Saturday, November 24, 2012

14 Years on the 18th Day

When an idea makes its way into Nick's brain, the seed lies seemingly dormant for eons. But internally it germinates and begins to sprout soundlessly until it becomes a fully blossomed creature. That's when I find out about it. His latest is a new face for the kitchen. And while I'm all about trading up our 25-year-old electric Jenn-Air, I wasn't prepared for his taking a hammer to the wall while he was still telling me the plan. 

"Do we really need to start now?"

"Why not? I've got it all figured out."

"Because we haven't done anything about it for six years, and today we have friends coming over for dinner. I'll bet it can wait a few hours longer."

But no. It couldn't. And by the time our guests walked through the door, the wall behind our small fridge (Part A of the Plan) had been knocked out, re-insulated, and re-drywalled. It was .75" wider, 4" deeper, and ready for a new fridge. 

It took us so long to do that because we'd always thought it would involve moving the load-bearing wall on one side of the fridge, and/or the cabinets on the other. With busting out the wall behind it, all we needed to do was trim some of the counter tile.

Which brings me to why I'm even telling you this story. With a dremel in one hand and the hose to an industrial vacuum cleaner inhaling all the dust in the other, my monocular husband cut that tile in such a perfectly straight line, I was awed. I was cleaning up construction debris on his blind side so he didn't notice me proudly staring at him, as he held the small dremel in position for a good twenty minutes without wavering, never straying from the Sharpie line. Not easy with one eye!

November 18, 1998, Mauritius.

Happy Anniversary to a man who continues to amaze me.

(I'm still working on getting him to let me in on his plans a little earlier in the game, but I've only been trying for 14 years. I'll just have to be as tenacious as he is!)


PS: Greetings to Nick's aunt and uncle Francoise and Philippe who are currently in Reunion, where we spent our honeymoon!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Aftermath

November 7, 2012.

"The Piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!"

Nick slammed on the brakes, narrowly missing the two deer in the road, and everything came to a screeching halt - except the Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie. It kept going, flying off Cayenne's lap and landing somewhere under Nick's seat. We arrived at Ilona and Michel's for our election night dinner with a pile of dessert, but happy it didn't come with a side of venison.

I spoke in my first American Presidential election yesterday. I became a dual citizen two years ago and now have a voice to help make things better, and not just to complain with.

I exercised that hard-won right with pride.

But here's the thing: The two party system is so divisive it only had one direction in which to fester, and it has. The vitriol spewed by both sides in this election was so toxic it threatened very strong friendships, mostly through social media.

So I was looking forward to waking up to a fresh start: the phone unringing; no more garbage in the mailbox; no more hate on facebook. But this is what met me: Republicans blaming the loss on all the ignorant, uneducated minorities who voted for the socialist, Muslim Obama, because they wanted more free stuff; and Democrats relieved that the Confederates and the rest of those gun-totin', bigoted, my-church-will-rule-your-life rednecks didn't make headway this time. Those are serious charges.

Educated, respectable citizens were making these statements. Certainly not everyone, but upstanding folks from both parties. I'm thinking it's human - when you are 100% sure what you're voting for is right - to think that anyone voting for the other side must be a little retarded. In the true sense of the word. But humans were also born with the capacity to see things from both sides, even when the halves are polar opposite. We just need to allow ourselves to do that.

Now's the time to heal - our feelings for each other and the state of the nation. The only way that's going to happen is if Congress swallows the hate and makes decisions based on what's best for the country - and that goes for both sides of the aisle. Fingers crossed we're adult enough to do it. Or better yet, maybe we should approach it more like children...

Here's how the girls let me know they'd dropped one of my favourite bowls recently:

"Mom! Great news! 
It only broke into four pieces so we can totally glue it back together!"


Monday, November 5, 2012

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Lifting her head out of the latest Fine Cooking magazine Cayenne declared,

"So here's an excellent quote from me: 'Do what you love, do it well, but know what you're doing.' I've been on this earth 11 years. I can cook and I'm pretty good at it, but I still can't figure out if a scallion is seafood or a type of onion!"

You're doing just fine, baby girl.

Acacia and I are helping Cayenne recreate a scene from the Alice in Wonderland sequel, The Looking Glass for her Humanities class. There's blue masking tape, red paint and glitter all over the house. So glad Nick's in Phoenix at the moment. He abhors glitter.

Over the weekend, however, I would've been lost without him because in the 24 hours between 10:30pm Friday night and 10:30pm Saturday night, I played five hockey games, went to Carly's baby shower and showed some clients a house - which they decided to buy. :) For my reward, I got an extra hour of sleep as the time changed on us. I am not a proponent of Daylight Savings, but I sure appreciated it yesterday morning!

The girls are still getting the hang of it though, as this is how the conversation went last night:

Me: "Bedtime peeps - it's 8:30"

Them: "Really it's 7:30 so we have time"

Me: "Really it's 9:30 so chop chop"

Them: "Oh"

Me: "What're you doing?"

Them: "Making chai lattes"

Me: "With what?"

Them: "Cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and cloves"


Me: Well alrighty then

Gotta love Fine Cooking. :)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Treats No Tricks

Trick or treat!
Smell my feet!
Give me something good to eat!
Not too big, not too small,
just the size of Montreal!

The things that take up primo real estate in your brain are worrying sometimes. But that they can lie dormant for 35 years and then pop into your consciousness is pretty amazing. (For the record, we used to sing that song while skipping between the houses, but never at an open door. I do have standards, you know.)

Me at 9 or 10 yrs: "Trick or Treat!"

Neighbour Mr. Saulnier: "Show me a trick and I'll give you a treat."

Me: "Give me a treat and I'll show you a trick."

He hands me a piece of candy and I unwrap it.

Me: "Now you see it." Gulp. "Now you don't!"

I was very impressed with myself for scoring two treats at the Saulnier's. When I think about the entire pillowcase my-sweet-tooth-self used to fill with candy trick-or-treating in our neighborhood in Montreal, I realise that moving to Portugal was really a very, very good thing for me.

Halloween isn't the most meaningful of holidays, but it's proving to be a great opportunity to create fun family traditions and lasting memories (apparently).

City market's pumpkins were squishy this year. I wonder if they froze on their way to the store, or it's just too warm out?

Our Spanish Dancer

Some of the many neighbourhood kids enjoying a Chili Dinner at the Thomases pre-trick-or-treating

Dorothy. She wants to be a monster next year...
I'm thinking with those missing teeth she should've been a rabbit.

Fair Trade

Even the sky played along with its witch's hat on orange. :)

If you live in the candybelt (U.S. & Canada), I hope you had a hoot!!