Thursday, July 03, 2014

Story Time: Boomer

I have always been a big fan of stories. My RSS feed is full of story tellers who capture my attention and contribute to my need for procrastination. I follow almost 100 blogs and today as I was reading a story I was thinking about which blogs I loved the most and why.

I've been quite nostalgic lately. Having many thoughts on life being too short and savouring the really happy times. I've been taking more pictures in an effort to capture those moments and cataloging them for future memory requiring moments.

I have all those pictures, perfectly filed and foldered for easy access. What I'm missing is the stories.

The blogs I love most are the blogs that tell stories. Will the pictures alone tell me all the stories? I think I need to write more.

I've drafted and re-drafted hundreds of stories about the past year, the past decade (oof!), and all the way back to the early days of no bathroom but a toilet in the middle of the kitchen (true story). They all just seem to carry on. I think I need to break them up. I think I need to focus. Or maybe I need to ditch the detail and describe instead the feelings. Or maybe I just need to hit publish.

Let's start slow and easy and let's hit publish.

This week marks five years of Boomer. He turns six this week and it's also the same week I picked him up, five years ago.

I'd been out of school for a few months. Newly graduated, newly living alone. I've always been a dog person, grown up with dogs and I knew it was only a matter of time before I found one of my own. I worked at home, lived across from a park, and had time to kill.

I didn't have the money for a purebred puppy so I went for the next best thing - the Humane Society. I didn't care what breed, just that it was small enough for me to lift on my own. And so one week after my first drop in I was the proud owner of one year old, 30 pound, then-Beacon-now-Boomer, breed unknown.

The next six months were brutal. Vomit in my car, poop in the house, destroyed cables, angry neighbours, and too many tears.

I remember sitting up one night, trying to get Boomer to settle into his crate for the night - something he'd been resisting. I'd think he was asleep so I'd start to inch away to my own bed only to have him bolt up and start whining. I have no idea where he'd been in the first year of his life but I'd wager there was some serious abandonment and a lack of any kind of structure. I shed many tears sitting in the doorway trying to read a book to keep my mind off of how miserable I was feeling and what a big mistake I thought I'd made.

I made a joke once that having Boomer was like having a baby only to be told it was no where near the same. This could only mean that having a baby was the worst terror of my life. How much worse could it be than sitting up all night hoping for him to sleep, never leaving the house because he'd freak out, and walking in circles in the park in hopes that it would tire him out. Also - cleaning up poop and puke. I was facing a harsh reality that real life is no cake walk like university life can sometimes suggest.

Six months in I met Rob. Eight months after that we moved into a house! with a yard! and a fence! and two people to walk him! and a quiet neighbourhood where you didn't have to worry about your dog stepping on broken glass or being woken up by the drunk university students walking down the street at 3:00am. Boomer belongs in the suburbs. It took him two days and he chilled out more than I had ever experienced.

I feel good about having rescued a dog but damn it was a lot of work. He's basically adapted at this point but he's still got a lot of stress and we enforce a lot of rules and boundaries to keep his structure. Someday he won't be here and we'll have a new dog. Maybe we'll get a puppy and train it from the start and maybe it'll be easier and maybe it won't be.

I don't care what all those people with babies told me and I don't care how trivial or trite it sounds - Boomer was my first baby.

Boomer was there when I was treated like crap by stupid guys and slept in my bed without judgement. Boomer always wants my attention and never rejects my affection. He doesn't get sick of me and nor do I of him. Boomer's life is about half over and there's no guarantee that the next half will be any better. Who cares? I love this freaking dog. Happy birthday, Boom-doggle!









Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer 2014 - Let's do this!

We are ONE MONTH away from the first day of SUMMER.

BEACH!

After the brutal Winter and lackluster Spring we've had I am keen to jump on the SUMMER train.

Inspired by one of my favourite bloggers - How Sweet Eats - who recently posted a Summer Bucket List, I present to you my summer wish list.

1. MAKE LOTS OF ICE CREAM AND EAT EVEN MORE.

I got an ice cream maker a few years ago and I have used it a few times but I'm feeling like I should really push the limits. I've also found that ice cream is seriously easy to make and seriously impresses people. Presented with the equation of  "little effort + high payoff = ???" the answer could be a few things. Wearing a cotton dress (so comfortable and looks so cute!), BBQ'd asparagus (turn on grill, be amazed!), a sprinkle of salt in your chocolate milk (you are so sophisticated), and finally HOMEMADE ICE CREAM.

I have started a Pinterest board devoted to ice cream. Do you have a favourite??

Regarding eating ice cream: no explanation required.

My little pink workhorse churning away

2. Start making popsicles.

I also have a Pinterest board devoted to popsicles. Boozey popsicles? Yes please! A nice make-ahead treat for entertaining.

3. Stay out late, get up early, be outside

Everything is a little softer, a little lighter, a little easier when sitting on a deck at dawn or dusk. This is our second summer with the deck RB built and I feel like we increase the usable space in our house when the patio doors are open. The deck is right off the kitchen, perfect for breakfast eating and cocktail drinking. Join us?



4. Try to avoid blow-drying my hair

It gets so destroyed over the winter with blow dryers, straightening, and product. I think I'll try giving it a break for a week... maybe more!

5. Get to know a farmer (or several) at the farmer's market.

I am an avid market goer and yet I'm still a bit fuzzy on whats-what. I know there are stalls that don't sell their own product and I want to figure out who I'm buying from and where my food is coming from. I have narrowed it down to a few stalls that I would guess are local but I suppose I need to find out for certain.

6. Try some new cocktails

Our liquor cabinet runeth over. We don't drink a ton and when we do it's always so easy to just reach for a beer, especially since RB has become so obsessed with craft beer. There's always a new one to try. But that liquor just isn't going to drink itself. I like the idea of making a big pitcher of boozey punch before guests come over. Pre-made drinks makes for easy entertaining.

Do you have some fun planned for the summer??

Friday, May 02, 2014

Friday Favourites ver. 29

What are the haps internet peeps?

Nope, I haven't transmorphed into a hermit. 

Some favourite things of the past infitiy months!

1. Ahhhh Emma Stone, you sassy, beautiful, hilarious, creature. Don't ever stop.


After listening to that I promptly put this song on repeat and also... for who knows what reason... this song. The 90's are my #1 all-time, favourite decade for music. 

2. Super star food blogger The Pioneer Woman posted her top 32 favourite movies. I am embarrassed at how few I've seen but I will preach from the mountain tops how much I loved "Good Will Hunting", "Rain Main", and "The Lord of the Rings". (Uh I clearly have a thing for fantastical math geeks? huh?) Are your favourites on the list?? What's missing?

3. I picked up this dress at Banana Republic a few weeks ago and it is hella comfortable. Am I too old to say 'hella'?


4. This ode to cupcakes is PERFECT TRUTH. The cupcake will never die.

Related - a friend recently gifted me the Robicelli's cookbook and I want to quit my job and make every recipe. The job quitting is necessary as every recipe is extremely involved. And also: cupcakes.

5. THINGS I HAVE BEEN COOKING:

6. Here are some pictures of my dog jumping in the snow THAT IS FINALLY GONE. Good riddance to winter. 







BYE!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Gift Guide for Your Girlfriend

I don't know about you but I'm knee deep in Christmas organization mode. We have our schedule largely worked out and the shopping list is about 75% complete. We're heading to the outlet mall to shop for ME the rest of the gifts soon and then we'll be smooth sailing for the next 2 weeks (oh JC 2 weeks? ack...).

Here's last year's gift guide and 2011 and here are my ideas for this year:

1. Slippers - Minnetonka Cally Slippers. This puppies are warm and have a rubber sole so if she needs to hop outside to meet the UPS guy there's no worry. Also: pink.


2. Watch - because she's classy and always on time. Ok, at least she's classy. I like this one but Fossil also carries these great interchangeable watch faces + bands. You know, for that rare individual who changes her mind. Who me? No...


3. Jewelry - because, duh. I am an incredibly picky jewelry wearer. If it's anything beyond a basic or classic piece, I want input. When in doubt get a gift receipt. If it's in your budget, diamonds go with everything but if you're a normal person and would rather spend your money on snow tires these puppies should do just fine.


 4. Scarf - I put one on every year because I don't know any girl who has too many and there are always so many cute new patterns every winter. This one is a nice rich red - a a little bit Christmas, a little bit lumberjack.


5. Weekend bag for all those romantic trips you're taking her on this year. This one comes in a million colours but so does this one and it's a bit more wallet friendly (and comes in 'mountain goat').


6. Subscription to Audible - Does she have a long commute? Audiobooks will make it bearable. With a year's subscription she can get a new audiobook each month. Bonus free book with subscription.

7. Hot Water Bottle - Maybe this one is a bit odd but it's at the top of my list and maybe your GF sufferes the same frozen lizard toe affliction as I do. Maybe you're lucky and you scored one of the 10% of us who is a human pizza oven? Maybe we should just count our blessings? We follow a strict heating schedule in our house and it goes something like this: leave the heat off as much as possible. Reason? Money saving. Result? Cold bed at night. Solution! Hot water bottle in bed. It's a cheap way to get some extra heat without the inconvenience of a heated blanket or space heater (hello fire hazard). Also: maybe she'll stop jamming her fridgid lizard toes in the back of your knees. Also: probably not.

What are you shopping for this season? What's on the top of your list?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Food for Life

Have you ever been asked the rhetorical question "If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?". I have been asked and also asked this questions many times. The most popular answers seem to be pizza, steak, hamburgers, or some kind of pasta. (My friends sure love their carbs and meat... who can blame them?). For so long my answer has been lasagna. Similar to pizza it covers all the important bases - crispy and gooey cheese, variety of meats, and salty goodness. My answer is typically welcomed with "Oh ya, good one" or "only if there's sausage meat in it" and really, uh duh.

BUT THEN

THEN...

I CHANGED MY MIND.

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I know, right.

My world is turned upsidedown. Apparently that isn't one word?

My world is turned up side down! Upside down!  Up sidedown!

My world has been turned on it's head. I have found a new lifelong lover that I could eat everyday until the end of time if necessary, and probably will despite it being unnecessary. But who's being dramatic, really?

MAC. AND. CHEESE.

I just can't deal. I want to eat it at every opportunity and have taken to ordering it from every menu put in front of my mac and cheese hungry face.

Some notes:

I think you get it. Go Google "Mac and Cheese" and you will find the answer to "What does Erica want to cook tonight?". 

With all this drama (Oh, you noticed?) I think it's time I start the pursuit of my favourite Mac and Cheese recipe and my favourite restaurant Mac and Cheese. I think it's safe to start with Martha, especially since so many others quote her recipe as their inspiration. I will find my favourite recipe, and determine my favourite add-ins (don't faint) and then I will return and I will tell you about my adventure. I will also go broke buying Gruyere, but maybe I will find a cheaper replacement that I love as much. Who can know! 

So, not that I'm biased, but what food would you want to eat for the rest of your life? Do you have a favourite Mac and Cheese recipe? I'm asking... for a friend...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Welcome back, me

Hello!

How have you been?

Some things have happened over here.

For starters I had a pretty awful summer. I was out on a work trip for most of July that involved working many hours and losing touch with everything at home. Rob suffered his fourth and worst injury of the year, rendering him horizontal for several weeks.

Upon returning from the work trip we had that wedding thing to pull together.

Thankfully the summer ended with a beautiful, perfect, awesome, and amazing wedding day.

Things I want to tell you about include:

- Uh cello, the wedding.
- The honeymoon (I get why you all live in California)
- The half marathon
- The HOLIDAYS. It's November now so I can say that.

For now I leave you with this little gem that made it's way only the front of our Thank You cards. See y'all sooooooooon!



Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer

Well it's finally summer in these parts. I've had ice cream three days in a row and the A/C has been turned on to combat the heavy impending-thunderstorm humidity.

I wrote those first two lines 4 days ago and clearly I jinxed myself. It's zero-c (~30f) in these parts today. FML. Moving on...

In the past year I've really taken to the phrase "stop the glorification of busy" because I, in good company, am sick of hearing how busy you are and sick of telling people how busy I am. I get it, you get it, we are ALL DOING ALL OF THE THINGS. My general state tends to involve having a lot on the go and if it's not on my schedule then I probably don't want to do it. Instead of telling people how busy I am I try to tell them how HAPPY I am. In response to "How are you?" I've instead been trying to say things like: "Great, playing lots of Frisbee  lots of wedding events coming up, an exciting summer ahead for sure!". Responding with "Oh we're so busy!" was often accompanied with a crooked face like "woe is me and all my social engagements, it's so draining!" or carrying a sense of "oh my life is sooooo much more exciting than yours." because really, it's not. I made these choices and you've made yours, they shouldn't be compared. I was BUSY planting grass seed and pulling weeds last weekend so no, my life is not more exciting than anyone else's. That is nothing to brag about. You do your thing and be proud and I'll do mine, and then let's share how great those things were instead of putting on a dramatic showing of how we're drowning in our self-planned lives. Shut up, Erica.

You know what's not on my schedule these days? Blogging.

Things that are on my schedule?
Playing Frisbee.
Training for Fall half-marathon. (Now that I've told you I can't back down...)
Planning upcoming doom nuptials.

I suppose things have already quieted down in these parts this year but now I'm making it official by telling you not to expect much until... an undetermined date between September 20th and December 31st... maybe.

Yes we're planning a wedding and that involves a lot of fun things to share but they are largely the same as any wedding. I'll wear a dress, people will consume food and booze, there will be music. After the whole debacle is over I'd love to share some of our more personal touches - like the centerpieces my dad is making, and our ridiculous wedding cake - but not until we're on the other side.

I wish you a safe, and wonderful, and ice-cream filled, and HAPPY summer!