Monday, October 22, 2007


Yet another lovely and busy weekend has passed. Serdic commented on his blog last night about how time is flying by, and he's absolutely right. I don't know where the summer went, and it does not seem possible that we are into late October. Life has been a whirlwind in 2007, that's for sure, and while it's been wonderful and I've never been happier, I'm hoping to find some time to catch my breath!

We had a wonderful housewarming on Saturday ... I think when we added it up we had a total of 27 guests pass through over the course of the evening. Everyone was extremely generous -- I had avoided calling it a "housewarming" in the invitations because I didn't want people to feel that they needed to bring gifts, but most people brought at least a token (and some brought much more than that -- I am definitely going to enjoy spending the Pier 1 gift certificate!) or a card, and we felt very loved (we also have at least twice as much alcohol as we started the night with, so we'll probably be planning a wine and cheese or something in the near future!). It was clear that our friends are very happy for us and excited about the new place, and we were reminded yet again what great friends we have. We are very blessed.

So yesterday morning we slept in a bit, then got ready and headed out to our favourite spot for breakfast. As we were driving along the canal on the beautiful fall morning, admiring the trees as the leaves turn, off to enjoy breakfast, still basking in the glow of a successful party and our awesome friends, knowing that we have started to build a lovely home and life together, I was struck by just how wonderful and precious life is. And the word that came to mind was "content." Which seems a bit bland to describe how full of happiness my heart is these days, but it also really sums it up. There's a song in the stage version of Beauty and the Beast (bear with me) where Belle sings about the changes in her life, and one line keeps running through my head these days: "For now I love the world I see, I'm who and where I want to be."

I'm who and where I want to be. And I am content.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Food, friends and fun

We finally have internet at home. Woo to the hoo. Serdic will understand when I tell him I kissed the Rogers guy after he hooked the modem up, right?

We hosted our first joint dinner party in our new home Saturday night. A good time was had by all, I think. The Greek and You Look Like A Nail and their lovely wives were our guests (thanks for coming out, you guys!) and they were gracious enough to ignore the still unpacked boxes stacked in the dining room and elsewhere, and we all enjoyed the evening. Serdic and I were especially relieved to discover that we can share a kitchen and work together to have all the dishes ready and on the table at the same time, without killing each other. So that was a good sign. I made a glazed ham, which is apparently quickly becoming my specialty, and also made some tzatziki as an appetizer. Serdic contributed scalloped potatoes, asparagus, carrots, and a caramel flan with fresh berries for dessert.

I have been asked to post the recipes, so here they are (you'll have to wait for Serdic to post the recipe for the potatoes):


2 1/2 - 3 cups plain yogurt
1 firm cucumber
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Place a coffee filter in a sieve. Spoon in the yogurt, and set it in the sink to drain.

Peel the cucumber, grate it coarsely, and put it in a bowl. Mix in 1 tsp salt and let it stand for 10 minutes to draw out some of the liquid. Transfer the cucumber to a colander and with a spoon press out as much liquid as possible. Mix it with the drained yogurt in a bowl.

Peel the garlic, push it through a garlic press, and add it to the other ingredients in the bowl. Stir in the vinegar and oil, and add more salt to taste. Optional: add chopped mint leaves to taste.

Baked Ham with Marmalade Mustard Glaze

8 lb semi-boneless ham
1 cup Madeira, port wine or white wine
2 cups orange juice

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 tbsp dijon or grainy mustard
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

Remove skin and fat from ham and place fat side up in roasting pan. In saucepan bring wine and orange juice to a simmer; pour over ham. Bake in 325 degree oven, basting occasionally, for 1 hour and 45 minutes for fully cooked ham, or 2 hours and 15 minutes for cook-before-eating ham.

In small bowl combine sugar, marmalade, mustard and soy sauce. Brush one-third of the glaze over the ham. Cook for 45 minutes longer, brushing with remaining thirds of glaze every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Scenes from a relationship
Serdic and I are cuddled on the couch watching The Office last night. On the show, Jim and Pam are bantering about something, eventually deciding that their disagreement ends in a tie. Pam: "Tie always goes to the girlfriend."

Serdic: "Oh shit."

Best Boyfriend Ever
Arrived home from work last night. Serdic is in the kitchen and says to me all serious-like, "I think there's something wrong with your computer. Can you have a look?"

I stomp over to the computer, ready to cry, as it's been a very long day. Sit down and see a request to accept the registration for the new iTunes. Look up, and Serdic is watching me with a shit-eating grin. "There's nothing wrong with your computer. I burned the new iTunes to CD and installed it for you so you can sync your new iPod."

Is it any wonder I love that boy?

And in case you were wondering, the new iPod? Is the best thing EVER. Love.

An Open Letter to Elections Ontario
To whom it may concern,

I consider voting one of the most important things I can do as a citizen. I take my responsibility to vote seriously and appreciate that it is a privilege many people in the world do not share. So please do not make it any harder for me than it absolutely has to be. I knew it would take me a bit longer than usual this time since I have just moved to this riding and needed to register and so forth. I did not anticipate that the lovely lady working my polling station (who I am sure is a delightful lady otherwise) would be a) elderly, b) senile, and c) so tired from working all day that her hands were shaking so badly she couldn't write my name on the voters list. There were four polls at my polling station ... the one I had to use had a line up of about 12 people at it, while all the others were operating as normal (walk up, get your ballot, mark it, drop it in the box ... total time: 45 seconds). I stood in line for well over half an hour to vote, and while I wouldn't mind doing that if it was necessary, this was so, so, so unnecessary. I understand it's hard to find people willing to volunteer at these things and I appreciate the hard work of all the volunteers who make this very essential part of our democratic process work, but when people are walking out without voting because of a situation like this that is so very fixable? Not good. Offer the poor lady a cup of tea and a break, and get someone else in there. Maybe one of the ten other people sitting around doing nothing.

Sign me,
A Disgruntled Voter (who also thinks you blew the referendum by failing to get the necessary information out there about what, exactly, we were voting on, but that's for another post)

Running Away for the weekend
We really enjoyed our little getaway to Merrickville last weekend. It was only for one night, but it was just the right thing to recharge the batteries. And get away from the still unpacked (gah) boxes for a night. The inn was lovely (yay for jacuzzi bathtubs!), we really enjoyed dinner in the dining room, and we got to get out and do some wandering and shopping and just enjoy each other's company and the quiet small town feel of Merrickville. I would highly recommend the inn, and especially their getaway package, for anyone wanting a night or two away.

Then we continued on home for Thanksgiving, our first shared holiday. As long as shared holidays continue to mean I get twice the turkey dinners and twice the family time, I'm good. It still blows my mind sometimes that I ended up with someone from my hometown, but it is especially nice for the holidays. My family has been spoiled for so long because my sister's husband's parents also live in the same town, so we've never had to go without them at major holidays as they can split their time very easily, and I think there's always been this fear in the back of my mind (and probably my mother's) that I would end up with someone whose parents lived in British Columbia or somewhere, and we would always have to choose where to spend the holidays. Just another sign that it was meant to be, maybe.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A little internet is a dangerous thing

Yesterday morning when I came into work I had "1 missed call" on my phone, but no message. Now, I rarely get phone calls at work, and even more rarely are they from someone I don't know or am not expecting, so I was really surprised to see this random call from a number in the 709 area code. Something about the 709 area code niggled in the back of my brain all morning, and I finally was curious enough to google it to figure out where I knew 709 from. Turns out 709 is the area code for Newfoundland and Labrador, which is, of course, why it was familiar. As my mom grew up in St. John's and we still have lots of family in NL, it was not inconceivable ("I do not think it means what you think it means") that someone in the family would have tried to call my work number, so that got me curious.

So I did a reverse phone number look up on Canada411, and got two hits, both for names and addresses in St. John's. Neither name was familiar to me, so I googled them both. The first turned out to be an apparently fairly well known folk singer in St. John's (but not someone I had ever heard of). The second name was even more curious, as it appeared to be of Russian extraction, which is not all that common in St. John's, b'y. That google search turned up a bed and breakfast in downtown St. John's, run by this Russian gentleman (who I am sure is quite lovely, but is still not someone I know). I googlemapped the two addresses and they are only a few streets apart, but don't appear to have any connection.

Neither of these people would have any reason that I know of to be contacting me in my work capacity, and my number is not exactly the primary number for the library, and neither is someone I know in my personal life. So now I am more curious than ever. I know it's just a wrong number or misdialed or something equally mundane, but I'm still extremely curious.

And that, me son, is today's lesson on how sometimes the internet makes things worse. *eye roll*

Monday, October 8, 2007

Giving thanks

I bumped into someone on the elevator at work last week who I hadn't seen in some time. "How are things?" he asked me. "Oh, pretty good," I replied. "No complaints." "Oh, surely if you thought about it long enough you'd be able to come up with some," he said.

I got off the elevator then so my response was just a "oh, you're probably right" over my shoulder and a wave, but I kept thinking about that exchange. Because, really, why should I come up with some complaints? Shouldn't I be grateful that I am at a place in my life where my first response to the "how are you?" question is a genuine "wonderful"??? Yeah, sure, his point is valid ... there is no shortage of little irritants in my life that I could bitch about (and I do, on a regular basis, on this very blog). But I really like being in a place where those are secondary, where in all things that matter life is good.

I started keeping a gratitude journal a few years ago. I don't do it every day, and I don't do it as often as I used to, but the idea was to just end every day by writing down three things I was grateful for that day. Some days it was really hard to come up with three meaningful ones. Other days it was hard to pick just three. But I found over time that it really did, corny as it sounds, change my outlook on life. I have really been trying in the last couple of years to focus on my blessings, and to be grateful for them. It is so easy to get caught up in endless rounds of bemoaning what we don't have, what we want, what we think we have been denied. We always want more than what we have, that's just human nature. Taking time at the end of each day to remind myself of all I have to be grateful for instead of focusing on what I was lacking really helped me to be more at peace with myself and be in a more positive state of mind in general.

This weekend is a time when traditionally we are supposed to give thanks for our blessings. And I have so many, it overwhelms me with gratitude sometimes. My beautiful, beloved family and the love and support they have always shown me. My dear friends who surround me with laughter and music and all things good and fun every day. The fact that I work at a job I love, where every day I feel useful and challenged and supported, and where I get to do something I really enjoy with people I really like. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my stomach. I have never truly known want or hunger. I have access to clean drinking water. I live in a country where I can vote for my representatives, practice my religion openly, and walk the streets freely and without fear. So many of those things, particularly the later ones on the list, I too often take for granted and forget that the vast majority of the world's population can not say the same.

And this year I have a new blessing to add to my list. If you had told me last Thanksgiving, or even last Christmas, that by this Thanksgiving I would be living with a partner, someone who every day I became more sure I was going to spend the rest of my life with him, I would have thought you were crazy. But yet here he is, and the love and support and humour and so many other things he shares with me every day are among my greatest blessings.

The answer to the question "how are you?" is clear. My answer is, and always should be, "Blessed." Or, perhaps, "Grateful." For I am both.

Friday, October 5, 2007

This and that

Went to Future Shop last night to have a couple copies of this photo made. Total anticipated expenditure: 43 cents.

Actual expenditure at Future Shop last night? $324. I may or may not be the proud owner of a brand new shiny green iPod Nano, with accessories. I larve it. It's so tiny! I promised myself when we moved and my commute was lengthened that I would buy a new iPod to make up for it, as my old one is not all that fond of holding a battery charge for much longer than thirty minutes any more. And so when we happened to be in Future Shop last night, and they happened to have the Nano on sale, well, fate cannot be denied.

I, apparently, can be denied, however, as when we got home and I went to update it I discovered that it wouldn't interact with my outdated version of iTunes. And as we still don't have internet at home (Serdic promises me it will be this weekend), I was unable to update my iTunes. D'oh. So the shiny new Nano sits silently on my desk, mocking me.

In other news, I renewed my online subscription to one of my favourite sites this morning, and the cost was $30 US. The last time I renewed that worked out to be about $45 CDN. This morning? $30.70 CDN. Wow.

Busy month coming up, what with Thanksgiving this weekend (happy turkey day to those who live on this side of the border), a choir concert next weekend, our housewarming the weekend after that, and then a trip to Pennsylvania with my family to round out the month. Lots of good stuff. Oh, yeah, and we might want to unpack the rest of the apartment at some point. (I hear Serdic saying "What mean 'we'?" right now, as he's being doing a lot of the heavy lifting this week while I've been gallavanting around to choir rehearsals and such.)

Having someone to come home to is one of the nicest things in the world. Life is good.