Monday, November 28, 2011

Words cannot express

What has been happening around here lately! I haven't posted since Thursday because things have been insane. I worked my little butt off to get my literature review for class on Saturday (that I skipped) done by Friday so that I could go into the weekend and not feel stressed. I did it (got my marks back today and I got a 98% on it too!) - which meant that in addition to just generally feeling pumped for the weekend, I had the added high of handing in an assignment early. That is one of the greatest highs of life.
This was our Leslieville Wanderlust dinner of beef stroganoff, root vegetable mash, and brussels sprouts:

So good! Look at that? Don't you want to faceplant into that bowl? I know I sure as heck do. The Big Yam has been a bit of a picky eater lately. He basically just wants to eat nothing but fruit and carbs. Which overall, is better than wanting to eat nothing but straight up fried carbs, but not enough for the controlling mother in me. He's been sick from one thing or another for the past month or so, so I'm willing to give him some leeway, but he's just being a weird jerk sometimes and refusing stuff he's eaten before and just hucking perfectly good food on the ground, etc. So I've asked J to cut out his afternoon snack and it seems to be working. He can't afford to be picky if he's hungry, right? Works for Africa, right? (Too soon?)

The Wanderlust was so much fun. We met up with my friends M & M and had a grand old time being idiots on the street. Dr. Rei and I were yucking it up non-stop and we ran into some friends of hers at Bobette and Belle. All the stores had little nibblies and cookies and we got to poke around and window shop. It was a good time. There was also this weird, sketchy homeless-looking guy selling charcoal-grilled souvlaki outside of this rando store on Queen East called Holy Cow! which occupies a disproportionately large storefront and seems to be in the business of selling vaguely "ethnic" looking tchotchkes like giant fiberglass cows. The funny part was how willing the Dotytron was to eat a souvlaki from that guy when I made a joke about it. It was hilarious how sincerely he wanted homeless souvlaki.

I wanted to buy some birch branches to put in these galvanized planters I have outside the house, flanking our Costco wreath which only cost...wait for it...$17.25. SEVENTEEN TWENTY FIVE! FOR A REAL WREATH! Steal of a century! I want birch branches and like some of those branches with the berries...but birch branches are expensive and the participating florist at Wanderlust wasn't cooperating with big enough deals.

On Friday night I was feeling tired and cranky from a sick Big Yam waking up at like, 3 am. So I opted out of Ladies Night Out on my street, even though I was the one who organized it and made the reservation, etc. I was sad because I do love a chance to hang with the Ladies, but it just didn't make sense for me, considering the rigours of the weekend to come. So I went straight home and started holiday baking and got to live out one of my sublimated dreams of parenting:

First of all - look at how cute he looks in his polo and dark rinse jeans. Seriously. It's a fine line when you're dressing children. Dressing them in mini-versions of adult clothes can be super-cute (see: little black toddlers dressed like Kid Cudi or Kanye) but it can also be kind of icky too (see: little toddler girls wearing faux fur stoles and mini Uggs.) Basically, it comes down to this for me: don't dress your kid like a privileged spoiled brat in first year at York University. It is a difficult line to negotiate, but I will say that light rinse jeans for kids are THE WORST. Why you wanna be dressing your kid in dad jeans? Secondly, look at how cute he is all up on the step stool watching (soon to be "helping") me put together a batch of cookies. He's such a little homunculus!

Saturday morning breakfast - french toast, cinnamon peaches, breakfast sausage. Did you know that the Dotytron claimed that he didn't know how to make french toast? I couldn't believe it.

Saturday pre-Prince we had a surprise birthday party for SMckay - the theme of which was "SMckay's favorite things" which meant: beards, Jewish-related stuff, and Pizza Hut. So I made rugelach:

So good! And so easy! I'm adding it to the Xmas cookie rotation. They're so cute, too. The cream cheese dough comes together lickety split and is really easy to work with. Here is the decor that I picked up:

Then there was our date with His Purple Majesty himself. I can't even describe it. That guy is pure charisma. The sexiest, velveteen miniature pony with winged eyeliner that has ever walked the earth. How is he so sexy? No one knows. It seems so counter-intuitive. It was non-stop hits - banger after banger that had us up out of our seats dancing our little heinies off. A few well-placed slow jams. A rocking light show and a backup band of super models. It's insane. Like, hotter than the servers at Moxies by far. I don't know where he breeds them, but they're all gorgeous, insanely talented musicians/singers, and 99% female. It's crazygonuts. Anyway - he is so over-the-top and melodramatic and he brings a pretty diverse crowd out. People bedecked in ball gowns. More leather leggings and stiletto ankle boots than I've ever seen in my life. He introduced a "special guest" to the stage and it was his guitar. LOL! And the man can SHRED. Each time he's done with a guitar he tosses it off to the side and it's the responsibility of some poor AV tech to make sure they catch it each time. So G-D funky. I loved every minute of it. We had been primed that the people on the Friday night show had received 5 or 6 encores and so we were so disappointed when we only got 3...but the man is 53 and totally gave us our money's worth. I wish he would move back to Toronto. I mean, Andy Allo is okay, I guess - if by "okay" you mean, "gorgeous, talented woman"

I think that Prince is the only person left alive still supporting Versace. He finished the concert wearing a velvety Versace number. Zomg. I can't believe how good this concert was. It was the first show I've been to in like, over a year (since I was pregnant and went to see Rush) and it was PHENOMENAL. What a freakishly talented person. Shouts to Lolly who totally babysat the Big Yam for us while we went out.

Post-Prince, post-being up super late, post-post-party cleanup breakfast of hanger steak, over-easy eggs, Brick Street Bakery bread toast and chimichurri. We finished up Sunday with a visit from the Dotytron's good bud A, who is in town playing a few shows from NYC, and I took the Big Yam with me to our friend L's hot dog party at his house. He made up a bunch of fancy hot dogs and J & S brought homemade hot dog buns and I brought baked beans and made these maple doughnuts which were THE LICK. So good. Such a nice doughnut recipe - all yeasty and light.

Bonus shots of the Boobla in his skeleton PJs, looking all cute:

Look at his skinny little legs and his chubby feet! In other Boobla news...he's taken his first steps!!! He did it last week some time...I can't quite remember exactly what day...I think it was last Monday, November 21st. He's so funny - he won't do it all the time...but J has been practicing with him. He's tucks his arms up by his armpits like little chicken wings and he walks with his belly out in this loose-limbed, drunken, old-man sailor way that is really funny. We had Momma D over on Sunday for a brief visit and it was classic mother-in-law behaviour...the Dotytron mentioned that the Big Yam had started walking and she says, "What! Nobody told me!" *insert accusing glance in my direction* I dunno!! I forgot!!! And why is it my responsibility??? Anyway, he's not walking just yet...more like he'll take a few stumbling steps from one set of arms to another. Pretty cute that the Dotytron may or may not have teared up the first time he saw it happen. D'awwwwwww.

This was dinner last night. Freezer Greek Mac'n'Cheese and salad (not pictured - just greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette) and my new favorite, quick, cheaty appetizer - proscuitto-wrapped prunes baked in the oven for the ultimate in sweet-savoury one-bite goodness.

So I'm having this ongoing dilemma about xmas - basically, I don't want to buy presents for anyone over the age of 18. I think it's ridiculous. But Sdawg is insisting and to a lesser extent my sister is insisting that we continue to the holiday consumer glut. My sister, whom I love dearly, and Sdawg (whom I also love dearly. Most of the time) are way more "American" and "mainstream" than I am in their general belief systems and degree to which they can be swayed by the forces of capitalism. Growing up, we didn't get presents. We went away on a trip over the holidays, and to this day, I prefer experiential gifts over stuff that's essentially garbage (I'm talking more like, grandparent presents or presents from people who go-off list) - garbage in transition?.

I feel like buying on the list is stupid, because how much thought is it for me to go out and get you your freaking windshield wipers? It's the antithesis of what I enjoy about gift-giving. But going off-list is even more dicey, because you're basically just making me help Value Village line their pockets when I inevitably dump that stuff off to them. And it just sucks all around. In my heart I would much much much prefer that people kept their hard-earned money rather than knowing that they spent it on garbage for me. I would rather they did something useful with that money other than create clutter. However, I believe Sdawg feels that he missed out as a kid and that's the line my sister gave me last night when she was trying to talk me through how much I don't want to be doing it. Because it makes them "happy" to do this big, ostentatious display. But then I'm wondering, when does my happiness get taken into consideration? When does the fact that I believe it's at stupid, crass, empty display of poor financial management in action get to be heard and taken under advisement? Short answer: it doesn't.

It doesn't help that my family is the anti-handmade gift type. Like, my brother always makes a big show of being a jerk and saying, "how much did YOU spend on your niece and nephew?" when I've knit them a sweater or something (this after he goes out the day before Christmas and gets in line to get them a tickle-me-Cookie Monster that just gets neglected in their mountain of toys.) If I had the time to make by hand or craft something for everyone I would. Especially if I knew they appreciated it...but as a general rule, my family comes from the "if it doesn't come with a price tag, it's not a present" school of thought. Meanwhile, I'm always gazing enviously at all those shiny, happy, design-y families in the blogosphere who get together to craft beautiful presents of engraved mugs or something else charming and sweet (and impeccably designed and executed).

I think ultimately, I don't like having my hand forced. I like getting stuff for people when I think of it or when I come across something thoughtful and personal and specifically tailored. I don't need you to get me my cotton tights. What I DO want is stuff that you can't afford. Like a Fisher Paykel 2 oven gas range. And I certainly don't expect you to get it for me.

Anyway, the conversation with my sister was redeemed by some funny moments when I asked her what we should get for Little Big Cuz. "Don't get him toys," she told me, "he just got a GIANT sock monkey from his aunt, I'm talking life-sized." To which I replied, "What do you mean 'life-sized'? It's a sock monkey! Is it the size of a sock? Or a monkey? Or a human?" LOL! Little Big Cuz is also a fan of those intensely boring non-fiction picture books that I personally can't stand - the ones with photos of real babies and trucks and real animals and stuff. So my sister goes, "well, there is one thing he does like, he likes my Everyday Food magazine" (which, in case you're not aware, is a Martha Stewart recipe magazine). So I guess I'm getting my nephew a subscription to Everyday Food. LOL!


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