Simple Pleasures: Coffee Walk

It’s a rainy day, which is a bit of a surprise because the weather seems to have calmed it shit. I’ve gotten quite used to these mild and sunny days. No more daily storms. No more strange and exciting cloud formations. Days like this bring about a whole other set of simple pleasures: Netflix. Tea. Books and blankets. I guess I’ll be enjoying a lot more of that as we fully transition out of the warm. But for now, on the warm days we do get, I’m enjoying my neighbourhood coffee walks.

I grab a latte from 7-11 (no Pumpkin Spice just yet. Their Chai is really good) and take myself on a slow wander through the neighbourhood. It’s an interesting place with tree lined streets and cute houses. It can also be a bit scary because it’s right at the edge of the inner city and has its share of social problems. I’ve lived in places like that my whole life, walking through troubled streets feels strangely homey and familiar. Plus it keeps my street skills sharp 😁 Nobody bothers me much though. It’s mostly just my anxiety, barking dogs and friendly cats.

I pass by people reading books in their yards – high five fellow bibliophiles!- and dads doing yard work. I delight in kids climbing fences and trees, testing their skills and becoming braver by the second. Sometimes I accidently catch snippets of intense conversations, like a young girl crying to her boyfriend about family pressures or the two gents sitting on their big front porch discussing philosophy accompanied by a very large bottle of vodka. 😐

When the leaves turn and fall, the fun really starts because as I walk the sun shines dappled through the trees and the ground is all crunchy. So satisfying! Sometimes the wind picks up and I’m caught a swirling leaf tornado, laughing as the wind whips up my hair and flings Goddess know what else up at me. πŸƒπŸπŸ•·πŸ¦—πŸœπŸπŸƒ

The sweet warm sips of coffee are a special pleasure reserved for these walks and it’s one of my most beloved Autumn rituals. I swear, if it could stay Autumn forever, I’d be a happy gal.

I so appreciate these simple pleasures β˜•

Do you have a favourite fall ritual?

Spring!

Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!

SPRIIIIIIING!

Can you tell I’m excited?

And so is everyone else in the neighbourhood! I walked past a couple the other day playfully throwing snowballs at one another, laughing away. People were extra chatty and smiley. It just feel GOOD to have crossed this threshold into better weather.

Something I always do is paint my toes and fingers in celebration. The colour I chose this year : Cherry Blossom.

Apropos, non? It’s very soft and pretty but I chose it for another reason.

Impermanence! Cherry trees blossom in Spring and delight us with their fluffy brilliance and then…they’re gone! Pink piles of softness in the dirt become mere scummy brown bits that just get ground into the soil. They only last a little while.

Such is the way with everything else, including my beloved Spring. I thought it’d be a pretty yet valuable way to keep that knowledge right there in my mind. I’m curious to see if it makes a difference in the amount of whining I do come Autumn. Ha ha.

Soooo, RECAP time! How as your Winter? Mine was long, cold and lonely. But a lot of that was my own fault as I was in full hermit mode. I read a lot of books, looked for some jobs, went for a few interviews, enjoyed my family and friends, ate a lot of things-SUGAR- and really just settled into the warmth of my self made cocoon.

Plans for Spring- More walks. More friends. More fruits and veg. How about you! What are your plans for Spring?

Books 7&8 February

Sophie & Cecilia by Katherine Ashenburg was a good one. It read fast and kept me interested the whole way through. It’s a story of two women, married to two famous men with a common theme throughout even as they each led very different lives. I enjoyed reading about how these women dealt with their troubles -even if I did not agree with them- and maintained their friendship as they moved through the ages. This book felt sincere.



The Bite of the Mango as told to Susan McClelland by Mariatu Karama was a difficult read. If you have experienced violence this book may trigger you. My heart was racing the whole way through but I could not put it down for this book was eye opening and heart breaking and inspiring. A must read, I think, for humans everywhere.

Day Trip To Jasper, Alberta

Is January not the LONGEST.MONTH.EVER?

I mean, this isn’t a bad thing. Not really when you think of the alternative. January could be OVER for me any second and then won’t I be the one wishing for another day?!

It seems I grow impatient with what is as I dream of what I WANT. February, March, April, May and June. *Note to self: plan more fun things for the longest month of the year.

I shouldn’t be bitching because the Hubs and I went to Jasper on Saturday. It’s just a few hour drive from home and it was really nice to get out of the city for a bit.

The drive was pretty and uneventful. We saw one deer and countless ravens.

We drove down the Icefields Parkway for a bit:

And these signs made me laugh. Mountains? What Mountains?! We were completely socked in and then it started to snow, sideways.

We drove up the ski hill- Marmot Basin– and were annoyed by the way people park up there. People?! You so crazy! I was seriously getting anxiety just driving through the lots. Cars parked behind cars with seemingly no regard for others, cars parked in the roadway, on snowbanks, in the driveway…it was insane. And don’t even get my man, the “parking police” started! I thought he was going to have a stroke with all the anarchy. So, just be forewarned.

Driving down from Marmot Basin

I spent a few minutes in the rock shop -Jasper Rock and Jade– where I spent half my allowance on rocks πŸ™‚

Rose Quartz, Tiger Eye, Carnelian and a bag of rocks for Ms. Sassafras.

Lunch time! ( My second favourite time of the day!)

Jasper Brewing Company makes a mean Mule:

Pomegranate Mule

Hubs and I both had their Fried Chicken Sandwich with Fries. It’s “
buttermilk marinated chicken, slaw, hot pepper relish, pickles, sriracha mayo, sesame bun ” Sounds good, right?

It was sadly underwhelming. Now don’t get me wrong, it was put together well and the ingredients were a quality product, for sure. There were chunks of white AND dark meat in the sandwich, which I was impressed by. It was clearly made with care. Its just that it lacked flavour!

The chicken, both the flesh and the batter could have used some salt and pepper or something. The hot peppers weren’t even mildly spicy and the slaw and pickles didn’t really taste of anything but “sweet”. I was sad because thought and attention went into the thing, it just didn’t taste like anything but sweet, bready meat. The fries were good! Hot, crispy and salty. And our service was excellent. My drink had me craving more and it was a fun place. Young crowd. -We were counting the “old people” We were two of six, out of a huge room, ha ha- We’d go again. I’d just try something else.

The wind picked up and it was time to go home. Was the snow we’d met on the parkway coming into town? We didn’t stick around long enough to find out! It was a gorgeous day. Sunny and WARM! +4 degrees Celsius! Much nicer than the -13C that awaited us in the city, that’s for sure.

We stopped at a beautifully maintained outhouse at the edge of the park where I was almost blown away:

And with one last lingering glance at the beauty around us, it was back to the cold, safe and sound!

Jasper, in January was still a hoppin’ place but there were a lot of things that were closed for the season. So just check before you go. It’s still worth the trip. We saw a lot of animals, sheep and elk, although my park book tells me WOLVES are often seen on the valley floor too. I’d yet to see one but soon … soon! I’m sure of it!

Family Dinner, Bullies and Pie.

For the first time in a long ass time, the Hubs and I had everyone over for dinner. Just because. As of late our family has been fractured. Disconnected. 

First there was ( and is ) my son’s drug addiction. Then there was The Great Marriage/Mental Health Fiasco of ’16. We’ve been struggling! Grasping at what was. Hurting with what is. Longing for what could be. 

But fear not! A shift has occurred, as shifts do and somehow – I’m unable to pinpoint it all exactly – our family is coming back together, once again.

Dinner went well! There was food- mac n cheese, roasted sausages, mixed vegetables- there were laughs-lots of good natured “roasting” lots of chasing the kids around, lots of jokes and silliness, there were grandkids..

and there was pie!

When I was making said pie, I was triggered by a memory of a former life. 

My very first job after having my son was in this crappy little bakery, tucked away in the back corner of a garden shop. I was a clerk. I sold treats, sliced bread, made sandwiches, washed dishes and sometimes got to bake cookies.

It would have been an alright job had it not been for one of my co-workers. A spoiled, rich asshole and son of the owners. A man prone to temper tantrums. Legit, tantrums. The kind a toddler would have.

So I’m working away up front, his mother is in the office and Dickhead is in the back doing baker things. I’ve got customers in the shop and we’re all distracted from our calm by the sound of metal clanging and things flying around , followed by the slamming of a door. What the…??? I know what’s going on but the customers don’t so they very quickly finish up and take their leave, visibly disturbed by the commotion. I don’t even remember what I said to them…probably nothing. I have no idea WHAT the problem was this time but from past experience, but I’m sure we’ll ALL hear about later.

Dickhead comes back in after a while – Shawn! His name was Shawn!- Anyway, Dickhead comes back in and the mystery of why is solved. I hear him talking to his mum about how his egg whites wont build because apparently I didn’t wash the bowl properly- grease in your meringue bowl impedes lift-  and how I’m an idiot and this and that and on and on. He’s totally raging and trashing me, saying the vilest of things. 

This is all said out loud with no regard for privacy. I can hear every word. Mommy is trying to calm him down and placate him and he eventually chills and tries to make it all again, saying nothing to me. Nobody says anything to me! Which makes the whole thing even more awkward. 

I carry on with my job, tense as fuck, not knowing what I should do in any direction. I’m not the only one who does dishes in that place! Do I say something? What should I do? Ahhhh! I hate this! I have to walk past Dickhead much later and he is still simmering with rage. So much so that, as I pass him he spits out at me ” You stupid fucking cunt!”

Whaaaaaat?! 

Now, present day Lael would have stopped whatever she was doing, gathered up her belongings and walked out the front door, never to be seen again. No question.

Past Lael wasn’t as wise. Or as brave. What did I do? I ignored him. Which I guess is a defense in itself. But then I kept on working there until I eventually quit because Dickhead started sexually harassing me.

OY!

The thing of it is, I didn’t tell anyone about that first incident. Why? I felt ashamed. Like his asshole behavior was a reflection of me. Maybe I really did do a shitty job of washing the bowl…I was paralyzed with fear and doubt and …the ickiness that comes from being around adults who have temper tantrums and treat people like garbage. Of course, even if it was my fault, is a poorly washed bowl ANY justification for being so aggressive and awful to another human? Nope! Of course not! I wish I had said something to someone, I know now I would have gained wisdom and clarity. But live and learn!

Silence is NOT golden. Silence is isolating. I’m grateful for the lesson.

I’d love to go back in time to redo THAT experience. In a way now, every time I speak up, stand up and take myself out of a toxic situations, I am! 

All this from pie πŸ™‚ 

Which was delicious! I found the recipe online, here. 

Have you ever been in a situation like that? Have you ever thought back and wondered WHY you put up with something so obviously toxic? What did you learn in hindsight?



Pickle Pizza

Have you seen that video floating around social media these days about pickle pizza?

It seems interest falls into two categories: Ew gross! Or, I’m interested…

I was most definitely curious about such a thing so I set out to reproduce my own version!

Here’s the original video:

Yum! Pickle Pizza The Original.

And here’s my end result:

What’s the verdict? It was good! Not nearly as weird as one would think. I found it to be a nice mix of salty,briney,creamy and crisp. The herbs de Provence added depth and just a hint of La Dee Da. Ha ha.

Check it out!

Pickle Pizza

Serves 1

1 clove garlic,minced

1 tsp olive oil plus more to taste for drizzling on top

1/8 tsp herbs de Provence

Scant half cup pickles, thinly sliced

1 flat bread-lavesh is what I used.

10 thin slices mozzarella

Salt and pepper to taste

Dill to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400C

Mix garlic oil and herbs de Provence together. Smear on lavesh. Layer cheese on,filling in huge empty spaces with torn up bits.

Top with pickles.

Season with salt,pepper and dill.

Bake for 10 mins or so til golden bubbly and done! Broil for quicker results.
Drizzle with a little bit more olive oil and enjoy!

Let me know what you think!