Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring in a New Year

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Alfred Tennyson

(Photo by Fun. Usually, I like to write my own poems for photos appearing here. However, when I saw this photo all that came to mind were these lines from Tennyson's "Ring Out, Wild Bells."

Wishing everyone a safe and lovely New Year.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas Wishes
Celebrating the birth of our saviour Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Knitty Daze

My camera was scarfed by Violinist for baby bump pictures. That was several weeks ago. Since then, given my unfailing density for all things technological, I've been struggling with Geek Guy's highly geeky camera. Hence, the paucity of seasonal photos and therefore blogs. There is more success with the knitting. However, plastic needles and wide stitch stoppers should be banned.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Grandma Made

When I married, the possibility of becoming a grandmother never occurred to me. Never. Entered. My. Mind.

But sometime early in the new year that reality will be here. And with it has been unleashed a torrent of, well, grandmother type behaviour, like knitting and sewing baby stuff.

And too, the stark realization that the person who knows more about this than I, is no longer here. I could really use her help just getting it all done. I want to knit it all. Ha!

I have her books. Stacks and stacks of her books. Her needles. Her stash. My stash. I bought the McCall's Needlework magazine above in 1978, expecting to someday make a bunting for my babies. But just like the magazine predicted, it was Grandma who knit the bunting instead.

I even have some of her UFO's - UnFinished Objects - not all her fault. That little hooded sweater up-top? Violinist's. I was supposed to finish the front with crochet. She knit. I crocheted.

Instead, the other day I pulled it out from the same bag she handed to me maybe eighteen years ago with instructions, "Here, I'd rather knit, can you do the crochet?" I held it close to my face. I could smell her. Yes, I'll do the crochet.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

In Remembrance of those who gave their lives

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BriningTurkey - Roasting Turkey

Brining turkey is similar to marinading - adding flavour and moisture to meat by soaking for a period of time. As you can see here, I purchased an economy bird - birds with missing parts. This one has skin missing. Less often, economy birds are missing a wing, giblets or neck. I've never seen a problem with any of that. No one here eats giblets except The Cat. And even The Cat missed out this time when the uncovered liver and gizzard exploded all over the interior of the microwave. Sigh.

Wings are bony and tend to burn unless covered with a bit of foil. So it's okay if a wing is missing. And about the skin? Skin means fat, therefore less is okay and the bird will be sliced up anyway when served, so no one will ever know they are dining on second-class bird because the flavour and moistness will fool them into thinking this is 2.89/lb bird (which had the exact same thing done to it but in the factory) when in fact this is .95/lb bird - pretty cheap for Canada.

Use a non aluminum container large enough to hold bird and brine and fit into the refrigerator - a stainless steel stock or soup pot would work. Violinist has mine so I used my no-knead bread making container. The bird should submerge completely with a bit of headroom. A bit of the lower legs can poke out but if too much floats above the brine, place a small dish - concave side up - over the bird. The container lid pressing onto the dish should keep the turkey submerged.

To figure out how much liquid is needed, put the thawed bird with plastic still on it - it's just easier to handle - into the container and fill the container with water. Lift the bird back out. Measure the water to see how much salt, sugar, and other spices are needed.

Brine Solution
For every gallon of water I use about 1/2 - 3/4 cup salt.
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sage
a few bay leaves, crumbled or whole

Whisk well, (some people heat it and then cool the solution down completely) put the bird into the container and gently pour in the brine. Refrigerator 8 to 12 hours. I've left turkeys in longer and overnight but thought the resulting bird too salty.

And, since we in Canada just celebrated Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, I thought I'd show how I roast turkey. Smear a bit of salad dressing or mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip) all over the bird. Sprinkle with paprika, add a bit of water to the roaster pan, cover and bake at 350F. If one wants to shorten roasting time, cut the turkey up into pieces. The stuffing can easily be done on the stovetop and the bird will roast in half the time. Wasn't that a revelation the first time I saw Saucey Chef do that.

Baste occasionally with the pan juices. This bird was 12ish pounds - not big - and I left it whole. I baked it without stuffing and 3 hours was about right. To check doneness, wiggle the leg. It should readily move and pretty much fall off.

Let the bird rest about 15 minutes in the roaster but tilt the pan to keep the finished bird from "soaking" in the pan juices. Resting helps the meat firm up, making slicing easier. After this time, lift out and make gravy right in the pan over the stovetop. And that's how Decadent Housewife does turkey.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Off the Beaten Path

GG and I celebrated another anniversary. This was last week on our day, looking south out over Lake Erie. I cropped the photo down because - surprise, surprise - there was a black thingy stuck in the sky from my camera and I have still not mastered Photo Shop to fix that sort of stuff. And yes, I've been missing from bloggy land. Sometimes it's good and necessary to get off the beaten path.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Speedy Gets Marrried

Speedy married his sweetheart.
Isn't she beautiful?

Speedy and his lovely new wife -
another daughter and sister for our family.

Three sweet little angels were busy all day and evening.
We promised them a wedding cupcake,
for their good work.

The bride's sister fashioned all the flowers
and cake stand to hold the cupcakes.
One of the maids styled everyone's hair.
I was honoured to rework the bride's little jacket.
It needed resizing and new sleeves.

The little angels dashed about -
pleased to be princesses for a day.
One found a stick and drew in the sand.
Another found a toad.
The third fell and scraped her knee.
Cupcakes girls, cupcakes.

In the photo below, Speedy's best man is to the left,
behind him is Violinist.
Fun is on the roof...nothing new for him.
When Fun was around ten,
he liked jumping off the garage roof.
Buff is on the driver's side.

After about ten minutes of picture taking,
they all got a little bored and sniped our car,
leaving GG and me stuck for a ride back to the reception.

That's how Geek Guy and Decadent Housewife
ended up in the backseat of the wedding car,
with Speedy at the wheel,
zipping past that red Ferrari ahead of him.
Some things never change.

(Second photo from top and second photo from bottom by Geek Guy. It's been a busy, busy summer - for that I've been a very delinquent blogger. Hope to be back soon.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Speedy Gets Engaged

Speedy is engaged.
He revealed this at convocation when I asked, "So. What's next?"
And because this is Speedy, we are moving at lightening speed toward an end of summer wedding.

They've been together a long time.

You are the one.
Let's get married.

(Photos by Geek Guy)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Fun

Hope yours is too.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Canada!

Celebrating today, Canada Day,
Canada's 143rd birthday.

Speedy, as usual, upfront,
Fun along for the ride,
Buff blowing kisses to the girls on shore,
Violinist worried about his hands,
Geek Guy in the rear keeping it all going.

Wishing all a safe and happy Canada Day weekend.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Speedy Graduation

Speedy graduated University. Hurray!

Congratulations! Speedy!

Violinist arrived to join us at Convocation but couldn't find us. We had three seats upfront with a walkway directly behind us. Geek Guy went looking for Violinist and just then a woman tightly wrapped in lime tinfoil mini-dress, orange foundation - or maybe that was spray-tan - ratted bleached hair, painted everything, Cleavage - Lots of SunDamaged Cleavage - showed up. She carried a lovely bouquet of flowers, as if to make it all better.

Mutton-Dressed-Like-Lamb, accompanied by two young bleating sheep, tried sniping our seats. "Mutton should have Violinist's seat. Mutton is a parent," they loudly bleated. To which I replied, "These are taken. That is Violinist's seat. This is GG's seat. We've been here for an hour, just like the invitations say to do."

A nicely dressed ordinary looking woman seated at row's end, next to Violinist's seat smirked. I turned toward the front. Push. Push. Mutton pushed her shiny way toward Violinist's seat. Bleat. Bleat. She was a mother so she should sit there.

A breath later GG with Violinist stood behind me. GG is one of those engineer types and women generally fall all over Violinist. Between the two of them, I figured they'd straighten it out. I continued to act disinterested. Mutton and her sheep rebleated their opinions. GG and Violinist stated the facts. And then it happened.

Another woman in the next section behind us stood up offering her spare seat to Violinist.
Mutton plunked herself down.
Violinist rolled his eyes and took the spare seat.
GG squiggled past the woman on the row end, around Mutton's orange knees and squeezed in beside me.

"Make it uncomfortable...if that's possible," I nudged Geek Guy.
"What do you mean?"
"Try clipping her knees with your honking camera lens."
"I can't do that."
"You manage to do stuff like that every other time by accident. Try doing it on purpose."
"I can't do that. It would not be kind."
"Then just mash her flowers."
GG gave me an exasperated look.

Nine minutes into convocation, Mutton squiggled and wiggled herself away, disappearing for the remainder of the program. An hour later, Violinist reclaimed his seat and afterward reported spotting Mutton loading up at the refreshment table. "I walked straight toward her," he said, "I didn't take my eyes off her, but she slinkied away."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fun in the Big City

Fun is a construction worker this summer building that evil fence protecting G 20 Summit attendees in Toronto later this month. Before Fun could leave, traveling the four hours up the 401, he asked for gas money because none of the billion dollars being spent on the G 8 and G 20 Summits had yet to trickle down to him. The first few days were dotted with texts expressing how much work and how little fun they have been having working twelve and commuting four hours a day, six days a week. This however makes GG and Decadent Housewife very happy.

Just into the second week of this, Fun made a whirlwind 36 hour visit home. Plunking his bags onto the floor and himself into the kitchen rocker he said, "It sure is good to be back. I do not like cities. What do you have to eat?"
"Is that dirty laundry I smell or you?" I replied, handing him an iced tea.
"Both. Worked all night and drove straight here."

And he told of his adventures in the Big City - Toronto - building a wicked fence around the downtown and the policemen guarding him and the other construction workers. Fun notices policemen - he has always wanted to be one. And he told how one noticed him going through a yellow and gave him a ticket for going through a red. And how he got two flat tires, together, at the same time. And how he accidentally dumped over a cart of fence parts into the middle of an intersection and no one ran him over because the policemen guarding him did their job and came to his rescue. And how policemen do not carry and dispense tylenol for construction workers with misbehaving wisdom teeth, but Big City hotels do.

He rocked. I fixed his supper, "first real food in days," while listening to tales of crazy drivers and "I really don't like being away from home."
I thought about the enlistment papers I'd found while cleaning his room. I'd tucked them into a bottom drawer, wondering that this experience would put the kibosh on that.
Across the table sat a sun browned young man. Wiser, brawnier than when he left not even two weeks ago. Happy. Tired. I didn't notice the bald spot he thinks his hardhat is causing. I saw a sturdily built five-year old, reflected in my rear view mirror, running to the front lawn of the little country school - waving - smiling - as I drove away down the road.

"I think we're staying longer than three weeks - repairs if the fence needs it - tearing down afterward."
"You need to visit the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario and St. Lawrence Market and Cabbagetown. For goodness sake use the food allowance you get and buy a decent meal. Go somewhere downtown. Maybe an open air cafe. Go to the top of the CN.
Unless that fence you're building is going to keep you out."
"I've got security clearance."
"Well do it. And wear a jacket. And University of Toronto is having a Doris McCarthy exhibition. You really must see it.
Think about your art.
Think about those policemen who don't like their jobs.
Be careful."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Work and Play

Each day - bright and full of possibilities.
Each day - necessary things too.
How to fit it together?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Leamington Tornado

A century home on the north side of Highway 18 or Seacliff Drive.

Town - Leamington, Ontario - got hit with a Tornado early Sunday morning.
The destruction is mainly along Highway 18 going eastward close to Lake Erie. Monday, while driving along the ridge, old Highway 3, the vista south toward the lake was noticeably changed of its treeline.

Saturday was a bit humid but not unusually so. It's been far more humid.
When the sky turns pop bottle green you know to get in and under - now. But this tornado struck at night.

It started raining heavily about half past seven in the evening. Fun texted me to take in the light show. The lightening was spectacular but I also thought it seemed unusually low and vicious.
An hour earlier Taffy began uncharacteristically barking.
The cats lined up at the screen door wanting in, something they never do.

South side of Seacliff Drive in the first block west of Erie Street.

Early Sunday morning, I texted Buff. Buff was down at the lake babysitting with his BFF. Fun was on the way to pick him up. Speedy finished work in The City and walked out to a foot of water flowing down the street. He knew his little basement apartment was flooded.

Seacliff Drive looking south.

Not long after Fun picked Buff up, Buff's BFF called crying that the house was shaking. She woke the children and got them to the basement. Two houses across the street are now destroyed.

South side of Highway 18 east.

Buff's BFF's father is a volunteer firefighter. They found one of Shoeless Joe's patio chairs forked into an interior wall of a home further east. Meanwhile, whoever it is who decides these things, still hadn't determined if this was a tornado.

Seacliff Park, looking east.
Ordinarily, sky would not be visible through the trees.

Speedy got to work on his flood by throwing all the clothes already on the floor, up against the door where the water was pouring in.

Seacliff Park looking south to Lake Erie.

It was once a beautiful stand of old trees.
What is left will likely have to come down.

Mitch's Barber Shop, Erie Street South, looking west.
Comfort Inn is to the right.

Fallen tree and crushed sidewalk at Erie Street south and a side street looking west.

A friend of Buff's said all the water was sucked out of their inground pool. Four inches of rain water remained in the bottom.

Forest Street, looking south to Lake Erie from Seacliff Drive. Seacliff Park is right.

The view should be all towering trees with very little sky - maybe again in another hundred years.
A few weeks ago trees in the lower half of Seacliff Park, looking out to Lake Erie, were removed to make way for a water park. And now the upper half is nearly all gone too.

North side of Seacliff Drive.

We heard that someone in a tent sustained a broken arm from falling debris. We have not heard of any other serious injury. Thankfully, there was no loss of life.

South side of Seacliff Drive, between Erie and Sherk.

18 remains closed up to the Albuna Townline. A teenage boy who begrudgingly went with his parents to their cottage for the weekend came home to a heavy tree crashed into his bed.

18 East and Cherry Lane looking east.

Cherry Lane is heaped with downed trees. Yesterday, the north/south street was open but very congested. I stayed out, driving further east along the Bevel by the golf course. Trees are snapped and over, a Baptist church heavily tarped on it's west end.

Seacliff Park looking east.

Fun has been working for a construction company building fence. That's their signage on the ground impaled by the fence. He is currently in Toronto constructing security fence for the G20 Summit. There's plenty of work to be done here when they get back.

Seacliff Drive looking north.

We get very bad thunderstorms here all summer long. Many times when the boys were little, I put their bike helmets on them, bedded them down along the west wall in the basement and nervously curled up beside them. But thankfully nothing ever happened. This time too, we are fine where we live further north.
But Town is a mess.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Geoffrey is a wee Welsh mouse living in, or rather outside - I hope - a busy little cottage on an island off the coast of Wales, Anglesey Allsorts. Vicky, one of Geoffrey's humans thought he'd met his end, but no, the mouse came back. He has gumption, is bold and seems to know that Charlie - resident mouser - is apparently no real mouser at all.

Thanks, Vicky, for the bit of fun. Geoffrey fan club badge is now safe with Dough Boy amongst the cookbooks.