Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Fall

Today is the first day of Autumn, my very favorite of the seasons.

And I'm heading to Paris.

Can't wait to post upon my return.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall Line-up

Fall is here and so, too, are the new shows. Hurrah! Let the watching begin, in earnest. Is there any other way to watch the box?

One of my favorites, Project Runway, is back for its 6th (?) season. Favorites have already been determined (Go Louise!), villains are slowly emerging (I don't trust you, Anthea! Watch your backs, designers.....) and the Michael Kors zingers have already been flung about (That was a beautiful collar, Michael, but it IS essentially a nightgown.) I am in heaven.

Many of the shows that I watch now (which I refer to as my "stories") are a potent mixture of both the high and the low . For every Mad Man episode, for instance, there is a healthy dose of Amazing Race thrown in for good measure. I struggle mightily with this, intraweb, I really do. Mostly because I think we owe it to ourselves, and to the culture at large, to support smart, intellectually-stimulating television shows. It raises the bar artistically and keeps us relevant. And yet, what to do with the train wrecks - Hoarders, Tantrums and Tiaras, Real Housewives of Wherever, Jon and Kate + 8 - the shows that we know are bad for us and yet find ourselves in our weaker moments, not being able to turn away from?

I have been caught in this viewing shame circle more than once. It comes with the territory. The best way to stop the shame in its tracks is give it some perspective. The trashy shows are like tiny Snickers bars: the first one is delicious but a constant diet of the stuff will leave you with jangly nerves, a crappy complexion and rotten teeth. Not attractive.

Sometimes you just have to have the guts to turn it off.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Autumn in Paris

Benoit: Mom, you're going to Paris in a week, right?

Me: Why, yes, I am.

Benoit: You need to be careful when you go there because there was a terrible explosion there this summer.

Me: Really? I hadn't heard about it.

Benoit: Well, you wouldn't have. You didn't see the movie, "G.I. Joe". There was a disaster in that movie and it all happens in Paris.

Me: I'll be extra careful.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Mighty Caesar (Weekly Salad x 2)

Caesar Salad
Originally uploaded by bowbrick
My friend Tom Bollard has a goal: to eat a Chicken Caesar Salad in every city he visits. His is a noble quest.

But I believe that my Caesar is the best of all and yet he still has yet to set foot in my home. This is a situation that must be rectified. Why, is my Caesar the best, you may ask? Well I'll tell you: it is because the dressing is not goopy. Nothing but NOTHING ruins a Caesar Salad more than goopiness in the dressing area. Try mine and see if you do not agree.

Rip up a head of cleaned Romaine lettuce and set it aside. In a wooden bowl add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, 1 tsp. of good balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. of Dijon mustard, two quick glugs of Worcestershire sauce, 1 chopped up clove of garlic, tons of black pepper and the yolk of one egg. Whisk this together. Toss in lettuce and serve with ribbons of shaved parmesan.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Day

Tuesday was Xenia first day of school. All Day School. She was so nervous and so precious.

We spent the day before preparing for the day - sharpening pencils, filling up the pencil case, arranging clothes - all of which managed to make her more nervous and excited. At dinner that night, Tim, Benoit and I tried to calm her nerves by sharing good school stories. We talked about the friends we made in school that we've had for life, the great walks and bike rides we took there, that sort of thing. Benoit assured her that "she would do great" in school. She looked sceptical.

And then, after a fitful night's sleep, the day came. She got into her well planned outfit, drank her pre-ordered smoothie and we headed out the door towards the place she will spend at least the next 12 to 15 years. Crazy.

The tears I shed? You have no idea. But she was a trooper - nary a wet eye- and when I picked her up that afternoon she trotted up to me, smiled that crooked little smile of hers and said, "I knew I could do that."

And she did.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Weekly Salad

Originally uploaded by tina_manthorpe
Every week I accept delivery for organic vegetables and fruit. They arrive at my door and like Xmas morning, I never know what I'm going to get until I get it. Sometimes this can be good (Yay! Blueberries!), sometimes...not so much (Boo! Swiss Chard!)

One thing I almost always get is cabbage. And though many are not fans of this flatulence inducing veggie, I am definitely on Team Cabbage.

Here is a great salad that even kids will eat that make the much-maligned cabbage a crowd pleaser. (Also, a big shout-out to Janet M. who chastised me for going almost a month sans Weekly Salad postings. This one's for you, sista.)

1 head of cabbage, chopped julienne-style
1 cup roasted slivered almonds
1 cup dried chow mein noodles

Mix this together and just before dinner add the following dressing:

3 glugs vegetable oil
1 glug rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablesppons sweet chili sauce

EAT! Best serve with salmon or chicken wings. Don't know why....

Friday, September 4, 2009


It took me almost 3 months but I have finally gotten around to starting The Book of Negroes. And just in time, too, as it needs to be completed by next Friday for my September book club gathering. There is no greater, or more pleasurable, experience that reading a work of literature with a gun to your head. Really.

Why the resistance? This is the question I kept asking myself each and every time I picked the book up before promptly putting it down for another. Book of Negroes or Shanghai Girls? Shanghai Girls. The Book of Negroes or To Kill a Mockingbird for the third time? Mockingbird. The Book of Negroes or The Revenue Canada Guide to Flawless Accounting? And the winner is......

I know why I couldn't read that damn book, though, and it is as simple as the People magazine crossword: it is really hard to read books about black people when you are one. Every reading reminds you that you are so damned lucky to have been born after the Civil Rights Act. Phew. Glad I didn't have to suffer through the Middle Passage, the cotton picking in the broiling Mississippi sun, the losing of the children, the midnight escapes to Canada.

But now that I'm reading it, you know what? I can't put it down. The flawless prose will make the nightmares worth it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Foul Play

Foul Play
Originally uploaded by numberstumper
This summer, my kids became slightly addicted to the film, Foul Play. For the uninitiated, this is late 70's mistaken identity-type of caper film that starred a young Goldie Hahn and a coked-up Chevy Chase. It is incredibly dated, filled with sexual references that go completely over my kids heads and they cannot get enough of it. Cannot.

As much as it perplexes me that my kids love it ( it's the first thing they put on in the morning), it will probably be one of those things that I miss once they start school next week. In the rush to get kids off to school, lunched packed, backpacks secured, I may find myself in the quiet that follows wondering - nay, pondering - about the exploits of the characters in that film. And naturally, it will feature a song written specially for the occasion by Barry Manilow.

Oh, 70's pap! You never disappoint.