Thursday, May 21, 2015

Catching up

We’ve had a few blasts of warm weather, and while the projected 27 degrees forecast last weekend was making my doomsday-inclined heart palpitate – seriously the California drought is no joke!  How are people not freaking out about this MORE?!?  WHY IS THERE GRASS AT COACHELLA?!?!!!??? – when I’m given to a more superficial frame of mind (often), my thoughts have turned to spring summer style.

This year Lagerfeld is going in a bit of an unexpected direction.  Well, not really that unexpected, more of a return to the silhouette I favored in my rave days of dressing like a boy on the bottom/pocket square on top.  I recently bought a long-sleeve vintage Vision Street Wear t shirt and that’s forming the foundation of the look I’m going for.  Think Stacy Peralta, think Gleaming the Cube, think long shorts, blocky kicks, So-Cal, 80s.  I love me a long, bulky shorts like you wouldn’t believe, my favorite pair being a pair of Canadian army surplus fatiques that I chopped to a mid-calf length about 15 years ago and have been wearing ever since (moving the button on the waistband incrementally from year to year, of course).  I’m going to intersperse this with my usual Mrs. Roper, muumuu, tent dress routine – a habit I can’t shake.  Except now, bike shorts under the dresses are part of my life because my thighs rub together and that’s just the way s**t goes, sons.

If you still stubbornly read a lot of blogs (and I do), there’s a brand that bloggers of a certain ilk go crazy for, and I just don’t get it.  Ace and Jig.  They make $300 jumpsuits that look like tea-towels you find at the cottage.  I don’t get it.  If the patterns were distinctive, it’d be one thing, but they all kind of look like Turkish linen towels to me.  Y’all know I love me a Mexican Oaxacan embroidered dress/top like the next hippie, but something about the type of fabric pattern on the Ace & Jig stuff just doesn’t turn my crank in the least.  They’re like the worst possible serape blankets you could have, but you’re wearing them.  It’s like a faded cactus, wilting in the sun.  

The Wonder Twins do this odd thing where they trade off weeks of being a giant PITA.  Last week, it was Quincess, who was INCONSOLABLE during dinner every night.  Now this week, he’s been the sweetest little dear, happily eating lots of whatever is put in front of him, while Lindsay Lou Lou is a pill and screams for “Ohk!” [yogurt] and then upends everything on his tray when I don’t give him what he wants.  He also wants everything “whole!” and as soon as he’s done eating yells, “SCHIIIIIIDE?!?” [outside] where he puts on a bike helmet (“hat! Haaaaaaat!!!”) that’s 10 sizes too big and stands on a Radio Flyer 3-wheeled scooter, giving everyone cow-eyes until they opt to ruin their backs by bending over and pushing him around.  Quincess’ preferred outside activity is to push around a little baby carriage and then wait for you to turn your attention elsewhere before running into the road and laughing maniacally.  Meanwhile, the Big Yam is off in his own world playing superheroes and screaming that he’s not ready to ride a bike for a million hours.  It’s a really relaxing vibe we’ve cultivated.

Last weekend we had a visit from SMckay and the Dotytron hosted a bourbon night with his teacher friends.  While he was prepping that, SMckay and I gave the kids freezies and took them to the park, which resulted in this line from the Big Yam: “Come in my face, freezie! Come in my face!”  It was kind of awkward.  This tends to happen when SMckay comes for visits.  The last time, she was supervising the Big Yam’s bath and said something like, “No standing in the tub!” and he said, “Yeah, you do, to wash your butt and your wiener.  What’s a wiener?”  SMckay: “Oh dear.” 

Saturday morning I went with her to see the Basquiat exhibit at the AGO.  I’m glad SMckay gets me to the AGO and my art history roots.  The Basquiat exhibit was kind of amazing.  I went to the Alex Colville one and was intellectually into the exhibit because the exhibit was well curated, but I’m not generally into Colville’s style of work.  Basquiat’s work is something I would hang in my home.  Keith Haring is too cartoony for me, but Basquiat’s work is very visceral, and politically charged, and manages to be so on-the-nose, now, 30 some-odd years later.  The audio commentary was wack.  A lot of Toronto beat poets and academics who were simultaneously over-intellectualizing but also missing some of the obvious points in the works.  Commentary on a  piece that counterbalanced the a Native American with an African American man in shackles focused primarily on the very obvious statement about slavery, while failing to pay attention to the very clear parallel being drawn between the oppression of the two peoples, and how their cultures were effaced by white people.



We had my mom and brother and his fiancée over for a Mother’s Day dinner on Saturday and it was fun.  Bruce Wayne’s fiancée got me an awesome mother’s day present in the form of the best dinosaur planter/terrarium ever!  It’s amazing and I love it and love the colour.  That aqua blue/green colour is a favorite of mine and pops up in other things I have:

Mother’s Day was a bit of a gong show.   The original plan had been to keep it low key and chill.  I got an awesome card from the kids (all orchestrated by the state) and the plan had been to go and get dim sum and then to Pacific Mall to get a new iphone case for me.  In my heart of hearts, I should have known that Mother’s Day dimsum would be a gong show, but I quashed those misgivings.  We had gone back and forth on plans to see Momma D on Mother’s Day, and finally called her with our impromptu dim sum plan, planning on being home to put the twins down for their nap so I could work on my quilt and just putter (my favorite thing in the world). 

The plan went horribly, horribly awry.  The first place we went to, had a lineup out the door, and I was #57 for a table (I think they were at 20).  So we packed up and went down the street to some random place, which I think stays in business based solely on taking the overflow from the better place.  There were 4 or 5 groups ahead of me, and so I grabbed a number and told Momma D and the Dotytron to take the kids to a patch of grass by the parking lot while I waited.  Cut to 1 HOUR LATER, to me standing behind the hostessing stand and acting as the hostess, because the restaurant staff were completely inept and were handing out numbers but not managing the restaurant flow.  People were cutting the queue and sitting down at tables as they were being cleared, so as far as the restaurant was concerned, because no one was managing it properly, tables were never available, because it was just a constant flow of unethical people plonking their jerk butts down.  There was no order.  After an hour, with everyone hungry, we left.

Somehow in the process, Lenny had his wrist wrenched and was in pain, so he bawled the whole way back (we called an audible on the whole mission).  There was talk about going to a different dim sum restaurant on the Danforth (a place that does mostly takeout and has maybe 2 tables), but I put my foot down.  Anyone with kids knows that you don’t take hungry, confined kids to a second (sit-down) location.  Poor Dotytron.  Momma D and I are very different in our approaches and I think he felt conflicted by trying to appeal to us both.  I knew though, that if we had gone to the restaurant, it would have been incredibly stressful dealing with a place that in all likelihood has no high chairs or is kid-friendly, when the kids were all on the verge of melting down.  I also know that the bulk of the work managing them would have fallen on me, and while I don’t put stock in Mother’s Day (especially after this one), I do know that I should at least get to decide not to put myself through that.  Instead we went to a park, I got us pizza, and we hung out and watched the kids and it was lovely.

This week has been a monster.  My blood pressure has been skyrocketing at work and I’m feeling kind of tender and sore about it.  I’m looking forward to that extra day.  We have a fun one planned, too – movie night tonight at home, visits with Tillers and Jen tomorrow and their lovely kids, dinner at Momma D’s house (do-over!), fireworks in the park with the neighbours on Sunday, and hopefully a walk at the Scarborough bluffs with Dr. Rei and family.

 [edit: As it now takes me three weeks to write a single post, I’m including the post-Victoria Day weekend wrap-up in this one]

Our long weekend was extremely fun, but also filled with back-breaking BS labour that you have to do when you have a house – ie. sanding and sealing our deck.  That being said, it looks SO DARN GOOD and even though all I wanted was to throw money at the problem, in the end, it only took us about 4-6 hours?  We went with a clear sealant and I’ve never been happier.  The Dotytron was trying to convince me that we have to get a colour on the cedar because otherwise, it’s going to discolour, and that’s what we did 3 years ago, but I’m so glad we went clear – it looks so hype:

Visits with Tillers and Jen were so nice – we went to the park, they brought amazing homemade bread and burrata (!) and I tried to make friends with salad (despite Dotytron’s vocal objections).  The guys went to a new craft brewery in the ‘hood and then we filled up a bucket and let the kids go to town while the young-young ‘uns napped the afternoon away. 
Our planned fireworks on Sunday were a bust.  This was our fourth go-around organizing street fireworks and this is the first year we’ve ever been hassled by the cops.  I think it’s because we’re such a finely tuned machine.  Watermelon slices, blankets, popcorn for the kids, a bucket of sand, about 25 people – we were conspicuous and we got the attention of bike cops who told us we had to shut it down.  We were allowed to set off one more and then had to pack it up.  I was saying that the Dotytron should have lit them all off at once and shouted, “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” which would have been so funny!  Just imagine?  A white guy in Leslieville, holding his fist up and shouting “black lives matter” in response to being told to not light fireworks?!  So good. 

Scarborough bluffs mission was also a bust, but a hilarious one, in the grand tradition of M-R-I-H shenanigans.  At first, we were going to skip the bluffs because Dr. Rei and Dotytron were obviously in the mood to do nothing but sit around and talk about 90s hip hop for eternity.  Then, we opted to go to the beach as an alternative, but it was BUCK (obviously), so we ended up heading to the bluffs anyway.  As we passed a long line of cars snaking seemingly parked bumper-to-bumper on their way OUT of the bluffs, the Dotytron went into doomsday apocalyptica mode (which is the worst Dotytron mode of life) and was all like, “We’re idiots! We should abort!  Each car we’re passing is an hour of our life! Why did we do this?  This is so dumb, etc., etc.,”  We got to the bottom, couldn’t find parking, and realized we should turn tail and head back up, so we did, only to have Hanbo entreating Dr. Rei to at very least, Google a picture of the bluffs to show him, and the Dotytron was still going strong in doomsday mode and was (seriously) trying to convince me that I should call the police, tell them that a thousand people were stuck at the bluffs and needed their help to direct traffic and get out.  LOL!  It was epic.  In the end, it was fine, the line of cars moved relatively quickly and it didn’t break bad like we had thought it might. 

We ate Chino Loco’s at home.  The Big Yam, who had been angling for a brownie all day, couldn’t stomach his dinner and so was all angst-ridden about forfeiting his right to a brownie dessert.  He’s a forward thinking chap, though, and asked what we were eating for dinner on Tuesday.  I said that it was going to be rice and a sauce, similar to the deconstructed burrito he was turning his nose up at.  “AGAIN?!?!!!?” he cried, “COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” which was such a pure expression of supreme disappointment and dismay that the whole table broke down laughing.  “AGAIN?!??? COME ON!!!!!” will never not be funny.  Lately, in the same vein, he’s started shouting, “DARN IT!!!” when he’s frustrated, which is equally hilarious.

Meanwhile, these two little monkeys are routinely flouting doctor’s orders and engaging in mad bed jumping pre/post-nap:

video

video
I find this video simultaneously revolting AND compelling





We got a piano!  Best decision we've ever made, best addition to the house (including our children, j/k j/k j/k).  That's Linsday in his shirt from the Apollo Theatre that Momma D bought for him.  Our piano is a Heintzman from the 1930s that we bought for $250.  It's a beautiful piece and I love the way it looks.  It needs a tuning but needs to acclimate to our house first.  The cost of moving was as much as the piano.  

Droopy drawers

"WHOLE!!!" is this guy's eating rallying cry - which basically means that he wanted to eat a pork chop on the bone.

I made Smitten Kitchen's baked chickpeas for dinner a couple of weeks ago, and have since made it a few more times.  It makes the perfect work lunch.  Middle Eastern spiced chickpeas, served with dollops of yogurt tahini dressing, labneh (always labneh), and the classic Middle Eastern tomato-cucumber-red onion-mint-parsley salad, dressed with lemon juice, and mixed with crunchy pita chips - Smitten recommends homemade, but I used Stacy's naked pita chips, which are perfection.  It's like Middle Eastern nachos.  I will say that I think it's not necessary to bake them - I simmered subsequent batches on the stove with the lid ajar until almost all the liquid was evaporated and it worked out just fine.  This is the platonic ideal of summer food.  I love this dish so much.  



Fin.


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