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Better than Kraft dinner

...which I actually did not grow up eating because my mother taught me young how to make a bechamel sauce.

Last night's pasta dinner
penne
the remains of the carton of whipping cream
grated Beemster extra old cheese
diced ham
chopped green onion
white pepper

Salad
spinach leaves
dried cherries
toasted sliced almonds
dressing: oil, vinegar, Keen's mustard, a slug of maple syrup

Notes for next time
My default is to not add salt to anything, but the dressing could have used a bit. Also it was more sweet than sharp, so the salad would have been better with something to balance. Maybe shaved red onion. Better would have been pickled shaved red onion, but that would have required advance planning, not the actual approach of "What should I make for dinner? Look in fridge. Cook!"

Locavore

It doesn't happen often, but everything for dinner tonight was grown in Alberta. Lamb chops from Brightbank Finnsheep, Taber corn, wax beans from the farmer's market, tomatoes from the neighbour on one side, baby potatoes from the neighbour on the other. Extremely yummy.

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Interests updated

I decided that if I were going to send friend requests, I'd better update my profile. After a quick scan for whoever takes up more than a foot of shelf space in the library, I've added twenty authors. Looking around the house, not a lot of other cues. Yes, I have a playmobil diorama of a castle under seige. But is that an interest?

2013 highlights

Hosted our annual chocolate fondue party in February
Paid off the condo mortgage in March
Known World Dance Symposium in Saratoga Springs in June
Farthing Party in Montreal in September
NIN, Richard Thompson, Emmy-Lou Harris & Rodney Crowell, and Eddy Izzard, all in November
Stovetop espresso maker from K for Xmas

Beer Revolution Oliver Square

Excellent: 4 hours of catching up with BK, and the 4 for $4 happy hour menu. The airport-style on-screen beer lists are a nifty idea.
Not so excellent: inside the splash zone for a really spectacular food spill. But I have washed the tomato sauce out of my hair and it missed my brand-new-worn-for-the-first-time pale beige capris, so it could have been worse.

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Vacation summary

An excellent week. Stayed with T&Z on Ottawa for a night, and learned they'll be posted back to Alberta next spring. Yay!

If you travel business class to Montreal on the train, first they give you a free drink, then wine with dinner, then a refill, then come back for a third time just to empty out the bottle. Also the food is not terrible and the place setting is not plastic, rather glass, china, and metal flatware.

I love Montreal. Third trip in three years and I'm making plans for next summer.

Farthing Party was, to quote Jo, brilliant. Lots of great panels, book recs, and conversation. One of many favourite moments was catching the tail end of the Sunday readings. TNH's reaction when she learned that the candies described were REAL was priceless. Sequed beautifully into the next panel. Indeed, "the world is wierder than you can imagine."

I met many people that I would love to talk to more than I had a chance to over the weekend.

Time to nerve myself up and send out a bunch of friend requests, or at least delurk on some of the journals I read...

Moose and Couscous salad

Recording the process for posterity.

First, rummage through the fridge, find the leftovers from last night's dinner: a small piece of left-over moose round steak and a dozen fried mushroom slices. Recognize that there is no way this will feed 2 people.

Assemble salad from ingredients on hand:
- 3/4 cup dry couscous, steamed (amount chosen because that was what was left in the package)
- one chopped green onion
- 1/2 diced English cucumber
- 1 tomato, seeded and diced
- 8 leaves of basil (rau que) sliced into strips
- dressing of juice of 1/2 a lemon and equal amount olive oil, a few grinds of black pepper
Cube the steak, add it and the mushrooms, mix, and chill for an hour.

Dinner! And there were leftovers...

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500 years of popular music

Renaissance dance rehearsal in the afternoon, for the ERO concert next week. VNV Nation in the evening. Only one required hearing protection.

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Home again, home again...

Our trip to Ottawa and Montreal was fabulous. I crammed at least 10 months of cool moments into 10 days. I may or may not write some of it up; it would take another 10 months to document it all, I fear. K and I have spent the last two days reintegrating into our home space, like divers half-way back from the depths. I would move to Montreal in a heartbeat. But there are joys to living in Edmonton too. I have spent the last three hours napping in the late afternoon sunshine, surfacing to the music of Henry Purcell, watching the sky change from blue to the peach of a praire dusk, and luxuriating in the comfort of my Very Own Pillows.

A good week for music


Alexandro Escovedo and band at the Starlite Room Monday night. Hot and sweaty and sexy. Amazing. Estimated median age of the audience: 45. Usual audience age for that venue: 20.

Smashula & A Bunch of Marys at the Black Dog on Wednesday. My neighbour plays bass in Smashula and rocks out big-time. A Bunch of Marys is fronted by Mike McDonald, whom I've admired since the days of Jr. Gone Wild. Plus this bass player, I first met the summer after high school <mumble> many years ago. Hadn't seen him for years. Nice mix of originals and covers. Best moment of nostalgia: "No Matter What" by Badfinger. It took me back to the seventies, under the covers late at night listening to 630 CHED on my blue plastic transistor radio. I still know every word to that song.

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