Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Friday, March 22, 2013

so much has happened

Hi again. Remember me?

In the time since I last wrote, Dan and I walked into a furniture store and I noticed the "Office Help Wanted" sign. I inquired, thinking not much of it, but the lady was very interested and had me fill out a three-line application form and didn't need to see a resume. I came in a few days later for an interview and all of a sudden I am working four days a week processing payments for furniture. It happened so fast! It's not exactly what I was after but it will do for now. Everyone is nice and we did get some furniture.

The store is selling off all their used furniture and only going to sell new from now on, so there was a steep discount on these pieces. Out of the three yellow sofas on display, we took two of them. I was so delighted! The big octagonal coffee table will have its bamboo middle removed and Dan has ideas for something artistic in the future.

So I'm working mostly 10-6 shifts, and on my off days, it seems, I have to stay at home and wait around for tradespeople to come. We don't have internet at home yet (how much will it cost?) so I haven't had a chance to bring my laptop to the brewery to use the WiFi until today, and it means that I have also been out of touch. I've started receiving messages from people "Hey I haven't heard from you what's happening?" so I'm very sorry.

With two new-to-us sofas (for a total of three) and our two camping chairs, we had barely enough seating for the 12 guests we had over for St. Patrick's Day last weekend. Dan made two kinds of corned beef, boiled cabbage, and a vegan chili. I made the Kale and Brussels sprouts salad that my friend introduced me to last year, and a focaccia that, in the last few minutes, got burned.

 Dan bought dried ancho chiles, soaked them, peeled the skins, macerated them, and they became the base for the vegan chili.

Toasted almonds for the salad. 

 Two bunches of kale and a bag of Brussels sprouts all chopped up!

 Mixed together. I didn't have a salad bowl big enough so I used the top of my Tupperware cake taker!

 Rutabega, turnip, beets and carrots roasted for the chili

Roasting vegetables and the corned beef, which eventually became pastrami!

I made the focaccia recipe from the rebar cookbook for the first time. (Seriously - every foodie in Victoria who is or knows vegetarians or vegans has this in their kitchen - it is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it!) and it was going well (I'm still getting used to baking in a gas range) until the last few minutes when, it looked almost done and Dan suggested we put it on broil for 30 seconds, I went upstairs and he forgot about it and...

We reseasoned the top and by the end of the night it was mostly gone, so I know I'll have to make it again!

I had made some decorations for our party but I didn't get them finished - I knitted up a bunch of shamrocks and was going to string them up but just ran out of time. We at least had green napkins and dishes. The invitees were basically brewery staff and a few significant others. It was lovely to have everyone over! I do love to entertain. Sam hid upstairs all night, of course, not being fond of more than say two people at a time. We are still eating the leftovers and I am looking forward to hosting our next event. Maybe next time we will have a dining table and chairs!

This is the built in bookshelf in the sun room in the southeast corner of the house. It is quite a lovely room and it will eventually be full of plants. Each day I have a day off, I do a bit of painting, it looks like each of the four colors will take three coats. Since it looks like I'll be working quite a lot in the next while, this will probably not be complete for another two weeks or so. I sure am happy with it!

I have also been planting seeds left and right. Every container I can find gets filled with potting soil and seeds. I bought a bunch of seeds from a local distributor when I first got here. Then two new friends gave me a bunch of their seeds. Today I found some more (cheap!) seeds at the hardware store.

These seeds are from The Skipper, who gave them to me just before I left Vancouver Island. I have hundreds more to plant and the space to do it! It's been really cold here, like below freezing at least every third night, so I'm glad that I haven't been able to plant anything outside yet. I need rather a lot of infrastructure before I can do anything with this massive yard, but it seems full of flowers that look like snowdrops just now so both Dan and I are reluctant do mess with it. We will definitely need at least a dozen yards of topsoil, spent grain, manure, and any other inputs I can manage. I'll be building a three-bin compost system much like the one I had in East Sooke - made of pallets and chicken wire - but more structurally sound. I even bought myself a hammer today! I lugged a 40-pound bag of potting soil home from the hardware store, six blocks from the house. I figured I had been lifting 55-pound bags of concrete all fall and winter, surely I could manage this.

The truck is still without a clutch. The place that will fix it was busy with an engine rebuild, and poor Dan just hasn't had time to go talk to the guys to book the truck in. Once it is again drivable, I can do things like go grocery shopping or drive to further locales for interviews. I also still need a NC driver's license, but that seems to be a complicated issue (a driver has to have insurance before they can get a DL) and all these things take time that we are having a hard time finding right now.

Oh this is important. We have been so far rather disappointed with the Asian food out here. Last week Dan had to drive to Hickory (four hours away) to drop off some beer for a festival next month, and because it was my day off, I went with him. On the way back we stopped in Raleigh to go to Whole Foods for ingredients for our party. Lo and behold! There was a yarn store next door! Of course we went in to Great Yarns, Dan bought some yarn so each of us could have a new pair of socks - the socks for me will match the burnt orange shirt Dan's mum gave me for Christmas! We admittedly went a little crazy in Whole Foods, it sure was fun. I sure do miss having a good bulk foods section!

While in Raleigh, we went to the Guitar Center so Dan could look at stringed instruments. While we were there we were approached by this creepy guy who was trying really hard to make conversation with us (OH YOU'RE FROM CANADA DON'T THEY HAVE CARIBOU IN CANADA) and eventually Dan said "I'm going to go look at banjos", to which the guy invited us to his church even though we told him we don't live in Raleigh. Dan played his "I'm Jewish" card even before I had a chance to think of a reply and away we went. Nobody around here knows how to respond to Jewish people it seems. I wanted so say "Dude, that's creepy!"

So that put us in a bit of a sour mood, and we needed dinner. Dan said "I don't know, how about Vietnamese?" I looked in my Google Maps on my phone and sure enough, there was Pho Cali across the street! We pulled into the parking lot and it was a Vietnamese food lover's paradise - right next to the restaurant there was a Vietnamese grocery. We were SO happy, we walked in and felt like we were at home! We went a little crazy there too. It was good. We have three kinds of sweet chili sauce now. :-) We put the groceries away and went to Pho Cali. It reeked of old cigarettes and urine, but the service was so quirky and friendly, it looked like it was going to be good. It was. In fact, we declared it better than Pho Vy in Victoria, and it was, for me, the best pho I had ever had. So that made us really happy.

That's my newsy longish post just for you on the eve of my birthday, and I have to work tomorrow. I had a shoutout from Louise on the Caithness Craft Collective podcast recently, thank you for your kind words Louise! I must admit that despite feeling like there are not enough hours in the day and feeling stressed out about all kinds of things, at the end of the day I am happy that I get to be in the same room as My Sweety. That was all I wanted for twenty months, what more could I ask for?

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