Unpacking

 

 

 

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I just spent a few days (six of them actually) in Canada visiting Rick. It was a lovely trip.  But now I am home.  And now I have to unpack.

I hate unpacking.  Packing is kind of fun, in a stress-inducing kind of way.  Stress-inducing because you have to decide what outfits to bring with you.  I don’t know why I find this stressful because I wear the same things all the time.  But I do.  That is just the way I am.  I am a nervous traveller.

But there is nothing fun about unpacking.  I am always very tempted not to do it.  To just leave the clothes in my suitcase and take them out as I wear them. That way eventually all the clothes end up in the laundry (which I also hate putting away) and I have a nice empty suitcase, ready to put away all in just a few days (okay, maybe a week).

Am I the only person who does this?

Nom Nom Nom

Behold:

I made poutine.  That’s right, I.  Made.  It.  And it was goooood.

Regular subscribers will remember my deep and abiding love for poutine, a Canadian delicacy I discovered at the Grand Prix of Canada in Montreal.  It is so delicious.  For you poor souls who do not know what it is, it is the sweet nectar of the gods, it is a carbohydrate junkie’s fondest wish, it is french fries with gravy and cheese curds.

While dining out on poutine in Canada last month, Rick and I were contemplating the possibility of making poutine at home.  I had always assumed it was impossible, because as regular subscribers might also remember, I am terrified of deep frying anything.  That much hot oil scares the bejeezus out of me.  So I had pretty much written off poutine as something that could only be ordered, not made.

Ah, but our waitress, upon hearing about my dilemma said I should just make it with oven fries.  That they would be just as good and a lot less complicated (and frightening) than frying my own.

So I tried it.

Now, in Canada you can actually purchase poutine gravy in the grocery stores.  It is in the same aisle with the canned turkey gravy that one should always have on hand for Thanksgiving to make sure the homemade gravy turns out.  I do not have poutine gravy in my grocery store, but the turkey gravy was a fine substitute.  I also used Kraft cheese crumbles instead of cheese curds because they were smaller and I suspected they would get melty faster.  I was right.

It needs a little refining.  It could have used more gravy for example.  And perhaps I should have left the fries in the oven just another minute or two. But for a first attempt I give it two thumbs up.  And the best news is, I still have more than half a jar of gravy left, so I can make it again tomorrow.

All good things

must come to an end.

I have taken a week off work and the kids and I have been in Michigan.  We have been tubing, and hanging out at the lake.  We saw a muskrat, I pulled three leeches of O, and we have had ice cream at Sugar Bear.

But tomorrow we have to go home.  Boo.

The Perfect food day

Regular subscribers know that I have a not-so-secret love of junk food.  It’s true.  I would eat it all the time if I didn’t think it would kill me.  In fact, I plan to eat at McDonalds every day once I reach my 80th birthday.  I realize this may cut down on the number of years available to me, but my quality of life will be amazing.

Anyway, today was just about the perfect food day.  I was at my sister’s house in the Chicagoland Metropolitan Area this morning, so we went out for lunch.  And where did we go?  Portillos.  Home of the most delicious Italian Beef.  I hear they make a killer Chicago dog too, but I wouldn’t know because I only ever have the Italian Beef.  A 6-inch with sweet peppers, dipped.  It is so delicious.  I love it.  I have one every time I go home to Chicago.  Sometimes I have two or three.  But, this trip I only had time for one.  Tell me this doesn’t look amazing:

I didn’t think to take a picture of my lunch, which looked exactly like this.  But I found this photo here.

After lunch I went to O’Hare to pick up the Princess.  She had been on a Royal visit to see my brother in San Francisco.  We drove to Michigan straight from the airport.  And of course if you are driving to Michigan you have to stop at Redamak’s for dinner.  Did I mention it was in the Midwest Living Magazine list of top 25 burger joints?  And this is only correct.  I did take a picture of my dinner.  Here it is in all it’s glory

Yum.  And the Princess taught me something new.  Dipping your french fries in your chocolate shake.  It is delicious.  It has a kind of hot/cold, sweet/salty thing going on.  I love it.

Now if only I had thought to have Dunkin Donuts for breakfast I would have had the trifecta.  Oh well.  Another time.

The (rest of the) Canadian Grand Prix Report

It's not raining yet...

Well, that was… interesting.  But before I can tell you about the race, I should tell you about Qualifying.

It was supposed to rain on Saturday.  So I made sure I had the rain ponchos and a towel in my backpack.  I also packed a spare sweatshirt because it was also supposed to be chilly.

When I arrived at the track it was actually sunny, and not that cold.  I settled in to watch the final practice session before qualifying.  I love this qualifying system.  It has been like this for a few years now, and it is tons of fun to watch.  First all 24 cars go out for 20 minutes.  At the end of the session, the 8 slowest cars are eliminated, and they take up the last eight spots on the grid.  Then we have a short break so we can all catch our breath and then the remaining cars go out again, for 15 minutes this time.  The six slowest cars are eliminated this time, leaving ten cars to go for pole in the last session.  It is very exciting.  I love it.

After practice the clouds started to roll in.  By the time qually started I was wearing a long sleeved shirt under my lucky Alonso t-shirt, a black hoodie, and another hoodie over all that.  I was actually warm enough, though my seatmate found my many layers amusing.  I also bought a t-shirt, and I will show you a picture of that later.

It didn’t rain and qualifying went well, and I am always surprised how much faster it all goes in person.  It’s like you blink and it’s over.  Vettel was on pole again, which is getting pretty boring, but Alonso was second so I was happy about that.  And they even showed the press conference on the Jumbo-trons.  I like that because they show the bit at the end that they never show on television where each of the top three drivers says a few words in his own language.  I can’t help it, I like to listen to Alonso speak Spanish.  Ooooh….

But I digress.  Saturday night I wandered around Boulevard. St. Laurent a little bit.  And I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Rue St. Arthur; this was the neighborhood we lived in last summer when we spent a month in Montreal, so I did a fair amount of tripping down memory lane.  It was fun.

Sunday morning it was grey and cold.  I put on three of my four layers of clothing and went back to the track.  It was rainy and cold and gross, and really the kind of racing conditions I hate.

I timed my arrival in the grandstands to be just before the driver’s parade.  I yelled hello to Alonso and waved, but he didn’t see me.  Oh well.

It started raining before the race and they decided to start behind the safety car.  I have never seen a safety car start before, at least not live and in person, so that was interesting, but it is not as exciting as the usual standing start.

Safety Car start - I've never seen this before

Conditions were pretty awful.  It did start to clear up a few laps after the safety car went in, and Alonso came in to change from the full wet tires to the inters, only to have the sky open up a lap later.  I spent the next few minutes holding my breath, hoping he would make it back around to the pits to get the appropriate tires.  He did.  Whew!  But then they red-flagged the race.  This is the equivalent of a rain delay.  It was cold, it was rainy, and I was not having a good time.

fellow race fans huddled braving the elements

At one point as I was sitting there huddled under my rain poncho my seatmate looked over and said “I think the red dye in your hat is running, I just saw a red drop run down your face”.  Oh great.  So I took the Ferrari hat off.  There were some red patches in my hair, but they didn’t last long in the rain, and on the plus side I finally feel like that hat is clean after the bus-sick incident of 2008.

So after an hour of sitting in the rain getting more and more soggy and shivering harder and harder, I made a very difficult decision.  I decided to bail.  I never thought I would do a think like that, but at that point, I was soaked to the skin and freezing.  And my seatmate said it would probably be at least another hour before they could start the race, even if it stopped raining right that minute, which it was not going to do.

I gave up.  I felt awful about it, but I was so cold, and I was not having fun.  And they stopped the race on lap 28, 7 laps before the halfway point.  I was kind of afraid I would sit there shivering for another hour just so they could all parade around the safety car for 7 laps so they could call the race official and stop it for good.

Of course that is not what happened, but I did manage to get back to my hotel, take a hot shower, change into dry clothes and crawl under the covers just in time to watch the restart on television.

Alonso had a crash, so he didn’t finish.  Hamilton had a crash so he didn’t finish (hah) and Jenson Button passed Sebastian Vettel on one of the final laps to win the race.  Pretty amazing considering he made six pit stops and at one point he was in 21st place.  Wow.

So, part of me regrets leaving early, but not a very big part of me. It was a great weekend in spite of the washout on Sunday, and who knows, maybe next year I will be going to the US Grand Prix in Austin, TX.  I hope so.

Forza Ferrari

 

 

Jamaica

We have returned from Jamaica, and I gotta say, it’s a pretty amazing place to spend the weekend.  We did some sailing, we sat on the beach, we sat by the pool. We ate jerk chicken and curried goat.  Curried goat for crying out loud.  Okay, I have to admit, T ate most of the goat.  I had one taste and I was not a fan.

Anyway, here are some pictures.

Me and the sailboats

Tom and the boats

The pool

The beach

Me again

Jealous?

 

Odds and Ends

An actual comment from the C-Man

Kid’s costumes aren’t scary enough.  I mean come one, a zombie rock star?  What’s scary about that?  What is he supposed to do?  Kill you with his guitar?

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While driving around this week I saw a Mini with a sticker on the back that read “actual size”.  I love it.

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The Man and I are going to Jamaica for Halloween.  I need beach reading.  Any suggestions?  I plan to download a couple of things to my Kindle.  I can’t wait to properly test drive it.

***

I plan to call the tattoo parlor this week.  If I don’t chicken out.

If you build it, he will come

I know, I know, it isn’t terribly original.  But I couldn’t resist.  Today we packed a picnic and piled the Peskies into the car for a trip to the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, Iowa.  It is quite a trek, about two and a half hours in the car.  But T and I like driving around in the car, and as for the Peskies, well we didn’t ask them.

I’m so glad we took the opportunity to go over there.  The whole site is for sale and who knows what will happen to it.  Plus it was a beautiful day, and the corn was still standing at the edge of the outfield.

We had lunch, played some catch, ran the bases.  And of course we stopped at the souvenir stand.

We got home in time to walk downtown for dinner at a local brew-pub and dessert at a bakery that specializes in cupcakes.  Yummy.