Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pyjama Day

I've been wishing for a simple black dress to layer under some closet orphans. This one from Miik looks just about right. Except for the price. And there's no one on the Island that sells Miik products. And I'm a terrible online shopper.

So, I hit some local shops to see if I could find a reasonable-for-me alternative. I checked the second-hand stores and be, a boutique that specializes in Canadian-designed, and made, clothing.

I didn't find a black dress, but I didn't go home empty handed. This tunic is by Ramonalisa. I tried it on at be, and initially left without it. It certainly isn't the black dress I was looking for. I felt I needed to stick to my mission. So much for my mission. I went back almost immediately to buy it. I love that it's Canadian-made from hemp and organic cotton. So very, very comfy. It's like wearing pyjamas in public. 

I'll have to be careful where I wear it. I put it on and was overwhelmed with the urge to go for a nap. 

Linking up with Patti and the hopefully more lively crowd over at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. Head over check out the fun!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Confessions and Mushrooms

Let's start the day with some confessions, shall we? 

I have a poor sense of direction. I often struggle to find my way home from places I've managed to find my way to. This happens where there are roads, street signs and landmarks. I'm completely hopeless when "off road".

I'm not a big fan of spiders. At this time of year they become very visible, and this year there seems to be a whole heck of a lot more of them than normal. I've been told they are beneficial in many ways, but that knowledge has not seeped from my conscious awareness to the part of my brain that controls automatic and irrational reactions. 

I live in a place where there are cougars and bears. I have learned some basic "bear aware" strategies over the years, yet I have a sneaking suspicion that if I were confronted by one of these large, local mammals I'd panic. 

Hmmmm. Having read those last two confessions I'm beginning to wonder if the connection from the "knowledge" part of my brain to the "reaction" part of my brain is faulty. 

Because of these shortcomings, I'm particularly grateful when brave friends are willing to roam through the forest with sweat running down their necks, spiders dripping from their hat brims, and pine needles in their underwear, to forage for chanterelle mushrooms. I'm even more grateful when they share those mushrooms with me. 

Of course, the fact that chanterelles are delicious may also have something to do with my gratitude.  Thanks to our brave friends T and R we had a particularly awesome lunch last Sunday. 

I know it doesn't look like much. Blame my amateur photography skills. And my desire to sit down and eat!
Usually, when we are lucky enough to acquire chanterelles, we make pizza. Sadly, there wasn't time this week for pizza-making. Still, I'm particularly pleased with the meal we made with our gift of mushrooms. It satisfied on so many levels. 

First it was economical, as it allowed me to use up the ends of many items lingering in the fridge. The salad was leftover from dinner the night before, as was the home-made honey-mustard dressing. The sandwich allowed me to use the last bit of an onion and the remains of a wedge of cheese leftover from earlier meals.

The meal also included a number of locally grown and prepared ingredients. That always makes me happy. On our small plates we managed to squeeze in the following local stuff:

  • Bread from Vassili's Denman Island Bakery
  • Chanterelles (a gift from foraging friends T and R)
  • Smoked salt from Vancouver Island Salt Co.
  • Smoked Boerenkaas cheese from Natural Pastures
  • Honey from Big D's Bees
  • Sweet pepper from Fiesta Greenhouses
  • Tomatoes from our garden
  • Cucumber & onion from Sleeping Cougar Acres (gifts from L)
  • Lettuce from Whole Hog Farm
  • Garlic from our garden

In addition, the open-faced sandwich was much easier to prepare than pizza, and it came together quickly. Here's the recipe, if you can call it that.

Sauted Chanterelle Mushrooms on Toast

  • chanterelle mushrooms (as many as your friends are willing to part with)
  • 1/4 medium onion - chopped
  • 1 clove garlic - minced
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • smoked salt
  • bread - toasted
  • cheese - sliced, grated, whatever.
Preheat broiler.
Clean and slice chanterelles.
Heat oil and butter in a frying pan.
Add onion and garlic.
Add chanterelles.
Add a small sprinkle of sea salt.
Cook until onions and garlic are translucent and mushrooms are tender.
Sprinkle with a wee bit of smoked salt. 
Top toast with mushroom mixture.
Top all that goodness with cheese.
Pop under the broiler until the cheese is melty, gooey and delicious.

Lastly, our lunch was darned yummy. Seriously, you need to find some brave friends willing share some chanterelles and try it yourself!

Friday, September 13, 2013

What I Did Last Summer: The Illustrated Lists

List the First
  • Started a new job.
List the Second
  • Headed to Ontario with Hubby days after starting the new job. (Thanks to good friends who don't mind getting up before the sun to take us to the airport.)
Hubby and I at the airport. Not too bad considering Hubby had to work all night the night before our trip. Neither of us got much sleep.
  • Visited with his family and my family.
  • Reunited with university friends and mosquitoes at a sweet waterside cottage. Who knew we had such cut-throat croquet players in our little group?
  • Accompanied my niece on her first drive.
  • Watched my nephew kick ass at karate practice.
  • My niece and I were pretend judges at a fake karate tournament.
  • Short overnight trip to London for....
  • Pearl Jam concert!
On our way to the concert.
What a middle-aged woman wears to a rock concert when it's too hot to wear what she planned to wear. NYDJ capris courtesy of my Mom!
Note the woman in the background. See her striped dress? That's what cool, fashionable women wear to a rock concert. She looked great, and nowhere near as sweaty as I did. 

The morning after.
Note the new Pearl Jam t-shirt worn with white capris I borrowed from my sister.

List the Third
  • Hubby and I returned to Vancouver Island with my niece and nephew. (As I mentioned in a previous post, it didn't rain at all here in the month of July. Sad news for farmers, gardeners and green lawns, but perfect for me. (Because it's all about me, isn't it?) This summer marked my niece and nephew's first trip to the island. We couldn't have asked for better weather. Though I'm sure they wouldn't have minded a couple of rainy, indoor days. At 16 and 13 years of age, they are rather attached to their electronics.) 
  • Attack of the teen-aged berry thieves.
  • Seals, starfish, sand dollars...
  • Bunnies and deer and... a snake! Oh my!
  • Evening walks around the neighbourhood.
  • Classic Cruiser parade.
Vintage truck belongs to the local Canadian Tire.
I'll bill them for the advertising space. 
  • Discovered Roosters really do have Teeth.  
  • Was introduced to "Video Game High School".
  • Introduced my niece and nephew to "Ghostbusters" "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Shaun of the Dead".
  • Never did figure out the appeal of "Big Brother". 
  • Discovered I don't mind "Amazing Race Canada". 
  • Coombs, Cuckoo's and Goats on the Roof.
Look! A Goat! On a roof!
  • Parksville Sandcastle Competition and a stroll on the beach.
  • Fish Tacos! (Meh.) 
  • Spaghetti Tacos! (Awesome!)
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Pancakes and Tannadice Farms bacon. Mmmmm. Bacon.
  • Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Mmmmm. More Tannadice Farms bacon.
  • House elves! (I miss having teenagers to sweep my floors and wash my dishes.)
  • Beachcombing at Kye Bay.

  • Live crabs were wrestled.
  • Gelato, gelato and more gelato at Benino Gelato.
  • Hiked though the woods and down to the beach at Seal Bay.
  • Walked the beach at Goose Spit.
  • Lunched at the Filberg Park Tea House
  • Saw "The Wolverine" ... Take it off Mr Jackman! 
  • Walked the boardwalk and enjoyed the company of the whiskey jacks at Paradise Meadows.
Honest Mr. Conservation Officer. We weren't feeding the birds. They just flew onto our hands for no reason!
Or maybe they stopped by to check out our shoes!
  • Five fingers for all!
  • Visited friendly farmers.
  • A cougar sighting
  • An almost bear sighting.
Photo courtesy of L at Sleeping Cougar Acres. The bear was wandering her property within hours of our leaving it. It left the above as evidence.
  • Swam in the river. 
  • Another swim in the river.
  • Ran an earring sweatshop featuring child labourers in our dining room (after ages at the bead shop selecting materials).
  • Set up the tent in the yard for a teen camp-out.
  • Farmers' Market.
  • Market Days.
  • Korean food. Our treat, then theirs.
  • Two trips to the chocolate shop. Or maybe three.
  • Several trips to the art gallery.
  • Jelly bean roulette. 
  • Bedtime story!  Not quite like the old days, but close enough. 
List the Fourth
  • Left Hubby to the peace and quiet and flew back to Ontario to return the teens to their rightful owners.
  • Wrestled a seal head into my carry-on and a tayberry plant into my checked luggage. Both survived the trip. Wasn't sure if the teens would. The 4:30 am wake-up call was a bit rough for them. 
  • A happy reuniting of the teens with their mother, their grand parents, their cat and their dishwasher. 
"You missed me? Did you go somewhere? Play with me."
  • Discovered "A Very Potter Musical" and the sequel "A Very Potter Sequel".
  • Winery visits, family visits, perch, broasted chicken, blueberries.
  • Colasanti's! Remember when they sold plants?
  • Started a container herb garden with my niece and nephew in spite of lack of plants at Colasanti's. 
  • More air-popped popcorn.
  • Shopping with my Mom.  
  • Shopping with my sister and niece.
  • Mario Party!
  • Ratatoullie! The dish not the movie. Cooking with the teens is fun! (Until the big knives come out. Then I panic.)
  • Steaks and summer sausage from local grass-fed cattle. Meet the meat.
List the Fifth
  • Returned to Vancouver Island...eventually. Unplanned delays allowed for...
  • Beer and snacks in Calgary.
  • Really late arrival at Comox Airport.
  • Barely awake reunion with Hubby.
  • Back to work. I didn't quite forget everything while I was off gallivanting. 
  • Hiking and movies and meals out and lazy weekends off.
  • Labour Day Weekend wedding...
  • ... which pretty much brings us to the present.
Wow! What lists! I'm particularly impressed with all we managed to cram into the two weeks with my niece and nephew. And there's so much more we could have done. Now that they know where to find us, I hope they come back and visit us again soon! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Once Upon a September Day...

... a boy named Chris was born. Around about his 21st birthday the boy, by then a young man known as Monster, celebrated at his university's pub. Friends and strangers came to join the festivities. On that fateful night, one of his friends met one of the strangers over the foosball table. After a rousing victory the team mates danced and danced and agreed that they must see each other again...

...and again...

...and again...

Now, twenty-six years later, they still see each other on a daily basis. In fact, they got married and live happily ever after.

Happy 26th Anniversary to my wonderful Hubby. How fortunate that, when I was looking for a partner for that game, I found my partner for life.

And Happy Birthday to Chris. Thankfully we're not strangers any more!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Because Everyone Should Buy Their Jewellery at the Coffee Shop.

Summer here has been absolutely beautiful. We had no rain whatsoever in July, which is pretty amazing considering Vancouver Island is part of Canada's coastal rainforest. Of course August threw us some cold, wet weather to remind us of our geographical heritage. There were days that felt like winter, though in reality they merely seemed winter-like when compared to the heady, heated days of July.

Thankfully sunny skies prevailed for the last day of August, as Hubby and I had a wedding to attend. 

This was not the first wedding-related appearance for the dress and the shoes. They accompanied me to Memphis a few years ago for a cousin's wedding reception. Now there was some hot weather. The dress I wore to that ceremony was too soggy and clingy to wear to the reception, and not because I went for a dip in the baptismal pool, though the thought did cross my mind.

The necklace is new. Somehow wearing all black to a wedding ceremony didn't seem appropriate. At least that was my excuse for stopping for an Americano at a local coffee shop/gallery and leaving with jewellery. It's not like I'd been eyeing the necklace for months or anything. Ahem.

The jacket/shrug thingy was new to me. I picked it up at a consignment shop the week before the wedding. As there was no telling what the weather would do, I thought I should have something to provide a bit of warmth should the weather prove uncooperative. I was really pleased with how well the thingy went with the dress. 

Hubby wore a black suit, white shirt and a red tie, so we made a handsome and coordinated couple. I even managed to wear the shoes through most of the day. Shocking considering that I never wear heels. I wasn't even lame the next day. In fact, on Sunday I was able to do the pub to pub walk without limping. In different shoes of course.

Linking up with Patti and the handsome and coordinated crew over at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. Go check it out!