Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Going, going, gone...

I wrote this a week or two ago (time is passing very strangely right now, so I have no idea when it actually was) right before Shannon left for Egypt. I think that it still needs to be posted.
This morning marked the last time that I will see my Shannon for at least 10 months. That is probably the longest that I have ever gone without seeing her since meeting we met in grade 9 at QCHS. That was 12 years ago. 12 YEARS! Wow. Shannon and I were friends - but not particularly close, I think - throughout high school, but it wasn't until we both left for University - different universities - that we really truly bonded. When I log into my Hotmail account I'll sometimes go through some of the emails that we sent back and forth every day during our first year of university and I think, wow - we were so not grown up or even slightly mature! :) Even though we were at different schools, we had incredibly similar experiences - and I love the fact that I got to know some of Shannon's closest Calvin friends and that she got to know some of my closest Redeemer friends.

It's interesting - Shannon and I had similar interests and talents when it came to Academics in high school (French & English - though, perhaps Shannon only liked the teacher and not the subject when it came to English). The only place we differed was how much time we spent doing homework! That extra effort (and therefore extra knowledge) allowed Shannon to go on to major in French at Calvin, while I took up an English major - reading an entire novel over night is much easier than catching up on 3 new conjugations of verbs over night! Shannon travelled overseas and spent a semester living and studying in France; I travelled overseas and spent a semester living in England. While I hem'd and haw'd about applying to teacher's college to follow in the footsteps of the rest of my family, Shannon already had her feet firmly planted in her family's teaching footsteps. I chose not to become a teacher, but I did spend 5 months living in Japan and teaching English - Shannon is now leaving to spend 2 years living in Egypt and teaching French.

Neither Shannon or I were overly emotional about leaving grade 12 - we couldn't quite stand the typical grad songs of the day - "Friends Forever" by M.W.Smith, "The Graduation Song" by Vitamin C, etc... We were very aware that just because you're in the same class in high school it doesn't mean that you'll be lifelong friends with all of your classmates. I think that the experiences that Shannon and I have shared apart from each other over the past 8 years since leaving high school have really cemented our friendships - there's no obligation to be friends because we used to be friends, it's not common history that makes me want to hang out with her and be a part of her life - we've matured together, really found out what it meant to grow up together - we are able to love each other for who we are, not who we were. And I think that's awesome.

I'll miss my dear friend over the next 10 months - but I hope that she has an amazing time and a great adventure! Shannon Marcus - we will miss you on this continent!

If you want to see how Shannon is doing in Egypt, check out the link to her blog on the side---> "Excitement in Egypt".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shut the doors, shut the windows, shut everything! The Invisible Man is coming!

Well, ok, maybe not the Invisible Man, but the invisible toxins are coming! Oh wait, they're already here. I woke up this morning and let the dog outside - there was a very putrid odor drifting into the house which I quickly attributed to the neighbours - they were having a camp fire until late last night, and it really smelled as if they burned something they shouldn't have.

I found it a little odd that I could smell it all the way to work - they must have really done a number! However, when I neared Redeemer on Garner, I saw some dark clouds on the horizon and started to wonder if maybe it wasn't the neighbour's fault... Sure enough, when I got to the office, everyone was talking about the fire in the Ancaster Industrial Park. I read a few articles online and shortly after called home and instructed Brian to close all the windows - the building that is burning is a furniture factory, and they have no small supply of toxins that burn well and do bad things to people who breathe them in. Residents of Ancaster and Hamilton Mountain have been encouraged to shut all windows and doors, and to stay inside today. Never a dull moment in Hamilton.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

If they don't win, it's a shame!

This afternoon, Brian and I went to see the Jays play at the Dome. Err - sorry - the "Centre". While they started off strong with a home run, there was a lot of pops and strikes. And, of course, they lost. But, we were on the Jumbo Tron for about 8 seconds!

Marya, Eric, and Evan joined us in TO for the game! (I couldn't fit the whole CN Tower in...)

It has been many, many years since I've been at the Dome early enough to watch them set up the field!

This is the fuzzy star that Evan got to hug. He was very excited about that.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Last weekend at the Kat Cottage

A few photos from last week Saturday at Kat's family cottage on Lake Eerie.

This is Mercy. She's super cute, but she and Izzy don't get along. Big Surprise.

Joel and Felix fought a little bit.

Elijah chilled out a little bit, but he never took a nap. Poor boy.

We borrowed a windsurf board from someone for the weekend. It's a pretty shitty board, super wobbly. Brian was the first one to have a go at it, and it took a while for him to get going. Eventually, though, he took the record by moving about 1o0 ft. Yay, B!

Amanda performed very admirably well on the board!

This is my favourite picture of Amanda's windsurfing adventure. Can you spot Amanda?
This is Mark. He did superbly! However, his initial record was beaten by B in the end.
Brian and I made Izzy play with us in the lake.

She didn't like it very much.
She was still pretty happy with her weekend at the cottage, though. I don't think she holds the lake experience against us.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Whole Picture

Since I've spent so much of my time boasting about my garden this summer, I should paint an honest and accurate picture of how not everything is thriving. Tonight, I chopped down over half of my tomato plants which had been striken with blight. Actually, they all have it, but the others don't have it quite as bad yet, so I'm hoping to get a few more cherry tomatoes out of them.

These are what used to be my peas. The tomatoes killed them. Rotten tomatoes.

The ghosts of tomatoes past.

I'm going to try to ripen these tomatoes with my superpowers. Or, by the power of sunlight and / or ripe bananas and paper bags.

So many green tomatoes. Sigh.

Monday, August 17, 2009

As Promised...

Dinner tonight: Steak (mmm), Orzo Salad, cooked pole beans, and zucchini boats. Orzo salad features garden fresh tomatoes, basil, and chives. cooked pole beans = freshly picked from the garden. Zucchini boats made from recently picked zucchinis, garden cherry tomatoes, basil, and parsley. Now that's a locally produced meal!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flowers in the Garden



Align CenterZucchini.

Scarlett Runner Beans, Zucchini, Cucumber, Eggplant, Pepper, and a little bit of the Peas and Tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

At this moment,

I am quite concerned that my zucchini plants are going to take over my entire garden. I hope I'm not standing in the garden when it happens; I might not make it out alive.

Friday, August 07, 2009

More Goodness from the Garden

Some of you might be getting tired of this day-by-day update of my garden and plants, but I'm not and it's my blog, so you can click on the little red "x" in the right hand corner if you're done.... :)

This was yesterday's harvest. My first big tomato! It wasn't quite ready, but it fell of the vine, so I suppose that it had decided that enough was enough!

Today's harvest! Second ripe tomato. This one I got to pick myself. I used both tomatoes in a salad that we shared with Nick and Hilary tonight. They're of the "Early Girl" variety, and apparently they're true to their name as they're the first big variety to ripen!

A little pepper is growing! It's actually supposedly a yellow pepper. I figure that I'm about 2.5 weeks away from getting pick-able peppers yet. (Note the large dandylion in the background. I haven't weeded consistently this summer...)

So it wasn't until I looked at my yellow zucchini plant that I realized that the thing sticking out of the stalk wasn't just another branch or leaf - it's a little tiny zucchini! So cute! I'm really looking forward to picking the yellow variety, especially.

Again - a tiny little baby cucumber! So very cute.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

These are my tomato plants. This used to be a path. I have no idea how I'm going to harvest all of those tomatoes. A lot of crawling, I guess!

I'm really looking forward to these ones ripening. There are a lot of them. They're supposed to be salad tomatoes. Yellow, I think.

One of many pepper plants in my garden. They're now starting to flower. I wonder how long it will take for the peppers to form?

My eggplant. See that spikey thing in the middle of the shot? I think that's where my eggplant is going to grow. Should be fun!

Almost ready for picking! There are three of them that are about at this stage.

Today's produce. The beans are in the oven right now. The peas are in my stomach. I'm waiting patiently to share the tomatoes with Brian and Amanda for dinner.


It must have been the bright, crisp morning that has reminded me of how much I love slow cooker meals and how much I miss them! Our slow cooker died (well, the insert died) this winter when I put a frozen piece of meat in it and it cracked. It is my goal to replace it within the month so that by September, I can once again start creating wonderful comfort foods before I leave for work, or on a cool Saturday morning.

There is something so cozy about smelling your dinner cooking and simmering on a cool day, and something so relaxing about having dinner prepared so far in advance!

Slow cooker meals are also fantastic because they're so much better when served to company - Brian and I can't eat everything in that huge pot, anyways! So, if you like sloppy joes, or pot roast, or pulled pork sandwiches, or .... come for dinner in the fall! I'm very excited for the slow cooking season!