Monday, June 30, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes With Faux Cream Cheese Icing

That's a name and a half, huh?

Because we were camping for the Sidekick's birthday, I didn't end up baking him anything until today. I must say, this recipe actually turned out really well. Sometimes you never know with vegan baking if it is going to rise right or have the same texture as the recipe you are adapting it from. Experience has taught me not to count on anything. But it has also given me the confidence to know that I do, sort of, know what I am talking about when it comes to baking.


My ex used to say it was an exact science, but this actually isn't the case. In fact, the only thing you really need to understand is ideal texture for dough/batter. For example, a cookie batter is going to be denser than a cupcake batter and bread dough for dinner rolls is more sticky than French bread.

It's an exciting life with mixing bowls and measuring spoons. I've always wanted to start my own blog about vegan baking and cooking, but I think posting them here is just fine. If people really want to find a recipe they can just Google it and mine may, or may not, show up. It's not like I'm striving for vegan baked good stardom. Though, if that's a thing, sign me up!

Like I have said before, the reason I love baking is to show the world vegans can (and do) make amazing treats that other vegans (and non-vegans) can love. If I can  get one person to say 'this can't be vegan' then my job is done. But enough of all this blabbering on. Here is the recipe:

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes With Faux Cream Cheese Icing

Makes 12

Preheat oven 350

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup - Oil (I used canola, but I think coconut might be the best)
1/3 Cup - Coconut Beverage (I use unsweetend) (Or other non milky milk, like almond)
1 Cup - Sugar
1 Tbsp - Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tsp - Vanilla 
1/3 Cup - Lemon Juice 
2 Tbsp - Zest of Lemon
1 1/2 - Cups Flour 
1 Tsp - Baking Soda 
1/2 Tsp - Salt 
1 Cup - Blueberries 

1. Whisk together liquids (oil, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and lemon juice). Then add sugar and zest of lemon. Put to the side.

2. Mix flour, baking soda and salt together. 

3. Combine wet and dry ingredients, but don't over mix. You never want to over mix!

4. Fold in blueberries.

5. Fill muffin tin (with paper liners) then use your 1/4 measuring cup to fill the cupcake papers. It will be about 3/4 of the way full.

6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While you are letting them cool, make the icing. I use the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World Cream Cheese Icing with a couple modifications:

1/4 Cup - Earth Balance
1/4 Cup - Tofutti Cream Cheese
2.5 Cups - Confectioners Suger
1 Tsp - Vanilla
1 Tbsp - Lemon Juice
1 Tsp - Lemon Zest

1. Cream together cream cheese and Earth Balance.

2. Add vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest

3. Slowly add icing sugar by half cup increments.

4. Refrigerate until the cupcakes are completely cool. Once they are, ice them, use lemon zest as garnish and one blueberry.

BAM! Amazing cupcakes for your mouth! But be forewarned, these are super sweet.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Camping 101

Just got home from camping and I have never been so dirty. That's not true. I've been far dirtier. But that first shower after collecting three days of camp filth feels divine. As does sleeping in a bed again. We went away for the Sidekick's birthday. He's now another year older, but I suspect none the wiser. He said he feels twenty-nine. I tried not to laugh in his face.

While we were away, I got to thinking about the proper way to camp, what is and isn't camping to me, and the etiquette of being out in the wilderness. Here are some of the observations I made.

1. When an RV is involved it isn't camping. This is what the city girls call glamping but to me it's a bit on the excessive side, kind of like you're missing the entire point of the activity. On top of that, it's sort of rude, especially when you set up shop across from a couple with a tent and they have to listen to your generator kicking in every couple minutes or your smoke detector going off. Like, seriously? A smoke detector! Part of the fun of camping is second guessing whether you doused your fire enough and silently wondering if you're going to perish in your tent that night.

2. Showering is cheating. The whole point of going camping is to connect with your inner beast and become one with the wild. Walking to a shower and using such items as body wash, razors and a loofa sponge are against the rules. Now, washing up in a lake or creek is perfectly acceptable. That icy splash of water on your face is most invigorating.

3. Heat comes from a campfire. There are no other exceptions, unless we are talking bodily warmth. Huddling close to the fire to keep warm is a key ingredient to a successful adventure into the woods, as is practically burning your legs off because you insist on sitting a foot away from the eight log fire.

4. Wet wood doesn't make the best fire. Cedar kindling rules!

5. Always pack a rain jacket. Who wouldn't pack a rain jacket? (glances over at the Sidekick)

6. The weather reports are wrong. I am actually a firm believer that all meteorologists are liars and that weather predicting is about as trust worthy as witchcraft.

7. Camping calories don't count. It's okay to survive on potato chips and hot dogs for three days. No one is going to think less of you. In fact, you might become a hero in the eyes of people you tell.

8. Don't cheap out on a tent. From past experience, a leaky tent is literally one of the worst things in the world. Just because that eight person tent is a hundred dollars at Wal-Mart doesn't mean you should buy it. Pay attention to the words 'water resistant' - it is basically saying if it drizzles you will be fine. You want a waterproof fly. The tent we just got kept us perfectly dry and it wasn't too expensive.

9. Dogs are awesome, but don't just let them run around the campground. This is my problem with off leash dogs. Not all dogs are friendly and, while your dog might be the sweetest four legged creature ever to grace planet Earth, it is an animal with instincts. Keep your dog leashed or tethered, for their own protection and other animals' as well. Everyone in our campground kept their dog under control until the last day when two families showed up and just let their dogs roam free. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. As you know, Dixon is a pitbull. We have had two dogs run up to us off leash and start trouble with him. He's not an aggressive dog, but these bad interactions with uncontrolled dogs are terrible experiences we both hate having. On top of that, they are unnecessary.

10. Keep it clean. Camping is messy business, sure, but you should treat your surroundings with respect. Dispose of your garbage, keep the site tidy, and leave it in better condition than you arrived. We left our fire poker 2000 behind for the next visitors to use.

Okay, now it is picture time!

Comfy in the tent. 

Morton Lake

 
Mohun Lake 

A man and his dog

Andrew Lake (thought the sky looked cool in this one)

Being a good boy at the lake

Morton Lake

Camping abode (tent)

All bundled up

He's ready to go home

Sidekick and his fire poker

A rare picture of the Sidekick and I

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Old Madonna

Because I am a humanitarian, I am sending around a petition to bring back the old Madonna. You know, the slightly trashy, cone bra wearing, teased hair, too much make-up, papa don't preach Madonna. The one who writhed on the stage, emitted an air of not giving a damn and clothed herself in lingerie.

Who is this new age hippy Madonna with her wiry arms? And how did she get the idea that it was a good idea to have a family and colour her roots. Why did she start doing yoga and stop smoking? Why did she exchange drinking for Kabbalah? It's all very confusing to me. Isn't there an old saying that goes, you can't fix what isn't broken. 

What has she been in the tabloids for these days? Her daughter getting accepted to Michigan? People flipping out because she showed a bit of cleavage? This is nothing. This is abysmal. She could do so much better. 

I want the platinum hair and excessively sexual lyrics, the running around town and appearing in movies like A League Of Their Own and Dick Tracy. I want her to go back to creating songs like 'Like A Virgin' and 'Papa Don't Preach', screw that Ray Of Light bullshit and that crap-ass Swept Away movie.

I want her to date men like Sean Penn and Warren Beatty again. Not Guy Ritchie or Jesus Luz, or this nameless photographer. No! You have street cred Madonna, you can do better than them.

So what if you're a mom! Who cares? You can still be trashy. Look at Courtney Love!

From past experience, I know she's just a tease. Remember when Confessions On A Dance Floor came out? I actually thought to myself, this is it! She's parading around in a spandex suit for crying out loud, but no ... utter disappointment. She's still wearing her Live Strong bracelet and pantsuits.

Hands down, there is no competition. 1980's Madonna kicks present day Madonna's ass.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Regurgitating

For those of you who didn't know, I had this badass blog I used to do with a friend of mine. It revolved around pop culture and was, seriously, the best thing I've ever participated in. Today, I am going to regurgitate one of the most popular posts I penned off that long, lost blog. It's from way back in 2009. Because I care, I have actually gone through and cleaned it up, put a bit of editing to work, and fixed a handful of grammatical errors I am too embarrassed to admit I made.

So, here it goes:

Right this minute I was watching the episode of 90210 where Color Me Badd guest appears. At the end, they sing I Adore Mi Amore to Donna at the Peach Pit. This entire episode of awesomeness got me thinking about the days when I used to put my sister's Color Me Badd tape in the cassette player, hit play and dance around my room to such fine tunes as I Wanna Sex You Up and All 4 Love.

Upon watching this episode I realized 5 things:

1. It was not appropriate for me to be dancing around at age ten to a song where the lyrics are, 'Let me take off all your clothes, disconnect the phone so nobody knows.' To be honest, I didn't even think it appropriate for Donna and Kelly to be hearing it. Now that I am older and, ahem, wiser, I cannot believe no one stopped me from listening to this.

2. Color Me Badd is painful for me to read and type out. I am not the most pedantic of people and I understand the Americans spell things differently, but it actually pains me not to put the 'u' in colour.

3. This band is not then, nor are they now, attractive. Not a single one of them is what I would consider hot or cute. Funny, really, because they are a boy band, essentially. And isn't that what boy bands were all about? Not to mention, they are singing about sexy stuff. Maybe if they had the looks they would have stuck around a bit longer.

4. The lyrics are really bad and help give me a false sense of what men would be like. For example, in All 4 Love, he says he will give her flowers and call her every night. False expectations, for sure.

5. It is a confounding fact, but every last one of these men appear to be sucking in their cheeks at all times. I don't understand this, and me thinks I never will.


On a side note, I still can't believe David cheated on Donna.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Gone Campin'

I am heading out into the wilderness.

Be back soon.

Don't worry. I will be re-posting older, more fascinating blogs from my past.

Enjoy! xo


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Breaking Down Full House

This morning I got to thinking about Full House. Not such an unusual thing considering the show spanned seven of my most influential years. And I was pondering Danny Tanner. You know, he kind of put himself in a rather unfortunate predicament. 

How sad was it that his daughters liked Uncle Jessie and Uncle Joey more than their own father?

I mean, everyone loved Uncle Jessie the most, because he had that awesome wavy hair. No one, could blame them. But to choose Joey over their father. Harsh. It's almost tragic. Nerdy, neurotic Danny never stood a choice against the flowing locks of John Stamos or the nerd chic humour Dace Coulier served up. 

Now that I am mulling the show over, did anyone find it odd that there were three guys raising three girls under one roof?

I think that'd cause eyebrows to be raised these days.

Because I wanted to ensure my facts were straight, I went over to the Internet Movie Database, which most people call IMDB, and actually laughed out loud. The synopsis for this show only makes it sound even more weird and creepy.

'A man raises his three daughters in a house he shares with two adult male friends.'

It's the two adult male friends at the end that causes me concern. I suppose it is better than two juvenile male friends. You know, I never questioned Full House as a child, but now I can't stop questioning. Like I remember the circumstances of Uncle Jessie moving in, but why the hell was Joey there?

Cut-It-Out indeed.


This picture seriously creeps me out.

For the record, since we are on the subject, I hated that Kimmy Gibbler. Even her name irked me. Actually, I wasn't a big fan of Stephanie or DJ either. Or Michelle. Now that I think about it, every single character on the show was annoying.

I am glad we have discussed this. Now I can go about my evening in peace. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Movies From My Youth

A rip-snortin' Facebook interaction found me knee-deep in memory lane. All day I found myself thinking about the movies I loved as a kid. You know, the ones I made my parents rent from Roger's Video a hundred times. And maybe it's this nostalgia rushing through my veins that is clouding my judgement, but I'm pretty sure those films had more substance and stood to a higher standard than the family movies these days.

Except the Lego Movie. That was awesome. 

So, here they are, my top 10 movies from my youth. Oh, let me preface this by saying, these are no the BEST movies I watched as a kid. No. These are the movies I watched the MOST, that I hounded my parents to RENT, that I knew the words off by HEART. That being said, some of them are pretty epic. 

#10 - The Boy Who Could Fly (1986)

I know I have mentioned this movie somewhere on this blog before and it comes with an immense feeling of embarrassment. But I stick true to the girl I used to be and the one I am now. I still love this super corny movie. Besides, it has Fred Savage and Fred Gwynne  in it. Two Freds are better than one. Honestly, I probably watched this movie a hundred times and to this day, I can't really pinpoint what it was about it that I loved so much. It's kind of like a romance story, I guess, and there is certainly the suspension of belief. After all, the boy can fly - yeah, it isn't a metaphor or anything. He really can fly. 


#9 - Beetlejuice (1988)

My first introduction to the beautifully twisted mind of Tim Burton. Just between the two of us, I actually had a crush on Beetlejuice. Of course, he's the ghost with the most. This might seem weird, but I have always loved the way Michael Keaton talked and I am pretty certain it all started with him playing this role. Later on, he played Batman, and I was quite stoked on that. The funny thing about Beetlejuice is, a lot of the humour was way out of my league. It wasn't until I watched it again, years after growing up, that I realized it was way dirtier and totally not appropriate for my child self. 

Be still my beating heart. 

#8 - The Goonies (1985)

Here's the thing about The Goonies, it's pretty much one of the best movies ever made. And I do mean ever. Not only has it withstood the test of time, but there are very few films to live up to the adventure of this particular gem. A bunch of kids go in search of a pirate treasure and end up in a world of trouble. Not to mention Josh Brolin pretty much wears a cut off shirt through the whole thing. But he wasn't the reason I watched. I was all about Corey Feldman. Not, I am not ashamed to admit that. Now, let's all do the truffle shuffle. 


#7 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

I am incredibly saddened that this movie is being remade ... again. The original is utter perfection. To this day, I can still recite the lines from TMNT and often find myself doing so at the most inopportune times. In the new one that stars Megan Fox  as April O'Neil (are you kidding me?), the turtles look terrifying. I just can't see it living up to my already staggering expectations.

My favourite part of the original was when Casey Jones and Raphael meet for the first time and they do their whole back and forth. "The class is Pain 101. Your instructor is Casey Jones." How he doesn't realize he's fighting a giant turtle is beyond me.

#6 - Back To The Future (1985)

Allow me to introduce you to the movie that made me want to go back in time to the fifties. I swear, I honestly thought I was supposed to be born in a different time and place. Then, Back To The Future came along, and I daydreamed of a way to go back in time. You know, I am actually surprised they haven't remade this. Probably because they can't find a new car suitable for travelling back in time with. Not like the DeLorean. Nothing will ever be like the DeLorean.

And who would ever do Doc Brown justice like Christopher Lloyd? 


#5 - The Munsters' Revenge (1981)

The most cherished memory I have of this movie is my dad dancing to the opening song. You know, The Munsters' theme song. He used to do this somewhat robotic dance in the living room every time we put this on. It's funny what sticks with you after all the years. We used to own this on VHS until it was taped over by All My Children. It was right around the time Marlena was possessed. I seriously hope someone is reading this and says, "I TOTALLY REMEMBER THAT!" Anyhow, this movie is totally one of my all time favourites. I thought it was going to be higher on the list, but as it turns out, there are a few other movies I happened to watch more. 

Perfect couple. 

#4 - Ghostbusters (1984) 

Ghosts. The Marshmallow Man. Bill Murray. Literally the best theme song ever to exist. Epic quotes. Ecto-1 (the car). Sigourney Weaver. Slimer. Proton Packs. Best cast ever. Fun. 

Do you need any more reasons? I can think of fifty more. 

Just try not to sing along. 

#3 - Stand By Me (1986)

This movie is the epitome of friendship and is filled with honest truths about life. And guess who is in it - COREY FELDMAN. This movie certainly didn't help my crush on the guy. He wears nerdy glasses and is totally unstable, just what every little girl dreams about. From the writing to the acting and back to the entire vibe, you can't help but love it. Oh, it also has a moral. Or two. It's honest and stark, but funny and sweet as well. A world of emotions, I suppose. Not exactly what you think when four kids go on a journey to find a dead body. So, summed up, I loved this movie. Also, it has a young Kiefer Sutherland in it.


#2 - The Outsiders (1983) 

Just between the two of us, I actually thought this movie was going to be number one. I mean, I was literally obsessed with this book (after all, I stole two copies from my grade eight class. Two copies, yes you read that right.) and I pretty much watched the movie a hundred million times through my early teens. And just look at that cast. Tom Cruise. Emilio Estevez. Rob Lowe. Patrick Swayze. Matt Dillon. If that isn't enough, Tom Waits is in this. Sure, his cameo is small and almost insignificant, but it's Tom Freakin' Waits! Also, you may remember from number six, I thought I belonged in the fifties and sixties. 

P.S. Two-Bit Matthews was my favourite character. 

  
#1 - Clue (1985)

I don't want to give it all away, but Mrs Scarlet did it in the library with the rope. Just kidding. There are three endings to this movie and that isn't actually one of them. How did this beat out The Outsiders? Acting. Honestly, I love the dreamy young studs who flexed their muscles and overacted every single line they had. The entire ensemble cast of Clue is genius and leading the comedic pack is Tim Curry-, who plays the butler. Not too long ago, I had a Skype date with Rebula and we actually watched this movie. It gets better with every viewing. My favourite parts are the singing telegram and when Mrs Scarlet says there are flames at the side of her face. If you want to know what I am talking about you'll just have to watch the movie.


Listing all these movies has made me want to drive to the video store and walk up and down the aisles searching for a movie to rent. I can't, of course. Because video stores no longer exist. See, the times may change, but taste never does. Now, tell me your the movies you insisted on watching over and over and over and over. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Did you know?

I am halfway through the 365 day challenge.

A blog post a day.

What was I thinking?

Madness, I tell you.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Divine Mookies

Last night the Sidekick was feeling peckish, so I adapted a recipe to make him something divine. Peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal mookies. We are calling them mookies because I don't actually have a baking sheet and I baked the cookies in a muffin tin. Turned out perfect.

Here is the recipe!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Mookies

Makes 18

Preheat oven 425
Ingredients

1/3 Cup - Smooth Peanut Butter
1 Cup - Sugar (white)
1/3 Cup - Coconut Milk (Or other non milky milk, like almond)
2 Tbsp - Canola Oil
1 Tsp - Vanilla Extract
1/8 Tsp - Almond Extract  
1 1/4 Cup - Flour 
3 Tbsp - Golden Flax (ground up)
1 Tsp - Baking Soda
1 Tsp - Salt
1/4 Cup - Chocolate chips 
1 Cup - Oats

1. Mix peanut butter, sugar, coconut milk, oil and extracts together until well combined.

2. Add baking soda, flax, salt, and flour and mix well. 

3. Fold in oats and chocolate chips. If there is too much liquid add a bit more flax.  

4. Lightly grease muffin tins and put a tablespoon of batter in each one, press down a bit. Do not fill past a 1/4 of the tin. 

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the tops have a itsy bitsy bit of browning. 

Take out and transfer to a cooling rack. 

Simply delicious. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What's The Point?

Lately I have been trying to help a friend with a book. I hate to call what I do 'editing'. First and foremost, I am no editor. I am not trained to be one and I can't actually tell you where a comma goes, mostly because I think they are subjective, and bending the rules for creative purposes is acceptable, in my humblest opinion. Other people might call what I do 'editing', but there are those who would call it a massacre. I comment, delete, rewrite, move, clarify and set pages on fire. All in the name of love, obviously. 

While I am very liberal with the red pen (virtual, of course), I like to think I am encouraging too. At the end of a chapter, I will often write what I like, what I don't like, and how I think it can be better. It is up to the writer whether or not they consider what I have said. In the end, I am not a published writer and I don't have a degree in English. So, what the hell do I know? 

Nothing, really. Well, at least that's how I feel most of the time. In truth, I do know if a book reads well, if it makes sense, and whether the characters are clear, the motivations sound and the plot exciting. Because I myself cherish an honest opinion, I have been known to be quite frank with others. Tact can fall to the wayside. And, if I really don't like something, I will comment and say, "I really don't like this.' 

This can seem harsh, insensitive even, but I don't mean any harm. In truth, the things I say, the red I use, the comments I make, they are done out of a burning desire to make the story better. Sometimes when I read my own writing, I have blinders on. Other times, I am far more critical than necessary. This is why we need other people to read our work. Not just people who will pat us on the back and tell us it's brilliant either. We need honest to goodness critics in our lives. People we trust and won't be offended with when they tell us they dislike a scene, a twist in the plot, or the way a character is acting. 

One of my most common pet peeves, in your writing and my own, is what's the point chapters. When you have a chapter, or two, or three, that don't seem to have a point. Sometimes they are filler and need to be cut altogether, but other times, more often than not, they are simply chapters that miss the mark. You write them to serve a purpose but for some reason it is lost in the fray. When the point gets lost, the chapter becomes useless, and what I call a skimmer. 

You all know what I am talking about. Those chapters you skim through because nothing is really happening and you're kind of bored and just want to get onto the next great part. One of two things can be done to the 'what's the point chapters' and they are this: 

1. You can rewrite them to clarify the point. Say you put a chapter in to build up a character, or strengthen tension, or show the dynamics of a certain relationship, then you need to ensure that's what it does. If it doesn't execute what you intended for it too and the reader comes back and says, "What's the point of this?" or "This chapter seems pointless." Then it's back to writing, because you didn't execute the chapter well enough for the reader to understand.  

2. Cut it. Axe it. Erase. Delete. Get rid of it. There is no nice way of doing this. It always feels weird to remove two thousand words and not thinking about them ever again. As someone who has completely overhauled many a story, I can tell you sometimes cutting a chapter is better than rewriting it, especially if you are already pushing the boundaries on word count. 

In the end, erase or rewrite those 'what's the point' chapters. I promise your book will be stronger for it in the long run. 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Emotional Wardrobe

This evening let us gather around the (virtual) fire and discuss emotional baggage. This two worded expression just happens to irk the crap out of me. Not  just because of the insensitive way it is used but because people are ashamed by it. This phrase gets tossed around in such a negative way, as if the people hurling it at others don't have any issues of their own, as if they themselves have no residual emotions left behind from their childhood or the traumatic episode we call our teenage years, as if they have escaped relationships without acquiring any issues or sentimental scars.

People talk about emotional baggage as if it is a hindrance, an embarrassment, something to be ashamed of. Everyone talks about how we have to let go and overcome the past or else we will be held back by it. This is a preposterous notion to me. Take it from me, no matter how well you let go of something, it always comes back to you. Usually when you least expect it, like at work when you're cleaning the lint out of the dryer trap. Nothing is gone forever. Not even when you spend a sexless year working through your issues. The feelings and memories are always under the surface, just existing there.

And it makes me think, is not our emotional baggage something we should be proud of? To say, "This is what I've been through, and I'm still here, surviving. Look at all I have overcome. It's all packed into these metaphorical bags."


Like the good times in our lives, we carry the bad as well, from this relationship to the next, from one part of our lives to another. Why should we let either of them go? These are our memories, our experiences, the things that have moulded and shaped us, turned us into the creatures we are. We act as if the sad times, the hurtful moments are a pain to keep with us, but I cherish them just the same as the lovely ones. I have learned from them. Grown from them. And I keep them with me, not because I can't let them go, but because they aren't holding me back. They are a part of me.

Anyone who whispers the term 'emotional baggage' behind their hand as if it is a dirty thing is misunderstanding what exactly comprises the baggage. Some people don't understand what it means to be proud of the struggles you've been through. Once you embrace the baggage it can become your shield. It can protect you from future hurts. And it will teach you to wear your scars like armour. To hold your head up high and understand that where you came from and what you've gone through doesn't have to dictate where you are going or who you will become.


We call it baggage because it supposedly weighs us down, but the past doesn't have to be so heavy. Instead of lugging it around, why don't we unpack it instead? We can fill up our hearts with it and, when need be, we can open the doors to the emotional wardrobe and pull out a moment to examine, to remember what we leaned from it, to reflect on the life we have lived, then hang it back up. We can close the door and go about our lives, no longer pulling the baggage behind us, but carrying it inside us, where it can be reflected on as a lesson, instead of dragged around like dead weight we want to cut away.  


I firmly believe you can't let your past dictate your future, but I also don't think you can move forward without confronting your past. Packing your bad memories up and trying to hide them will only cause you to stumble. It's hard dragging something so cumbersome behind you, it's a strain on the heart and the head, not to mention the legs. Eventually, we have to realize we are who we are because of what we have been through. To deny the past, to try to forget it, or ignore it will only cause it to be harder to deal with. Maybe it's time to unpack those bags and put those experiences away in the emotional wardrobe, where they can change from a burden to a blessing. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Movie Night!

The Sidekick just put Brave on. All on his very own!

That's where I will be. I love my cartoons.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Shouldn't Watch Television

For a very long time, I didn't watch television. When I first moved out, I never got cable, but in the past couple years, I've fallen in love with a handful of programs. I blame my ex. He was super into television. My addiction started with the Sopranos, then I got suckered into Six Feet Under and from there it kind of cartwheeled out of control. Back when I had a PVR, I used to watch everything, this last year, I think I've been more selective.

To be honest, I am over Sons of Anarchy, I kind of want everyone to die in it. Parks & Recreation is a brilliant comedy, but it isn't something I HAVE to watch. These days, my life seems to be revolving around Game of Thrones. Thankfully, the Sidekick loves it as well. If he didn't, things would be awkward, because I end up talking about it at least seventeen times a day. My favourite characters, you ask? Oh, The Hound and Bronn.

The thing about television ... I can't handle it.

Tonight, I am watching the second season of Orange Is The New Black and things are getting heated. I am too emotional for this show. If I'm not feeling bad for a character, I'm calling another one names. These girls are so conniving and mean. Needless to say, I wouldn't fair well in prison. Or maybe I'd shock myself and flourish there.

Don't worry, I told the Sidekick if I go to jail he doesn't have permission to write about it.

I think that's the sign of a good show (and a good book too), when you're so invested in the characters you are horrified when something bad happens to them. If you are one of those people, like me, who can't handle television, then don't watch Game of Thrones. Luckily, I've read the books, but those first three seasons, I was not handling things left, right and centre. Now I am prepared.

That being said, I am sort of in love with that Laverne Cox. Hot stuff. And who isn't thrilled to see Natasha Lyonne back in action??? I wish I had her wild hair.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Thing About Jerks

Dear Person Who Cares,

I know the simple act of existing can be a daunting task considering the overabundance of negative people here. Take it from me, I understand. All you want is to live in a beautiful world where everyone gets along, singing harmoniously, holding hands and doing a lot of skipping through wild valleys of flowers. Sadly, this isn't realistic. There are people in this world who want to hamper skipping and hand holding, and when it comes to singing harmoniously, they want to eradicate it altogether. I call these people 'jerks'.

Jerks are people, men and women, who simply want to ruin everyone's fun. They believe the world revolves around them and they are unimpressed by it. Not only are they negative, but they are ready and willing to share that negativity with anyone who comes within spitting distance of them, which is approximately four feet. These Defeating Dannys and Dollys put a damper on everything, whether it is work or play. Movies, music, theater, television, books, cooking, baked goods, they can find a way to tear it down and rip it to shreds. Even gloriously sunny days can and will irk a jerk.

Does this seem harsh? Well, maybe it stings because you know a couple jerks who are making your living experience a little less awesome. Maybe you genuinely like them as people, or maybe you don't want them to win. If they win and you stop caring about them, or wanting to be around them, then you feel like a bad person, as if you are being a jerk yourself. Don't worry. You can cut a jerk out of your life and remain a caring person. The purging of toxins is essential to living a healthy, happy life and, it just so happens, sometimes those toxins happen to be walking, talking balls of antagonistic pessimism in human form.

And the thing about jerks? They aren't going to change for you, just like they aren't going to change for me. They aren't going to suddenly see the error of their ways, not even if you detail all the reasons why people can't stand being around them. You've been there, you've chatted with people who don't have anything good to say about anything. They hate that band, loathe your favourite television program, and despise Emma Stone, and there is no reason for any of it. Because what good reason could someone have for disliking Emma Stone.

There isn't one!

Still, the jerks come out to play. They are going to put down you and your likes and the fluffy white clouds in the summer sky. If you did a good job at work, a jerk won't be impressed, they will point out how you could have done better. Don't worry, it isn't just you. Jerks just don't like good work. If you joined a gym and lost ten pounds, a jerk doesn't care. In fact, they will predict you gain the weight back by the time the holiday seasons roll around. Fell in love with a beautiful girl? A jerk will point out this new crush won't last.

Jerks hate love almost as much as they hate kittens.

So, person who cares, don't waste your breath. Put your shield up and deflect the jerky words of the insensitive oaf attempting to put a black cloud over your day. You can't control them, you can't change them, so it's best to avoid. Unless you feel comfortable mocking. Mocking is highly encouraged and can often be therapeutic.

Sincerely,

Tee

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bath Time

If Dixon in the bath doesn't make you smile, then you clearly have a dead heart. 


How about him wrapped up in his towel afterwards? 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Way Back When

Out of curiosity, I went back to see the first couple posts on this blog. There are actually a fair amount which are unpublished. This isn't because they contained super sensitive information I decided, after the fact, I didn't want floating around on the world wide web. No, I hid them because I was so appalled by the spelling and grammar, I couldn't fathom the idea of other people reading them. They literally hurt my eyes to even glimpse at.

Once upon a time, I vowed I would go through all these horrible posts and rewrite them, clean them up, put a little effort into making them the grade A calibre you're used to from my blog. (Insert laugh track here). As it turns out, I'm fairly lazy. Besides, who wants to go back and edit old blogs when there are new things to be written? Or old things that can be rewritten and made more relevant with a little thought and a bunch of structure?

Back in 2006 when I started this 'blogging' endeavour, I knew very little about writing, except that I wanted to do it. So, I tried. While I certainly deserve a B+ for effort, a lot of my posts were horrible. That being said, the very first post you can read is from 2006 and no amount of rewriting will make it any better. In fact, I dare say, it's perfect the way it is.

You be the judge: BREAKUPS!

Perfect, right? That might be my most favourite post I have ever penned. What about you? What's your favourite blog? Or post? Or article? Or line you have ever written?


Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Struggle

Most people understand the struggle. They don't like it or want it, but it's a reality for them. The struggle is a day-to-day thing. It doesn't let up on weekends, and it actually gets worse over holidays. Sometimes you start to think you are going to get past the struggle, but then your dog eats your running shoes, or you can't sell you home. Instead of getting better, the struggle gets worse. Remember that saying, 'you take one step forward and two steps back'?  This is how it feels with the struggle. Sometimes it isn't only a step back, either, sometimes you feel as though you are being catapulted backwards. And you could swear the kink in your neck is not actually from sleeping funny or getting older, but is in fact whiplash from the struggle.

Some days, the struggle is so defeating. You scrounge and scrap and save, hoping to get out of debt, working towards your goal, whatever it may be. Debt free, a functioning car, a home, or maybe just a new pair of running shoes. Still, at the end of the day, week, month, year, you are no closer to the goal. No closer to an end. In fact, it feels as if you've just lived those moments for nothing, because you are back where you started, or maybe even not even where you started at all. Maybe you are six steps behind where you started. And sometimes you asked yourself what the freakin' point is.

The struggle makes you tired. It wears you out to keep at it all the time. This struggling along business, it isn't for the faint of heart or weak of will. This is exhausting, you know. Well, of course you know. You are familiar with the struggle. Heck, you might even be like me - the struggle might be like family to you, or your best friend forever. The struggle has been around so long in my life, I doubt whether I would be able to exist without it. I mean, the struggle has always been here. If it suddenly disappeared would a weight be lifted off me? Would I suddenly feel free and unburdened and prance through life? Or would I be lost? Would I silently sit and wait for the struggle to return?

The truth is, there are moments with the struggle, you think you aren't going to make it. You doubt whether you will keep going. Actually, there are times where you don't want to keep going. Some days you just want the struggle to end. But then, you take a deep breath, you put your head down, and your power through. You keep going. You keep trying. Why? Because you want to see the new Avengers movie next year. Because your family and friends need you. Because giving up isn't an option. And, mostly, because your struggle isn't as bad as it could be. Actually, in a lot of ways, your struggle isn't terrible. It sucks and can get you down, but it's livable. It's doable.

When the struggle gets really hard, you take a nap. You read a book. You take a bath. Or you bake delicious vegan blondies. Which are kind of like brownies, but without the cocoa. And you remember, you're actually one of the lucky ones who are strong enough to keep struggling.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Friday The 13th!

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, I am skipping through a field of flowers. Christmas has never been my favourite holiday. Now, Halloween. That's something a gal like me can get behind. And if Halloween is (a little less than) four months away, then a girl may find herself supporting Friday the 13th.

So, have a happy day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Put It In The Basket

This isn't about Silence of the Lambs and creepy Buffalo Bill. It's about the beach, of course. When do I write about anything else. It's literally (I hope you read that word as Rob Lowe says it in Parks and Recreation) my most favourite place to go. Other than the forest.

Tonight the Sidekick and I went to the beach. We took the milk crate from the back of the truck with us, so we had something to carry our treasures in, like rocks and sticks. We carried the basket tandem style, swinging between us. The Sidekick only agreed to do so because of the cuteness factor. If you didn't know, he thinks we are a pretty awesome couple. I know this because he told me this very evening.

Anyhow, there we were, walking along the beach, searching for awesome things to put in our basket, when the Sidekick startles. I too was looking down, so I saw the critter that scared him, and it was clear he thought it was alive. Well, dead, actually. But once alive. And it was clearly a stuffed animal.

But then he gasps and with this curious smile says, "That's fucking adorable. Put it in the basket."

And into the basket the stuffed critter went.


If that isn't enough to put a smile on your face, I then said, "All we've found is an otter, and it isn't even real." 

To which he replied, "That isn't an otter. It's clearly a beaver!" 

But it doesn't have a beaver tail and it's holding a starfish! He relented because my argument was so sound. In conclusion, I think the Sidekick's wacky tobacky was even wackier than normal.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Puke & Flowers

How do puke and flowers fit so nicely into one post? Like this:

At five o'clock this morning, I woke to the sound of Dixon retching. Because he is all gangly legs and pushy paws, he sleeps in his crate. Oh, don't be sad for him. He's literally right beside the bed and if he starts whining too much, I let him out. For the record, I am always the big spoon with him.

So, when I heard him gagging, I knew I had to move quick. We needed to get down the stairs and outside before puke make an appearance. In this moment, we worked as a finely tuned machine. Neither of us wanted him to vomit all over the place. As I ushered him down the stairs, he moved at a surprising pace considering he was making that nauseating noise dogs make when they are about to upchuck.

Just in case you are wondering, the Sidekick is the heaviest sleeper known to man. He sleeps through everything. I honestly fear one night he will sleep through the apocalypse. It's to the point that I worry about him. He doesn't even wake up when the dogs bark! How is that possible? This all ties in nicely with the story, because he didn't rouse at the sound of retching. Any late night emergencies, like four AM poops or early morning pukes, are all done under the guidance and tender care of mom (that's me!). You see, I am pretty much the lightest sleeper ever to grace this planet. Anything out of the ordinary jolts me upright.

Yes, we did make it outside. Sort of. The vomit came right as I opened the door. He got the front stoop. I suppose this is better than inside. Still, after a five o'clock wake up call to puke, it's hard to go back to sleep. Especially when your allergies are acting up. Yeah, breathing through my nose was impossible and my eyes itched so bad I considered removing them. Only for a minute.

When do the flowers come into play?

Right here.

Dixon picked me some flowers from the garden and made me a card to thank me for taking him outside to puke at five in the morning. What an awesome thing to come home to. It make me smile. If you look close you can see his dirty paw mark as a signature. Funny how the Sidekick and him have such similar writing. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I Turn Myself Off

Straight off the bat, I feel the need to address the misleading factor of the title to this post. While it completely makes sense, and certainly pertains to what I am about to say, the sexual undertones, or anti-sexual undertones, are many. I just wanted you know that I know it is deceptive. And also, I don't care.

Work exhausts me. Not my body. My body can keep going after work, but my brain is completely wiped out. I don't have a very cerebral job, either. So, why am I so tired? 

It's because I am 'on' at work. I am constantly talking, listening, understanding and trying to problem solve. I am aware of my surroundings and the people within it. These greetings and conversations, some small and uneventful, others deeper and more important, are draining for me. Don't be mistaken. I enjoy them. Well, for the most part I do, the particularly querulous bride I dealt with this morning certainly wasn't the highlight of my day. Still, I do love interacting with others. I genuinely am interested in the things they have to say, what is going on in their lives, and I appreciate the small glimpses I get into these people's existences.

But while I do like conversing and teasing and engaging with others, I am not equipped to do it all day, then go out and do it in the evening. Communicating with people doesn't energize me. 

In fact, it does the opposite. It drains me. 

At the beginning of the day, my battery is full and I am ready to tackle the next eight hours. But, as time passes, as I encounter more people, with each smile, greeting, telephone call, I become weaker. My energy gets used up. Until five o'clock comes around and I am mental-weary, dog-tired, and plum exhausted. At this point, I cannot fathom speaking to another living soul (except animals and the Sidekick). The idea alone of going out for dinner with colleagues or meeting up with friends for drinks is enough to send me to the brink of insanity. After a day of work, I am done. So, I toddle off home, where I can recharge myself for another day. 

People often confuse this need to be alone, this desire for solitude and appreciation of quite as antisocial behaviour, or not being friendly. This isn't the case at all. There just needs to be a certain amount of mental preparation for me in order to socialize on my own time. It does happen. I DO go out, from time to time, but it isn't a daily, or even weekly occurrence. Why? A lot of it comes down to being aware of what I need in order to stay happy and healthy. Because I have to engage at work every single day, I know I must keep my evenings and most of my weekends to myself (and the Sidekick, who thankfully understands how I work-sorta, kinda, maybe). 

On my own time, I turn myself off. 

This is where it might get baffling for some people. I don't need to be at home to turn myself off. I can be many different places  like the theatre, beach, or out in the forest. Anywhere I can be where I don't have to engage with others. Sometimes people walk by my yard when I am gardening and stop to chat. I have to turn myself on for these wandering souls, but it's okay, because I know they are going to go away eventually. For those five minutes I talk to them, I enjoy their company, but I relish the sight of them walking away. 

For a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me because of these behaviours. There isn't, though. I'm just introverted. It's hard for people to understand. How can someone who vlogs and blogs be an introvert? How can someone who is a receptionist be introverted? How can I go out and enjoy people's company and still call myself an introvert? Well, because I am one, and a lot people haven't a clue what being an introvert actually means. 

What I am grateful for is friends and family who understand my ways and my need for downtime. I am lucky I don't have to be turned on with the Sidekick. He doesn't require me to engage with him. We have our life. Our routine. We chat and laugh and act stupid, but I can be 'off' while doing so. This is probably because he himself has introverted tendencies. I am happy I don't have to worry about what I say around him. Well, okay, I kind of do, because he is a Cancer, but for the most part, he doesn't mind the way I am. 

And I don't mind the way I am either. 

And this made me laugh. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

That Hugh Jackman

He sings. He dances. And he's The Wolverine, by far the best of all the X-Men.

It isn't up for debate.

I don't know a single soul who doesn't love that Hugh Jackman. So today, let's simply be grateful he exists in this world.

Oh, I saw the new X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, and I quite liked it. Not too sure why everyone has a bee in their bonnets about Fassbender portraying Magneto? Charming. Engaging. Lovely to look at. What more could anyone ask for? That being said, Quicksilver dominated the movie. Well, not the whole movie, considering he's only in it for a total of twenty minutes, but he was what I left the theatre happy with. Played by Evan Peters, who apparently no one on the internet knows because I've come across six blogs asking who he is and where he came from, has a face you can't help but love.

For those wondering, his claim to fame as been on the cult television hit American Horror Story. And I am thrilled to hear he will  return in X-Men: Apocalypse.

Anyhow, here is a picture of Wolverine. Rawr!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wildflowers

Today is going to be all about flowers and pictures, mostly pictures of flowers. The world is blooming and this morning I took notice. After an hour and a half of walking and thinking to myself, "Wow, look at all these flowers" I decided to start taking pictures of every flower I passed that wasn't in someone's yard.

Yes, we live in troubling times, but there is beauty as well. All around us. If we just take the time to notice. Isn't that the key, though? Taking time to notice. Sometimes it looks like we are all so busy that we don't have a free moment to see the pretty things in life. And without the pretty things life can be so drab.

Anyhow, here are the flowers I saw on my way home: