Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Small?




There was an incident today at school. Apparently a boy followed Lenny around during playtime repeating "you're small, you're small" as a taunt. She's really not, but whatever kid. Anyway, I guess she took it for a while and then she wheeled around and covered his mouth with her hands.  

So, you know, proud she's defending herself here, but now we have to have the talk. The talk about how first of all, you're not supposed to touch another kid like that and secondly, hey, don't take it personally. He's just teasing you. Let it go. Let it goooooo....

We ask her about this and she, who has told us very little about her days at school and claims that she knows no names says, nonchalantly "oh yeah, that's *Carlos"  

Beat.

Beat.

WHA?

The Robeau looked at her and said next time he tries bugging you by saying "you're small", just walk away.

I said, the next time he says "you're small" say "THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!"

I'm going to get sent to the Principal's office, aren't I?


*The name of the teaser has been changed to protect...well...everyone...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Kitchen Diaries: Grounded by Basil.

While I've been slowly easing into the changes that having Lenny in school have brought, I'm still feeling somewhat...rudderless.  There are many changes afoot with my work life as well.  I recently wrapped with an amazing client after two great years of managing their social media efforts (shout out to Butterball Canada!) and I'm about to get started working with a new client (which I can't talk about yet because I signed a non-disclosure agreement) but the start date has been moved and now I'm sort of playing a waiting game.  Yes, I have plenty to keep me busy with other freelance work and things around the house.  Yes, I could relax and enjoy some down time.  But the reality is, despite all that, I'm still feeling scattered and a little directionless.

So while I tried to get my head in the game today, I took a few minutes out to make myself a nice breakfast.  I brewed some coffee and made some toast and scrambled two perfect eggs.  I scattered some fresh basil on top from a basil plant on my windowsill that my friend Louisa brought over last week.  And right then, I had what I can only describe as a moment of clarity.

I can still smell the basil on my fingers.  It brings me a great sense of joy and fulfilment.  I feel anchored by it?  I do.  I feel grounded.  In a good way.



This makes me search back over the last couple of weeks to think of other calm moments and I realize that almost all of them are attached to cooking and eating.

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It's Labour Day Monday and we're taking it easy at home.  Lenny has a cold and we want to make sure that she gets better before her first day of school on Thursday.  I consider making her chicken soup because she's not well and has never had it (how did that happen?) but instead I ask her what she wants and the request comes in for mashed potatoes. Classic comfort food.  What to cook with it?  There is some stew beef in the freezer so I thaw it and then braise it all afternoon.  Onions, carrots and parsnips are soft and flavourful.  The beef stock simmers down to almost nothing until I add more stock to create a nice sauce.  The whole thing is scented with Garlic and Bay.  It's rustic and delicious and the beef is as tender as can be, but hasn't fallen apart.  The leftovers make a beautiful lunch the next day.  I think I could eat this dish every day.  It makes me want to curl up with a good book and listen to The Velvet Underground.

---

I've been threatening to make hummus for years.  I know it's not hard and way more cost effective than buying it pre made but I haven't done it.  I finally bust out the food processor and give it a go.  I keep it simple: chick peas, garlic, lemon, tahini and olive oil.  Too much garlic.  Like way too much.  And I love garlic.  I end up having to add another can of chick peas to balance the flavours.  It ends up tasty but there is so much.  Not sure how long it will take us to eat it all.

---

Cauliflower is on sale for $1 a head so we buy several for making soup.  Sure, Mark Twain said "Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education", but I like the stuff.  I rough chop the crumbly florets and the thick stems and roast them in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper.  The next day I simmer the already soft and flavourful cauliflower in a mix of vegetable stock and water (4 cups each) with some onion powder, garlic powder and cajun spices. Later that afternoon I puree the whole mess and it makes for a silky, golden brown coloured soup.  We eat it for dinner and freeze the rest for one of those days down the road when we have neither the will or time to prepare dinner.  I swear that next time I will make some croutons to float on top with a handful of fresh herbs.  That may not happen, but I tell myself it will.

That's the thing about cooking.  The promise of old comforts and new horizons are endless.  Anything can happen, but even if it fails, there's still the smell of that basil, bringing me back to earth.




Monday, September 08, 2014

Monday Motivation


A Calling.


When I started this blog in 2003, I was still performing stand up comedy at least 3 times a week and hosting my own open mic show at a west end bar.  What I realized a few years later was that although I wasn't the worst, I wasn't the best either and I didn't have the passion necessary to keep doing the work.  Joan Rivers had nothing but passion for the work and was still doing it until the very end.  For her it was a calling.  This clip from Louie reminds me of why, even though it wasn't my calling, I'd still rather hang out at the comic's table then just about anywhere else.


I admired Joan because of her grit and determination.  I am inspired by her entrepreneurship, sense of style and her ability to be crassy and classy all in the same breath.  She was a truth teller, and that is something that I strive to be, in my work and my life.  It's almost never easy to do but she made it feel somehow like it was the only option.

And now, so many years after I gave up standing up in bars and night clubs trying to make people laugh, I'm inspired by her as the mother of an only child, a daughter.  Joan was a good mother, that much seems clear, and what a great legacy that is.  But more than that, she was a good mother who did more.  She was always doing more.  We can always do more.


I have written about Joan before on this blog. In case you missed it, my homage to her button front cape, that I plan on wearing every chance I get this Fall.  Thanks for everything, Joan.  You will be so missed!