Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My plan for a dreary day.

Today started out really gorgeous, but the clouds are rolling in, and the air has a bit of a damp feeling to it. It looks just plain gloomy.

My plan to combat the gloom: Bake.

Pumpkin spice muffins - triple batch of course - maybe make a loaf and 24 muffins this time.
Chocolate Chip cookies - cause I am craving some.
If I can find any more grated zucchini, i am going to make chocolate zucchini bread too. But I think, alas, all the grated zucchini from my friends parents garden is gone.

I think I will also make some different cookie doughs to roll into small logs and freeze - peanut butter chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia, and of course, the chocolate chip will be a double batch so I can freeze the better portion of it for later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Questions, questions, questions.

So, if you've ever been separated you'll get what I'm talking about here

Family and close friends always ask the same questions whenever I see them.

"How are you doing with everything" (Are you falling apart, cause if so, I'd like some warning so I can take cover)

"Are you seeing anyone"
I once answered yes to this. I will not say yes to this again unless I am seriously seeing someone, and am ready to introduce him to everyone, cause wow, the damage answering yes did. Everyone wanted to know everything about the guy, we'd been on a total of two dates, one wasn't even a date until we talked about it afterward. For now my answer is NO. Who knows if it'll ever be yes.

"Are you going to have more kids/Do you want more kids?"
What's the right answer here. Let's face it, I don't know what I'm doing. I doubt I'll have more simply because I don't think I'll get that deeply involved with someone ever again, but let's face it, I can't predict the future. So far, I answer no, and get that's a shame, you always wanted lots. Yes, I wanted 3-4 kids, but is it realistic to do that now considering the time it would take to become that seriously involved with someone, and be in a long term stable relationship with them? Not really. I'd like to retire when its time, and I'd like the chance to travel with my girls to a couple of places before they're too old to enjoy it. There's a certain freedom that comes from having 5 year olds.

"How are things with HIM?"
Well, don't really want to get into it, we are civil, that's the end of it. Again, what is the right answer here?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


So, I have a little habit. Its a little expensive by most people's standards, but its not harmful to my health, nor is it expensive as far as I am concerned compared to others' habits.

When I need a brain boost, I get a Starbucks Soy mocha, no whip. Usually its the biggest one I can get. No whip means no added calories that I don't really need, and the soy milk means I won't be wheezing a couple of hours later. Not to mention soy milk has huge health benefits and adds protein, which means I can drink my snack or meal instead of eating, which tends to get crumbs in the keyboard.

Like today, I was working on my final paper for the Children's lit course and needed something to boost my productivity. I got a Starbucks, came straight back home, and huge levels of inspiration ensued. What I thought would be two to three hours more work became a little more than one hour's worth.

When I was in Britain, every time we stopped for a rest break, I grabbed a Mocha, boy did I get lots of thinking done on those car rides.

I recently procured a free espresso machine. I had hoped to curb paying over $5 for my boost, but unfortunately the last time I attempted to steam some milk, it blew up. Perhaps I'll end up getting one next year after all the Christmas hoopla and winter expenses are over.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My New favourite recipe

Ok, so this was a complete experiment. It started with my desire to make some chili to freeze and eat throughout the next two months.

No Frills didn't have any small packs of ground beef, absolutely no ground pork, so I ended up with ground turkey.

When I came home from shopping, I started the onion,celery, garlic trinity. I like to put celery in chili and pasta sauces because its another vegetable that I can't stand to eat raw, and I love to count how many veggies we have in this or that. It ups my count, and I don't even notice its there.
I added the package of ground turkey, seasoned with a little salt and pepper. A can of whole tomotoes (I refuse to buy crushed as I have discovered skins in them many times - EW!) went in once the meat was browned, then a can of black beans (I just prefer them over Kidney beans), and mushrooms. Then, when I went to grab my big jar of chili powder, uh oh. Empty.

I then had three options - turn off the glorious looking mixture and get chili powder in the morning (girlies were sleeping), turn the mixture into pasta sauce (NO I WANT CHILI!), or be inventive.

A search of my spice cupboard produced still no chili powder, but a package of fajita seasoning. Hmmmmmm, that could be interesting.

I add the fajita mix and let it bubble. A quick survey of both freezers reveals I have no corn in hand, as it was becoming apparent this was a mexican style chili, and corn would definitely add to the flavours.

Next day for lunch I served TURKEY AND BLACK BEAN FAJITA CHILI with corn chips. Mine was garnished with sour cream and some chopped jalapenos from the pickle aisle. YUM OH

Even my four year olds ate it, and have asked when we are having the funny chili with chips again. I have to write this one down for our favourite family creations binder.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Children's Lit


One of my prerequisites for SUNY is Children's Lit. EEEWWW!

#1 I have a science degree, the last time I did an essay in MLA was, oh, say, High school.
#2 I have a science degree, I have never taken a course that is so abitrarily agree with me or parish
#3 I have A SCIENCE DEGREE I deal with facts, information, and breaking down facts so people without prior knowledge can understand them, not analyze a children's picture book and come up with a theme for the book that no child could ever possibly identify

Science furthers our knowledge, reading older tomes teaches us about the way we thought as a society at the time, again furthering our knowledge, picking apart books for young children to the point of making our discussion sound like the ones the English geeks used to have about Utpopia and Ulysses does nothing to make me a better person, smarter, or a better teacher. It just annoys me.

Okay, I've got it out of my system. Now its time to go pick apart Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The TRUE cost of this trip

So, I did some figuring in my head. I figure that if I had purchased a working updated copy of streets and trips, or the Ontario Map book, I would have saved a ton of money.

All in all, my extra driving cost about half a tank of fuel, probably a little more. That's about $25-$30 depending on gas prices.

Because I was lost leaving, I ended up stopping for food when I was REALLY hungry. (Jacks, my pumkin seeds were in the trunk). So instead of grabbing a little bit of deli meat, a little bit of deli cheese and a couple of fresh rolls to curb my hunger till I got home, I bought McDs breakfast.

Then, because I was tired, and a little fried from being lost in the middle of nowhere, I lock my keys in my car, costing me $20 and delaying me further.

Finally, I had planned to be home in tons of time to cook myself a decent supper, but due to delays, was again starving part of the way home. Trying to push myself because I was so late resulted in me feeling a little yuck, and realizing I needed to eat something now, I took the next exit. I needed something I could eat while driving, and my choices at this particular exit were McDs or Harveys. Well, I hate Harveys. So it was McDs again. CRAP.

So, instead of spending about $30 plus tax so I could find my way without internet, I ended up spending about and extra $80 to $100 thanks to my navigational mistakes and lack of a map.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Time to get rid of the technology

Well, after relating all of the issues that I had on my trip, my mom suggested that I own a road map for Ontario. She didn't realize i didn't even own a basic one.

Well, I have the laptop, and until recently, I had a good copy of streets and trips installed that doesn't need a constant internet connection. Worked fine for me, until it became so outdated it wasn't worth it anymore.

After the stop at the Walmart north of Waterloo, and the free casual perusal of their Ontario map book, I am sold. I will be purchasing the book before my next trip.

Or maybe I'll just get a newer version of Streets and Trips?

Friday, October 9, 2009

How the HELL can I get lost coming HOME?!?!?!?

Having been brought back through Kitchener the day before, I was quite confident in my ability to find my way back to the 401 from Jackie and Derek's home. I head out as the fam heads to church. I feel great, refreshed, and excited to stop and see my Aunt and Uncle on the way home. There is an essay waiting to be written in Kingston, and any procrastination I can think of is welcome at this point.

Turns out I need not purposely procrastinate. I was about to waste a total of over 2 hours, and likely a quarter tank of fuel.

Leaving Kitchener I miss a key turn, forgetting that I have to access 7/8 from a different street. When you arrive in Kitch, you take this street directly. However, if I remember correctly, upon leaving, one must use Ottawa St. Damn. I continue on, ABSOLUTELY lost in what seems to be menonite country (or amish, I've never really paid attention to the specific group in that area), dodging horses and buggies heading to church.

Eventually, I find this WalMart in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. This is GREAT for two reasons. The first, WalMart has food, and I am getting hungry and require protein (though I must admit, I went to McDs and got a BLT instead of using their huge grocery dept). Second, all WalMarts have a book/magazine section complete with MAPS. While I seriously considered just buying the damned thing, I perused it and discovered I had come almost full circle. Turns out the little two lane highway here turns into the parkway I was looking for back in K-W. YAY! I am found.

I mosey on my way, thinking the gas guage is a little low, but I likely won't have to stop until Etobicoke.

Well, I look down at the guages around Milton. BIG RED LIGHT. How long have you been on, gas light? It doesn't answer me. I pull off at Milton, fill up, check the fragile gift in the trunk is still doing well, and attempt to get back in the car. CRAP, where are my keys. Oh, there they are, in the ignition. Good thing I got the spare key cut to put in my wallet before I left. But, wait, its still in my purse, I haven't stopped and put it in my wallet, and my purse is...... of course, on the passenger seat. Locked safely in my car with the only two keys for another 325 km.

The attendant calls Randy, who comes within 5 minutes, which I think is astounding on a Sunday morning. he just got a new easy wedge, he tells me, it should only take a minute or two. Turns out I give Randy a lesson on how to use, and fix the new easy wedge (the valve in the bulb was jammed), and he only charges me $20 for "use of his tools" and gas to come out. Nice guy. I figured I was out at least a hundred bucks for a Sunday call out in that area.

I figure every mini disaster that can happen is behind me. I head to Auntie's house, really late. I don't take the hwy 427 exit off the 401, because I once made this mistake and was forced to travel north and then come back. Turns out they've since changed this particular exit, just not the sign. I could have gone south, and essentially gone "home" to the area I spent the first 8 years of my life in, and known where I was. Instead, I take the Eglinton Ave exit. I know Eglinton crosses Kipling, not too far up, so its perfect. What I don't realize is that getting off the highway, I did two loops, instead of one. So instead of facing west on Eglinton, I am facing East. (the sun is not visible, so no visual cue as to the compass directions) I turn left, thinking I am heading south. I cross Rexdale, hmmmm, I didn't think Rexdale was this far south. That's weird. Then I find Steeles. F&$%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You stupid idiot, you got lost coming home for crying out loud. I turn around, call my aunt to let her know I am not plastered on the highway somewhere, cause at this point I will be 2 1/2 hours late.

I have a great visit with my aunt. My uncle comes home part way through, and we chat too. I head on my way at 2:40, about the time I planned on being near home, and get abck to Kingston around 6.

What a freakin trip!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mommies's Day Out

Okay, we had a great visit after my late arrival. Jackie suggested perhaps I might want to travel to a new city in the daylight next time. I suggested that said city might like to put up more signage.

The plan for the day became this
1. Pack everyone into separate vehicles - mommies and baby in car, daddy and all other children in the van.
2. Stop and see the project house that may hopefully one day belong to my dear friends.
3. Daddy and 3 oldest children head to grocery store, Mommies and baby head for Scholar's Choice (this is one of my all time favourite stores in Ontario! I will be a member once I am in my practical teaching practice)
4. Mommies and baby will head to Burlington IKEA - admittedly we don't know how to get there, we print directions. We chose Burlington over Etobicoke because it was about 10 minutes closer (BIG MISTAKE!) Daddy is taking oldest to bday party, then hanging with middle 2 children for the day. All of us to meet back for roast beef supper around 6pm.

The house is really nice, unfortunately, it is now locked as the electrical is being done, so no tour inside.

Scholars Choice was sooooooo much fun. I had to exercies soooooo much restraint.

Then, feed and change baby, on to IKEA. With Jackie reading directions, we found our way easily. We were in IKEA for hours. We started with lunch for us, then lunch for baby, who then allowed us to browse to our hearts content. I got a major Christmas gift taken care of, Jackie got everything she needed to plan her new cabinets, we each picked up a few bits and pieces. We had a great time. Then we looked at my watch. CRAP, we better motor.

While baby is being fed and prepped for the trip home, I pack the car. NOTE: the major Christmas present is highly breakable, and shifts easily in the car. I not only had to get it back to Jackie's house, but back across Toronto the next day in one piece.

We head on our way, our plan is to double back on ourselves. This DOES NOT WORK. I stupidly forget I am in one of the most confusing areas in Ontario - the point where the 403 and QEW split and go their separate ways. We need to go west, then north, so we head west. WRONG! Over the skyway in a very violent rain storm we go. We try to get turned around in Hamilton, which eats up quite awhile, and double back. This has lost us over half an hour, and miss baby is not impressed with my navigational skills.

We eventually manage to double back on ourselves, realizing that from this particular spot, we have to go east first in order to go west. Kind of like in the CARS movie, when Lightning is told sometimes you gotta turn right to go left. It makes no sense until you try it.

Dinner was a little late, but excellent, and we laughed at my poor navigation yet again. Miss Baby forgives me and lets me cuddle her and play with her, so all is not lost.

Tomorrow: How the HELL can I get lost coming HOME!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Driving on the 401

Okay, here comes a rant. A BIG RANT

It rained the entire time I was driving to Kitchener, it rained on the way to IKEA, it rained on the way back from IKEA, and then on the way back from Kitchener to Kingston. And it rained, and it rained and it rained.

Did anyone slow down? Nope. In fact, I was going fast, and I was one of the slowest vehicles on the highway. Grooved wet pavement? Who cares! Bumper to bumper traffic? Who cares!

It was absolutely freaking nuts.

I would slow down, and leave a little more space than I normally would if the roads were dry, and people would squeeze in. Then I would back away, feeling that not being able to see their tires touching pavement was too close in dry conditions, and waaaay too close with wet brakesOn the trip home, I was so fed up that when some jackass tried to squeeze over even though my front bumper was level with his rear doors, instead of letting him do it, I kept going, partially on the shoulder until he got the message and moved back to his own lane. Eventually he made his way around me and the five poeple in the left lane in front of me by passing illegally using an off ramp only to be stopped by the oh so friendly Coburg OPP :) That's what I call poetic justice.

Speaking of wet brakes, I am pretty sure that one of the things covered in driving school, and on the test to get your license is that when you have been driving in the rain without braking for awhile, you need to leave more space and brake sooner, since your brakes won't stop you as quickly. I mean, its not rocket science.

But there were all kinds of people in front of me braking and avoiding because they didn't clue in that it was wet outside. 3 times some larger than life vehicle behind me had to swerve sideways to keep from rear ending me - and that was just Friday night. I eventually settled in between two trucks and felt much better. They keep their distance, they slow down appropriately, and most importantly, the desperate housewives driving Escalades all tricked out and worth as much as my first house are SCARED of the big bad trucks. Any time I needed a break from all the last second braking, and squeezing a truck into a space the size of my car, I just tucked in and relaxed. (He he, I aslo saved fuel thanks to the drag the transports put on my tiny car).

The Longest Road Trip EVER!

So, I decided before the snow started to fly, and the high retail season started, I would make a trip that I have been promising to make for years. Kingston to Kitchener-Waterloo. I have never been to Kitchener, but I have a pretty good eye for road maps, and am an avid user of Google Maps.

So, google directions in hand, I drop the girls off in Napanee, and hit the open road. Full tank of fuel, a bottle of water, and voila, here we go. I stop halfway at my fav exit in Whitby. Theres just about everything you could want in this place - coffee, pizza, fries, subs, Wendy's, etc. Restroom break, and a huge coffee fortify me as I am about to head through my least favourite part of the 401 - the area between Hwy 400 and the 427, then on into indiscovered territory. You see, I realized as I was planning this trip that I have never been on the part of the 401 that extends past Hwy 410. Hmmmm, so weird. I have been west of Mississauga, but always on the 403 or the QEW. SHould be interesting, I think to myself.

Turns out it was boring, dark, and ended in an hour's extra driving. I get through Mississauga, even picking out the Credit River well before the sign. Oakville, Milton - oh that's where Milton is. Then I start seeing signs for Cambridge, which according to the picture I have in my head means I am getting close to Kitchener. The fog is setting in, its really dark now, and the entire trip there have been wind gusts and lots of rain.

At the rest stop I had checked the directions and knew the exit I was looking for. Apparently google doesn't know that things have changed since 10 years ago, and the exit was named improperly in the directions. I miss it, I continue, not realizing I am about to become lost. I drive, and end up part way to Woodstock, realizing I have missed something. I turn and go back. The fog is getting really thick, so signs are getting hard to see. On the way back through the area where I know my exit is, boom, there it is, named what google names it. (the other direction has a different name and there are 2 exit 278, google didn't specifiy which one I needed A or B).

There, I'm in Kitchener, this shouldn't be too bad now. Wait, I'm pretty sure the exit I'm looking for doesn't exist again. Yep, that's right Sportsfans, my beloved Google has now failed me twice. I cannot find the road I am supposed to take, I cannot view the map cause I can't pick up a wireless signal, I am lost.

Then a glimmer of hope, in my driving I find Victoria St. That's the street right before Jackie's place. YES I have found my way. I drive, and I drive, and I drive. 20 minutes later, I pick up the cell phone and dial. I SURRENDER I AM LOST. I tell Jackie who relays to Derek where I am who tells me not to worry, I am close. Very close. Like 5 blocks away. I continue on, finding their street, but can't read the street numbers. I drive all the way to the end, turn around and come back. I see lots of light on someone's front porch, I hope its theirs. I pull in, and am next door at the neighbours. I apologize and move one driveway over. Finally, after being in Kitchener for an hour, I have arrived.