It Was a Good Week

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My sailor and I Skyped Saturday and talked on the phone Sunday. Although we email every day, it’s not as immediate or intimate as our conversations so I treasure our weekend communication.

I’ve noticed a funny thing happening during our weekly conversations. I’m not complaining as much as usual. It’s certainly not because I’m happier than normal so what’s the deal? For years our relationship dynamic has been me analyzing everything and whining about most aspects of my life while my sailor talks me down from the mild levels of anxiety that seem to be my norm.

I’m still complaining–a quick read through previous posts confirms this–just not to my sailor. Instead we’ve been reminiscing about past events (like the two naughty dogs that ate our wedding cake) and planning things we’ll do when he returns. It feels good to be positive and upbeat.

Will this be a permanent change? Probably not. I’ve been a glass half empty kind of girl too long to switch at this point.

Another positive event: I had the opportunity to visit the West Coast of Vancouver Island this week.

I couldn’t take many photos because it was raining and I don’t think my iphone is waterproof. Long Beach isn’t a place that can be captured by a cell phone camera, anyway. It’s too big, too elemental for that.

A visit to this beach is a multi-sensory experience. The surf actually roars–so loud, it’s difficult to have a conversation here during the wild winter months. The air is heavy with humidity and the battleship grey water stretches over the horizon.

It’s a good place to think because stale old thoughts are almost literally blasted away by the stiff breeze.

Maybe I am turning over a new leaf. The old me would have worried about cougars and bears prowling the sand looking for lunch and moaned about my frizzy hair.

Finally–Some Good News!

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After going for a gentle afternoon jog, I popped a rice pudding in the oven before popping myself into a frothy bubble bath. As I scrubbed and exfoliated, the house slowly filled with a warm milky scent that brought back yummy childhood memories.

For those not following the saga of my quest for perfect rice pudding, this is attempt number three, and it worked! Well–almost. It was a little runny and I did lose some rice down the sink during the initial rinsing stage. (For some reason, this step remains challenging.) Oh, and the crust on top, delicate and wispy on my mom’s rice pudding, was dark and thick as roast turkey skin on mine. But progress is being made.

The cause of my (near) success: Italian Arborio rice! I had no idea they grew rice in “the hilly regions of northern Italy.” I thought it all came from Asia. My advice for anyone else looking for specialty ingredients like short grain rice: try an actual grocery store instead of the food aisle at Walmart.

Now that I’ve (sort of) mastered rice pudding, I may attempt another sweet favourite–creme brulee.

I think I have everything I need excpet a blow torch to burn the sugar on top and I KNOW I can get that at Walmart.

Holding Out for a Hero

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After another crazy day at work I couldn’t face cooking. I stopped at Safeway on the way home. They have a large-ish deli department with ready-made meals (nowhere near the level of delicious as Marks & Spencer, but better than crackers or canned pasta.)

My boy likes the fried chicken and potato salad faux picnic in a plastic box.

I wanted a sandwich–a hero sandwich on a slab of crusty bread so thick you can barely clamp your jaws around it. They make that kind at the sandwich bar, with a vast assortment of toppings spread across the counter like an edible rainbow so you can choose what you want and how much of it you prefer (mmm–more pickles, please!)

These “signature sandwiches” are a standard price–$5.49 regardless of whether you pick one loaded with expensive meat like chicken, bacon or shaved roast beef or just some cheap veggies. It seems to me we vegetarians are subsidising the carnivores in the herd with this universal pricing scheme, but I let it go. I had come for dinner, not justice.

The suggested toppings on the veggie sandwich included olive tapenade.

“Hmmm,” I said to myself. “That’s premium! Too bad I don’t like olives.”

Aloud to the sandwich artist I said, “I’d like to substitute guacamole for the tapenade, please.”

“That will cost extra because guacamole is one of our premium toppings!”

“Isn’t it just another condiment?”

“Certainly not! It’s on the same level as cheese. It’s premium!”

I glanced up at the menu board. “So I could buy a sandwich with three different kinds of meat and cheese for less money than one with a slice of cheese, a smear of guacamole and a couple of lettuce leaves? That doesn’t make sense.”

“There will always be an added fee anytime you try to put guacamole on the same sandwich as cheese.”

All these years, I had no idea of the strict fraternizing rules governing cheese and guacamole!

I left empty-handed. We had a cold supper of crackers and hummus (me) and canned pasta (my boy).

Later I visited the Safeway website. I wanted to find the origins of the cheese and guacamole troubles. Why couldn’t these two delicious sandwich toppings co-exist without extra fees?

What I learned was stunning!

Apparently it is possible for this pair to be on a regularly-priced sandwich as long as they are accompanied by turkey breast and bacon.

Safeway’s turkey breast, bacon, cheese AND guacamole sandwich is $5.49, but if you attempt to order it without the turkey breast and bacon like I did, there is an additional charge because you are trying to get cheese and guacamole together on the same sandwich.

Safeway charges MORE for LESS. (I wonder why they don’t use this catchy slogan on their advertising.)