The White Fluff Is Upon Us

November 23rd, 2008

Greetings all!

It’s a lovely, quiet, calm Sunday here in London. For the first time in a while, it doesn’t seem to be snowing at all outside. Quite a bit has gathered over the last several days, making Holly and I ever more thankful for the presence of underground parking.

Holly is sitting at her laptop, working away on some library-based form of work. Myself, I am sipping a caesar and watching some football. “Sports, sports, sports”, as somebody I live with may or may not say!

Life in London is good. Both Holly and I are pretty busy, with school and work taking up loads of our respective time. Holly is in the midst of a ‘crunch’ time so to speak, and had a lot on her plate. I’m very sympathetic, and also glad I’m no longer a member of the student body. On my own end, work is good. Both jobs are enjoyable, though naturally I’d prefer to be doing more children-related work than IT, but I can’t really complain – especially given the state of things economically.

We’ve both been doing a lot of baking lately, largely due to the abundance of apples and bananas in the apartment. The large quantity of apples on hand is something I can shoulder the blame for, as I don’t seem to enjoy them as much as I used to for some reason. Holly loves them, though she does add salt, which I’m sure will seem odd to me for years to come. As for the bananas, well, the predicament with regards to the “banana-situation” is that Holly and I have different preferences as to what stage in the ripening process we enjoy banana consumption. Holly prefers her bananas slightly under-ripe and green, while I prefer mine slightly over-ripe with sprinkles of brown. As a result, we pretty much each have a small window in which we eat the bananas.

The positive of all of this is of course the wonderful creation of freshly baked goods. Off the top of my head, there have been: apple muffins, banana bread, apple crisp (more than once!), and banana cranberry bran muffins. We should really put up a stand and turn our new found hobby into a successful enterprise.

We’ve managed to catch some movies as of late. Here are some thoughts on these cinematic wonders:

More pictures should be up soon. Still more from the wedding (reception, pub, etc) to get up, plus some pictures from our last visit to Barrie, and more. They’d be up now, but my camera batteries are dead. Soon though! Otherwise, hope everyone is doing well.


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Snow! Cabbage Soup! Research Week!!

October 29th, 2008


Hello, everyone!

On tonight’s agenda: the making of cabbage soup, and a (half-hearted) attempt to begin yet another painfully numeric stats assignment.  You, my faithful readers and loving friends and family, may remember my absolutely and unquestionably anonymous (ha) book survey which was sent out via email and Facebook a few weeks ago.  Thank you all so very much for participating.  I appreciate how very irritating it must have been, receiving everyone else’ answers.  Ohhh, the hours I spent compiling data.  I surveyed about 35 people – only to find out, after it was too late, that I needed to survey only five. FIVE!  F-I-V-E!!!  Ughhh.  You may be happy to know, however, that my mark was very much an agreeable one – yay!  This next assignment, thankfully, does not involve harrassing my loved ones.  

Greg is at work until 8:30.  I’ve been in all day, working on school assignments, watching snow fall, and doing laundry.  Hooray for snow!!!  The first snowfall always makes me feel like a kid again.  (Not difficult, really, as I act like a child most of the time.)  I’ve been singing “Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” and “Snows are a’fallin’ on Douglas Mountain…” all day.  I don’t know the names of those songs.  They make me think of Grandma Sparr.  And Raffi, of course.  Yup, the snow is lovely.  The river looks very pretty, with the trees around it covered in white.  

It’s Research Week, which means there are NO classes – time to get caught up!  I won’t even pretend that I’ll get through it all…or touch my readings.  There’s too much.  I learned very quickly to recognize what’s really important, and what’s, ehrrrm… skip-able.  And I find myself so easily distracted!  I mean, who could resist reading The Penguin History of Canada??  Seriously, the chapter on Champlain’s miserable, frigid, and ultimately fruitless attempts to establish himself as Main Guy in the not-so-permanent French colonies was just enthralling.  And did you know that there were beaver-like creatures 2 metres long wandering around North America until human beings found there way here 10,000 or so years ago and killed them all?!  (Is that terrifying?!?)  Anyhoo, you can see how difficult it is for me to keep on track.  Greg worked till 2 am last night.  That wasn’t very much fun for either of us.  I tried to stay up – mostly because there are weird noises in the apt at night, and the thought of turning out the lights, admittedly, gives me the creeps.  And because I love him.  Of course.

Huge, exciting news for Grollis this past weekend!  Amy had her baby!!  Miriam Grace.  We are hoping to make a run over to see them this weekend.  I can hardly wait!  I am really looking forward to seeing Lucy, Amy, and Rick, too.  It hit me, dancing, somewhat tipsily, at Mike & Irene’s wedding this past Saturday, with all the various Joneses whom I’ve come to know over the past few years, how great it is to be able to call all of these wonderful, happy, fun people ‘family’.  Crazy the powerful realizations that come to you when dancing and drinking.   

Mike & Irene’s wedding was absolutely gorgeous.  They looked fantastic.  The ceremony had me ridiculously teary-eyed.  The speeches, too.  Irene’s dress….my God….she was every girl’s dream bride.  I had so much fun!!

I do get rather emotional when cooking – I think it’s the bay leaves.  I don’t know if I trust them.  

Maeg and Dave Merry drove down to London Monday afternoon and the four of us had dinner at the Waltzing Weasel.  They spent the night with us.  We had such a great time!  It was difficult saying good-bye to them Tuesday morning.  Tried to lure them into staying here in London by buying Count Chocula for DM.  No luck – Gus was home alone.  I miss them so very, very much.  We hung the picture they gave us over our bed.  I took photos – will have Greg post them asap.  

Just before I forget – speaking of dancing….WOW.  I danced up a storm at the wedding.  I can’t help myself.  The music was great, the company was great, the food and drinks were great…factors all very conducive to Hollis-dancing.  Later in the evening, on the dance floor, dancing to an exceptionally vigorous song for which I do not know the name (lots of drums!), I bumped into a couple of girls from Irene’s side – I apologized for having done so, and they said, “Noo!!  We LOVE you!!!  Keep going!!”  Although they were very sincere and pleasant, a clever person would have – probably should have – taken this as a clue that her dancing was reaching dangerous levels of exuberance.  But, oh, not Hollis!  Oh, she kept right on dancing!!  Sigh.  As long as no one was injured or offended, right?  (Right?)

Mmm, having a bowl of my cabbage soup – delicious!!  It’s like cabbage roll soup, Greg’s right.  

I am going to make myself a large pot of tea, and then I will get to work.  Tea and digestive cookies – essential work tools.  :-)

Cheers, all.


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Mulligatawny, French wine, and a Grollis post from Hollis.

October 20th, 2008

Hello, everyone!

I feel very content this October evening.  I am sitting at our dining room table (formerly the Jones’ kitchen table), having a break from dinner preparations.  Looking up, I can see the lights shining from other people’s apartments through the dining room window.  The sliding door facing out toward the Thames presents a very dark, very solid view.  My music sounds good, the kitchen smells delicious.  Greg is still at work – he finishes at 8:30.  It’s been a bit lonely with him working this shift.  He started out working 9-5:30, which allowed us to eat dinner together – something I think both of us really enjoy.  My dinners without him are…..nutritional…but much less inspired.  I’ve discovered something very exciting (and which I feel a little strange admitting, having previously held such a firm negative  opinion about the matter): I enjoy cooking!  This realization follows directly from another discovery: there are many styles of food preparation.  I am still not sold on all forms of cookery, but I really love making things like stews and soups which allow me to take my time, listen to music, have a glass of wine…the high-paced, demanding style of cooking necessary for stir-fry, for example, remains a formidable, ugly enemy.

 Anyhow, tonight’s dinner is soup.  Mulligatawny.  I had to improvise a wee bit (macintosh apples instead of granny smiths, chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts).  I just had a small sample – tastes pretty darn delicious, if I may say so.  Except I put in way too much parsley.  It’s actually pretty repulsive looking – I’ve been trying to skim it off the surface (thank goodness parsley floats).  Why do recipes call for parsley, anyhow?  Is it just me, or does parsley completely lack taste and/or flavour?  Perhaps I am commiting a serious cooking faux-pas by snubbing parsley? Perhaps my underdeveloped taste buds lack the discerning character required to appreciate the wonderfully elitist qualities of parsley?  Ohhh, I am rambling.  I’ll tell you what I do appreciate…and am currently appreciating….delicious, velvety French wine.  We opened our bottle from Mary Beth last night to enjoy with our fawn heart.  Mmm, heart.  I sincerely apologize to those of you who feel adverse toward eating the vital organs of small, adorable animals.  Believe me, if I think about it too much, I too experience the horror and disgust you are now feeling.  But if you could taste it without knowing what it was….ohhhh, you have no idea.  And isn’t it more humane to “use” as much of the animal as you can?  Isn’t it worse to think of eating cows and chickens who spend their whole sad existences in meat factories??  Rambling.  I am rambling.

So, school is going very well.  I am enjoying being a student of library science.  (I met a grad student taking “neuro” the other day on the bus – felt a little silly when she asked me what I was studying and I had to call it library “science”.)  My classmates are fun, my assignments are (for the most part) practical and applicable to real life (whatever that may be).  Plus, I get cool discounts all over campus because I’m a grad student.  Western has a beautiful campus.  Lots of trees and black squirrels.  Squirrels here in London are a reasonable size – some of those grey beasties in Niagara are positively alarming.

I miss home and friends.  I miss having coffee (or tea, in my case) with my brothers and sister in the morning.  I miss coming home to Mumma cooking dinner, or working at the computer, or around the house.  I miss (I can’t believe I am actually writing this down) being woken up by Dad in the morning.  I miss Hunter.  I miss being able to call up friends and meet for lunch, or for a movie date.  When we were home for Thanksgiving, I could hear the QEW as I fell asleep at the Jones’ – I realized that I miss hearing it at night.  But these are all good feelings!  I miss all of these things in a good way.  I am so, so happy to be living with Greg, and to have our own little apartment (complete with all of our silly decorations).  I like London.  It’s a very pretty, very active city.  I miss Lake Ontario….but I love the Thames.  School’s busy, family and friends are kind of far, but I am very, very happy.


So, anyhow, there’s my update.  Soup is ready.  Table needs to be set.  Now that Gregory has spiffed up (looks pretty awesome, eh?), I’ll try to post with some kind of regularity.  Hope you are healthy and happy!  


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