Home, sweet home

Our plane landed in Toronto at 11:30 yesterday evening, and we arrived back in Montreal just under 24 hours later.

Although more detailed posts will follow, I just wanted to start out by saying that it's good to be home. In the past 24 hours I have:

- drunk numerable glasses of unadulterated tap water, and used it to brush my teeth;
- eaten produce that had not been soaked for 20 minutes in a disinfectant solution;
- carried on a whole conversation with a perfect stranger in a language I actually speak;
- showered in water that did not smell of sulfur;
- flushed my used toilet paper directly down the toilet, instead of leaving it in a pail.

And it's been very nice.

I don't want any of that to give the impression that I didn't enjoy Guatemala. Quite the contrary, it was fun, relaxing, exciting at times, and overall an excellent experience. I saw, tasted, and experience many new things, and developed at least two new skills of which I am very proud. I also met more of Dave's family and cuddled with some very cute dogs.

I think two weeks was the perfect length for this vacation. I wasn't sick of Guatemala when we left, but I am definitely happy to be home, and looking forward to getting back to work.




I'll be in Guatemala for the next two weeks, and won't have internet access for most, if not all, of that time.

If I don't respond to emails, comment on blogs, or post here, that's why.

I'm excited and nervous as hell, and just hoping my allergies are better there than they are here (I would say they can't be worse, but experience tells me that's just not true). I'll post pictures and exciting stories when I get home.


Cleanliness is next to...

Flohdot is living with me for the next couple of weeks. She got here late Monday night, and the first thing she did Tuesday morning was start helping me clean.

We decluttered together, then she vacuumed the bajeezus out of the place and decluttered some more while I was working. She also bought groceries and made me dinner and today I mopped.

Floh stated reason for doing this was that she'd just spent two months in Costa Rica, where her parents have maids, and she was itching to do some housework, but we both know that the real reason was that she couldn't stand to live in the disaster area I had allowed my apartment to become.

Regardless of the reasons, the place now looks great. Not perfect, but much better than it was.

Danke vielmal, Flöchen. Ich habe dich viele Liebe.


Rain! Sweet rain! My vegetable garden can grow, the heat can break...
Oh, how I love the rain.


I dreamed of my maternal grandfather last night.
In my dream I was still in bed, with my sister, in the basement of my parents' house. My mother came downstairs and told me that grandad was visiting. She told me that he was going to drive her to work, but that if I got up I could see him once he got back.

After she left I got up. I was cold, but I only wrapped myself in a sarong, and I went out to the garage to wait for him. Before long he arrived. I watched him turning the steering wheel as he manuevered the car into the garage. He got out of the car and said "Hello, dear" just like he always did. I said hello back and got up to hug him. I commented to him that he hadn't visited us in several years, and he said yes.

His arms had strength as he wrapped them around me, and in my arms he felt fuller than he used to. He was thin, he always has been, but he didn't feel like he'd snap in half if I hugged him too hard. He told me I looked tired and asked if I'd like a cup of coffee. I said yes. We both headed back into the house, him to the kitchen to make coffee and me to the basement to get dressed.

Then my alarm went off and I started to wake up for real. I put a shirt on and headed for the kitchen. Still half asleep, I half expected grandad to be there with coffee for me, and eggs poaching on the stove.

Once I reached my kitchen the sight of it woke me up the rest of the way. It wasn't my parents' kitchen in Toronto, it was my own kitchen in my apartment in Montreal. And then I remembered. I remembered why the strength of his arms had surprised me, why the fullness of his shoulders had seemed so odd.

I remembered why it's been so long since I've seen him.

It was a good dream, though, and I feel more peaceful than sad. It was nice to have one more chance to say goodbye.


Wanna See a Wet Pussy?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Again via Bitch Ph.D., the flying cats take a bath.

All together now: Awwwwwwwwww.

Doing 43 Things

Dave pointed me to the 43 Things website today. It's kind of a cool concept, you create a list of up to 43 goals, not day to day goals like doing dishes, but bigger goals, like finishing a degree or eating better, and then you can be in touch with other people with the same or similar goals, and you can post entries about how the goal is going, and you can check it off with a sense of accomplishment once you've done it. I'm very excited. These are my goals:

  1. learn to drive

  2. become a paramedic

  3. meditate daily

  4. eat well

  5. get in shape

  6. live simply

  7. have a farm

  8. live off the grid

  9. grow my own food

  10. eat organic food only

  11. go hang-gliding

  12. see the aurora borealis

  13. hike from the Italian Dolomites to the Austrian alps

  14. visit a 3rd world country

  15. save a life

  16. speak French fluently

  17. spin my own yarn

What do you want to do?


I'm Bad At the Cool-Down Period

I've dealt with it twice today. Over the course of yesterday and today, Dave and I made Mushroom and Spinach Stuffed Zucchini from the Low-Fat Moosewood Cookbook. We quadrupled the recipe so that there would be enough for both of us to eat them for lunch all week. Once they came out of the oven this afternoon I had to leave the room and fool myself into thinking I was busy so I wouldn't eat our lunches right away.

Then, this evening, since I have a houseguest coming tomorrow and should be cleaning the apartment, I decided to bake. I made Tracy Jorge's Oatmeal Raisin Bars. They just came out of the oven and they're sitting on the stovetop, cooling. I'm *terrible* at this moment in baking. I hate it every single time I bake. I know that if I don't wait for them to cool properly they won't hold together when I cut them into bars. I know that I'll just burn myself if I try to eat or cut them now. I know that they'll still be yummy and warm, but not scalding, if I can just wait a little bit. But it's SO HARD! The whole apartment smells like yummy and the batter was SOO GOOOD.

These bars are basically butter and sugar with enough oats and flour to hold them together. They use brown and raw cane sugars, rather than white sugar, and I'm kind of curious how that will taste and what kind of difference it will make.

You can listen to the oatmeal rasin bar recipe here or subscribe to The Vegan Cooking School's podcast here.

EDIT/UPDATE: I just wanted to say that creating this post took care of the cooldown period for me, and now I'm eating a bar and it's delicious. (Okay, so I didn't wait quite long enough, since it fell apart as I was taking it out of the pan, but still. I didn't burn myself!)
I also wanted to let you know that the baking time Jorge gives in her podcast (30 - 40 minutes) is way too long. I took these out after 20 minutes and they're already starting to get crispy at the edges.

(Cross-posted at Knife-Wielding Feminists)


Flying Cats!!

Bitch. PhD. links to this amazing slideshow on Flickr

The images are all copyrighted, so I can't show you one here, but Bitch has one on her blog.