Easter weekend 2014 (and checking in)

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my space here. And I miss it. I miss it very much.

Time is difficult to find these days – or I should say, making time is difficult these days. I’m up at 5:15am to workout, off to work long and sometimes very intensely busy days (more days than not), back home for the after work/after school daily grind and then, hoping, to be in bed by 10pm. Though most nights, I could easily fall asleep at 9pm.

But how am I, one might wonder?

I’m doing fine. I wouldn’t say I’m filled with constant happiness. But I do check in with myself once in awhile. I’m actually not use to be going on for this long without suicidal thoughts and sometimes wonder if all those dark days of are of the past.

Are they? Or are they just lying dormant? It’s difficult to say. I suppose, I’m being cautiously optimistic. I’m partly being hopeful that the worst is all behind me. But realistic that I’m not cured, by any sense – just that I’m able to, perhaps, manage all this.

A part of me wishes that I could steer onwards with a heart full of hope and charity. Another part of me realizes this is not completely realistic. Not to say that I am without hope or faith – I do continue to strive for a full heart. But sometimes, a certain level of being guarded is part of survival of this world we live in.

It’s knowing who to trust and who needs more time to be trusted (rather than jumping to the conclusion of who not to trust). The latter usually requires much more space and distance – at least at the beginning of whatever relationship I may or may not have with that person.

Anyway, we had a beautiful but busy long Easter weekend, full of egg colouring, food prepping and dinner hosting, seeing Captain America – The Winter Soldier, an egg hunt, a bike ride and walk under the sun, pub wings and some organizing/cleaning in between everything.

leg of lamb with prosciutto

image courtesy of taste.com.au

Our traditional Easter dinner menu for my family:

  1. Spinach, Egg and Bacon Salad
  2. Smoked Trout
  3. Roasted Lamb with Sage and Prosciutto
  4. Spaghetti Squash Casserole
  5. Roasted Asparagus
  6. Applesauce Cake*
    • Modified ingredients:
      • 1/2 cup coconut flour
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
        3 teaspoons cinnamon
        1/2 teaspoon ginger
        1/2 cup reduced-calorie margarine
        2 whole eggs
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
        1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

* The dessert was modified (and I’m still working on perfecting the modifications) to make it diabetic friendly. The original recipe asked for 1/4 molasses (pure sugar) and 1 cup Splenda. I normally reduce the sugar by 1/2 or 2/3rds anyway. As I’m not big on the artifical sweet taste, I’m working on reducing the Splenda but will also look into natural agave to substitute the sweetness. The unsweetened applesauce already has enough natural sweetness to it, though. And coconut flour, which has a higher absorbancy over regular flour, is much lower on the carb count and glycemic index. It’s nutritional value is higher as well.The above recipe is gluten-free – just make sure the baking powder and soda have no additives that would be problematic for those who have certain food intolerance.

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romance in a zombie apocolypse world

walking dead daryl and beth

yay or nay?

daryl dixon and beth greene – i’m just sayin’.

there’s a lot of people on the ‘daryl hearts carol’ bandwagon. and i’m not one of them. i suppose it depends how old you think both daryl and carol are. form my perspective, carol looks like she is in her 50’s. and daryl, i say early 30’s.

beth is young – but i believe she is now legal.

will we see sparks fly between these two? i sort of hope so. but…. and i say this as a big but

not quite yet. i think what we will witness is a beth that gets a little bit tougher and more mature. she’ll still have a heart of gold which she got from her father, the beloved hershel (i’m still mourning after him) which keeps daryl’s heart from turning stone-cold, as it seems to be at the brink of… pretty much all the time.

michonne is another one people have felt would be a good match for daryl. and i would see this more than carol but lets take a look at the personalities. both these women are a lot tougher than beth. they’re hearts and souls have become more jaded.

and that’s not what daryl needs.

if anything, michonne and carol are lethal zombie-killing matches for daryl. sort of like any superhero duo. and it’s best to leave romance out of that type of zombie-fighting partnership. after all, batman and robin never got into each other pants (that we know of).

i am rooting for a daryl-beth romance. but not until, perhaps, next season when there’s a bit of time lapse as beth leaves her teen years behind, passes through her adolescence and becomes a strong, young woman.

and then, us daryl-lovin’ fans can finally see this strong, silent type get some action (he’ll be strong but tender). at which point, we call then blog about how jealous we are of beth and that we hope she dies. 😉

back to silver snails comic book store…

pretentious silver snail - comic book store

posing with r2d2 at silver snail

first day after chaeli came back from thunder bay, we took her downtown (via the subway) to silver snails (comic book store). by ‘we’, i also mean my parents because my dad had promised to buy her next purchase. lucky chaeli – she got 10 new teen titan comics books. though four of them were only $1 each. they took the original new teen titans which i grew up with and re-did some in this strange quality. i wouldn’t say it’s bad quality – just not… comic book quality. anyway – the stock used must have been pretty cheap so it’s not meant for collectors. but for a kid, it’s wonderful!

and this time, unlike the last, i’m going to have to say the customer service was terrible. the girl behind the cashier could not wait to get rid of me and flirt with some geek-boy customer. i got a rude response when i just wanted to ask her if the price for kid’s t-shirts were the same as adults. rather than answer me, she pointed at the shirt i held up and in a really snarky manner, exclaimed, “that IS a kid’s shirt!”

“yes,” i replied back, patiently, “what i’m asking is how much?”

“same as the adults.”

“so if i buy it with an adult shirt, i get the same discount?” ($19.99 for 1; $34.99 for 2)

“yeah, yeah, yeah…” then turning away from me immediately to the geek-boy customer, “hey! that’s a really cool shirt!”

it would have been laughable (for me) if i weren’t fuming at that type of treatment. my pet peeve is bad customer service. i know no one enjoys bad customer service, but lately, i’ve been pretty sensitive to how bad it’s become lately. and i blame our canadian customers – which has included me from time to time, as well.

we’re way too passive aggressive. we need to fight back! not in a way that is whiny and being too picky – but i think we let too many bad customer service situations go on without a complaint.

anyway… that’s another rant. but basically, that will be the last time i go to silver snails. i did more online research and apparently, a lot more past silver snail fans are giving up on the store. not all staff are bad. i must have had better luck the last time because they were really helpful. then again, it was also dead that day. this time, i felt most were just all really pretentious and snobby. as were what most people said from online reviews.

how sad. luckily, some other comic stores are still around from my university days. apparently, the prices are better as well. i suppose silver snails has become an icon of the city – and therefore more of a tourist trap. so it does not surprise me that they have some of the higher costs in the city.

we went to mr. green jeans again for dinner (where we did get amazing customer service) and then headed home where we made a stop at DQ. a favourite place for grandparents to treat their grandkid!

doug’s birthday and father’s day weekend

to start, this year’s father’s day fell on a weekend where doug did not have to work. yeay!

a quick recap of the weekend:

  • saturday morning brunch of thick french toast, bacon and fresh berries.
  • gave doug his presents: long sleeve german tee from black helmet firefighters apparel; cool flask also from black helmet; distressed batman tee from silver snails.
  • hiked from a different trail end in rouge park. beautiful!
  • star trek into darkness (great but not as good as first; lacked a bit in the character development and storyline – and watching it in 3D was such a waste!)
  • dinner at wild wings with pints of beer on tap.
  • sunday morning wake-up call from chaeli.
  • made egg-n-hole for everyone.
  • went to parents’ place for afternoon swim, followed by father’s day dinner (plus birthday cake to celebrate doug’s birthday).

i think doug’s favourite part of the weekend was sunday morning, after chaeli jumped in our bed with what she made doug for father’s day. i heard him sigh and said, “this is cool – everyone’s here. what a great way to start the day!”

pre-mother’s day celebration

like last year’s mother’s day weekend, doug had to work today. so i decided to do some type of mother-daughter thing again with chaeli.

it’s been a very long time since we returned to one of my childhood haunts, silver snail, and in fact, the last time i was there was at their old, orginal location with chaeli. she was quite young at the time. the visit was also very short – not knowing how to read (or the importance of the comic book world and superheros), she wasn’t that interested in what the store had to offer.

but she’s twice the age as that last time. and she now totally gets the whole superhero universe. so, after sleeping in, stretching out with some gentle, vinyasa yoga, we drove to the library to drop up some books and pick up ones that were on hold, then drove to the subway station to take the tube downtown.

first, we stopped at mr. greenjeans for lunch where i fulfilled my craving for a light, seared, tuna sandwich (sushi grade so kept nicely rare inside). then out to the streets we went where it didn’t take long to find the new location of my beloved comic book store.

mr greenjeans

waiting for fries!

unlike the last time, chaeli was totally mesmerized. she went right to the newly released section and started to flip through a comic book right away. i took a photo of her (below) to email to right there and then.

silver snails comic book store

a geek in training

she ended buying five teen titan comics and well, i have to admit that i miss the old pricing from back when i was her age. at an average of $3.50 per comic book, i was looking at close to $20 for those five after tax!

we also looked around at all the toys hanging on the walls. we stopped at a miniature gremlim.

“what’s that?” she asked.

“oh… it’s a gremlin,” i answered with nostalgia, “it’s from this movie from when i was your age… they stay cute like this but turn into that if you don’t take care of it properly.” i said this last part while pointing to the evil gremiln at the bottom row.

“what do you meant?” what do you do to turn it into that?”

“umm… don’t feed it? or something like that…. no water… or light… i think it’s that you can’t feed it…”

“don’t feed it after midnight,” one of the young, male store employees interjected.

“that’s right… you can’t feed it after midnight! thank you!” and to myself, i’m thinking, how does this guy now? he wasn’t even born when the movie came out!

but it didn’t stop there. store employee girl #1 said, “you can’t get them wet or they will multiply…” and store employee girl #2 added, “and they don’t like like – it hurts them.”

then the two girls went into a discussion about how the light kills them but the first girl said that it only hurts them. yet, apparently as explained by girl #2, in the sequel, it kills them.

at this point, i’m thinking, there was a 2nd movie?

and these people are all half my age.

at the same time, their friendliness, willing to help and total geek-like nature made me just love them all! while my knowledge about all things 80’s-geek is a bit rusty, i had this feeling that i was right at home.

[note to my friend, B: if you ever go to silver snails don’t ever admit you have no idea what a flux capacitor is! you’ll make the entire place fall into a deep silence. they might have to ask you to leave the store.]

it was a very cool little adventure with my little miss. she’s reading her very first comic book now. and is already asking when we’ll be going back for more.