Tuesday, April 08, 2014

By The Way...

It looks like we are on the tail end of another round of sickness that swept through Casa Dotytron Lagerfeld.  Two Fridays ago, I packed up the Wonder Twins for my weekly round of grocery shopping.  I pulled up in front of our vegetable/fruit store, and heard the unmistakeable sounds (followed by the unmistakeable odour) of Lindsay Lou-Lou garfing in the back seat.  In his car seat.  He had eaten cottage cheese for breakfast.  I'll leave the rest to your imagination.  After unloading the contents of his stomach, he promptly slumped over and fell asleep.

I came home, and then he proceeded to evacuate from his bottom end.  It was epic poop-splosion times at Dotytron-Lagerfeld high.  Like, diaper changes that required full body showers (him and me) and outfit changes and the whole rigmarole.  Then, while I was running Lindsay Lou-Lou through the wash for the second time, a naked Quincess, who had just emerged from the shower, was cruising around on the floor of their room, sans helmet, and decided to faceplant on the non-rug-covered portion of the floor.  This resulted in him evacuating his sinuses and a next-level bloody nose, and me frantically Googling "how to tell if baby has a broken nose."

I got everyone cleaned up, and sent the Dotytron very angsty, caps-lock heavy texts to the effect of: COME HOME NOW. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. DON'T DELAY. SEND HELP. SOS SOS SOS.  The Dotytron came home, things settled down, we went to bed.

Next day was our high school friends baby shower.  It was so nice and so much fun.  It was all people we've known since, well, high school with some newer crew in the mix.  I've been told that I tend to do a lot of nicknames for people - the Wonder Twins themselves have a rotation of 5 different nicknames on the go at any given time.  I suspect it's something from my Markham high school days.  It seems like everyone had at least a nickname or two or three.  I had a buddy who was known by his last name initials, by the nickname "C**shot Wolfie" and by the nickname "Dirty Vagina" ("Diva" for short).  We have a buddy we STILL refer to as Fox, which was the spirit animal name he was given in some weird pseudo-Wiccan ravine naming ceremony that happened in like, grade 10.  Anyway, that's all to say that when I meet someone for the first time named Brian and then promptly start to refer to him as "Bri-Bri" or "Bri-Bro," it's a cultural thing.

Now that it's been safely gifted, I can show off the quilt I've been working on for the past, oh, 10 months or so.  Once I get going on a quilt, it's not slow-going, but this one nearly did me in.  It was supposed to be an alternating yellow and white herringbone pattern (like this quilt) but of course, me being me, I made a mistake cutting out the pieces so they were all angled incorrectly and then I measured and calculated wrong so I ended up having to jerry-rig my own design.  In the end, I'm fairly happy with it.  I like the back a lot more than the front, but I need to tighten up my actual quilting skills - I had some bunching issues.  I've started work on another and am totally into quilting as my creative/crafty outlet at the moment.

Anyway, we go to the baby shower, come home, hang out with Dr. Rei and Hanbo, get completely obliterated and owned by the co-operative board game Pandemic, laugh a tonne, go to bed.  The Big Yam comes into our room to sleep.  In the middle of the night, he wakes up, and a slow but inexorable river of garf starts to come out of him.  It was the grossest.  Parenting is NOT for people who have bodily fluid issues.  I used to be one of those people.  I used to say that poop was my nemesis.  I'm not saying that now I'm so inured to poop that I'm all, "ain't no thang" about it, but I will say that situations that I had thought before having children, would have broken me, haven't.  So there's that.

The long and short of the sickness briefing is, the Dotytron was the last member of the family to get it and he's getting over it now.  As usual, I was relatively unscathed which meant that as usual, I was feeling simultaneously smug about my immune system and put-upon by the fact that ONCE AGAIN, it was up to me to hold everyone together.

On Saturday morning, apropos of nothing, while we were enjoying a breakfast of waffles and bacon, the Big Yam said casually, "By the way...how was your night out?"  It was beyond funny (though somewhat cruel, seeing as how our "night out" consisted of eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream and passing out at 9pm on the couch).  He's such a little professor sometimes.  And other times, like this evening, when we discovered him standing on his step stool, peeing from on high into the toilet, and pumping his arms to this weird affirmation: "I...am smart!  I...am smart!" (to an audience of no one - he didn't know we were watching him), he is more like a particularly boorish member of Animal House.

Last week our friend Pingy was in town, I met up with a friend from the Canoe days for lunch at a newish Cuban restaurant on Roncesvalles, I interviewed a wackload of prospective contractors, I went with my mum to another orthotics check-up for the Quincess, and my mum stayed over and helped with the kids while I went to my first annual general meeting for the not-for-profit community complex that runs one of the early year centre (in addition to seniors, teen, baby, and newcomer programming) that the Big Yam frequents.  Here's the thing about my mum: she will rarely babysit if it means that the Dotytron and I can have a night out to ourselves, or go out for dinner...but tell her that I want to join the board and want to attend an AGM and she's THERE.  As I've mentioned before, my mum is a community organizer par excellence.  She is a constant inspiration to me for her commitment to holding the government accountable for her pet projects (mostly related to hospitals and health care in Scarborough), and her commitment to getting people engaged and becoming active participants in community initiatives.

I was too late to get on the board of the community complex, but fully intend to serve a two year term the next time openings become available.  I consider this a stepping stone to my school board trustee ambitions.  I feel like Canadians are so spoiled in certain respects.  Our generous and comprehensive social programs allow people to abdicate responsibility to the state and expect the state to pick up the tab for everything.  Maybe it's all the university academics I'm around all the time, but I hear a lot of griping about how this, that, and the other thing should be better funded.  This was made all the more clear during my last Academic Book Club session, when we discussed Orange is the New Black, the memoir upon which the Netflix series is based.  The deplorable state of prisons and the lack of rehabilitation opportunities and the futility of America's war on drugs was hashed over in detail.  My point is this, though - you can't sell prison reform to people.  Given the choice between prison reform and like, health care, people are going to pick health care (and given the choice of health care or higher taxes, unfortunately most people will pick complaining about health care and lower taxes).   The simple fact of the matter is that there aren't enough funds to cover all the things that people want, and we as citizens have to step in with at best our dollars or at the very least our time, to take up that slack.  We can't just expect the state to be able to provide everything.  Because then you live in Sweden, and while I love Scandinavian design, I do not love Scandinavian racism.

We started watching the Kroll Show and are big fans.  This skit exemplifies everything wrong with Europe and North Americans who are obsessed with Scandinavian countries. They cut out one of the best lines, which is when he's like, "We like to complain about Israel and the West Bank but then also treat our Arabs terribly."  LOL!  

Probably my favorite skit - Too Much Tuna.  

La Cubana on Roncesvalles.  We had the corn fritters, served with a spicy aioli dipping sauce, some yucca fries, and because I am crazy, I got two medianoches: the "traditional" with ham, pork, and gruyere; and the guava glazed beef shortrib (in my defence, I ate half of each one and brought the rest home to the Dotytron).  If this is what Cuban food is like in Cuba, I don't know why I've been so resistant to go to an all inclusive there!  Just kidding: everything I've heard is that the food in Cuba is terrible.  But North American renditions by ex-pats?  Sign me up!  Everything here was absolutely delicious.

I wanted to take my mum to Seven Lives on our way to Quincess' doctor's appointment, but it was closed, so thanks to an Instagram tip from my Discerning Coyote friend, we hit up Pancho Y Emiliano, which occupies a second floor space on Augusta in Kensington Market, right next to La Tortilleria.  We had the baja fish tacos, which were good - battered fish served with a crunchy vegetable topping and drizzled with a spicy mayonnaise (fresh, grassy hot sauces are available at the table so you can adjust the heat level on your own).  

Chicken pibil tostada.  I love a tostada, but not the best for sharing.  I find that chicken-based tacos always taste kind of watery and same-y  This was good, but not as good as the fish taco.

The pastor tostada was TERRIBLE.  Most pastor tacos feature slightly dry pieces of pork mixed with pineapple (pastor is usually prepared like a schwarma, with a big pile of pork rotating on a spit, topped with a pineapple).  This was almost like, stewed pork, heavy on the beans and gravy, light on the meat and pineapple.  Not great.

A favorite spring dish - tempura battered haddock, artichokes, and lemons (fried lemon is SO GOOD) on top of a bed of arugula, drizzled with tartar sauce.

Crab carbonara with pappardelle.  Pappardelle has been my noodle shape of 2013/2014

I made a "broken" skillet lasagne - basically instead of layering all the elements, you make a quick sausage tomato sauce in a big skillet and stir in broken lasagne noodles and cook the noodles in the sauce.  Then I dollop on ricotta and top with mozzarella and throw it under the broiler.  I found it tasty but my mum was meh about it.  I can tell when my mum is "meh" about one of my dishes because she doesn't try to brazenly pack up all the leftovers for herself.  

Roasted asparagus, on top of scape pesto and garlic butter broiled toasts, with poached eggs and hollandaise.

More slow-cooker Asian ribs and cornbread, broccoli slaw, and steamed green beans.

A salted caramel chocolate pudding cake.  From this recipe, but simplified (I basically dumped all the cake ingredients together, instead of putting all the components in separate bowls and then combining them).  The next time, I would reduce the amount of espresso powder in the sauce - the coffee flavour overwhelmed the other ones.  This was so good I'd make it again in a heartbeat.

Last night's shrimp and grits and okra.

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