dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I am the happiest carbohydrate addict there ever was and ever will be.

Russ has taken to making homemade bread each weekend thanks to the shiny KitchenAid mixer we got with AirMiles points. I find the smell of rising and baking bread extremely... appealing. The whole bread experience right up to eating a slice of fresh bread with butter melting on it is so sensual.

Today, he made bread. But even better, he made homemade bagels:



They are even better than they look.
dreaminghope: (Corset)


On Thursday, Russ and I went to see our first Cirque du Soleil show, Corteo. A clown dreams of his funeral: processions, a full orchestra, beautiful singing in French and Italian, and slap-stick comedy alternating with moments of intense beauty. I thought I knew what to expect, from seeing videos of Cirque's shows, but seeing it live is a completely different experience. On TV, the impossible is just part of an evening's entertainment; live, the barely possible is awe-inspiring.

I'm not going to try to describe the acts in the show. There are basic descriptions on the Corteo website, and I can't do better than those simple outlines. The acrobats soared and surprised, and I can't make words do that. Not yet, in any case. English feels very heavy right now.

C'est comme les artistes de cirque peux voler, ou peut-être échapper sur un vent qu'on ne peux pas sentir. Sûrement, c'est impossible qu'ils sont comme tout le monde; ils doivent avoir les os des oiseaux.



That night, I dreamt that I was made of air instead of flesh, and that my words were musical notes.
dreaminghope: (Tipsy)
I love food. So does Russ. It's one of the bigger things we have in common, which is good because it means we don't argue about our extravagant food budget. So for Russ' birthday, I got him a nice chef's knife and a culinary event with Edible British Columbia.

They let you in to the Granville Island Market after hours. They have a long open storefront and they set up a lovely table with linens and wine glasses in the cement market hallway in front of it. There are fifteen attendees, and they were all on time, dressed in everything from jeans and t-shirts to a suit with a pink tie.



Immediately baskets of different kinds of breads and dishes of balsamic vinegar and lobster oil are laid out on the table. And the BC wine begins to flow soon after. Three people at the table don't drink at all and another is asking for tiny amounts, so I think the rest of us got larger than normal portions through out the evening; no sense wasting the bottle once it has been opened, I suppose.

We all get up from the table, carrying our wine glasses, and gather around a counter where a professional chef – Jeff Van Geest of Aurora Bistro – creates delicious dishes using local ingredients. The theme on this evening is heritage tomatoes.



After the chef demonstrates each dish, we all take our seats again and are served. It's like watching a cooking show on TV, but you can smell and taste everything.

Green zebra tomatoes look under-ripe – bright green. But they are sweet and juicy. They are plated as you would get in a fancy restaurant – the kind Russ and I only eat at when my parents are paying for a special occasion – so the tomato slices are stacked with delicate rings of onions. They are accompanied by a sprinkle of local cheese and another glass of wine. I’m not much for white wines, really, but it is a nice bright Chardonnay.



I've always disliked tomato soup, but I'd only ever had canned before. But this smoked tomato soup is a completely different creature altogether. The mix of heritage tomatoes are smoked in an aluminum lined pot on a stove top with wood chips. Russ and another more experienced cook compared notes on what they thought was missing from the soup (I think they concluded that it need more cream), but I thought it was delightful.

Being a carb addict, it was the croûtons that I really loved: fresh bread cubes deep-fried in clarified butter and tossed with freshly grated parmesan. Pure decadence. Shame that only a couple of croûtons were in each bowl of soup.

Russ and I sat across from each other. On my left was a woman that Russ would later inform me was typical of a new Toronto import to Vancouver: she spoke very fast and very urgently. She's puppy-eager to learn. She asked a lot of detailed questions and took notes of every store, food brand, and restaurant mentioned by the chef or any of the rest of us. She leaned in intently as Russ told her about the best East Van food locations, having him spell the names of Italian bakeries and give her directions to the most authentic Chinese food stores.



I have been vegetarian for more than ten years. I am, admittedly, a bit of a "don't ask, don't tell" vegetarian (don't ask the restaurant whether or not they use veggie broth; don't ask if the ice cream has gelatin in it), but I have not eaten actual meat in a decade.

I won't blame the wine. I do credit the chef's excellent sales pitch: as he prepared the course, he praised the farm where he bought the chickens destined to be our main course: the chicken's living conditions and the quality of their diet, and the resulting quality of the meat. So when the parchment paper packet was set in front of me, I enjoyed the tomatoes and the arugula and then I had the smallest bite of the chicken.

Chicken has a very weird texture. It is sort of stringy. You all probably don't notice it because you eat it all the time, but it is a very bizarre thing to eat. I'm sure it was fantastic chicken, though; Russ certainly enjoyed both his portion and mine.



Sitting at the head of the table, between Russ and I, is a true foodie. He has come alone, but seems very comfortable making conversation with us, though we are half his age. He attends many culinary events and cooking classes. He is fascinating to talk to – to listen to – as he has traveled around the world primarily to have different food experiences. Toronto Puppy keeps interrupting to have him explain dishes and spell things.

As the chef prepares each dish, his assistant helps invisibly. The tools he needs next just appear beside him. Dirty dishes just disappear from around him and reappear clean if needed. In my mind, I call her Radar.



Tomato sorbet sounds strange, but it was very good. The sorbet was cool and refreshing, and the balsamic reduction wasn't vinegary, but rich and sweet. And I love late harvest wines. I have a sweet tooth.

The whole event was magical, including buying ginger jam and bakeable chocolate truffles to go and pouring ourselves into a cab. It was completely worth having my first ever hangover on Wednesday morning at work.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
Last week and all weekend was hot and sunny and... hot. Hot enough to boil away other adjectives.

Last night, at ten at night, I finally thought that it was cool enough out to try to wash the dishes that had piled up over the hot weekend. The lemon-scented steam rose and the sweat ran down my face and the back of my t-shirt. The air outside was too still to bring any relief through the open window. Then I heard a wonderful noise.

I stepped out the back door and moved to stand in the middle of the back deck and the rain poured down on me in fat, cool drops. Though I was surrounded by the city, the world was quiet and still and dark. It felt like the universe could hear my prayers.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
When I get a new book by a favourite author, one I know will be wonderful, I have trouble starting the book, for starting it will only bring me that much closer to finishing it. The anticipation of starting a new book is like the moment right before the orgasm: you both want it to last forever and want to get on with reading the book already.

I want reading the great book to be perfect: I want to be all comfy – in a soft place, warm enough – and to have a long period of uninterrupted time to enjoy it. I would be completely undistracted by illness, exhaustion, or work concerns. My house would be perfectly clean and tidy, my emails would all be answered, all the bills would be paid and filed. Of course, I have to accept less-then-ideal circumstances, or I would never have sex read at all.

I received a package from Amazon.ca today; one I wasn't expecting for a couple of weeks, so it caught me completely unprepared. Four Charles de Lint books I have never read, all here at once!

I've been lusting after some of these books for years – they are all small press items, unavailable in stores, and I finally saved up the money to buy them – and now I have them piled on the edge of the de Lint shelf of the living room bookcase, glossy and seductive, and I can't seem to get myself started.

I'll finish the Nightside book I'm in the middle of, bask in its glow for a moment or two, then grab one of the new books and not get nearly enough sleep for the next couple of nights. Right now, I am trying to tell myself that I will stretch the four books out, savouring each one. In reality, I will probably gorge myself. If I'm not on LJ a lot for the coming week, you know where I am.

I anticipate being very satiated.
dreaminghope: (Waterbaby)
The best dessert looks too big when your plate is set in front of you.

It looks too small after you've taken the first bite.

It turns out to be exactly the right size by the time you've scrapped the plate clean.

The warm three-berry pie and vanilla bean ice cream was delicious.

I love True Confections.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
It struck me today that is it sad that most posts that get tons of comments are drama-based posts. We need more happy posts! We need lots of happy comments! I need lots of happy comments - let's beat my record!* So: a game!

Here's the game: Comment on this post with something that makes you happy. Choose something that you think most people have experienced or should appreciate more. Then, comment to all the comments that are about happy things you have experienced with a story or observation about it. Be detailed! Engage the senses! Share the joy!

Even if you are seeing this post days, weeks or even months or years after it was posted, play anyway. I get comments emailed to me, so I may still get your happy notes.

*I think the most comments I've ever had on one post has been about 45, on a question and answer post. I don't have a lot of drama on my LJ.
dreaminghope: (Christmas)
Something a little more seasonal, since my last post could be considered a bit of a downer. Thanks to everyone who responded there; I will get to responses within a day or two.

What Christmas Means to Me


Though I like egg nog and shortbread, presents and decorated trees, lights and wreaths as much as the next person, to me, this is really a season about a fruit. This is the mandarin orange season.

I love mandarins with a passion usually associated with the lusty early days of a relationship. Towards the end of November every year, I start dreamily wondering when my dear loves will appear in the store.

I’m not picky enough to be able to differentiate between the Japanese and the Chinese mandarins. They only need to be seedless, and I will buy them by the box.

Last year I discovered organic satsuma mandarins. (Side: Isn’t “satsuma” a delicious word?) We get these at work, so I buy them at the wholesale price. I keep a 5 pound box on my desk at work, and I eat about a pound of mandarins on an average weekday for the three or four weeks they are in stock. And I take more mandarins home for Russ and I to eat in the evening and on the weekends.

The story goes that if you peel your orange all in one piece, you get a wish. I always wish that my mandarin will be tasty; I’m rarely let down.

I need to eat each little section of the orange separately. This is mandatory for maximum pleasure. It is a particularly funny thing to do when eating organic mandarins, because the sections are often very small. Organic produce is usually smaller then its conventional counterparts, and the sections of a tiny organic mandarin are sometimes smaller then my thumbnail. But I peel each one off the whole and pop the juicy morsel between my back teeth.

The problem with my section-by-section eating is that it often happens that the last section of a mandarin is the only icky section (damn Murphy anyway). It doesn’t happen quite often enough for me to swear off eating the last section of each mandarin. When it happens, I usually end up eating another whole mandarin to get the good taste back. That may explain why I eat a pound of mandarins a day.

The perfect mandarin is sweet and tart at once, with firm, plump, juicy sections. As with many things, outside appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes the ones that look pristine and perfectly orange-y are dry and tasteless inside. Sometimes a wrinkly or a green and blotchy orange can be the best one.

So you can keep your gingerbread and turkey and plum pudding – I want a mandarin!
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
I am a writing tool bigot. I think it started when I was but a wee child in school. We were not permitted pens in early elementary school, only pencils (with the useless little pink stubs on the end, all but gone in one childish fit of erasing). I wanted a pen. They wrote so smoothly, the ink went on dark and even, and the sound was the quick and quiet swoosh of real writing. I was a quiet, shy kid, but on paper I wanted to be bold and bright and to make my mark visible.

Pencils are scratchy and skittery, and they break easily when you pushed too hard (which I inevitably did; I’ve always had a heavy hand). Their marks are lighter and are designed to be removed, erased from existence. I quickly grew to dislike pencils, and the calluses they left on my fingers.

In those long-gone days, I yearned for pens. Whenever possible, I pushed aside pencil crayons (superior colouring instruments for shading though they are) in favour of markers. I loved the rich, even colour that coated the paper completely with even the lightest touch. I loved the way they glided. I loved how pretty they were and how they never got worn down and uneven the way pencils did with repeated sharpening.

In grade five, we were, at long last, allowed to use pens, the erasable kind. I carried several at all times, in a little green pencil case, and from that year on, the only time I would use a pencil was on standardized tests and when measuring off a cut line.

My dad gave me an elegant wooden pen set once. It came with a mechanical pencil. If there’s anything I hate more then pencils, it is mechanical pencils. They make tentative, thin lines, like they are scared to commit to the paper. And they are fragile little things, constantly requiring refilling with more Capellini-like strands of lead. Useless!

Sharpies, on the other hand, are extremely useful. When I was younger, my sister and I would spend hours making shrink art. The perfect writing utensil for shrink art is the Sharpie, and so we had a beautiful collection of the fine-tip markers, including all the colours available and always extra black ones. Now, many years later, I hoard Sharpies. We have a selection ranging from extra-fine to extra-thick. We have the range of colours. Russ even has a push-up Sharpie that doesn’t need a cap. In the store, I lust after the adorable Sharpie Mini pens. At every excuse, out comes a handy Sharpie to label a package or container. I think I am looking forward to getting a deep freeze because of all the labeling opportunities.

My love of marking things up extended beyond just pens and markers as I developed a love for highlighters at a job where the beauty of those brilliant, translucent colours were sometimes the highlights of my day. When I left that job, my staff gave me a gift pack of highlighters, including the mythical, rarely seen, red highlighter.

But despite my love for all other writing utensils, I still hate pencils. I will not use them even in situations where they would have been the logical choice. Thus, my messy and passionate affair with white-out. Some days I come home with my hands caked with the stuff; I love that it hides my mistakes, but I get impatient and end up rubbing it to try to get it firm faster.

I discriminate against pencils, and I am not ashamed. I will stick with my highlighters, markers and pens. I will even continue to indulge my love-hate relationship with white-out. All for the love of making bolder marks on a piece of clean white paper.

Be happy!

Nov. 22nd, 2005 09:50 pm
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
Introduction: I am widely considered to be a happy person. I get comments on my cheer almost daily. A surprising number of people ask me how I stay so happy, though none of them seem to expect an answer. Most people seem to assume that I'm just naturally happy, so they accept my answers ("lots of coffee", "it's Friday", "it's sunny out", etc.) as the blow-offs they are. But, the truth is, I often work hard to be happy; it isn't always natural. So, in the public interest:

Melissa's 10 Rules for Happiness*

1. Make an effort to be happy. It isn't always as easy as happy people make it look.
2. Realize that you are small and insignificant in the face of an incalculably vast universe.
3. Realize that you are a unique miracle; there will never be another person quite like you.
4. Pay attention. Notice beautiful things, and ugly things, and painful things, and things that make you laugh. Use all your senses deliberately.
5. Walk.
6. Do everything you can, even if you do it imperfectly. Maybe especially if you do it imperfectly.
7. Pretend to be a cat. Or pretend to be a dog.
8. Listen more; talk less.
9. Choose compassion and grace whenever you can.
10. Realize that you are a unique, insignificant, meaningless, amazing, beautiful miracle.

*Disclaimer: I have normal mental and physical health. I'm not assuming that my advice will overcome hormonal or chemical imbalances, deep physical or emotional pain, etc. This information is not intended to provide a basis of action without consideration by a health care professional. This LJ shall not be liable for any damages or costs of any type arising out of or in any way connected with your use of the rules, etc., etc.
dreaminghope: (Faerie Wings)
On Friday night, Russ was so sweet to take me to a folk showcase, even though he doesn't really like folk music. I wanted to go because Kim Barlow was playing. Hers was one of 5 performances, with only 1/2 hour sets each, and she had her set right in the middle.

The first performer (John Dobb, I think) was good, but very country, so not really my style.

The second performance was a French-Canadian group of 5. All their songs were in very rapid French, and I have no idea what they were saying. But they were energetic and enthusiastic and were obviously having a fabulous time; it made them a lot of fun to watch. They had an accordian and a soprano sax, which was neat. I've never seen anyone rock out on an accordian before.

Then Kim! I was a little disappointed that she didn't play her cello, and she had a cold and kept cracking on the high notes, but she played the banjo as well as the guitar, and she played my favourite two songs from her newest album, "Slim Pickins" and "Get in the Car", so I was happy.

"Slim Pickins" always makes me laugh a little. It is told from a miner's perspective, talking about trying to find love in a small, Northern mining town.

My parents don't talk much about how they met, but the one time Mom talked about it, I found out that she and her sister had gone up North (the Yukon, I think, but it might have been the Northwest Territories) to work in the secretarial pool at a mine. My Dad was working up there. He used to find excuses to stop by my Mom's desk to chat and stuff. Now, my Mom was a beautiful young woman, so she wasn't a case of "slim pickings". I imagine that as one of the few women in an isolated area full of men, she could have had her pick of men there anyway.

I think my aunt also met her husband up there at the same camp.

After Kim was a local woman that we've seen before. I'm not really a fan (in fact, I've forgotten her name again), but she was fun, especially her "Ramones-inspired children's song". And the last performance was a father (on guitar), a son (probably only about 15, on fiddle) and a guy on stand-up bass. The son was technically perfect, but he didn't really seem to be passionate about playing. It seemed pretty mechanical, especially given that he was playing gypsy swing. Russ and I started drawing geeky comparisons to Data in Star Trek: TNG.

Anyway, we had so much fun!
dreaminghope: (Default)
We went apple picking in the pouring rain today. Saturday was beautiful: sunny and warm and golden green and orange. Today, it rained long and hard, but it was the day we could go, so off we went. Ten people, three cars, returning with many pumpkins and many pounds of apples, and a fair amount of mud too.

[livejournal.com profile] gerimaple, you were missed, but you probably would have miserable; we got pretty wet. Strangely enough, it was raining in Abbotsford too. ;)

The apples aren't as beautiful looking this year (they are a little warty), but they are huge and tasty. I predict a lot of pies and crisps in our futures. Russ and I probably have 40 pounds of apples in our kitchen (some for other people, luckily) and I think there are 6 pumpkins in our basement.

I love apple picking. The thick mud slipping under my boots, the wet leaves dripping on my hands and face as I search for the best looking apples, the smell of apples and damp vegetation and the fabulous company. There are so many people I don't see nearly enough of, and it was great to catch up with everyone and laugh and goof around.

Now, if I make the big eyes, will someone bake a pie for me?
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
Good weekend, but crazy.

I honestly don't remember Friday night. No idea what I did.

Saturday: Cleaning, packing, baking. Then off to Topless Wish Faeries, which was wonderful and fun and magical and exhausting. Maybe more on that later in its own post. Then to Illuminaires after that, until way later then I should've stayed up.

Sunday: Cleaning at Shannon and Dallas' old place. Their new place is gorgeous - congratulations guys! Then Silver Spiral Lammas in the evening.

Had a little nervous breakdown on Sunday night, just getting overwhelmed with all the moving, Gathering and work related things that have to get done in a very short amount of time. Russ calmed me down, and we got a lot done Monday night, which helped a lot. I also managed to get some Gathering stuff done, so everything remaining on that is actually dependent on other people finishing their stuff first. Hopefully that'll all get done on Wednesday night.

Just an apology, partially in advance: I'm not on LJ much these days. I read about four days worth of posts today, but hardly commented on anything. Then I'm away for the long weekend, and my home web access moves to the new house on August 5th, while the computer may not move for a couple of weeks. All in all, I won't be a good LJ friend for the next couple of weeks.

OK, I'm going back to packing.
dreaminghope: (Faerie Wings)
I danced in the alley behind my house in a shaft of sunlight while fat raindrops mushed on my head and shoulders.

It was beautiful out today.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
I love listening to the rain while I'm warm in bed. That's where I'll be headed in just a few minutes. Hopefully the cats will join me. Listening to Puck snore quietly and Zoey purr will complete the cozy picture perfectly.

Today was lovely: Up early to the Farmer's Market with Russ and Jamey. Russ and I got a gorgeous jade plant to replace the one killed by nasty bugs a few months ago. The new one is huge! The main stalk is an inch and a half thick!

We also got cinnamon buns, of course, and raspberries and strawberries. Back to Russ and I's place for lattes, cinnamon buns and fresh, perfect raspberries.

Jamey and Russ had a go at roasting their own coffee from green coffee beans. The first experiment was not a complete loss, but it was definitely not a win either. And it was pretty smoky.

Lunch was strawberries dipped in sour cream and damarara sugar -- fabulous! It was Jamey's first experience with this, and, like everyone, she took her first bite tentatively, but was enjoying it by the second berry.

Then Jamey left to run errands. I curled up with a book until Russ left his video game to find me. We had some wonderful sex and then cuddled up for a long nap. We can't normally sleep while touching, but we napped all cuddled up together. Then we lay around in bed, reading and waking slowly.

Russ is out tonight, so I rented and watched movies I know he'd tease me for renting (The Sweetest Thing and Drumline) and finished up some work stuff. Not exactly an exciting Saturday night, but it was just what I needed.
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
Today is Clean Sheet Day in my home! I changed the sheets moments ago to one of Russ and I's indulgences: a really nice set of Egyptian cotton sheets that we bought when we got our new mattress.

I love the feeling of crisp, fresh sheets against my skin! I wish I'd shaved my legs this morning, as that would've made it even better, but it'll still be a delicious moment, slipping naked into the bed.

In fact, I'm going to go seduce Russ off his PlayStation Game and see if he wants to experience Clean Sheet Day with me! ~giggle~
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
...the first local strawberries of the season! They smell like summer. I cut them up and they are brilliant red right to the very center. The knife slices through them, juicy and firm. They are so perfectly sweet and just a little tart after... I want more!

Why, oh why, did I only buy one container? The Farmer's Market is still another five days away!
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
Russ shaved my head on Sunday (with an electric razor, no guard), so I'm currently at the "velcro" stage of hair growth. This means that hats, sheets, t-shirts, etc, all sort of stick to my head.

It feels sort of bristly to the touch, not as soft as it will feel in a week. But I love the feeling of the air on my scalp. And showers are ecstatic experiences right now.

It is like the feeling of sheets on a freshly shaven leg, or the feeling of fingertips right after cutting your fingernails: the sensuality of the experience is enhanced because that skin, those nerves, are usually a little further from the world, hidden by dead skin cells of different kinds.

Sometimes when people ask why I shave my head, I tell them it is because I'm lazy and I don't like paying for hair cuts. These things are also true, but that is just the simpler explanation. I just don't want to explain to my parents, my co-workers, the occasional stranger, that I shave my head because I am a sensation whore.

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