Friday, November 28, 2014

Things they say in Thunder Bay

Flag of Thunder Bay

Dart - At first I thought a lot of people just enjoyed the game with the bulls-eye. I started to get suspicious when you could get 'a pack of darts' from the convenience store and "go out for a dart". So Dart here means cigarette. 

Seen - "I seen it happen", "I seen that", "I seen this thing the other day." This made my eye twitch at first. Then around month 5 I started to accept it as a part of my surroundings. Then last month it happened, it became ingrained in my vocabulary and I said it... seen. Steph was the only witness but I'm fessing up, I used seen in the grammatically wrong way.

Inner-city - One of the first malls in Thunder Bay, Intercity connects Port Aurthur and Fort William. The T just gets vacuumed out, like the second T in Toronto for Toron-o Locals.

P.A. - Stands for Port Aurthur, the city although called 'Thunder Bay' is still divided in two parts.

Wes Fort - The West Fort part of Fort William... lets not go there.

Shag -  "Please come to my Shag." is something you're bound to hear every week in Thunder Bay. It's basically a Jack and Jill (for you Southern Ontario folk), a joined bachelor/bachelorette themed party to raise money to cover the expense of a wedding. They are usually themed. Because I work most every Saturday I have been saved from going to one, but I have already bought or been given many a ticket.

Persian - Not to be confused with a person's nationality, this is a type of very gross pink doughnut that people fawn over for a reason I still have not uncovered. Amazing for doughnut lovers maybe but I can't really imagine it.

Camp - Instead of the Southern Ontario word for cottage people up here in Thunder Bay say camp even though they clearly mean: a solidly formed structure on a designated plot of land (usually including a sauuu-na), not to be confused with a tent in a campground.

Right ______ - "It's right cold out there", "That's right horrible", "He's right crazy" There's a lot of 'right _____' going on in this town.

Sauuu-na - The proper way to say Sauna here in Thunder Bay is a little 'cat got your tongue' when you get to the u. The Finnish/Dutch pronunciation is rampant here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Purple Locks

I've been adding tiny bits of purple with no real effect, really trying to mix the colour I wanted. After some strand tests it's finally here! I would give the recipe for those wanting to mix their own but unfortunately I really can't remember. I know there's some of the left over pinks I had, with some Manic Panic Ultra Violet and Bad Boy Blue. A good rule I came across is the colour in the bowl should be two shades darker than the colour you want to end up with. I left the top blond and saturated it with purple shampoo that tones the blond to get it close to a white silver, striping it of the yellow hues.
 Here are the results:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Road Trip" Day 3, 4, 5

#ThrowbackThursday This is a recap of last Aug 2013, a continuation from Road Trip Day 2

"Road Trip" Day 3 - Disco 

I spent most of the day at a coffee shop working online. I got an awesome odd job of writing descriptions for candy and other miscellaneous items which kept me nicely occupied whenever Jenn was at work. These are my two favorites from that day:

Cupcake Toothpaste
Sweeten the mundane job of brushing your teeth with Cupcake Toothpaste! Your dentist may not want you to eat a cupcake a day, but you can get the same sweet flavour without the calories, while taking great care of your pearly whites. This great-tasting toothpaste is a mouthful of that cupcake flavour you love. If you get excited about desert, you may find your self brushing after every meal, because this toothpaste tastes just like the frosting on a cupcake!

Folding Pocket Comb/ Delinquents with Combs
In the form of a switchblade knife this plastic comb will have you looking like one of the bad boys and you may just feel like one of the characters from The Outsiders. A simple button releases the comb so you can practice fast opening techniques and get your hair slicked back the second you need to tame that pesky stray hair and keep looking cool. You'll feel ready for any hoodlum adventure with your slicked-back do. Slide into lock position to keep your comb safe when not in use. Pomade, white tank top, and leather jacket not included.  

It was a really fun job. If anyone out there needs any writing related work. I'm happy to take a look!

Anyway... Later that evening it was time for the Rafters Guide Wednesday Night Disco Party. Everyone dressed up in the best disco outfits they could get their hands on. A few of us without costumes piled into Mikes car and were brought to a locked room in the rafting headquarters. Two giant dress up boxes (some called them tickle trunks) were at our disposal. We tried on all sorts of clothes from the 60's, 70's and 80's until we were each fashioned with the most ridiculous patterns.

Everyone looked amazing in their sequins, spandex, neon, and general random garb. It was off to The Lariat Bar, where Disco Night has become a summer tradition in Buena Vista. Lots of dancing and drinking had us stumbling back to Jenn's rafting trailer to get some sleep before the road trip to Boulder we were to journey to the following day.

"Road Trip" Day 4 - Meet the Family

We woke up early to pack up Gary (Jenn's car) and secure the kayak for our short voyage North. In the car Jenn found some beautiful 'Bon Voyage' white daisies waiting for her, which stayed with us the whole way (See pic left). After saying farewells to the rafting summer Gary got revved up for the first leg of our journey.

It was a scenic Colorado drive to Jenn's parents house, where I was finally going to get to meet her folks! After hearing so much about each other and having already virtually met via skype it was a warm welcome and so neat to see where Jenn had grown up after moving from Alaska. We only stayed for one night but I got a snapshot of Jenn I hadn't seen before. I helped her get all her things organized for her Oregon life to come. I even got a few glimpses of the Inspiration Books Jenn has kept regularly; filled with awesome quotes, pictures, and good vibes. 

"Road Trip" Day 5 - I heart WY

In the morning we jumped on 287, not to be confused with The 287, apparently only Canadians say 'The' before their highways, and crossed over to Wyoming. We quickly encountered camels as soon as we crossed the border, that's right camels!! We also saw some prong horns, which I had never seen before and as we searched for a rest stop we mistakenly thought "Siam Cafe" would have some coffee.Decaffeinated and grumpy, I was pretty haughty about a place calling themselves "Cafe" in huge letters when in fact they had no coffee or even tea to speak of. Thankfully Old Town Coffee was just up the street where we picked up some expensive java and paused to take a look the works of a Mother and Daughter who were debuting an art show together just that day.
We got back in the car and headed North West thinking our destination was Targhee. However while we were in the car I happened to be flipping through a travel magazine where there was a big picture of the Teton mountain range. "We can go there!!" Jenn exclaimed and promptly changed our route for the detour. By the time we got to a look out point the sun was setting and we only caught the purple clouds, the mountain range hardly visible. We jumped back in Gary and searched in the darkness for a campground close to the Grand Teton National Park. We were lucky to find one and snuck our way in, finding a secluded spot. The air was cool and I was in bliss to find a complete absence of bugs. We felt no need to set up a tent, we just laid out sleeping bags on the ground and peered up at the sky through the trees and of course pulled out the crib board. We went to sleep already excited about waking up before the sun to catch the Tetons at sunrise.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spastic Chicken

Today I decided to tackle the frozen whole chicken that was in our freezer. Since becoming not Vegan I thought I should handle the carcase of of the animal I'm about to eat. Really get face to face with my dietary choice. One of the many reasons I became vegan was partially being afraid of not being able to cook meat properly. The only time I remember actually helping to make a chicken breast was when I was 12 and I made it in the toaster oven. I put in some red wine and was only slightly turned off when the chicken came out discolored. That was my only memory of ever cooking chicken on my own, I just never do it. Salmonella, botulism, and other ways of giving myself food poisoning have kept me far away from cooking my own meat. Nothing bad will happen to you if you cook tofu and vegetables wrong!

A few weeks ago Dan and I made Albondigas, my grandmother's recipe for meatballs, that I've been really wanting to make but couldn't muster up the courage on my own. So with all my trust placed in him, Dan and I made them together. Then last week I had my first experience cooking them alone and didn't poison either of us (yay! whoo! I was half terrified, half excited.) My grandmothers recipes are primarily responsible for getting me off the vegan train and I want to prepare them all and make a legible recipe book of them before committing again to the meatless way of life.

Which brings me back to today where I thought, "Hey why not tackle that whole chicken?" So after much texting with Dan, that I in fact could do this and the steps it would take to get said chicken unfrozen, I filled the sink with cold water and started to become slightly frantic when the Ziploc freezer bags kept it afloat. Over the course of about four and a half hours I rotated it in the water and tried to find odd things to weigh it down with, to no avail.

Then it was time to take it out of the bag...

With a sour look on my face and trying not throw up, I handled the cold carcass to rinse it off with cold water and to look inside for the giblet. Not knowing what I was looking for I had to wiki Giblets and confessed to Dan that I didn't know where the the hell giblets would be. Fun Fact: "If the heart and kidneys might be loose in the cavity, they'll be obvious". Well there was definitely nothing obvious loose inside so I went back to rinsing as I whispered tender "I'm Sorry"'s after having immersed my hand into the animal. That's when I started to remember the video I had stumbled upon hours after taking the bird from the freezer:

The video is about a slaughterhouse with some foul practices and is narrated by Sam Simon, who is pretty awesome; Co-creator of the Simpsons he's donating money and the time he has left, (after being diagnosed with terminal cancer) to animal welfare. So as I dried off the cold wrinkly skin and whispered "Sorry" again to this fowl, I sincerely hoped that enough reiki and salt would cure any trauma this chicken incurred under my hands and the hands before it.

Then I really got spastic. It was time to actually put the thing in the crock pot. I was determined to use the slow cooker to make something, and had Googled: Crock pot whole chicken. I found a few recipes but none that I had all the ingredients for so I meddled them all together. This is the recipie I came up with:

Step 1: Unfreeze the chicken. Keep it in the bag and immerse that in very cold water for a few hours (Aprox. 4.5)

Step 2: Run around the kitchen picking out herbs. I had salt, pepper, ginger, cayenne pepper, and fresh basil.

Step 3: One recipe from Wellness Mama said: I’ve also heard of stuffing the chicken with an onion, apple or orange for more moistness and great flavor. So I did it, I shoved an apple inside this poor chicken. I also cut the apple to make it fit... The same recipe also called for butter at the bottom of the crock pot, so in went half a stick.

Step 4: Now clearly thinking I was overcompensating for not having any celery or rosemary and that maybe all these ingredients were not going to work, I thought it was time to open a Fat Squirrel Beer. A beer that Dan and I got in Wisconsin at a very dimly lit bar/liquor store called the Hammond. A few sips got my nerves down and I squeezed a lemon over the chicken, then slathered the skin in all the seasonings, and placed it breast down into the crock pot.

Step 5: Adding 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped onions, and carrots the bird was pretty covered up when I thought I might as well add some of the beer to the mix as well.

Step 6: Cover and turn on high for 6hrs.... and wait...

I finished the last sip of beer and opened another as I hoped I hadn't overdone it with the seasoning...

UPDATE: It turned out awesome! When the 6 hours were up the meat fell smoothly off the bone and tasted delicious. The sauce at the bottom with the carrots and onions was really nice on rice beside the chicken. Looking forward to sandwiches and soup all week!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Surprise Getaway

Duluth, Minnesota

I was whisked away this weekend by my lovely boyfriend to celebrate a year of being together. I know... "Awwww's" all around! This was a huge deal for me, and it made me so happy. A significant other actually planning a trip for us to take together, and across the border! Dan even went through the rigmarole of getting our passports renewed (which for some reason took 5 visits to the passport office). I've never traveled with a boyfriend and it felt pretty lucky to use our new passports together. Dan was also the first bf I've traveled on an airplane with (last Dec), I think this means good things.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Unapologetic & Outlander

I have been awesomely and brutally reminded recently how I MUST stop apologizing, especially when someone is taking offense.

One woman encouraged me after I confessed I had deeply offended someone and was worried about it, "That's their problem," she said, "if they're very offended you can say 'I'm sorry you feel that way', but don't apologize for you."

"Finally Sam!" Was another response when I fought back instead of being complacent.

When I worked with Johno in Paris, he did his best to verbally beat the reflexive "sorry" out of me and that same "sorry" has weaseled it's way back into my life in an over abundant way. As a server I feel like I have to apologize a lot during a shift. Sorry about this and Sorry about that, when really I could get by with saying it less because these days I say sorry for EVERYTHING!

Soooorry: 'Excuse me, I need to pass'
Sorry?: 'I didn't hear you'
Sorry: a knee jerk reaction to basically anything that causes anyone discomfort. 

So with these extra forces re-affirming me that the "sorry" has got to go, I also recently read a novel with an unapologetic female lead, who takes 600 pages before her first "I'm sorry"!! That was a big eye opener for me.

If you're looking for a nice big book to keep you warm for the winter, Outlander heats up quite quickly. It mostly takes place in 1743, but don't be deceived, it's fun and adventure, not someone droning on about history. There are fun facts about history sprinkled into the book but it's more about a strongly opinionated woman from the 1940's living in the 1740's. It's a lighter read than most of the books chosen for book club which made it seem like a vacation to journey with Clair. 

On the author's website in the description of the book Diana Gabaldon says:
"What I used to say to people who saw me sitting outside a store with a pile of books and asked (reasonably enough), “What sort of book is this?”, was, “I tell you what. Pick it up, open it anywhere, and read three pages.  If you can put it down again, I’ll pay you a dollar.” I’ve never lost any money on that bet"
I found that to be true. I was hesitant to read the book, despite hearing it was fun and having a whole 600+ pages to read for book club, but once I opened and read the first pages I was drawn in. 

I think what I found most disappointing in the book are the actors on the cover. I actually took a better look at the faces a few chapters in, still wondering who the people on the front were supposed to represent and laughed. "Nope, that's not Clair and Jamie." went through my head and I probably rolled my eyes at the possibility. No chance.

If you miss reading Game of Thrones, miss having a page turner in your hands, and aren't afraid of some sex scenes, then take the leap and try this out. *I also think this would make a good gift* I don't want to give any spoilers so I'll just end by saying I think the lead, Clair, is pretty kick-ass.

Friday, November 7, 2014

International Festival Of Authors

On Thursday I attended the IFOA volunteering to sell books for the Northern Woman's Bookstore and wow, was I inspired. Three authors read from their works at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer - All The Broken Things
Alison Pick - Between Gods
Michael Winter - Into The Blizzard: Walking The Fields Of The Newfoundland Dead

I got to the gallery early and had a chance to look around at the special juried exhibition on display showcasing the talented works of Northern Ontario artists.  I learned that it has been ten years since the last juried exhibition where instead of one artist the room held numerous styles and a taste of each artist's works. I was especially happy to recognize some art that I had seen at other spots in Thunder Bay, now hanging upon gallery walls.

As Katja, Gillian, and I set up books from local authors and a variety of books from the three authors that would be speaking that night, we were joined by Margaret Phillips, who is the strong force behind The Northern Woman's Bookstore. Everyone was happy to see Margaret out at the event and made a point to say hello and see how she's recovering from this tough year of health issues.

When it was time to listen to the speakers the event started rolling with CBC's Lisa Laco as the host. Each author gave a brief synopsis of their book and read for ten riveting minutes. My favorite part was the Q&A, specifically the question about each writers process.

Writing as a daily activity could not be stressed enough.

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Alison Pick were surprised that they had the same writing style: To get everything on paper first with an old school pen and then transcribe onto the computer, making that their first edit.

Micheal Winters was really funny, he made a good distinction about the internet. The computer that he writes on does not have the internet and he likened it to having two rooms. In one room there is a puppy, in the other room there is a dead dog, a 5 day dead, very smelly, dog. Now the dead dog room is your novel and the puppy is the internet. It's better to have separate rooms, because naturally everyone wants to play with puppies.