Tuesday, November 03, 2009

my love affair with fall

has cooled somewhat. biking in the pitch black, sleety rain last night kind of dampened my ardor. my new canada post pick up location for packages that i have to sign for is WAY FARTHER and out of the way than my last one - boo. i also had a miserable experience trying to ascertain which canada post location holds my packages (i left the slip at home). i called canada post and spoke to the woman who was completely clueless. first she told me that she couldn't find out that information, which i responded to with incredulous indignation. how can they NOT find that out? it's not RANDOM. there's surely some kind of metric in place where postal codes beginning with XXX get sent to blah blah blah, right? then, when i asked her for the phone number of the outlet i suspected had the package (the online canada post location-finder listed canada post's head office number for that outlet, which is what got me into this customer service quandary to begin with), she told me she COULDN'T GET THAT INFORMATION. which made my common sense barometer go haywire. i told her frostily that subway sandwich head office could give me the direct number for all THEIR franchises, why couldn't canada post? then i demanded to speak to someone else who was able to get me the correct info in 2 seconds. 15 minutes of my life, wasted.

i was miserable when i got home, which was a crappy way to start a week, considering my sunday had been so aces. we puttered like crazy and got a good amount of work done...hanging pictures, painting the magnetic primer coat on my magnetic chalkboard wall, raking leaves, cleaning...and then treated ourselves after our exertions to mulled warm apple cider and snickerdoodles:

now if that little vignette up there doesn't scream "idyllic new england cabin" i don't know what does. and we all know how big a sucker i am for buffalo plaid hunting jackets, hats with ear flaps, woodsmoke and maple syrup americana. love it! we settled in for a viewing of "the name of the rose" which is dr. rei's favorite movie (this explains A LOT).

it's pretty standard genre fare - a bookish, aristocratic-method espousing franciscan monk who solves a mystery at a benedictine abbey filled with all manner of seedy monks (this plotline was basically written for the express purpose of titillating an impressionable young dr. rei). there are homosexual monks, creepy hook-nosed monks, a black monk (who is referred to as "the black monk"), fat albino monks, and a daft hunchback played by ron perlman (how did ron perlman get typecast to always play "the beast"?). it's full of suspense and intrigue and some racy bits, but it's not what i would call a thought-provoking, particularly well-executed film that withstands the test of time. it is a creepy pot boiler though.

then we went with my mum to this new chinese hot pot place, called 100 degrees. i was a little suspect at first - but we were soon cajoled into looking more favorably on a new AYCE hot pot place by the fact that this place is much roomier than our usual stand-by. also, at dow's noodles (the usual place - we've been going there for like, 5 years now), they always give you a complimentary glass of this weird smoky plum drink (dr. rei calls it bbq sauce) that no one drinks but my mom and dr. rei. at THIS place, you get a chilly glass of honey ginseng drink which is AMAZING! usually i have to order a coke to cut through the hot pot, but this is tasty and potable (unlike plum bbq sauce one) and serves the same purpose, negating the necessity of ordering pop. AND they give free refills!

then we had the TSN turning point. one of the things that has been a hallmark of our ordering experience at dow's noodles is that they make you pay for each egg you order. chinese hot pot is one of those lovely cuisines that encourages the use of raw egg as a dipping sauce. you basically make a sauce out of a sweet, thick soy and a raw egg, beaten together. whenever we go to dow's with my mum, she makes the four of us (the classic hot pot combo is: me, my mum, my brother cameron, and the dotytron) split 2 eggs cuz you have to pay for them.

well, colour us impressed when we sat down and ordered and were presented with this:

A WHOLE DIPPING SAUCE TRAY! WITH AS MANY EGGS AS YOU WANT! lol! the three of us looked at each other with big eyes and were like, "this place is the best!" hahaha! plus the condiments were way more extensive. they give you the tray and you can mix up your own dipping sauce to your taste before they take it away. it's awesome. they even have a peanut sauce that my mum was really loving.

here are some pics of the actual spread:

the broth (we got half satay and half corn and pork bone, which just tastes like normal broth)

a small sampling of what we ordered. it was delish! we're definitely going to go back with the goosetang clan as dr. rei in particular lurves some chinese AYCE hot pot.

last night for dinner i came home to an empty house as the dotytron was off cavorting with his old teacher's college cronies. i made that spicy three grain soup i've talked about before along with some cheddar jalepeno drop biscuits. these were DELICIOUS and frightfully easy. i've posted the recipe at the end here. they were soooo good, hot out of the oven, all craggy and cheesy and tender.

today i've been researching winter tires. oy vey. what a headache! it's too much to know! but i've got some good leads and i've compiled a decent short list. we're going down to my sis' place next week for a little long weekend in western new york. going to get the captain suited up for the winter, too. some new winter tires, a new stabilizer bar, some new brake pads on the front - she's going to be taken care of. car ownership is a pain in the butt - it's a lot to stay on top of. we've had some people tell us that we shouldn't have bought used...but i don't know that i agree. we paid around $6000 for a vehicle that we're going to get a lot of life out of yet, no interest, and we're just spending the amount of money you would usually spend at this point in a car's life. i have faith in the captain.

i was having a mild freakout about the holidays again today. between my cookie baking and gift buying - who has time for anything else? then i kind of got it into my head that i want to make a felt wreath. a grey-green one with lots of silvery and green holly leaves and hot pink felted ball holly berries on a squooshy wreath form to hang on our door. and then i got it into my head that i wanted to do one of those ornament wreaths. and then i got it into my head that we have a place for a real xmas tree this year and that i'd like to make a quilted tree skirt out of a bright and cheery red flannel gingham. and then i got it into my head that i've got a looooooong list of knitted gifts to get cracking on. and then i got it into my head that i wanted to make even more xmas decorations and then i realized that i'm plumb crazy.

to get a real xmas tree or a fake one? fake ones are better for the environment, because you're not mowing down trees for no reason every year, but they're also really plasticky and hard to dispose of, and won't decompose. real trees smell nice but make a mess when they shed needles. the dotytron has settled the issue: "we're not a fake tree family" - i guess that's that.

i also only want vintage xmas tree decorations - like those old mercury glass ones - like so:

so i've started scouring ebay for ones. i don't need a full tree all at once...i can collect them over time. i just love the look of the vintage decorations.

i gotta get knitting.


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