Saturday, January 20, 2018

bling and lots of it

It wasn’t snowing yesterday (which means the roads were clear and almost dry), and it wasn’t -30C, so we decided to venture out to Winchester, a nearby town with a few shops. I was interested in clothing stores which is somewhat out of character for me. We have another cruise in our future and since we plan on eating in the dining room instead of the buffet, I want a few nicer outfits.

Yes, I said it… outfit. I don’t think I’ve ever used this word to refer to myself, Kabira is the only one in this house that has an outfit. There is something so, well, I don’t know, maybe middle aged about the term. Certainly it isn’t a term to be used for the jeans and t-shirts that I normally wear. But I’m going to expand my wardrobe for this cruise and dress up a bit.

Which brings us to shopping. Our first stop was at a place called CJam - it had an eclectic collection of clothes and a charming owner to help us, so I picked out a few things to try and disappeared into the change room. Not much of it fit very well, or just looked stupid on me, but I did find a dark navy sleeveless top that fit perfectly, no small feat as I rarely have luck with sleeveless. I also scored a simple black camisole to be worn under a scarf thing that I bought on the last cruise.

But on a shelf along a wall flashed a necklace that kept drawing my eye… it was a huge statement piece with tons of bling. It is over-the-top fancy. I tried it on… we negotiated with the owner… and it was packed into a bag with the two tops. I was thrilled. I love bling.

I wore it around the house last night and marvelled at the way it caught every flicker of light. I can’t wait to wear it somewhere, but aside from the cruise (where it will fit right in), I’m not sure where.

Friday, January 19, 2018

black slash

The alarm went off before the sky was fully light, actually it never did get bright out as there was a thick cloud cover all day. Well, back to getting up… the stove was coming between 8am and 12, so we had to get at it and get the old stove out of the way and cleaned up, and the spot wiped clean of years of cobwebs and other yucky things. I guess we aren’t good housekeepers as we don’t drag the stove out very often.

After some scrubbing all there was left to do was wait for the delivery. Happily, at 9am the truck rolled down the laneway. The delivery guys had the stove in and the old stove into the garage within 10 minutes - these guys were efficient.

Once we let the stove come to room temp Carm got in place to plug it in. Nope, nada, not going to happen. The plug orientation had the cord coming out at the bottom and there was no way there was room for the thick cord. The breaker was already flipped to turn the power off, so we got a screwdriver and got to work. Carm was able to rotate the outlet 90 degrees so that the cord would be in the right orientation - it took a few tries to figure out how to do it, but eventually the stove was plugged in.

The huge black cooking service, and the huge black glass door, are like a huge black swath in my all-white kitchen. The stainless parts are minimal and therefore don’t look too bad. It’s the black that catches my eye. I can’t say that I was overjoyed. Oh, and that black and stainless: impossible to keep clean, showing every fingerprint and smudge.

And then it was time to fit in the stuff from the bottom drawer… you know, the cookie sheets, baking pans, muffin tins… not happening… at least not all of it… the drawer was ½ the size. Now I had to find room for the rest so emptied a spot in another cupboard and tried to find a place for THAT stuff… the ripple effect.

After an hour of ‘break-in’ time (run oven at 400f), I put in a batch of shortbread cookies and was pleased when they came out perfectly.

So what next? I decided that, even though we rarely cook meat, I wanted a roast of something so we trundled out to the grocery store. A pack of pork tenderloin had our name on it.  I searched the internet for cooking instructions and finally settled on a method. In at 375 for 30 minutes, but since I was cooking at the convection roast setting I backed the time to 25 min. It was perfect.

The top of the stove wasn’t so perfect: I had browned the meat before putting it in the oven and the black stovetop was spattered with oil… oh yuck. I suppose my old stovetop would have been the same, but I don’t think it would have required a special cleaner to make it streak free again.

Tonight I might make biscuits. Any suggestions of other oven dishes that I can try out?

“Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.”
~Craig Claiborne

Monday, January 15, 2018

dirge music

Her stories are like Leonard Cohen’s songs, beautiful prose about depressing topics. Dirge music. Dirge stories. I can’t do a marathon read of Alice Munro. Her stories are about the poor and downtrodden, those without much hope or beauty in their lives. The settings are often depressing and hardscrable: shacks, scruby old farms and dingy homes in poor towns. Their struggles are depressing and the outcomes rarely uplifting. The topics are raw and gritty, impossible to put down, but difficult to start again. Her brilliance with the written word has me turning the pages again.

So, like my Leonard Cohen albums (which I can only listen to for a while), her stories are ones to be read and savored, but not for too long.

Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o'clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.”
~Thomas de Quincey