July 30, 2011

Lannis: Solicitors

Remember when I said I can be a world-class jerk? Don’t knock on my door. Unless you know me, that is.

Solicitors, I’m talking to you.

It’s highly invasive when someone interrupts my day to promote their Thing — even when I’m not looking after four kids, or scrubbing a toilet, or chasing black wasps around the house because a certain five-year-old mistook it for a mosquito eater and wanted competition for the four-year-old’s pet spider living in the bathroom (true story).

Basically, if I’m answering my door to a stranger over the age of fifteen who is not obviously promoting a local educational or sports endeavour, I’m defensive. Instantly so. Truly, I am a territorial beast. Hackles rise, tension builds, my chest tightens as my snark settles at ready...

(My apologies, but the stun setting is broken... I can’t promise it won’t be lethal.)

And we get a lot of solicitors. Plenty. Like, since our move we’ve had our lifetime’s fair share and that of two others, kind of plenty. When the nice weather hit, barely a day went without someone knocking, be it for a child-sponsoring program, some spa promotion, fencing services, knife-sharpeners, lawn care, a utility company...

(FYI: It’s highly satisfying to tell a man with a clipboard that you live in a two-year-old home and therefore are absolutely positive your hot water tank does not need replacing. They don’t like that very much.)

So imagine my face when for the third time in one day I answered my door with a stranger on the other side. Not one, but two — this 40-something gentleman had a young man shadowing him, learning how to barge onto people’s property and bully them into accepting whatever not-so-necessary service they’re offering.

I, however, have not fallen victim to the horrific disease investing our lovely nation (I’m looking at you, fellow Canadians). You know the one. The one where we err on the side of self-deprecating courtesy and (GASP!) have forgotten how to say no!

Me? I used to be a shy, malleable soul, but life forced me to eat some crap sandwiches and I decided not to care. Yep. This translated to learning (albeit late in life) the ability to say no.

And this is my philosophy it comes to solicitors: if I wanted your product, I’d be seeking you out, not vice versa.

Don’t worry, it’s not an excuse to be rude. In fact, Mr Lannis and I usually have a little bit of fun with the poor souls who choose to knock on our door (my gym rat has been known to stand shirtless and talk the ear off uncomfortable puritan peddlers — he’s my hero!).

So yes, I answered the door — the knock that interrupted my usually-unwilling five-year-old successfully stretching out words for a thank you card he was writing — to find, for the third time in one day, a solicitor. A pair, in fact.

And as it turned out, they were from the same paving company that had already visited earlier!

Whee. (Can you hear my enthusiasm? I can’t, either.)

Me [with a chipper voice]: Hey, guys. Stupid day for a walk.

Solicitor [smiling, probably assuming I’m referring to the blinding heat, as we Canadians are wont to talk about weather]: Yes. Hi. We’re here from [I-don’t-remember-because-you-were-jerkfaces] paving company, and we’re doing a whack of driveways over there [he points], and the more we have, the cheaper we can offer it, so we were wondering if you’d like your driveway sealed?

Me [shocked to realize it’s a repeat, yet relieved for the easy out]: Ah, someone was here this morning. Don’t think so. But thanks anyway.

Him: Oh, well, I’m just making the rounds, so I thought I could talk to you about it.

Me [flat tone]: Clearly.

Him [probably noticing the tone, therefore jumping onto concrete facts]: Well, Miss, I see you’ve got a lot of chalk on your driveway. It dries it out a lot. It should really be done.

Me [I had to give it to him for the recon — the subdivision he’d indicated was in the opposite direction, and he’d had to walk around the side of our house to see the chalk-slashed driveway.]: Nope, that’s okay.

Him: It really is dry.

Me: Well, if it needs to be done, I’m sure we can do it cheaper ourselves. [Mr Lannis has used bucket sealant and elbow grease in the past.]

Him: Oh, see, our technique is far better. We use hot... [blah blah — I stopped listening to him here. It seemed fair, since he’d obviously stopped listening to me.]

Me: Nope, that’s okay.

Him [smiling in what I’m sure he thinks is a disarming manner]: Perhaps I should come back when your husband is home?

Yes, folks, he actually said that. So picture me, eyes widening, brain wheeling in mad panic as I attempt to remember being transported to the 1940s, and figure out how to claw my way back to 2011 before Mr Lannis barbeques dinner!

My broken verbal filter shuddered to life before I could snap something truly inappropriate about people who don’t listen to the word ‘no.’ Epically inappropriate. A friend of mine told me I should have said, “it’s okay, I am the husband,” and see what happened next.

Instead, I grinned: Nope, it’s cool. I have clearance for executive decisions.

He didn’t see the humour in the comment, but his younger cohort snorted a laugh.

So, jerk-muscle flexing, I added: Look, buddy [because unless you’re under twelve years of age, ‘buddy’ is my passive-aggressive term for idiots]. The only way your company will be sealing our driveway is if you offer to do it for free.

Him [shocked]: All right then, thanks for your time.

Me: Yep.

I closed the door, and my brain exploded! Seriously. It chanted: the invasion is coming. The invasion is coming...

Our new town is fairly small, and — with creative geography — could possibly be considered the suburbs. As I said, we get a lot of solicitors. But three in one day?! Two from the same company?! And the last not knowing the meaning of the word “no?!”

I. Can’t. Handle. This. Time for signage!

I assumed Mr Lannis would give me a 24 hour pass until my mental stability regained its footing, then remove my sign — which was a cheery after-work surprise for him. The kind that prompts raised brows and that head shake that means he doesn’t want to know what provoked it.

Usually, Mr Lannis errs on the side of invisible social conformity. He likes to blend. Some days I’m baffled why he’s with me, because I gave up blending years ago. Usually, a saucy sign would be removed promptly, lest our house be egged by local teens.

(To which I would remind him that I get along well with teenagers. Something something mindset something...)

And yes, this is really on our front door. If solicitors knock, they either have a healthy sense of humour, or are duly warned and better be braced for what’s coming...

And so far, it’s working. Three weeks and not one solicitor yet. Ha!

(For the record, it’s open season on telemarketers, too.)

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned. 

July 29, 2011

Food Waste Friday: After The Party

Remember my super-relaxing guests from two weeks ago? The ones that are such good friends - and tired parents - that we all kind of dozed on and off throughout our visit?

Well, it's their fault we wasted all this food.

I kid. It's not. I just bought too much angel food cake. (Stop. You have to be awake to operate a recipe and oven, so yes, I bought angel food cake.)

And my dear friend Christine brought snacks - the true path to my heart, if she wasn't already in there - which we didn't quite finish.

All of that combines to bring you this:

Which - if I may be so wasteful and un-frugal - is worth it for a visit like that one.

(Food Waste Friday is graciously hosted by Kristen at The Frugal Girl)

July 28, 2011

I Forgot...

Oh, yeah. I was spotlighted on BlogHer the other day.

That's nice.

Blog Love, Lazy Style

A long time and a short time ago (two months and two weeks, if you're asking), Kristy at Manager to Mom and Kimberly at Intentional Mom very graciously nominated The Mrs for an award that floats around from blogger to blogger called "Most Versatile Blogger".

And today's the day I follow the rules...sort of. And it's totally not because I forgot to take pictures of our Day of the Triffids tomatoes to update you on how our Backyard DIY is going for the first time in - oh... - seventeen years.

(A hint: good and not good).

There are all sorts of rules that come with this versatile business, but I'm so rebellious and lazy that all I'm going to do is open up my Google Reader and tell you who I'm reading these days. Also, there aren't seven things you don't know about me that are interesting enough to want to know about me, I promise.

So here it is, folks: the list of things to read when you decide you either a) don't have enough to do already and would like to spend more time at the computer reading hilarious people or b) want to get fired for only reading blogs all day at work (totally not me.):

(I usually do this on days when I'm at the eyeball surgeon - like here and here, but tomorrow is Friday, and I wouldn't dream of letting you off the hook depriving you of my food waste saga while I travel.)

Adventures in Dinner: My favourite Jane quote is "Summer has smacked Ottawa with her sweaty, humid palms". Shes in the middle of a drastic renovation - think holes in major walls - and is still cooking away and taking pictures. Everything makes me hungry these days, but I almost always have to stop myself from licking the screen when she posts recipes like this one. Uh, that would be every day.

Don't Make Me Count to 3: Eric is not a giant squid, just in case you were wondering. He is a new stay at home dad (new to the staying part, not the dadding part), and Mr is wants to be him - or at least talk about beer with him. His Secret Agent Dad post made me want to stop blogging because I'm just not that funny.

Maybe If You Just Relax: Infertility, then pregnancy, then motherhood. Rinse. Repeat. Jen goes through some of the most painful, heartbreaking stuff and then gets online to overshare and makes everyone laugh about it.

The Tasty Cheapskate: The title says it all. Jean's family of six is eating on $10 a day, and by the looks of things, eating pretty well. Except Emma, who is the star of Eat This, Not That. Don't read it if you have coffee in your mouth. Or near your mouth. Actually, put the coffee down for this one.

Minting Nickels: Lindy is a cheapskate who hates the word frugal. What's not to love?

There. Still not following the rules, but it's enough to fill up your day with blog posts instead of real life.

You're welcome.

July 27, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch...At Their Desks


I'm Sandi.

And Wendy's and I...we have an interesting relationship. I might love it (her?).

Would you like the whole sad story, or just the abbreviated version?

Did I really need to ask? Abbreviated version it is. (Mom, stop here. You'll be horrified, abbreviated version or not.)

My love affair with the Number One No Pickles and a Diet Coke began in my second year of university, and has continued into my professional career - with a brief hiatus for the two years we lived in downtown Toronto - until I left the bank for my maternity leave with Jr. When I came back, it was to a different branch, and the closest Wendy's is a solid half hour away.

At each of the Wendy's that I've called home, they would start getting my lunch order ready as soon as they saw me. That, my friends, is true love and devotion.

Or enabling behaviour.

Let's forget all the health-y nutritional-y boring business that I know you're all thinking (you too, Mom. I know you didn't stop reading) and get down to brass tacks: eating out for lunch at work is expensive. And the only thing more appetizing than Number One No Pickles and a Diet Coke is Not Spending Money.

Not having a Wendy's within half an hour of work is pretty effective, but if I don't look forward to my lunch, I'm not a very happy girl.


My packed lunch varies depending the time of year, state of my uterus (gross), and creativity. These days, when I open up my o-so-glamorous (free) lunch bag,

I'm rewarded with this:

Veggies & peanut butter, watermelon, and cottage cheese with onions and pepper (oh, stop gagging. It's delicious.) is a lunch I can look forward to.

But - don't be mad at me Mom - not as much as I would this, if I weren't such a cheapskate:

(I'm headed to the city on Friday for another visit to my eyeball surgeon...guess what's for lunch?)

July 26, 2011

The Day I Got Boring

Here's what it is, people (I'd say peeps, but then you'd laugh and die at my uncoolness, and I wouldn't want to be responsible for that):

I got boring.

So boring, that I'm boring even myself, and that's really hard to do for a narcissict blogger like myself.

I recently read through most of my archive (not at work on a slow afternoon, in case you were wondering, or are my boss), and can tell you exactly when it happened. Oh, who am I kidding? Even you, my faithful reading friends, can tell me when it happened.

May 2nd, 2011. The day I got boring.

The day I went back to work, and became a banker from nine to five (uh, seven-thirty to five-thirty, if we want to count the commute, which we do, because am I home and eating, or cleaning, or talking to my kids during it? I am not).

The day dinner time (formerly "let's take pictures of food" time) became a blur of "getting in the door, what are we having, oh no - the meal I planned is missing components or isn't thawed, did that kid just poop her pants?, I haven't used the bathroom all day myself" time.

The day the precious few hours after the kids' bedtime became "let me just sit down on the couch for a second before I plan tomorrow's supper or pick up the toys or vacuum the floor or do some laundry or pack tomorrow's lunch zzzzzzzzz.........." until I wake up, stagger to the bathroom and then up to bed.

Oh, yeah.

That day.

But you know I have a plan, right? To get back to the butter-loving, food-making, interesting (and sometimes funny) cheapskate that is currently sleeping inside my apparently awake body, that is.

And it is...

Stay home after baby number three - that's Bean, for those in the know.

Wop-wanhh. Real original. In fact, I think I might have read about that radical plan somewhere in here except it was baby number two.

You can see how well that worked out.

Pretty soon, I'll sit down with my beloved - and very much neglected, lately - budget spreadsheet and Mint.com, and figure out a painfully detailed plan to make it actually happen this time.

And last night, just to combat the boredom, I actually swept my kitchen floor before I fell asleep on the couch. Earth-shattering, I know. Try to find somewhere to sit down.

We'll see.

July 25, 2011

Project Grocery: It Might be Possible

For the longest time, I thought that it was impossible for me to stay within our grocery budget - especially that week when we spent it twice.

And then thing started turning around, and here we are. Week thirty-one, $99.94 spent, average grocery spending at $118.18. Hey, it only took half a year, right?


(You knew there was one, right?)

This was the shopping trip I did by myself at seven on Saturday morning before I left for a day of Abstract Expressionism and university roommate fun in Toronto. I was feeling pretty good about it - especially the ice cream for $1.99 each - until Sunday morning, when I realized I'd forgotten some key items in the menu. (Which is meant to be Spinach and Quinoa Frittatta, Maple Glazed Salmon, Hash (simple, but oh, so good), Chicken Salad, and some other things I don't remember.)

What did I forget? Steak. Salmon. You know, the important stuff. And while it was on sale (which is why we were featuring it on the menu, naturally), it and the few other things I forgot managed to increase the numbers by $24.09.

So let's try that again, shall we?

Week thirty-one, $124.03 spent, average grocery spending at $118.96.

Might be possible is right.

July 23, 2011

Lannis: “Help!” She Squeaked.

Wonder of all wonders - I'm in Toronto today. Alone. As in: by myself. Oh, I'm with friends - two friends from university days that I haven't seen since then - but it's just me and them. And the Abstract Expressionists, obviously.

I feel like a real grown up. Sigh.

Fortunately, Lannis is here to pick up (yet more) of the slack.

* * *

Once upon a time, I had an ill-fated conversation with my five-year-old, and it went something like this:

Me: Okay. You get a sticker for every day you have a good day at school. [Read: sharing, doing school work, listening, keeping hands to self... generally being a decent citizen and pretending that your mother teaches you manners, or at least respect.] When if you get five stickers in a row, five days in a row you get a prize.

Note: Usually ‘prize’ means going to the Dollar Store and picking out whatever the rewardee’s little heart desires. Non-issue, right? Well, parenting by rote, Mr Lannis and I forgot to stipulate this clause -- as it has been repeated much in the past.

We didn’t notice someone was paying specific attention to this petite slip.

Two weeks later (because our five-year-old goes to school every other day) you guessed it, that damned reward chart was full of stickers for five consecutive good days at school.

Yay. (She says dryly in retrospect, knowing what is coming.)

Five-year-old: I know what I want for my prize.
Me: Okay. We’ll go shopping later and pick something out.
Five-year-old: But I already know what I want.
Me: Sure, what?
Five-year-old: A hamster.


Yep. I could say my kids are smarter than I am, and I walked right into this one, or I could argue that we’re still learning as parents. And frankly, if we are still learning, we’re those students dragging down the learning curve, pulling the median mark of the whole class to abysmal levels.

My apologies, fellow classmates.

And since I like to keep my word (and we were planning on a hamster to teach someone responsibility and kindness, anyway), this is how we recently acquired Hamster.

Whose name, yes, is capitalized as Hamster -- not Hammy, or Fluffy, or anything else, for the five-year-old looked at me cross-eyed and stated formally, that no, it’s Hamster.

How foolish of me to think it would be otherwise.

Anyhow, enter the real problem: I have never owned a hamster.

Nope. We’ve had cats and dogs, and the occasional fish, but never a hamster. We did the research and outrigged his cage with the required goodies -- exercise wheel, log hut to nibble on, cool tubes to explore, hamster ball with which to properly terrorize cats.

These questions I could find answers to online.

No, my issue is where do I put our charmingly disgruntled Hamster when I clean his cage?


I can’t put him directly into the hamster ball, because we politely wait until evening to clean his cage and interact with him, after his little nocturnal self has had a decent amount of sleep and is less likely to nip.

(I’m all for setting up success, not failure, and my kids are enjoying their new friend, which is less likely to be the case if a cranky fluffball gets a mouthful of child.)

So when cleaning his cage, we let Hamster wake up and eat a bit (usually he stuffs his mouth from stress in an “oh, my lord, they’re cleaning my freaking cage! What if they never give me food again?!”) before forcing him to entertain us in his bright orange ball.

I’m wary of tossing him directly into the hamster ball because, well, to be frank, the first thing I want to do when I wake up involves a toilet, not a giant plastic sphere and running for my life while a bunch of kids giggle and stomp around in thunderous excitement.

So the place where I put Hamster for the cage-cleaning tends to change.

Once, it was the basin I use for soaking laundry. Once it was that weed bucket from the grass post.

One thing we have figured out is what doesn’t work. The last time we cleaned his cage? It looked like that picture up there.

Yes. That’s a Tupperware cereal container.

And one stunned Hamster.

Read his face. He has no earthly idea why anyone would want to put a hamster in a cereal storer, clearly.

And I’m fairly certain those beady black eyes are hiding a plethora of curse words, as he’s certainly not cool with this particular idea.

No, I didn’t get nipped, but he was on his back with paws in the air, terrified of the next step, which, to save his nervous heart, did not include the hamster ball, but a restful evening alone in his cage. He seemed too shaken for anything more, and my heart went out to the little bugger.

So... asking you, friends, parents, fellow-hamster owners (by choice or coercion): any suggestions on where I put a hamster while I clean his cage?

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

July 22, 2011

Food Waste Friday: Slack, There is a Lot

But this is not a tale of woe, despite the food wastery in progress.

Why no woe?

This guy:

See how fast he's moving? (Obviously the blur is because of his super-hero like abilities, not because we have a silly little pink camera and my hands shake. Definitely not that.)

He's cleaning out the fridge for me. At night, when all we both wanted to do was Sit Down.

There's been a lot of slack around here, and he's been picking it up like some kind of super-picker-upper (if only he could pick up this sentence, eh?)

We've been MIA from Food Waste Friday for two weeks, and here's what we have to show for it:

Mr's homemade barbecue sauce for Root Beer Pulled Pork, the last few pieces of kebabs, the last of the  pork, rice and lemon cabbage food rescue, a tiny portion of tomato mozzarella salad, and some other things I can't (don't choose to) remember.

All of these are leftovers, and there's some slack in that department too, since I haven't been able to bring myself to eat my share for lunches. Leftover Slacker, that's me.

But there is some woe, and I've kept it from you for long enough.

Two weeks ago, Mr and I had our first midwife appointment, and since we love our Sarah, Mr made Maple Candy  for her.

Except he didn't. He made maple taffy. He poured it into the mold too early, and although we waited a long time for it to set, it was in vain.


(It didn't stop me from enjoying the spoils though).

(Food Waste Friday is graciously hosted by Kristen at The Frugal Girl)

July 21, 2011

I Am a Goodwill Convert

Who says I'm not a clothes horse?

Oh. I did. Here. But now that the vest doesn't fit so well over the growing-but-not-yet-obviously-pregnant-so-I'm-just-fat belly, AND I still have to wear clothes (bummer), I actually had to find some that will fit for the next month or so, before I'm into the Elasticized Maternity Pants


Oh yeah, and the kids grew some too.

So - because this cheapskate won't spent $60 when $15 will do - I once again supressed my dislike of other people's used clothing (ick) and found these:

Yes. They were blurry when I found them.

Mr - with no pregnant belly to hide, found this:

He was very proud.

Miss did not find these. She was not invited to the Secondhand Smorgasbord and Cheapskate Extravaganza, because - only sometimes - I enjoy concentrating for longer than eighteen seconds.

Crazy, I know.

Jr, of course (poor second baby), got shafted. He got super awesome, really cool, I-wish-they-made-them-in-my-size-but-then-they-wouldn't-be-cute shoes that don't fit.

Guilty, I used some of my Swagbucks to buy him these, for which I shelled out only $5.38 in real money.

Me like.

And now daycare can't disapprove of me and my shoeless child anymore.

The Mrs for the win!

(If this sounds - and looks - familiar, it's because its the story of our secondhand shopping trip from the end of June, just different. Hint: that one was funnier.)

July 20, 2011

The Mr: Housefixery, Beersnobbery, and Sugar. Sometimes Even in Cake

Since a couple of you were interested in Mr's life changing beer (I'm looking at you, Eric), and since Mr doesn't miss a chance to wax poetic about his collection, I let him in for a minute. He's going to say his piece. It will be about beer.

* * * 
Alright, alright.

I have to step in here. I am not "in luuuuurve" with beer. Although an evening with Founders Porter?

I don't say no to "dark, rich & sexy".

So maybe I am in love with beer. So what? The Mrs is cool with it.

I am a simple man. I love (what I consider to be) good beer. I love (what I consider to be) good music. I love football (Er, the Philadelphia Eagles, to be specific).

I love (what I consider to be the best) Mrs, and I love Miss, Jr, and our little bean.

And maybe donuts.


For those who care, here is The Life-Changing Beer List:
(Not all of these are life-changing, and some of my favourites aren't even on this list, but I suggest trying them all and see which ones make you want to quit your job and become a brewmaster. Or own a gastropub.)

Ithaca Beer Company Flower Power IPA
Founders Centennial IPA
Founders Reds Rye PA
Great Lakes Brewing Co. Commodore Perry IPA
Sierra Nevada Stout
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
Smuttynose Robust Porter
Stone Brewing Co. Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Victory Prima Pilsner
Victory Hop Devil Ale
Victory Yakima Glory Ale
Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale
Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
Smuttynose IPA
Founders Porter
Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale


And now, back to your regularly scheduled Mrs.

I Can See The Threads

...from where they ripped off my Cheapskate Badge.

Nothing in me likes air conditioning.

My cheapskate soul likes Not Turning on the Air Conditioning. Not even during the cheapest part of the day (night) to win the time of use game.

I like the (very) brief part of the year when we can actually have the windows open and not freeze to death. I like hearing the wind, the rain, or the birds while I'm in bed.

I like the smell of summer out the window.


The baybee in mah tummy likes air conditioning.

Air conditioning will stay.

(I promise to stop spelling it like that. But only when I write. When I think, it will always be "baybee in mah tummy.)

And now, a word from Mr...

July 19, 2011

All Kinds of Random

(In which a numbered list is the only kind of segue I'm capable of)

Yup. There's a baybee in mah tummy. Tamika, Jane, Leslie & Jacqui have The Eagle Eyes for spotting the pregnancy test and the diapers. (Yes, they're disposable. Someday I'll tell you what the Amish have to do with it). Let the countdown begin...

This is the reason I've been such a lazy, slovenly excuse for a housewife, and - you'll excuse me, I'm sure - MIA from Food Waste Friday. Sleep and sitting are my new best friends. We're such good friends that we're going on vacation together. Or having a party. Or something. Christmas cards, for sure.

Jr got out of his diaper last night. The cover was still wrapped around one leg, but the prefold was entirely off.

And he was still zipped up in this:

Baby Magic? I think so. Also: Constantly In Motion, is that boy.

The Russians (or Ukrainians or Hungarians) have done something to my blog, and you'll never guess what the top referring site is for The Mrs right now.

I don't read Russian (or Ukrainian or Hungarian), but the pictures aren't in Cyrillic, if you know what I mean.

Mr was in the basement last night, cackling gleefully over his life changing beer. See?

"Eighteen different kinds", he says.

We have a $50/month budget for beer. It has been exceeded.

Mr? He's in luuuurve with his beer. Real, true love, too.

Like: "Oh, Founders Reds Rye IPA, you are so complex. Let's go out on a date and talk about hops."

Or: "Sierra Nevada Porter, you are so beautiful. I could stare into your dark eyes all night."

I officially blame my recent Unfunny, Lacklustre, and foggy blogging (that would be Foglogging, right?) on zee baybee.

Also the Russians.

July 18, 2011

Project Grocery: I Had to Lie Down

(Writing, beside an open window, with cool breeze and the sound of rain coming through. Eating a banana. Because who wouldn't?)

We were entertaining the most relaxing guests in the world this weekend. So relaxing, that on Saturday before they came, I slept on the couch most of the day instead of cleaning up and making the house presentable for their arrival.

So relaxing, that after all our kids went to bed, and we decided to live like it was 1985 and watch The Breakfast Club, I fell asleep in my chair. At eight-thirty, and despite all the yummy snacks they brought (who falls asleep to The Breakfast Club and maple cream cookies?)

What can I say? I'm an awesome hostess, obviously.

One of the things I was awake for on Saturday was the grocery trip, although once we got the haul home, I was back on the couch, so there's no visual evidence that we spent $84.02, and fed our dear friends Root Beer Pulled Pork and French Toast, or will be having things like chicken kebabs and chicken corn soup this week.

Or that our grocery bill is now around $118.79 for a 30 week average.

I might just have to lie down again.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, Project Grocery: A Review and Project Grocery might be of some help.)

And now, a series of other verbal and visual snapshots for all you super-sleuths out there:



Me: I have a secret to tell you.

Miss: Is it ice cream?


And, go.

July 15, 2011

Vacation: A Birdie Joke

You know, a birdie joke? As in: "cheep, cheep". I'll wait for the collective groan to subside.


Obviously, Mr and I never go anywhere exotic. Our vacations - except, I'm pleased to say, our honeymoon, because that would be weird - have all been to visit family. Mostly in Pennsylvania.

So that's cheap right there.

But they're getting cheaper. Oh golly. The things that excite me. It's kind of embarrassing.

(But not really.)

Us, our two kids, their monstrously large car seats, their clothes, our clothes, assorted stuff we never use but always bring anyway, and - of course - some kind of newly discovered and life-changing beer that Mr has discovered and is bringing down for his friend Jeff used to travel crammed like Tetris into a Toyota Echo, and now travel in luxurious minivan style, like so:

But we're still saving money.

For one thing, we eat out less. Instead, we go to Jeff and Amy's house for this:

And just to spend 12 hours - er, 18 - with people we love. (You heard me, it's not just the steak. The tender, almost raw, perfectly done steak...mmmmmm.....Or the tomatoes on mozzarella......)

Or we go to Becca's reception, and fall in love with the cupcakes so hard that there is no picture. All I can offer you is a picture of two bored cousins, who - for some inexplicable reason - failed to see the entertainment value in a soft, fluffy, lemon cupcake.

(Speaking of Becca's wedding - Hi, Erin. I'm sorry I didn't introduce myself when Becca told me who you were. My excuse? I thought I'd sound like a wiener if I went up to you and said "Hi, I write that thing you read". It's a personal handicap I'm trying to work through. Also, we're related through Mr's family. That is all.)

Back to the non-demented part of my cheap vacation: the pony.

You heard me. Why pay millions of dollars for a toy train museum or Reptile Land when your Poppy buys a pony for you to ride?

So. Vacations. Cheap(ish).

I'm done.

July 14, 2011

Project Grocery: Shaky Hands

Maybe my hands are shaky because it's 5:41 AM and I haven't had my coffee yet.

Maybe they're shaky because ReStore Score is going to be featured on BlogHer.

Or maybe they're shaking so much because...

(Trumpets, please. Hand trumpets will do, in a pinch. You know, if you don't have a regular trumpet just lying around like I do.)

We went to the grocery store on Tuesday as we recovered from our vacation (still more on that coming, including the Best Steak Ever) and spent...and spent...$40.88. My grocery budget has a black eye! It's weaving blearily around the ring, wondering what happened to it, and sincerely hoping I don't hit it again.

This stellar grocery shop (sans kids, which was heavenly) has brought the average right down to $119.99. Picture me, pyjama-clad, banana in hand, doing a (silent) double fist-pump at my desk.

Or don't, because that's weird.

Now - of course - the bar gets set lower. Or higher, depending on if you're lying on the floor or standing up. Far be it from me to revel in awesomeness, when I have the opportunity to set the grocery budget at $110 and can moan and whine about how we can't meet it.

Fun times.

(If you're new here, and totally confused, may I suggest Project Grocery: A Review, and the page of numbers that is the Project Grocery page?)

July 13, 2011

I Know That's Not Where I Left My Toilet Brush. (Or: Home Again, Home Again)

Does anybody else feel compelled to add "jiggity jig jig" to that, or is it just me?

Ooh-kay. Just me then.

[Awkward pause]

We got back from Pennsylvania at one o'clock yesterday morning. I had my days mixed up, I was tired, and I'm pretty sure my right eye had just given up in despair and stopped working.

My living room looked like this:

And that wasn't even the half of it.

So, needless to say, I sat down and got myself caught up on all the seventy-two million blogs I've been missing.

Instead of cleaning. Instead of laundry.

Instead of sleeping, for crying out loud.

I might have a problem.

The essentials - eventually - got done. The cleaning didn't, but that's not because it wasn't essential. It's because of this:

When my mom calls herself a jerk in writing, you know something's up.

Picture me, contact not yet in, eye still a little pink, just barely awake, stumbling around the house trying to find stuff we packed randomly, and seeing this:

I know that's not where I left my toilet brush.

Nope. It's where my mom left the toilet brush. Or possibly her (and my) dear friend E, who insisted on sneaking into our house with her for some guerrilla cleaning while we were gone.

I will never not be excited about this.

July 10, 2011

Lannis: The Grass WILL Be Greener!

So. Long story short: we moved last year, and we inherited grass. And I’d like to keep it that way. So while I wait for a season to see what else I’ve inherited in the front garden (and whether I’d like to keep it that way, too), I’m focusing on our schizophrenic lawn.

Yes. Schizophrenic, I say. (No offense to schizophrenics out there -- you’re lovely company, no word of a lie, nor sarcasm, either. Some of my most interesting conversations have been with schizophrenics!)

Anyhow, I call it schizophrenic because after an entire month without mowing our lawn we have patches like this:

(Please ignore my dirty hand.)

And patches like this:

It also means that, to my joy, this has happened:

But there are dandelions, too. Not many, just enough to make you remember that one little dandelion bloom gone to seed will take advantage of my poor stunted grass.

And my hopes that this advantage-taking will be in tiny steps, like a kid slowly inching across the invisible boundary line of a shared chair until there’s only one kid bum and not two in the space, I’m aware that this advantage-taking will be much more like a teenage boy on the third date with an inflated sense of entitlement...

Yes. Those dandelions are going to attack my scruffy lawn. I know this.

So I did this, one evening:

Yep. That’s a 20 kg bucket of dandelions. (And now everyone knows one of the stops on my anti-career that made me so nutty and jaded. And yes: Tim Hortons really does buy 20 kg buckets of chocolate fondant. It’s dripping off your chocolate dips and boston creams, folks, and it sits in a bucket under the donut table until it’s scooped into the fondant warmer. The secret’s out.)

This weeding took less time than anticipated -- about a half an hour balanced on the kids’ hopping ball to keep my knees intact. (My neighbour called it “yoga gardening.” She wasn’t far off, my thighs killed me for two days afterwards! But at least it wasn’t my knees or back.)

And in my travails, imagine how I rejoiced when I found these buggers!

Please excuse the blurry picture, apparently the camera can’t bear to think of the horrors those seedy blooms would ravage against our tender grass, either.

In an effort to propagate our greenery further, I’ve over-seeded the lawn, and have been watering to (hopefully--please, please, pretty please!) keep our grass as grass. Or, in the very least, not looking like dandelions.

Because while I have this:

I don’t mind it so much, since it’s plush and soft and generally more friendly to me than dandelions (yes, I’m prejudiced against my weeds. Weeds are unwanted plants. I don’t mind the clover, so I don’t consider them weeds. Those snotty yellow jerks, however, are weeds. I don’t care if I can put them in a salad, I don’t want to!)

With all my efforts, I now have this, too:

And really? Really, all I want is this:

What? What’s that sound, you ask? Oh, that’d be the sound of boys whining because I made them stand together for a pretty shot of bare feet in luscious grass. Because boys complain when being asked to do anything except play when it’s summer. But one day they’ll thank me.

One day when we have virgin grass.

July 9, 2011

Not Food Waste Friday

No Food Waste Friday post this morning, folks, since I am nowhere near my evil fridge. Instead, I have two words for you:




Jr - it turns out - is an excellent sharer. Fortunately, he is also sharing his medicine, so there's hope that I'll someday soon be able to type without having my nose two inches from what seems like an incredibly small computer screen.

That means that it's time to repeat this picture from back in the eyeball surgery days:

Yup. That's about right, except for the eye bubble. Fun times.

Okay, more like 63 words, and a really gross picture.

Better or worse than picture of rotten food?