs. So, as much as he looks disinterested, the MOMENT The Pickle loses track of The Ball, Pepi takes off and nabs it. The funny part is that The Pickle brings the ball back to me while Pepi runs around the yard, being chased by Pickle-the-Obsessed.

It's hilarious.


Tired and panting puppy - the reason we play fetch outside.


It thunderstormed randomly all day yesterday so hopefully that means the temperature will start to drop a little. I'm all for summer weather, but it'd be nice to not become a sweaty disaster after being outside for three seconds. 

I'm NOT COMPLAINING (as warm is better than cold) but seriously, 100% humidity for five days is enough. 



22.7.11

Book Club Friday: Little Bee



It's Friday! Time for Book Club!




Up this week (after a brief hiatus last week)

*points below*



Writing a review for this GEM of a novel will require a mix of stealth references and lots of writing about how the book makes me feel. Why? Because that’s the way that the author, Chris Cleave, wants it.


I’m a good girl, so I’ll play along.


This book is one of the best I’ve read in a while. While it isn’t funny and doesn’t have any romance, it managed to hook me within the first few pages. The book has no cover descriptions, so I didn’t know what to expect. Whoever made that decision was a freaking genius, though, because I would NEVER have picked it up had I known the subject matter.


Although that sounds ominous and scary, let me tell you one thing first:


You need to read this book because Chris Cleave’s writing is bananas.


B-A-N-A-N-A-S


I felt connections to each and every one of the characters; even the ones who are BLATANTLY WRONG in their actions. It’s kind of like winter garden, where there’s a surprise history/world injustice lesson, but it’s a lesson that (in my opinion) didn’t get nearly enough global attention. The bravery of two of the key three characters is nothing short of super-hero-ish. They’re the kind of characters you wish you could meet in real life and applaud. The best part is: they probably do exist, somewhere. 


That’s why this book is awesome.


I cried.


Then I cried again.


Then I cried…well…some more.


But my tears were mostly the kind I don’t mind shedding, as they came from being overwhelmed with the human spirit. Yes, there was one particular scene, which was so awful that I had to put the book down and take a break for a few days (and although I can get quite preachy about certain acts of violence being used for entertainment purposes, it was necessary to the plot) but aside from that, it was a quick read.

So, pick up this book. Read it in the privacy of your own home. The last thing you want is some weirdo on public transit telling you which parts were their favourite. When you’re done, pass it on to someone else. This is a novel that’s meant to be shared. 


21.7.11

Former Pantser, Current Planner


About six months ago, I shared with you all that I'd completed my first novel and was in the process of submitting the manuscript to agents. 


Well, guess what?


I've written ANOTHER one!


*throws confetti*


I can hardly believe it myself!


*clangs cymbals*


But it's true!


*spins*


Two days ago, I sent my manuscript to six readers and have been getting some good feedback so far. My fingers are crossed that I'll be able to start submitting it to agents in about a month.

I've been keeping up with a lot of other author's blogs (side note: even though I'm currently unpublished, the fact that I've now written two complete novels makes me feel justified in calling myself an author) and there is QUITE the debate between those who plan their books and those who fly by the seat of their pants. Being a first-time author, I didn't know which side I'd be on.


Well, now I know.


I was a former pantser, but am now a planner.


My first manuscript was very much pantsed together. I wrote what popped into my head at the time, sometimes not even in order and although it worked out in the end, it took FOREVER to edit. Like, the better part of five months. That wouldn't be so bad except that I don't have a full-time job and therefore spent many, many, many hours in front of the computer. It literally took twice as long to edit as it did to write. Granted, I was learning a lot about structure (especially dialogue) and how to make things flow well, but I really felt that if I'd had a plan in the beginning, it would have made things much easier.

So, this time around, I decided to make a little plan. Nothing too crazy, nothing too set-in-stone, but more of a general direction of both the plot and my main character's personal growth. It went well and kept me focused but it wasn't until I read an article by an author who uses character boards. I'd always thought that was more of a movie-thing-deal, but then I thought, "Hey, you're new at this so shut your face and give it a try!"


Well, let me tell you. Character boards are the bee's knees.


The cat's pyjamas.


The lion's mane (that isn't actually a saying, but I couldn't think of any other animal examples)


I'm now COMPLETELY OBSESSED with them.

I blacked out the outline because it'd tell you EXACTLY what happens and...well...that's just not good. Ps. How great are Mac templates?

It's AMAZING how much easier it was for me to visualize my characters interacting with each other. I'm a visual learner, so I really shouldn't have been surprised, but I WAS! Keeping this print out next to me, as I was writing, led for a much stronger line of continuity.

So I figure that I'm now 70% planner and 30% pantser. Sometimes a story just goes off by itself and those are usually my favourite scenes. However, having a general plan and character boards really helped me stay on track and led for a much shorter round of revisions and edits. 

Now I have to go work on my synopsis and obsessively check my email for more feedback. Then, I want to sneak in some time to start on Russell Brand's Booky Wook. The name ALONE made me pick it up. Plus, it'll be nice to read something I haven't written. You know, cause then I can be surprised when something happens. 




20.7.11

A 14-year Old Ahead of Her Time


I was rummaging around in the basement this morning and came across my box of old journals. Picking up one from 1996, I laughed at my horrible poetry, ridiculously obsessive crushes and newspaper clippings I obviously saved because I thought they were important (they're not).

Then, I found the most amazing thing. It's a little two-page statement piece, written by a girl I shared a cabin with at camp. We were all either 13 or 14 years old at the time and the concept of feminism probably wasn't a preferred topic for fire-side marshmallow-roasting conversations. The fact that Melinda (thank goodness she wrote her name down) had the lady-balls to write these things while attending a prissy-pants camp (no hating, but it was) makes her just about the coolest 13/14 year old gal EVER.

Rather than type her message, I thought I'd scan it instead. I mean, look at her artwork!




Ah-mazing, non?

What insight!

What self-confidence!

She spelt girls like grrrrls!! At FOURTEEN (or thirteen)!

I want to travel back in time and get her to write down her last name so that I'd be able to track her down on Facebook or something and tell her just how cool she was as a kid. If only I could meet teen girls now with such a solid perspective on life! 


Plus, I'm seriously curious to see what she's doing now.


ps. How awesome is it that she references Airwalks? 

19.7.11

Manwich vs. Sandwich


I've mentioned before how I make bread for The Hubby's lunches. Well, I decided that I wanted in on the action just about the same time that The Hubby wanted to start taking two sandwiches.

My genius brain launched into problem-solving mode.....

A few minutes later - BAM - the idea ninja chopped me in the face. 

Instead of making two, equal loaves of bread, I made a small one and a big one.


Sandwich on the left, Manwich on the right

It's a little deceiving because this picture was taken after the first slice was removed. The Manwich bread gets even bigger, closer to the middle.

So there you have it. When I reference Marc's Manwiches from now on, you'll know what I'm talking about!

Oh, and the correct way to say, "Manwich" is in a low throaty voice. Just in case you were wondering.

12.7.11

Extreme Cammo




I'm very aware that I live in the country, but THIS is taking hunting a little too far


*points*



Not only is this truck wrapped in a PHOTO QUALITY decal, but those antlers in the back window are actually a HOLOGRAM!! 



FYI: This truck was parked outside a random bar on the way to my house. Obviously, you understand why I drove home to get my camera and then came back. I legit have never seen anything like this. If only it weren't used to gun down defenceless animals...




11.7.11

Sugar-High Spelling

Yesterday was a bit of a disaster...as far as eating healthily goes. The Hubby and I are in the midst of building the sweetest deck you've ever seen, although let's be honest...I sketched it out and have had little to do with the actual building. As such, we spent the majority of yesterday going between two home reno stores. One has the lowest prices of lumber in town but doesn't sell cedar. The other doesn't have the lowest prices in town but does sell cedar. You can see why this was a MASSIVE pain. 


On the way home we not only had stopped for fast food for lunch (Wendys and it was delicious), but also stopped for candy (me) and snacks (Marc).


As I spun the magical candy displays, I couldn't help but notice that something was a little 'off.' 


"Hey Mon, couldya pass me some spicy hearts...and some jerk chicken?"


Nope, this isn't right either, although "Alsorts" forces you to go a little nasal and that's kind of funny.


This is, HANDS DOWN, the best one.

Hot To-Ma-Lies


Now I ask you, if you're printing out labels for candy that you want to distribute ALL OVER your home province...

Wouldn't you run a spellcheck?




9.7.11

Positive Police Reinforcement


When The Hubby and I decided we wanted to get a puppy, we did a serious amount of research. Okay, if I'm being honest, it was mostly me doing the research. It paid off though, as The Pickle is pretty much the best looking Yorkie around. When it came time to training The P-i-c (the name we use when we don't want him to know we're talking about him) I did a similar amount of research and found that dogs respond better to positive reinforcement rather than punitive measures.


Well, somebody at the Fredericton police department has clearly gotten a puppy.


Why?


Because the Fredericton police force has decided to do a little positive reinforcement regarding the use of electronic devices while driving.


The new policy is this: Pull over before using one and if a police officer sees you...s/he'll give you a coupon for free pizza!


FREE PIZZA!



This WHOLE pizza would be FREE! 


So what does that really mean?


It means that I live in the greatest place ever...and will be pulling over to fake a phone call whenever I see the po-po on patrol. 


ps. If you want to read the whole article, which was featured on the CBC, click here.




8.7.11

Book Club Friday: Winter Garden


Yay! Book Club Friday!





Up this week, Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah


*points*



From the Back: How can a woman know herself...if she doesn't really know her mother?

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and managed the family business; the other followed a dream and traveled the world. But when their beloved father falls ill, these two estranged sisters will find themselves together again, standing alongside their icy and enigmatic mother, Anya, who even now offers no comfort to her daughters. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise of his wife: Anya will tell her daughters a story; it is a fairy tale she began years ago and never finished. This time she will tell it all the way to the end.

The tale their mother tells them is captivating, mysterious love story that spans more than sixty years and moves from frozen, war-torn Leningrad to modern-day Alaska. Nina's obsession to uncover the truth behind the story will discover a secret so shocking, so terrible, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are. 

My Take: When I picked up Winter Garden, I was a little worried. If you've stopped by for Book Club Friday before, then you probably know I'm not an uber-fan of weepy reads. The only time I really like crying when I'm reading is when something is so touching, my grinchy heart can't help but swell. Unfortunately, this wasn't those kinds of books. 


You know how when you're playing tennis (or something), having a great time and don't realize you're exercising? It's like, 'SURPRISE! You're getting fit while having fun!'.


Well, Winter Garden is like, 'SURPRISE! You're getting a history lesson!'


While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it wasn't what I was expecting. This book is serious biz, people.


Serious. Biz.

Kristin Hannah is a wonderfully eloquent writer and she sucks you in right from the beginning. Her descriptions of the apple orchards (the family business) left me smelling hints of sweetness around my house. For reals. She's that good. Scenery literally leaps off the page and sets up camp in your living room (which is why it gets so intense later on). 

Meredith, daughter #1, struggles to carry her heavy emotional baggage while her younger sister, Nina, has kept hers checked back in coach for a while. The first several chapters examine their childhood relationship with their mother, Anya, and to say that Anya's detached from her daughters would be an understatement. I found it VERY challenging to sympathize with Anya. By 'very challenging' I mean, I didn't have any. Even though I knew there was a story behind her indifference, Ms. Hannah created a character that I didn't like AT ALL. The story moves along though, from the perspective of Anya's daughters, and that's what kept me going.

By the time their father dies, I wasn't as psyched to get to the end as I was in the beginning. There was quite a bit of repetition and although I knew it was setting up what was to come, it waned for me.

When I finally got to the meat of the story, it was intense. I guess that because I picked up a novel, I mistakenly assumed I'd be reading fiction. Although I know it's important to learn about atrocities that happened in other countries, it wasn't what I was expecting. If you read Little Bee, then you'll have an idea of what I'm talking about. And when I got to the end, things were wrapped up WAY too neatly for me. It felt a little forced, to be honest. Like a saving grace for the emotional roller-coaster of a plot.

So, although I was impressed with Kristin Hannah's writing ability, which makes perfect sense as she's written eighteen novels, I feel that Winter Garden should come with a disclaimer. 


CAUTION: This book is haunting and may cause you a few nights of bad dreams. 


So if you're brave enough to risk multiple fits of weeping and days spent pondering the world's injustices, then Winter Garden is for you.

If you're looking for a somewhat-standard mother-daughter story, this one isn't really it. 

6.7.11

Good Lookin' Cookin'




The Hubby has made it through to the third round of interviews for an AMAZING job. How many phases are left? Who knows, but one thing I DO know is that The Hubby LOVES roasted chicken. So do I, as cold chicken sandwiches are just about the most delicious thing on the planet, but I've never cooked one before.

Why?

Because raw chicken grosses me out.

Like, a lot.

The sliminess and extreme fear of salmonella poisoning make for somewhat challenging culinary pursuits, but I thought it would be a very supportive move if I made The Hubby a 'good luck' supper. So, off to the butcher I went. 

Getting it out of the bag was bad enough but actually feeling the weight of the chicken with its bones was enough to expel me from the kitchen. The recipe I was following said to cut the chicken in half. I got two shallow cuts deep before having to leave the kitchen...again. I called a pal for tips but she didn't have any. I tried again but it wasn't even almost happening. 

Good thing I never wanted to be a doctor.

So, flipping through a few cookbooks, I found a similar recipe that didn't require the cutting. Things progressed well after that. Although I hadn't realized how SLICK a raw chicken is but that may have been because I was wearing rubber gloves (baby steps, people...baby steps).


Here's what I threw in the chicken. Garlic, lemons, rosemary and chili flakes.

Shoved in and ready to marinate for a couple of hours.


In the meantime...sliced baby red potatoes in the non-fry fryer.

A little corn on the barbee.

Voila! A LOVELY juicy chicken after 2 hours of roasting.

Mmmmmmmmm.


The Hubby was MIGHTY surprised when he came home from work to the scent of roasting poultry.

He was even MORE psyched about his chicken man-wich which I made him this morning (I make gigantic homemade loaves for his lunches - his coworkers' partners/wives kind of hate me. I've told The Hubby that when I'm well again, the homemade bread situation will be donezo, so he's eating it as fast as he can now...haha, but not really).

Hopefully the home cookin' makes him EXTRA charming and knowledgeable today.


Fingers crossed!

Oh, and a special shout out to Seattle Stevie for her Twitter encouragement! She makes one of these bad-boys EVERY week! *bows*


5.7.11

American Delights


So, I'd intended to write this post YESTERDAY (in honour of the 4th)...but...well...that just didn't happen. On Friday, it was Canada Day here and because I live in a pseudo-urban area that forces you to spend time with your family on any major holiday...

Everything was closed.

It wouldn't have been so bad except for that we were out of MANY things. Like milk and tea (two of the most important groceries as it's the way I start my day). Luckily, we're a mere fifty minutes from Amerrrrrrrica and things were open there! 

Along with basics like Baked Lays Sour Cream & Onion (the only flavour NOT available in Canada and The Hubby's favourite) and tiny chocolate bars (2 points each on WW!), I found some amazing new treats!


Peanut Butter Oreos. PEANUT BUTTER!!

I'm not going to lie -- they're pretty much the greatest cookie ever. My next plan is to get another bag and then use the Oreo-wrapped-in-a-chocolate-chip-cookie recipe. ps. LOVE how cookies come in bags from the US and not boxes. The sticky flap is fun.

Here's the deal: The Hubby and I LOVE Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. Whenever it's on, we watch it. Living in a land where there are no White Castles (or Sonics, or Jack in the Box...boo) we've made a vow that if we ever were to stumble across one, we were going. I especially like that they're mini-burgers, as tiny foods are generally awesome. I will say that I'm aware my camera may not buy the whole "100% beef" claim, as it's hella blurry in this pic, but when I saw them in the grocery store freezer, I had to pick them up.

Am I scared of frozen fast-food burgers that you heat in the microwave? Yes.

Is that going to stop us from eating them? Nope!


And finally...something that's almost good for me. Yogurt in CRAZY YUMMY flavours! I see these advertised on TV and have tried the Strawberry Shortcake before, but let me say that I'm now officially OBSESSED with Red Velvet Cake and Boston Cream Pie (no pic as I ate it last night...mmmmm). These flavour options really should be available up here.

So there we go! New American delights!

Hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend full of fireworks and hot dogs!




1.7.11

Book Club Friday: Stories I Only Tell My Friends


What up, book clubbers? It's a beautiful Friday morning and we're supposed to have sunshine all weekend!! Woot Woot!





So, this week, I'm reviewing Rob Lowe's Autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends.


From the Flap: A teen idol at fifteen, an international icon and founding member of the Brat Pack at twenty, and one of Hollywood's top starts to this day, Robe Low has spent almost his entire life in the public eye. Now, in this wryly funny and moving memoir, every word of which he wrote himself, Rob chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor from Ohio who was uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-seventies Malibu, where be embarked on his unrelenting pursuit of a career in Hollywood. The Outsiders placed Rob at the birth of the modern youth movement in the entertainment industry. During his time on The West Wing, he witnessed the surreal nexus of show business and politics both on the set and in the actual White House. And Rob tells unforgettable stories of the years in between, of the wild excesses that marked the eighties and led to his quest for family and sobriety. No other actor could write about this era in  Hollywood with such wit, candor, and depth. Never mean-spririted or salacious, he delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last twenty-five years. 


My Take: I'm going to tell it to you straight. I didn't like it. The book has been getting great reviews from book blogs I love, as well as from Twitter peeps, so I figured it was worth a read even though I'm not exactly a massive Rob Lowe fan. He was cute in St. Elmo's Fire though, and looks smoking on the cover, so I picked it up. 

Maybe it's because I love Chelsea Handler and Bossypants, but Rob Lowe came off as a total douche. Okay, maybe not a TOTAL douche but definitely a condescending one. He's clearly spent some time crafting his writing, but there were times I couldn't help but start scanning. 

The primary problem was: it just wasn't entertaining. 

To make matters worse, there was a glossy photo spread in the middle (which I HATE! Just have them be on the same paper as the rest of the book and insert them where you talk about them. PLEASE! Eliminate unnecessary flipping!)

I hadn't known that he essentially grew up next to the Sheen's (Charlie & Emilio) and reading stories about their friendship were mildly interesting but he drops names in the most irritating way possible. He spends a long time physically describing a person and then tells the story of their exchange. I never had a clue who he was referring to. At the very end of the chapter, he finally writes his/her name. So then, I'd go back to the beginning and read it again so it would make more sense. 

It. was. infuriating. 

He also bellyaches A LOT about how he wasn't paid enough on The West Wing and has been ignored by the bigwigs of Hollywood *yawns* There's also quite a lot about American politics in the nineties...which I know little to nothing about.

I will say that the chapters about his family, especially his wife, are touching and the only seemingly authentic parts of the book. The book wasn't so much about him though, as it was a breakdown of his favourite roles and how he got them.  *wakes up* Oh sorry, I fell asleep there for a minute...

So, I guess if you want to know how Rob Lowe got some of his favourite roles and appreciate little anecdotes about big stars from the 80s then you'd dig this book. If not though, I wouldn't bother reading it. There's way better options out there.