Day 9 – January 9th

I was up super early today thanks to jet lag from the four and half hour time zone difference I am adjusting to. I took some pictures of the terrible state of affairs that my desk was in because it is National Clean Off Your Desk Day.

I am presently sitting at my freshly cleaned table that is used as a desk with Duncan on my lap, sipping my Apricot cocktail and listening to soothing forest sounds  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdIJ2x3nxzQ ) trying to unwind from the stressful day that I had.

It was my first day back at school. I had missed the first session back due to flight drama so here I was, a day ‘behind’ in Art Therapy class. I struggle with the group art therapy sessions that we have to do because I really don’t feel comfortable with the other people in the program. Quite frankly, the others all seem to have very basic, non tomultuous lives that are intangible to mine. But today, I was prompted by my instructor and I ended up disclosing Sarah’s death for the first time to these people. And it went exactly as I had anticipated; no one could knew what to do or say, so no one made eye contact and spoke to me thereafter.

Immediately after that, my husband calls saying our crazy tenant is moving out because she is convinced the house is going to get broken into again despite the elaborate alarm system that has been installed. Her dog sets it off regularly and she is convinced this is never the case, but rather the same guy who originally broke in, back to get her laptop. Right.

This is very stressful financially because Vancouver is outrageous to rent in. It’s not like the blog money is rolling in. Without the rental income we are completely screwed. James was livid but had to end the phone call abruptly because he had just arrived at the hospital and was about to get an update about Melvin’s condition.

So I spent the whole afternoon class going out of my skin about what the news could be about his treatment options and about our financial ruination…

HAPPY NATIONAL STATIC ELECTRICITY DAY, NATIONAL CLEAN OFF YOUR DESK DAY & NATIONAL APRICOT DAY!

I came home and called two of my best fellow landlord friends. I put them on speaker phone while I methodically cleaned off the desk. They assured me tenants always do this, two months notice is plenty of time to get a new tenant, they are willing to help with photos and showings, etc etc. With each favour and piece of sage wisdom they offered, a piece of desk debris was put away somewhere it belonged. As the ideas of how to solve the problem poured in, the accumulated layer of dust and glitter was wiped away. The metaphor was strong in this one.

I decided, based on sound advice, to take a load off of James plate by contacting the tenant myself. I wanted to let her know what James is going through and to ask her to deal with me from here on out regarding the matter. That went relatively well. She’s still quite crazy and still moving out but I am honestly glad to be rid of her because she was a nuisance.

After this I went to Whole Foods on an Apricot hunt. They are not in season nor genetically modified to be around despite that. So I managed to find Apricot juice by Ceres.

 

 

I came home, mowed down on the macaroni and cheese I picked up as well, and then whipped up this elaborate National Apricot Day Cocktail:

  • 1ish oz vodka
  • 2 oz apricot juice
  • top with Perrier
  • frozen mixed berries

 

Could I have added a sprig of rosemary or some elderflower extract? Probably.  Maybe lemon or used brandy instead? Sure could’ve. Shaken it? Garnished it? Rimmed it? You bethca.

At this stage in the day, however, I just really needed a drink and National Apricot Day offered me that opportunity. So thank you, National Apricot Day! I’m on my second one now and feeling no pain!

It’s really hard to celebrate when things are so god damn awful but vodka totally helps. As for National Static Electricity Day, it can go fuck itself, I’m going night riding at Cypress!

(photo by Meg Robichaud)

 

 

Day 8 – January 8th

Well today was a whole lot of things!

I started the day by bringing little Duncan for a trot around Kits Beach so he could learn the lay of the land. We met our first other white French Bulldog…bonus, her tongue permanently hangs out. Totes adorbs.

So being National English Toffee day  I decide to have a go at making it myself.

It was my understanding toffee is just butter and sugar boiled to holy hell then cooled and boy was I on point with that assumption.

All you need to make this legendary treat is

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • chocolate
  • almond slivers
  • CANDY THERMOMETER

I just typed out those ingredients from pure memory because I know it by heart now having had to do it twice… and not getting it right either time.

You really need a candy thermometer. Do not think you are ‘above’ a candy thermometer. Eyeballing and timing are not going to fly here. Buy a candy thermometer. Trust me.

You boil the first four ingredients until 300F … or if you are me for 15 minutes because somewhere on the internet that was stated. This could be too long, depending on your stove, pot, stirring skills, etc etc.

It was too long.

Burnt English Toffee Round 1

I attempted again, this time having watched a few youtube videos showing what it should look like when its ready to come off the heat and set. A couple videos revealed the ice-cube-water-glass trick: you put a droplet of the mixture in ice water and if it hardens immediately then it’s ready to come off the heat.  The other advice was to have a jar of Jif peanut butter handy and once it’s the same colour it’s ready to go.

The latter was completely useless guide seeing as how it is almost immediately that colour.

The former…well, didn’t pan out either. That’s a pun, by the way. Because you pour it in a pan.

So once the ice-cube-water-glass trick deemed my toffee ready, I stirred in the baking soda and put it on the pan with the already dispersed almonds.

I put it in the fridge to cool a little then added chocolate chips to the top to melt. Once melted, I spread the chocolate over the top.

The toffee came out a little soft. Not the hard as rock, stick in your teeth, cavity forming texture we all know and love.

However it still tasted great and everyone ate it all up at National Sunday Supper Day celebrations!

Distant cousin-in-law Carmel & her husband Bill slaved away on supper ….

…while everyone else sat around having a laugh

Bill made me vegetarian vegetables but I brought my own Vegan Meatloaf

Recipe can be found here : http://www.connoisseurusveg.com/almost-classic-chickpea-vegan-meatloaf

I didn’t have a food processor so I used a Vitamin blender so it was a bloody mess and not quite a ‘loaf’ but it tasted really good… sensing a pattern here ….

It was a marvelous time and everyone was SO supportive of my blog which felt great. Duncan was also very popular.

Prior to heading the Ian & Kelly’s (& Carmel & Bill’s) I had to have my obligatory Bubble bath for National Bubble Bath Day.

Not going to lie, it too was a bit of a disaster because our apartment buildings hot water tank must be smaller than Donald Trump’s hands. I just let it fill up, water turned all the way on hot (which is usually warm enough). When I immersed myself in it was tepid to say the least

I hope there are no uber talented photoshop wizards out there than can extract a nude from that overflow drain thing

I followed my bath by celebrating National Winter Skin Relief Day  by slathering on some of Lush’s hand and body lotion called “Sleepy”

I didn’t bother with National Argyle Day...it’s too plaid out … 😉