zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Feb. 22nd, 2011 01:54 pm)
If you have at any point kept a toothbrush at my house (and are not sabotabby, who lives here), please be advised that as of today, I am throwing out all the toothbrushes. The next time you need a toothbrush, you may take one of the new toothbrushes that I have purchased from its sealed package, use it, write your name on it in Sharpie (I shall provide a Sharpie, writing names for the use of), and leave it in my toothbrush basket for your use whenever you are here.

I am nearly sure that there were toothbrushes in that basket that had not seen any use in the past three years, and I have quite forgotten whose is whose. So, I suspect, have many of the original toothbrush owners.

For the record, mine is the small hot pink toothbrush.

I apologize to any who may have loved their original toothbrushes. The situation in my toothbrush basket was getting out of control.

That is all.
The small garden in front of my house. A patch about 2 metres long by one metre deep, growing end-of-season lilies (leaves only -- the flowers are long gone), 2 rose bushes in mediocre health, a spill or orange nasturtiums, some lavender, and two bushy sage plants. On the steps to the house are pots of herbs.

Two woman were walking ahead of me up my street as I was coming home from the library.* As they walked past my house, one of them bent down and broke a leaf off my sage plant.**

"Hey!" I called to her back, "Hey! That's my plant you just damaged! That's my garden!"

"It's only half a leaf," she said.

"It doesn't matter," I explained, "This is a very busy corner. If everyone took a leaf as they walked by, I'd have no plant left! How would you like it if I went into your garden and picked your plants without asking you?"

"I don't have a garden, but if I did, I'd give you the plants," she said, apparently thinking I was being unreasonable.

"Stuff," I said, "Listen, lady, I went to a Catholic school. If you think I can't recognize an attempt to shame me, you've never known anyone who had a nun for a principal. Just don't go picking people's plants."

"Do you want the leaf back?"

"No, enjoy what you stole, please. Just don't go damaging people's gardens."

She shrugged and walked on.

You know, on Friday, the Cremini Kid and his dad were over. The Cremini Kid was looking at my nasturtiums and asked me if he could try a petal (he likes nasturtiums on salad). I said "Of course!" Because the seven-year-old Cremini Kid knew to ask. He recognized that as the person who planted and tended that garden, I might have other plans for my flowers. Because the seven-year-old Cremini Kid has some basic socialization and because his dad is doing a good job at teaching him about getting along in a community.

My garden is not a big garden. It fronts directly on to the sidewalk on a very busy corner—there's no lawn or fence separating it from the casual passer-by. So my poor garden sees a lot of abuse. People throw their rubbish into my plants. People steal plants. People barf on my lilies.*** I think all of these actions are signs of moral turpitude and the general unsuitability of the perpetrators to community life. I mean how difficult are these basic principles:

don't take stuff that isn't yours without asking;

clean up your messes and don't leave your rubbish or bodily emissions on other people's property; and

stay the heck off my lawn?****


Bushy, lush tip of a branch of a healthy sage plant. Three or four leaves have been broken in half, and their ends removed.

* Whither I had betaken myself to escape the siren song of the arboreal armageddon (read chainsaw shrieks and woodchipper gronching noises) taking place directly across from my house.
** The very sage plant that grew from the tiny sprig of sage left when someone ripped the entire sage plant out of my garden this spring. Said sage plant is now a large and healthy specimen, with many tasty leaves.
*** Yes, this really happened. I leaned over to smell my lovely, just-bloomed rose, and noticed that my lilies had quite a different odour. Sigh.
**** Or tiny front garden. Unless I invite you to frolic there.

I was travelling around on work, meeting with clients. I was in Newfoundland, and then I went to Iceland, and thence to Sweden. My hotel in Sweden was adorable—genuinely boho, a kind of Art Nouveau apartment building, with hanging silks and a proprietress who had a crystal ball. 

It was there that I became uncomfortably aware that I was being followed. Strange men appeared in the lobby. My clothes had been rifled in my room. The proprietress of my hotel was upset and gracious about it. She seemed to know who the culprits were, and apologised and changed my room to one for which there was no way to duplicate the key and promised me security. But as I was waiting in a hired car for my mom at the airport, they appeared again. I had no choice but to drive away, leaving the driver (who may have been one of Them) waiting at the airport. There ensued a high-speed car-chase, through the highways, overpasses, and back roads of Sweden. This was inconvenient, because I can't actually drive, so in addition to being terrified and annoyed by the people chasing me, moderately lost because I was in Sweden, and confused by how to operate a car, I was worried that the police would notice my erratic driving and pull me over, and then discover that I don't have a license, don't speak Swedish, and don't know how to drive.

Eventually I ditched the car, and took a bus back to my cute hotel, where the proprietress informed me that she'd put my mother in the room adjoining mine, and the rest of the guests on the third floor.

Further adventures inspired by Pushing Daisies, Steig Larsson, Naomi Klein, Cory Doctorow, Die Hard and others )
In which a cycle hoyden bemuses Insurance or possibly Investment Dudes. An exchange in one Scene.

: The elevator in the Tower in the Wasteland—a boring, office-tower elevator.

ENTER: [personal profile] zingerella . She is wearing cycling shorts and a purple t-shirt. Her hair is in a long braid down her back, and is, frankly, a mess. She carries a pannier/shoulderbag. She pushes 5, and proceeds to remove her cycling gloves.

ENTER: Dude in a Suit 1. He hits 2.

ENTER: Slightly more middle-aged Dude in a Suit2. Z. has seen him parking in a reserved spot in the garage. He hits 3 (the same company as Dude in a Suit 1.

DiaS1 nods Hello to DiaS2. They exchange banter.

The elevator doors close.

To Z. Do you pay for parking here? 
Zingerella: Nope.

: Hmph. So do you ride far?

: Yeah. Pretty far. 

DiaS2: Eyebrows raised Really? Where do you come from?

Zingerella: Oh, Pape and Danforth.

A pause.

DiaS2: Sticks out his hand. Wow. That is really far. That's very impressive.

Zingerella bemusedly shakes his hand. Yeah, I guess. It's not too bad.

Elevator: *BING!* Second floor. Going Up.

DiaS2: Well, have a good day. To DiaS1 You too. Leaves, and goes to his job selling investments, or maybe insurance.

Dias1: Snrk. There's no way you should pay for parking.

Elevator: *BING!* Third floor. Going Up.

Dias1: Have a good one. Leaves, and goes to his job selling investments, or maybe insurance.

Zingerella: You too.

Elevator: *BING!* Fifth floor.

Exit Zingerella, turning right.

Thing is, I can't figure out DiaS2. Was he planning to tell me I didn't ride that far? Or was he comparing my commute to his morning run? All I know is that he looked at me with far more respect after I told him where I started in the morning.



Here's the backstory:

For a unit on Energy, my client requested like a feature that is an interview between a nominal grade 1 student and a nutritionist about what foods provide energy for school, sports etc.

I e-mailed my client and sad "I'm really, really leery of this. I think it borders on prescriptivism at the time when most kids are moving from being very intuitive eaters, to allowing external factors influence what they choose to eat. Scientifically, I think it poses a lot of challenges too, since pretty much all food will provide energy—energy and nutrients and a bit of water is pretty much what food is for. Can we maybe, instead, have an interview between a nominal six year old and an elite athlete, about how that person eats in order to have enough energy to train, compete, etc.? That way, we're being descriptive, rather than prescriptive, and we can still make the connection between food and energy. Also, it's kind of cool."

The client went for it. Hooray for good sense.

Now, of course, I need to track down an elite athlete. Pronto.

So does anyone know anyone who competes at an elite level, in some sport or other. I'm e-mailing members of the Canadian Women's Hockey Team, as well as the publicist for the Canadian Paralympic Athletes, but it's often easier to get in touch with someone if you have an "in." 

So, does anyone have an "in"?

On behalf of trying not to screw up kids' eating, I thank you.
Community sing this Saturday, 14h30–17h30 at Chez Mushroom. If you need directions or details, e-mail me (thisusername at gmail dot com), and I will make sure you know where you are going. 

BYO: Songbooks/songsheets, comestibles, instruments, Bollywood dance routines.

In other news, the horny trees are making some very improper suggestions to my sinuses, and while I understand and respect the biological imperative, get yer spiky pollen out of my nose, trees!


I cooked and baked a lot this weekend!

Saturday morning, I decided to try the first recipe from the cake issue of <i>Fine Baking</i> I picked up a couple of weeks ago, so I made a puff pancake for Sabo and me. A puff pancake is not unlike a really large, fine-textured Yorkshire pudding, with maple syrup and raspberry sauce: you mix eggs, flour, melted butter, milk, baking soda and powder together all at once, pour the batter into a skillet or pan into which you have melted a bit more butter, and bake it until it's puffy and golden. Takes about 20 minutes. It was remarkable! It puffed right up the sides of the pan! So good!

Then, Saturday night, I mixed up the gingerbread cookie mix that a friend gave me for Christmas last year, and made gingerbread pumpkins, bats, and cats to take to the dance for snacks. I overcooked a tray, and had to sacrifice it, which was sad, but the rest of the cookies were lovely.

This morning, I made second Fine Cooking recipe: Fastest-ever Cinnamon Buns. These were not as fast as the puff pancake, but as a sweet quick-dough (more like a scone or biscuit dough than a bread dough), they were ready in about an hour, and were lovely with coffee.

The cinnamon bun dough used cottage cheese, so I had a bunch of cottage cheese left. At the greengrocer's today, I also bought a butternut squash and some rapini (I had wanted rapini last week, and couldn't find it; today it was everywhere!) So I combined the squash and the cottage cheese in butternut squash gnocchi, which I tossed in browned butter with sage, garlic, button mushrooms, and shallot; I served this with rapini sautéed with garlic, sesame oil, hot pepper flakes, and lemon juice. Alas, I got so engrossed in the butter for the gnocchi that I let the rapini get a bit overcooked; instead of bright green it was to paraphrase Deborah Madison's tactful phrasing, a bit more tender and dark.

Oh yeah, I also made a mushroom omelette for Sunday lunch!

I love my kitchen.



zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)


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