Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!!!

Another Christmas has come and gone. Most people seem to think this felt a little less like Christmas due to the lack of snow. It is more like spring with all the rain and above seasonal temperatures. I think there is something to this climate change after all.

Weather aside, Christmas went off much as usual (and so it should) with lots of love and laughter with friends and family. My sister and her partner hosted a fantastic dinner with everyone bringing a little something. Mother was in charge of canapés, my sister-in-law brought a few side dishes and I was in charge of desserts.

From the pages of my ‘Great Canadian Pies’ book I managed to bake a cranberry/apple and a sweet potato pie. I also managed my first ever Christmas pudding that I set aflame with brandy. Next year I shall have to start this endeavor sooner as it could have used a few more days of rum. For right out of that gate, not too bad though.

This Christmas also brought with it proof positive that my memory is going the way of the dodo. Each year our family draws names for stockings. Any new additions to the clan during the course of the year are usually the responsibility of whoever brought the newcomer into the fold. This year however, we had two; the boyfriend and my sister’s partner. Some time ago my sister supposedly proposed that they switch and do each other’s stocking. This making sense, I apparently promptly agreed and then just as quickly forgot.

So there we sat, each stocking opened as we all watched. Then my sister asked me for the last one. I looked around completely oblivious asking where it was. My kind hearted sister, as subtly as she could pointed a discreet finger at me. I sank into my chair as did the boyfriend.

You would think something would have dawned on me after he opened his and he thanked me. I told him to thank my sister-in-law as this is who my memory told me had done it. He thanked her and she said it wasn’t her but that she would take the hug anyway. We then found out it was my sister’s partner. That still didn’t clue me in and a couple more stockings were opened until we reached the aforementioned situation.

Once again I apologize for my social gaff and assure you I am in the process of correcting it. There will be a sinfully delicious stocking for your flight back to Calgary. I obviously did not get a merit badge in scouts for keeping an accurate calendar. I did however get one for housekeeping.

In addition to our family gathering, the boyfriend and I hosted a Christmas morning brunch. I have bragged in the past about getting a housekeeping badge (and it being a good indicator of my now fastidious ways) when I was in Wolf-Cubs and the subject came up over mimosas.

I managed to find my jersey tucked away at the bottom of some drawer so everyone could see the inverted yellow triangle with a vacuum on it. It sits proudly on the left sleeve all by its lonesome. It rests under a plain white triangle which I think is faded pink. This of course got a few laughs as did the ’76-77’ date badge. Apparently I was a Wolf-Cub before the boyfriend or Alberta Boy were born. Pervert. What do you call a male cougar anyway?

On the right sleeve are seven other little badges that I felt, as a young cub, did not warrant a distraction to my housekeeping. There are badges for reading, swimming, cycling, sailing and orienteering. There is also one with a football on it that I guess is for athletics in general and another with a figure akin to DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man with a red triangle in the background. First Aid perhaps???

Wrapping the jersey back into its tissue paper, we headed off to my sister’s where, unfortunate stocking incident aside, we had a wonderful day eating, laughing and sharing. Merry Christmas everyone and in 2007 let’s all try to get our merit badges for Saving the Environment!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I Do Believe In Love At First Sight!

When I first laid eyes on her I felt like smashing a mini bottle of Veuve Clicquot across her gorgeously sleek rounded head and saying “I christen her Mammy, may God bless her and all who eat from her”. Of course I would never do that as I wouldn’t want to scratch the finish or dent her perfectly sculpted lines.

For some years now I have had KitchenAid mixer envy. KitKat has one, LSC has one and the Girls in the Dollhouse have one. Whenever I attempted to make cake batter, I cursed my hand mixer as it whined its way through the flour, sugar, butter etc. When I was faced with a recipe calling for 6 cups of flour I borrowed Lady Fluevog’s pink ribbon version. That was the end of it. I had to have one.

On the verge of registering for one for Christmas (so everyone could contribute what they deemed appropriate) I stumbled across a mega deal at Kitchen Stuff Plus. I had seen this particular model on-line but it was far too expensive. But there it was before me, calling my name! Regularly $569 on for $252! I had convinced myself that all I really needed was the one on sale at Home Outfitters for $296.

Lady Luck was standing next to me that day. Upgraded and cheap! I felt like I had just been bumped from steerage to first class. Even standing in line I started coming up with names for her. Molly – as in the maid – she doesn’t clean though. If anything, I have to clean her. Betty – as in Crocker – but that name belongs to my beloved bitch wagon. Poppins – as in Mary – but then there would always be the image of that Dick Van Whatver buzzing about in my head and that is NO good.

I had initially settled on Regina after the strong, powerful woman from the movie The Little Foxes. I thought it fitting as my mixer is quite the little work horse and Bette is one of my favorite actresses. I am saving Margo from All About Eve for my schipperke when I get one. The boyfriend suggested Mammy as I also love Gone With the Wind and, as CJ pointed out, if I made a mistake with a recipe I could say “If it ain’t fittin, it just ain’t fittin. It ain’t fittin” – a line that always makes me giggle whenever I hear Hattie McDaniel say it.

You may well ask yourself why she needs a name at all. I am not really sure actually. I have always given names to certain things. My vehicles have all had names – Evelyn, Betty and Lucy, my bike’s name is Bob and my manly club chair is Winston. With the exception of that last one, I always use female names.

Maybe it’s a gay thing. Ships all have names, and well, you know what goes on in the Navy. Just ask the Village People. Planes on the other hand are numbered. Boring!

As I said, I really don’t know. It is just something I do. And to me, it “just seems fittin’”.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Shut Your Cake Hole!

“Shut up” is not a phrase I like to use. Perhaps my aversion to it comes from the ‘shut up’ jar we had as kids. Each time you said it, you had to put a quarter in the jar. When there was enough money we went out to eat. We dined at restaurants at least once a week. Apparently we thought saying it was worth the price. Who knows? At any rate, I now think it rather vulgar. Unless of course, it is Alberta Boy or I screeching “dude shut up” a la Vicki Pollard from Little Britain. It has a certain, what the French would call an “I don’t know what”.

The one time I can’t help myself though is in the movie theatre. First of all, I don’t understand why anyone would pay $12 to go to the movies and talk. You can do that for free at home. If the chatter begins with the start of the film, I usually assume the first few minutes are a ‘settling in’ period. If after that the blathering continues, I will speak up. Not to the extreme of KitKat perhaps who, during a screening of one of the Harry Potter movies, told four teenagers to “please shut the fuck up”. At least he said please. That poor little homo in training had no idea what hit him and his three little fag-hag girlfriends melted into little puddles of silence.

Last night I found myself in a unique position while watching Apocalypto. I really enjoyed the movie and, as an added bonus, Rudy Youngblood was not too hard on the eyes. The violence was graphic and it dragged in places but at the end of the day, thumbs up from me. The entire movie is sub-titled so you need to keep up.

Two seats away from me sat a woman and her boyfriend who felt the need to read each line as it appeared and add their own special brand of commentary. If the music was loud enough I could plug my right ear and filter them out. I hoped, nay prayed, that the people behind them would kick the back of their seats in an effort to silence them. No such luck.

No longer being able to contain myself, I turned to them and asked “would you shut up?”
The girlfriend seemed taken aback and asked if I had asked her to shut up. I said yes and may have even taken the Lord’s name in vain to emphasize my point. My bad. Needless to say I got to enjoy the rest of the movie in peace.

You may ask yourself how I know that said couple were boyfriend and girlfriend and not husband and wife etc. Well, as it turns out they were with us. I went to see the movie with the Italian Stallion and he asked if a few friends could join us. Why not? I like people. Well, most of them anyway. I have a feeling that they won’t be going to movies with me again. After all, first impressions are everything and having someone you just met shush you into silence, does not lay the groundwork for an enjoyable second encounter. Awkward! Either way, I hope they have learned from my valuable lesson or at least learned to stay at home.

Wait. Maybe it’s me that needs to stay home. No no, that can’t be. It’s them, not me.

Friday, December 08, 2006

You Want Us To Read What?

Not so very long ago, in a book store not so very far away, I was perusing the hardcover delights when I happened upon a table of Woodsworth Classics. I spied a novel I had, for some unknown reason, always wanted to read. I say “always” but of course don’t mean that literally. When I was in my Dr. Seuss phase three years ago, that was all I wanted. A Cat in a Hat indeed.

A few years back, my New Years resolution was to start reading all those “classics” you’ve heard of but never read – unless you were forced to do so by a teacher. I have to date read everything from The Wizard of Oz (that movie is all lies!) to Jude the Obscure and all points in between. My top 5 favorites so far include Robinson Crusoe, Around the World in 80 Days, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Moonstone and the Sherlock Holmes stories.

One I never got around to, but was of interest to me, was Tess of the d’Ubervilles. As it happens, last summer our little group chit-chatted and tossed about the idea of starting a book club. We are a little behind Oprah, but only by about 8 years. Trends take a while to hit the E-dot. We’re a bit like Tasmania that way according to The Boyfriend.

Anyway, I thought it was a fine way to combine the two efforts. That plus the books were 3 for $10 and who can say no to that? It was a sign indeed. “Is this for a book club?” asked the clerk as I plunked down 12 copies. “No professor. Papier-mâché project.” Was my response.

Home I went with my head buzzing. So inspired by my find, and anxious to start the book club, I wrapped each copy in brown craft paper, addressed them and tied with twine to give it that authentic period feel. (And when I say period I mean, well, you know what I mean). Enclosed was an invitation announcing the inaugural meeting of the “New Toronto Lakeshore Village (and out of town guests), Gay and Lesbian (and selected invited breeders) Book Club”.

As it is a lengthy novel “with small print” I gave everyone 8 weeks to read it. During that time, a few mini debates flared up at various gatherings. Was Tess a woman of low moral standards or did Alek take advantage? Did we love or hate Angel. I think she was taken advantage of and Angel needed to get a spine.

With the big day fast approaching a couple people admitted they hated it and couldn’t finish it and one person revealed they rented the movie instead. At least they owned up to it. Finished or not, the club was going to meet!

I made traditional drinks – Regency Orange Brandy (sidebar, I lovingly removed the zest from 12 oranges, put it in a glass jar and began to add the booze. As I bragged to the boyfriend about my efforts of making it myself he said “why are you using rum”? Apparently “Brandy” and “Bacardi” sound too much alike for me), Hot Buttered Cider with Rum and Lambs Wool (a concoction of heated ale, sugar and baked apples). Dairy themed food was prepared in honor of Tess’ stay there. There was cheese of all sorts (including a brie wheel with chutney baked in filo pastry) and for the autumn season, a cake, shaped and decorated like a pumpkin.

The room was awash with light from oil lamps and candles. Getting the conversation started was a bit slow and tedious. As the host and brainchild behind all of this, it fell to me to get things started. In a nut shell, I like the book. Thomas Hardy, from the little I have read, was not a “happily ever after” kind of guy. For whatever reason, that appeals to me as it seems more realistic. The general consensus was that it was good, if a little long winded and descriptive. Personally, I liked the in-depth detail as it gave me feel for this form of entertainment. Back before TV, radio, iPods etc. I would not have wanted the Coles Notes version.

Unbeknownst to me, some goggled ideas came out during the conversation. I found them quite insightful and was all “wow they are way smarter than me”, but now I know better. I didn’t know you could find such things on the net. Oh well.

Our next meeting is being hosted by KitKat and CFB. Their selection is A Naked Civil Servant. I am now on chapter six and anxiously awaiting the big night. I wonder if we will have to dress like women? Good thing Halloween just passed and I have ready access to my old Scarlett O’Hara costume.