Two Meals In One

You enjoy this wee bit of strangeness from Gill while I make lunch, get back to catching up and continue mildly disliking technology. As the tag says, computers are great when they work.

Do you like breakfast? Do you like lunch? Combining the two often makes brunch, but not always. Have you ever had an interesting food combination? A friend of mine, teaching in Asia, said that recently she tried salad with cereal on it in the school cafeteria. She told me it might have been Frosted Flakes.

Question

What’s the most interesting food combination you’ve ever tried?

Dude. Salad with what “might have been Frosted Flakes” on it? I bet that “might have” been gross. Hard, hard pass. Not to mention that if this is me, unless I’ve just come from being stranded in a desert or lost at sea and this was the first time in a long time that food had not been scarce, I’m making good and goddamn sure that those really are Frosted Flakes. There’s no “might” about it.

Save Money, Live If The Ancient Cereal Doesn’t Kill You

I have an urge to go through every cupboard in our house all of a sudden, not to mention a simultaneous urge to maybe never shop at Walmart again. I can’t quite put my finger on why either of these things might be.

A Lakewood family bought a box of Quaker 100% Natural Granola cereal from a Littleton Walmart on Monday. It was the Quaker cereal with oats, honey and raisins.

It wasn’t until the Carelses sat down for a serving that any of them realized something was terribly wrong.
“It looks like February 22, 1997,” Anthea Carelse said, pointing to the box’s printed “best by” date. The box appears to date back 21 years.
“I had about two bites, and that was it,” she continued. Her husband, Josiah Carelse ate a full bowl.
“I just started eating and thinking, ‘it just tastes funny. It must be ok,’” he said.
Of course, Anthea told him, “I was like, ‘Josiah, you’re going to be really sick.’”
Fortunately, he’s feeling fine and has plans to return the expired box back to Walmart.

And lest you think this is yet another unscrupulous attempt to wring a few bucks out of a hardworking businessman, it’s not looking that way. The television station from which this report comes took the time to hunt down the UPC codes and compare the brand’s old and new packaging and yup, these people ate 21-year-old cereal.

Walmart has yet to explain how this could have happened, not that anything they come up with is going to make it sound any less gross.

I Dare You!

Why yes, Gill has sent in about 12 billion posts lately. Why do you ask? Here she is to kind of sick me out, if I’m being honest. To me, anything with the word feet in it is not meant for human consumption unless starvation and desperation have set in. I think I feel the way about feet (at least in a food context) the way some people feel about moist.

When you were a kid or even a teenager you might have been dared to try or do something. Now that your grown you probably look back and think to yourself that mooning the entire baseball team or wearing your sister’s ballet tutu was probably not the smartest thing you’ve ever done.

Project Fun

If you look at it, project fun could be a series of dares, trying new foods, stepping outside your comfort zone, and sharing your experiences.

Chicken Feet

In the city where I live there’s this Asian market where you can buy anything from Chinese Broccoli to red bean paste. They even have hot foods. Today I felt a touch daring and tried a Chinese delicacy chicken feet. They were mostly fat, bone, and a bit of meat. There were some spices to kick the flavor in to gear. I honestly would try them again.

Question

What’s the most interesting food you’ve ever had?

Have A Giant Holiday Wrap-Up

Holy crap, it’s 2018. I feel like these holidays snuck up on us, then jumped on us, and now I’m still in disbelief that they’re over. In a small sense, they’re not quite over because I haven’t seen the nephews on my side of the family and we might see them this weekend, but everything else is over.

I think the Christmas season would have been a bit merrier if there wasn’t a roving cold going through the family making people sick one after another. This cold/flu/whatever the heck wasn’t messing around. It sent some pretty tough people to the doctor, and hung around plaguing some other pretty tough people for a week or two. It seems to hit you, then just when you think you’ve fought it off, it comes back for a second round of punches. I haven’t got it yet, and I really hope I don’t.

We got tons of time with Steve’s sister’s little guy. That boy can move, climb, do stairs, and his new favourite thing is throwing things. Food, toys, things that aren’t toys…you name it, if it’s within range, it’s probably going for a trip if you don’t catch him in time. I accidentally taught him a new word, but I think he misunderstands its meaning. Whenever anything would clatter to earth, I would say “oops” or “oopsy” or “woops.” Now, he says them after hurling something to the ground. Um, oops.

He’s adorable and a lot of fun. One hilarious thing he does is if you sing a song like “the wheels on the bus,” he doesn’t sing, but he does all the hand actions, and if you’re not singing, he stares at you. He also loves it if you laugh and cover your mouth when you do it. Like most kids his age, he loves having the same book read over and over. I think I could read the “Grandma and me” book from memory. I was almost hoping he would bring it to me and ask me to read it.

Watching him move around puts a whole new perspective on the world and how many things could be scary in it when you don’t know what they do. You can suddenly lose your balance and fall over. You can fail to realize you are under a table, stand up and bash your head. Doors can pinch your wee fingers. People way bigger than you can accidentally bonk you. There are hot things, sharp things, things that look like smarties that aren’t, things that look like they could be fun that aren’t, things that were fun that now no longer are, and they’re all waiting for you to set them off. How in the world do we survive this stage without crumpling into sad heaps of fear?

But instead of being scared, he is full of curiosity and wonder! Many times, you can hear him say “Ooo!” or “Wow!” as he looks at something. He is full of wonder, wondering what that is that he has just found, and we are forced to wonder what he just found and what that might mean.

He also makes it very clear that modesty is a learned thing. He got this adorable, fuzzy bathrobe for Christmas. He came down to show it off to us, and he looked like this little bundle of fuzz with hands and feet sticking out. Then, in a flash, the robe fell off and there he was in his birthday suit, and he didn’t care! He ran through the basement and we had to convince him to put it back on. We had to watch out that he didn’t just stop and pee on a random book. Oh no, “Grandma and Me” might be “Grandma and Wee!”

He got several adorable toys, and their songs and sound effects will follow me for quite some time. One was this little barn with animals and songs.

That video doesn’t have all the songs in it, and it even cuts off the end of one of them, but it has 3 of them that are chasing me around. I’m a terrible person. In the one that says “you give them all the things they need, and you get love in return,” I wasn’t thinking, and for a moment I was mortified. “What? Did it say you’ll get lunch in return?” I thought. Thankfully, I kept my mouth shut and heard what it really said.

Another big hit was this firetruck.

To the dad in this video, go ahead and let Dannie chuck it. It will survive just fine. I don’t think we’ve heard half the things it will say, but it likes to sing the song about “heading out to help, everyone in town, in our red firetruck, hear the siren sound.” We also heard a lot about seeing the flashing lights, and putting the ladder up and down.

There were some other big hits he got, but I can’t remember what they’re called so I can’t find the videos. One was a digger with a little backup beeper on it. Now, when I hear a real backup beeper, I keep hearing “Cat power!” in my head.

He also tested Shmans’s tolerance for little kidlets, and she was amazing. He would fall over her, hug her, try to feed her his bottle of milk, and she took it like a champ. How many times did I pet her and find her with sticky spots where he had probably been? Poor Shmans.

And if he wasn’t testing her patience, there were other doggies who would join in. This was so funny. I brought her into another gathering and kept her in harness. There were two little tiny dogs and several children there, so I was hoping to keep her calm. But this one dog thought there was something wrong with her and just kept poking at her. Sniff her eyes, sniff her harness, sniff her butt. It made me think of how we test responses of people who are in comas by shining lights in their eyes or pinching some skin to see if they flinch. Shmans was not responding, and this made the little dog more insistent. I realized that she would not leave her alone, so after getting approval from the people who owned the house, I let her loose. I don’t think I have ever seen two happier dogs. I think the little dog was sure she had just resuscitated Shmans, and Shmans was so happy to let loose. For the rest of the afternoon, the two dogs could be found playing under the table and being goofballs.

Tans was also amazing because about 3:30 in the morning when all this craziness was set to start, Tans barfed on our carpet. It seems I haven’t documented this fully, but at least once a year, Tans will barf. It’s always in a different month of the year, and we’ve started calling it playing barf bingo. The first two episodes have been talked about, but it happened again in August of 2015, then November of 2016, and just when I was a little too confident that we would make it through 2017 without incident, there it was. She had gotten sick once earlier in the week, but I only saw the evidence after I had fed her her breakfast, so I couldn’t make her skip a meal. Everything seemed to be going along ok, and then on the morning of Christmas Eve, we awoke to what sounded like someone slowly pouring a bottle of water on the floor. Yuck! So that breakfast got skipped, and despite everything being nuts, she didn’t have another upset through the whole holiday insanity.

Tans and Trix didn’t play much, but they got a couple of sessions in. Trix still likes to bark. But Trix is definitely getting older. I can actually hear her legs shuffling along. Don’t get me wrong, she can move, and she did a lot of moving to try and chase people around the kitchen all holiday, but the shuffle is audible. I think she might be moving a little better now, since the poor beasty had to have a toe amputated because it was full of some nasty cancer. They say the cancer didn’t make it to the bone, so she might be ok, but yikes! I don’t know if I’ve lost my mind, but Trix’s head looks noticeably smaller than Tans’s. Is this just something I’ve never noticed before or could it have shrunk? That’s probably not possible, so I’m going to go with the idea that I’m nuts and Trix’s head has always been smaller. Finally, she has this obsession with water, so much so that we have to restrict it, and we have to keep lids down on toilets and bathroom doors closed so she doesn’t try to suck water out of the shower drain or slurp it out of the john. We had to keep the little nephew out of the bathroom anyway, and couldn’t leave water down because if we did, he would probably make his own lake with it, but it’s so strange to see Trix need the restrictions. She hasn’t drank out of a toilet since she was new with me. I told her no and that was that. Now, it’s like she’s driven by a compulsion to drink more than she could ever need. In fact, Brad says if you let her, sometimes she would drink until it just comes back up. She has been tested for all the physical things that could make her thirsty and they come up normal, so we’re left with the conclusion she is doing it because old dog is old. I definitely am trying to get my Trix snuggles in when I can, again, because old dog is old. She seems to think I’m a decent person still, thank goodness.

Steve’s dad moved at the end of November. Now, we should never run into last year’s problem of not being able to get him to Christmas stuff. His place is much smaller than he had, but I think it’s perfect for him, and we all fit in it, even with two dogs and a baby walking around. It was neat to finally see it, since we hadn’t been there yet.

I have learned that I can be such a baby. Steve’s stepdad bought this game called Pie Face. Basically, there’s this apparatus with a chin rest and another part that’s slathered with whipped cream. Every time you turn the handle, there’s the potential to get a splat of whipped cream to the face. So, you have to spin the dial, and whatever number it comes up with, you have to turn the handles that many times while your chin is resting on this chin rest. If you manage to spin it the prescribed number of times without getting splorched, you get the points. In our game, you got double the points. In any case, once you make it to 25 points, you’re safe.

Here’s a video of some people playing it.

Let’s just say that’s not the way I looked. Apparently they have hilarious video of me. I look like I’m playing Russian Roulette. I know my face was all screwed up, and I did not like turning that handle. I kept hearing people saying “She looks like she’s going to have a heart attack!” It was a fun game…there was just something really freaky about never quite knowing when you were going to get covered in goo. That sounds gross.

While I’m all weirded out by getting splattered with whipped cream, some people really don’t like those gift exchanges where you can trade gifts with other people. At one gathering, the way it works is everybody brings something kind of generic that anybody might be able to enjoy. If you’re a woman, you bring something more feminine, if you’re a guy, you bring something more masculine, so there are enough things and everybody gets something. So, all the women draw cards and pick from the girls’ pile and show everybody what they got. Then they draw again and choose to either keep what they have or trade with someone else. The people who drew higher cards have a greater chance of leaving with what they want. Then the guys do the same thing.

There’s this one guy who just hates this game. He always gets annoyed when someone takes his gift, or in the old days when anyone could take anything, when he would end up with a more girly gift. Apparently, he has always been not the biggest fan of this game, so it’s not because he’s getting older or anything. It’s almost become a sport to make him trade, just to watch him get all sad. Yes, we’re evil. I don’t know if he just wants to get something and keep it, or if he can’t remember all the things and it’s too hard, but every year, he gets annoyed. If he would just be cool about it, we’d probably leave him alone.

So that’s the run-down of our Christmas craziness. Like I said before, we decided not to go out last night to hopefully head off this stupid cold. So it’s back to work with me. We just have the nephews on my side to see and then we’ll be all done.

What can I say about 2017? For us personally, it was a pretty decent year. We all were healthy, the nephews got a little older, we went to some shows, everything stayed relatively ordinary, which is the way we like years to go. As for the world, that was another story. It’s never good when every time you look at news, you just keep saying “That can’t be real! That’s not possible,” but it is. It is frightening to see so much open racism and hatred, but I’m happy to see a lot of resistance to that hatred so it’s not all bad. I really hope 2018 can bring better things for everyone.

You’re A Foul One, Mr. Stolen Package

Among many tips, police say that if you’re receiving packages on your porch, you should have a camera there to discourage porch pirates from stealing the packages. What I’d love is a camera inside a particular stolen package, a lovingly-wrapped box of especially-disgusting diapers.

It seems Angie Boliek had one too many Christmas packages stolen, so she decided to fix the next thief’s wagon. Her son had been sick the last week, and he had been producing some disgusting output. She packaged it up with a note that said “Enjoy this you thief!” and left it on her porch. The next day, it was gone.

Hopefully that thief doesn’t have a vengeful streak and she does get the last laugh.

Simply Orange And A Few Other Surprises

Meet Willis Gene Burdette, who may or may not be Michael Kevin Lallana’s grandfather. If the two aren’t related, they’re at least spirit animals or something.

The woman contacted police after her home security system recorded Burdette entering the residence one afternoon. Burdette, a criminal complaint noted, got into the home by “using a key located inside of her shed.” Once inside, the married septuagenarian “began to masturbate inside a small tool room near the garage.”
Burdette then “removed a bottle of orange juice from the refrigerator and cum inside the bottle of orange juice,” a Jackson Township Police Department detective reported. He then proceeded to “shake the bottle” before returning it to the refrigerator.

Heh heh heh, you said tool room.

Unlike in the Lallana case, nobody put down any of the tainted love either by accident or for investigatory purposes, so the story has more than one happy ending.

Burdette, who had been working as a landscaper which is why he had access to the home in the first place, plead guilty to felony burglary and attempted felonious assault and was sentenced to 100 days in jail. He was also given three years probation, 200 hours of community service, an order to complete a mental health assessment and a ban from taking any job that would allow him into private houses.

Heh heh heh, you said private.

Dog Poop Will Turn Your Roomba Into A Ruindba!

There’s a story going around Facebook that reminds me of something that happened to us when we had Trix that I somehow never put up here. Maybe it was waiting for its perfect moment.

One day, on a whim, I bought Trix a new puzzle toy. The dog is supposed to roll the thing around and get food out of it! Fun fun fun! It was called a tricky treat ball, and they should have called it a not for Trixie treat ball!

I put Trix’s meal in it and gave it to her. Then Steve and I sat down to eat our own supper. They said the dog could have hours of fun with this thing, so I figured I wasn’t being a jerk for not supervising. After a few minutes, I noticed that the sounds coming from the ball sounded less like bat, bat, crunch, crunch, and more constant and much, much quieter. When I went over, I found Trix holding onto the thing that should have been a ball…only now it was a misshapen mass, and the whole top had been ripped off somehow. I also realized that if I took the mass that remained and tried to shape it back into a ball, it was not nearly the size of the original ball…uh-oh.

At first we hoped that we just had to go on a massive tricky treat ball treasure hunt, and we would find pieces everywhere…but we were not finding many pieces…which led us to the horrible conclusion that Trix had eaten the missing pieces! We were especially worried about this because the next day, we were supposed to be going to a big office party with folks from my awesome job. I had only started working there on a regular basis shortly before that, so I was feeling pretty new. The last thing I needed was for my dog to have a massive puke or poop accident at this fancy place. Plus, this was in the era where work and home were about 35 minutes’ drive from each other, so it wasn’t exactly trivial to get our asses home if necessary.

Through the next day, Steve would sort of look for tricky treat pieces as he went about his regular daily routine, and I was watching Trix’s poop to see if it was looking less…well…normal. We weren’t finding any pieces, but things were looking pretty ordinary. So we went on with the plan.

Trix got through the whole party and I never would have known anything was wrong, so I breathed a sigh of relief. We came home, and after changing into more comfortable clothes, we both fell asleep in the living-room. And a few hours later, we…found the rest of the tricky treat ball. To be more accurate, Trix produced it.

I still don’t remember this part, but at one point, some part of my brain must have heard Trix throwing up, and while most of me was still asleep, I uttered the words “Are ya ok? Are ya done pukin’?” At the same time, Steve had come to his senses enough to notice an unpleasant smell nearby that he could not identify. As soon as I uttered the words “Are ya done pukin’?” he was wide awake. “Puke…puke…pukin’?! Who’s pukin’?! I’m not pukin’! Oh…that smell…oh!”

So, although we did not have a dog poop-filled house, like in this sad tale below, there was definitely some 3 a.m. dog accident clean-up to be done. At least no electronics were sacrificed in the process, like happened to this guy’s poor roomba.

So, last week, something pretty tragic happened in our household. It's taken me until now to wrap my head around it and…

Posted by Jesse Newton on Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Every Rule Has An Exception, The Breastfeeding Is A Wonderful Thing Edition

I’m a guy. For obvious reasons, I will never breastfeed a baby. Some may argue that this fact should disqualify me from talking about or judging anyone who might one day do so on the subject at all. But I know when something sounds creepy and weird, and this, this sounds creepy and weird.

The breastfeeding incident occurred at a Toronto house party. It was an in-between sort of evening, neither a rager nor a formal dinner party – the sort of casual and expensively lubricated early-evening-into-night gathering that exhausted people in their 30s with small children tend to favour.
I was about 25 and did not have a baby – or even a boyfriend – at the time.
And I was broody in the way that young women in their late 20s often are, before they realize that turning 30 is just the beginning of something rather than a vertiginous cliff off of which unlucky young women fall to die alone and be forgotten.
I was feeling a bit glum and distracted, so I’d wandered upstairs in search of a bathroom in which to reapply my lipstick and check my phone for random texts from inappropriate men (this was before Tinder). I walked into a bedroom with coats piled high on the bed and noticed that in the corner, sitting wide awake in a little portable car seat, was the cutest baby I’d ever seen. On the table beside him was a monitor. I smiled at the baby, the baby smiled back. Now this was a connection.
I leaned over and gingerly picked him up and then sat down in a chair to give him a cuddle. He felt gorgeous in my arms, all warm and lumpy and milky-smelling in the way small babies are. Somehow, my pinky finger ended up in his mouth and I was astonished at strength of his sucking reflex. “C’mon lady,” said his eyes. And I suddenly knew what he wanted. And I of course wanted to give him what he wanted. The only problem was, I had no milk. But would it be so bad, I wondered, if I just tried it out – just for a minute – just to see what it felt like?
I looked at the baby monitor as if it might be watching me, but thankfully this was before monitors had cameras.
Then slowly, carefully so as not to jostle the infant, I began to unbutton my blouse. Just as I was reaching into my bra, a shortish man with in a navy suit walked into the room.
“Oh um, hello!” he said, in a friendly, upbeat tone that could not entirely conceal the fact that he was flummoxed to see me sitting there with my top half unbuttoned holding his baby.
“I see you’ve met my son. May I take him now?”
The man, of course, was Michael Chong. I never caught the baby’s name. Mr. Chong took his son, bade me a swift and polite goodbye and I didn’t see him again for the rest of the party – probably because he left sensibly with his family an hour later while I no doubt hung around talking nonsense until after midnight.

That’s part of a column that was published to and later deleted from the Globe and Mail website. Regardless of how true the story is (there’s some question about it) and putting aside how any of you might feel about breastfeeding other people’s kids with permission which seems to be the larger point of the article I think, I have a question for the ladies. Is this normal? Even a little bit? Do you ever, when holding someone’s child, think to yourself he looks hungry, I should try to give him a snack? Have you ever gotten past the thinking stage? Or am I, a person who I will remind you all once more is a guy, right to think that this is straight up fucked?

Update: I left this as a comment, but I figure I should stick it here just in case our comments ever explode and we lose tens of thousands of them again.

We’ve now hit the other newspapers are writing columns about the column stage, which brings us this bit of ewww from the National Post. I think it pretty much misses the point entirely. I say pretty much because there is a bit of an acknowledgement that you probably shouldn’t do that, but the whole thing about men’s ideals and sexual objects and covering up and not talking about it and all that is totally not everyone’s problem here. You’re feeding another person’s kid without asking. That’s wrong. Hell, I don’t even like picking up someone’s baby without asking them first just in case there’s a reason I shouldn’t, and I love kids. I can’t imagine doing something this personal unwanted.

Who Wants Some Facon?

And now, Brother Brad is here to tell you how to make vegan bacon in case that’s a thing you’d like to do for some reason.

It seems that a Brainiac named Johan Lundstrom, in some basement lab somewhere has come up with something they’re calling vegan bacon

If the very mention of the word vegan has you running in the other direction, we might as well run together.

If you are one of those whackjobs that is in to that sort of thing, what is wrong with you, Umm, I mean, here’s how the stuff is made. It’s not as frightening as I would’ve thought, but still.

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
    coconut flakes in a stainless measuring cup
  • 2 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce, or amino acids
  • 1 tablespoon neutral, high-heat oil of choice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white miso
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to Make Plant-Based Bacon

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the tamari, oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, and miso.
  3. Pour the coconut flakes into the bowl and stir gently to combine.
  4. If you’re feeling patient, letting the flakes marinate for five minutes will yield a richer flavor.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the flakes across it. Try to keep the flakes from clustering together.
    marinated coconut flakes ready for baking
  6. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the tray, stir the flakes well, and again, ensure they’re spread evenly across the sheet before placing back in the oven.
  8. Next, bake the flakes for 9 – 12 more minutes, removing the tray from the oven every three minutes and stirring the flakes. This will ensure the flakes crisp up evenly and prevent burning. Coconut flakes can burn quite easily!
  9. Time will vary depending on your oven and how crispy you like your “bacon.” We like the flakes to be mostly dry, golden on the edges, and crisp to the touch.
  10. Fans of crispy bacon, allow the flakes to cool on the sheet for ten minutes. If you like your bacon chewier, use it right out of the oven or remove from the sheet to cool.

There is a small part of me, a very small part, that almost wants to try this just out of curiosity. It’s never going to happen, but I’d be interested to hear if any of you took the plunge.

Eat up!