And the Winner is…

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And the winner is…

Salt Water Taffy.

The boat came back from the shop winterized and with its (her?) brand spanking new name on the transom.

We had one sunny day to enjoy the new name and art work–a Welsh corgi and cute little dragon–before my sailor wrapped the boat in the biggest tarp in the world for the winter. (Apparently boats are like bears. They hibernate.)

I’m still not sure if we need to do a proper christening ceremony in the spring.

Although I like the idea of pomp and circumstance, (I would definitely wear a hat to the ceremony!) I worry about wasting a perfectly good bottle of champagne.

Homemade Goodness

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Don’t bake chocolate chip cookies–ever!

I stupidly got into the habit of providing fresh, homemade cookies for my boy. He doesn’t eat a huge number of cookies, but I worried about nasty things like trans fat in commercially baked goods.

I use actual eggs and butter–which may not be the healthiest products, but I know what they are and where they come from. (Although I try not to think about it because the idea of eating something squeezed out of the back-end of a cow or chicken makes those artificial ingredients created in a sterile lab sound more palatable.)

The cookie jar was empty, had been for a few days.

My boy had started grumbling about the lack of cookies. When was I going to make more? Could I bake tonight? How about tomorrow or the next day?

Ugh! Why had I ever started baking? I’d set a dangerous precedent and my client–er, boy–expected regular delivery.

Then it came to me! My sailor is reasonably competent in the kitchen. He could give me a break by baking a batch of cookies!

I learned it’s much easier to supervise baking than to do it. (Even taking into account all the “Honey, where do we keep the sugar/flour/baking soda/vanilla?” questions.)

His results weren’t quite as wonderful as mine: a bit too brown on the bottom and the size of hamburger patties, but my boy loves them. (Possibly because they’re the size of hamburger patties.)

I’m way too smart to criticize his efforts because I see the bigger picture.

Last weekend, we set a precedent where my sailor successfully baked HUGE cookies that were well-received by our client.

Terrible Tuesday :(

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We had a rare non-rainy day and I decided to go for a walk. I need peace, and nature is supposed to soothe the troubled soul, right?

We just learned our home requires some renovations. The initial estimate was enough to make me feel a bit sick. Then the contractor warned it could be higher once they get in there and really investigate.

Now, our house is nothing special–just a little 1940′s bungalow. I like it because it’s cute and cosy and it has character. (In my part of the world, a 1940′s house is considered a heritage or character home.) However, recent events are turning me against the family castle.

Because nothing that sucks ever happens in isolation, more badness was on its way.

My boy was invited to a friend’s house to hang out, play some video games and perhaps watch a movie. He wasn’t able to go and was a bit disappointed because he had to miss it.

Being the supportive mom I suggested he have the gang over to our house another night. (He never invites people over.)

“No.”

“Why not?” I asked, adding (because I’m in the hate cycle of my love/hate relationship with our home.) “Don’t you like our house?”

“No.”

Violating the rule not to ask a question if you don’t want to hear the answer, I asked. “What? Are you ashamed of our house, or something?”

“Yup.”

I was surprised (still am) how much that hurt my feelings.

Sigh–I’m going to need more nature walks to salve this.

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Only 49 Sleeps!

Once Halloween’s over, the countdown to Christmas starts. (With only 49 sleeps until the big day, there really isn’t a moment to lose!)

I noticed a variety of Advent Calendars on my travels. I can’t buy mine this early because I eat any chocolate the moment it comes into my house, but for those who like to plan ahead (and have a reasonable amount of self-control!) the stores are full of them.

For purists, there’s the basic, chocolate-a-day version. At only $1 per calendar, why not splurge and enjoy two or three chocolates each day? (If one chocolate is good, more have got be better, right?)
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A little more upscale, the Kinder Surprise Calendar combines chocolate with nifty little toys. Sounds like a perfect Christmas combination!
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If chocolate’s not your thing (are there really non-chocoholics out there???) the Lego Advent Calendar is a fun and playful way to count down the days until Santa arrives.
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For those with more adult tastes, there is the beer Advent Calendar. Why not? Nothing says Christmas like counting down to the holidays with a brewski a day!
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Happy Birthday, Sailor!

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We enjoyed a rare night out to celebrate my sailor’s birthday.

I wanted him to have a great time, so I organized everything ahead of time. (Dinner reservations and tickets to see a play–the evening’s events would be smooth and seamless.)

All that planning paid off. We by-passed the line of people waiting to be seated and were having a lovely talk over the flickering jack o’lantern candle when our dinners arrived.

Mine, a salad with feta cheese and a marinated chicken breast, was perfect.

My sailor’s, a grilled salmon fillet, didn’t look…right. It was smothered in tomato sauce and melted cheese.

“Salmon’s not usually prepared with cheese,” I noted.

Not one to complain (he’s SO not like me in this regard), he picked up his cutlery. “Maybe the chef’s trying something new.”

He sliced into it. Under all the sauce and cheese, it was solid and white, not pink and flakey.

It wasn’t salmon.

The waitress was apologetic when we flagged her down.

“It was my mistake, not the kitchen’s. I ordered chicken parmesan, not grilled salmon. I’m so sorry!”

“That’s okay,” said my sailor. (Did I mention he doesn’t complain much.)

“I’ll order the salmon,” she said picking up his plate. “Can I buy you a glass of wine while you’re waiting?”

He shook his head. “I’m driving.”

“I’m not!” I piped up.

Since the restaurant was busy, I finished my glass of wine while we waited for my sailor’s dinner.

The server felt so bad about getting his order wrong, she brought him a big slice of strawberry cheesecake after she cleared our plates.

It was delicious!

(Did I mention my sailor doesn’t eat sweets?)

Dubonnet

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I had a hankering for sherry yesterday evening.

Since the government liquor store was closed when I dropped my boy off at Tae Kwon Do, I had to go to one of the late night liquor stores.

After wandering the aisles long enough to make the lone clerk a bit nervous, I asked him to point me to the sherry.

“Can’t help you. We don’t get much call for sherry, except for the really cheap stuff and that’s a niche market we try to avoid.”

He handed me a slim bottle of Dubonnet instead.

“This is fortified wine,” he said squinting at the label. “It’s probably similar to sherry.”

I’d never heard of it, but since it’s made in France I figured, why not?

After my first glass, I hit the internet to learn more about my new favourite drink.

Dubonnet was popular with the jet set crowd in the 60′s and 70′s. The only people who drink it now are either really old or the Queen (who is, I realize, really old.)

Her Majesty, like her mother before her, is partial to a Gin Dubonnet cocktail before lunch each day.

Since I have delusions of being a princess, I had to try one for myself.

I discovered that Dubonnet, like many things that’s good on its own, is even better with a slug of gin poured in.

Just call me Princess!