Point #46-Sometimes You Have to Relaunch

29 Dec

And that’s what I am doing. Maintaining a blog with no internet is nearly impossible, and so PfC went on hiatus for a loooong time. We are back, and have some great ideas and goals for the new year. I am working on a book about the PfC concept and stepping up our efforts on the blog.

Point #45- Cornbread Mix is merely the beginning.

4 Aug

Ah, cornbread. You are so delicious and mealy, you are satisfying in even just your texture, let alone your “this could almost be a meal” stick to your ribbedness. I just never think to make you, merely consume you when available through non-me channels. (Including Boston Market, and don’t think I didn’t feel betrayed when I found out what makes theirs so smooth and delicious is one half cornbread mix and one half [gasp!] yellow cake mix!)

I made something so yummy and breathtakingly simple that I had to share it here, and I am sure I am far from original in doing so. Perhaps view this post, fellow non-bakey types, as proof positive that you can make your house smell like a competent homemaker lives in your grimy, cat pee scented hovel where heretofore no baking ever took place. Furthermore, you will make the recipe your own; as you may have figured out, I enjoy turning something mass produced or odd into personalised treasures. Cooking is no exception.

You will need a box of cornbread mix and some stuff. What kind of stuff? Any stuff, really, but my personal muffin hack tonight was to make Southwest Jalapeno Awesome Cornbread Muffins Woot.

This was stupid easy.

Take muffin mix and dump it into bowl. Add milk. Or eggs. Or milk and eggs. Or water. I don’t know. Look at your own cornbread mix box. What does it say to add for liquid? Well, add that. Mine was just milk, which was nice and easy. This part is fun. See what you have lying around. Do you want sweet or savoury? Fruit? Chocolate chips? I decided to go with some diced pickled jalapenos, literally just the Old El Paso brand crap you chuck into shells on Taco Night, and some sun dried tomatoes I have a jar of in my fridge. I wanted to increase the liquid slightly since I find cornbread to a be a tad dry, so instead of increasing the milk, I put about 1/3 of a cup, maybe a bit less, of the jalapeno “juice” from the jar. This made the bread itself taste spicy and flavourful, even if the bite didn’t contain a diced pepper. (warning, if you used fresh peppers, the muffin will be really hot…pickled are better and still pack heat). Into the mix went the diced veggies, and the juice. In addition, I liberally sprinkled some Tex-Mex seasoning, the type meant for stews, soups, meat, etc into the mix and also just a little grated parmesan. I whipped it up real good and filled up about six muffin cups (make sure to line with muffin liner thingies). I would have taken some pictures to share but really is that necessary? and also we ate them all before anyone could get near them with a camera. Picture cornbread muffins with green things in them, and then me looking at a plate, and then a brief but intense flurry of yellow crumbs and then me looking very happy.

They came out amazing. Seriously, they tasted all kinds of awesome and the total prep and cooking time was about 25 minutes. The hubs came home from work and was delighted. He will be less delighted upon waking tomorrow to find that I ate his last one. Whoops.

Point #44-A match made in Disney…

31 Jul

The amount of time that has passed since I last posted is downright embarrassing, but I have semi-good reason: I got married! Now don’t worry…all the groovy crafty things I have been talking about for the wedding were used or will still be used for the upcoming more public nuptials. However, my husband (almost six months on, I am still enjoying saying that) and I decided to take the plunge in a private (sort of) ceremony at (drumroll) Disney World. Furthermore, we decided to make it (descending scale slidewhistle) on the downlow upon Disney’s magnificent (clown horn)…monorail? Yup. You read that correctly, my dear readers: monorail.

I will explain.

We have been planning this wedding in one form or another for ages, seemingly no closer to our goal than when we started. One obstacle or another cropped up, leaving us frustrated and just wanting to get it done. But a trip to City Hall seemed no more appealing. One night, I was having a bad time of things with various drama with family and friends, and was clinging to Josh, knowing that whatever else was going wrong in my life, that I felt secure and complete with him. I looked at him and said, “Can we please just get married soon? We’ll do the big wedding later, let’s just run off and get married.” Without hesitation, he said “When?” “Soon…just…soon.” “Do you want to run away to Disney and get married there?” Now it was my turn to show no hesitation: “Absolutely.”

We decided on a few weeks, just about six, hence so as to be able to plan a tiny honeymoon, or “Minni-moon”-I’m so funny- for the same weekend. We resolved to tell no one save for the extremely few people we were inviting, our families, and a select number of others. Those select others were really for practical purposes, so in essence, no one knew leading up to the big day. We teased what was to come in the form of an ambiguous countdown that wasn’t really a countdown and the occasional monorail reference. This included a clip of The Simpsons singing the Monorail Song…this song remains embedded in my brain to this day when I go on the monorail.

Oh yes…the monorail.

The discussion naturally came up as to where this lovely event would take place. I won’t lie. This was not an “authorised” happening. Look, weddings at the Diz are wonderful and magical and awesome and can easily cost more than a house. Even the little getaway type weddings start at five large and that was for about the number of guests we were looking at…so a thousand dollars a guest. I don’t like anyone, including myself, that much. Given the whole point of the venture was to save money, I couldn’t see it. And here is the plain truth: I drop a lot of money at the House of Mouse and the annual pass we ended up getting (more on that later), I think made it worthwhile to them. They didn’t have to do anything, and we dropped cash the whole weekend. Win/win. So with our need to be covert in mind, where to have the very short, non-intrusive ceremony? The beach at the Polynesian was discussed and was pretty much the plan initially. Beautiful, romantic, bar nearby, and of course the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom. Perfect. We would just need to find a sufficiently secluded spot so as not to be marched to Disney jail in the process. We would never escape.

**Edit for the benefit of some of the people who have commented on other forums about this *coughDISBoardscough* This is a humour blog and I exaggerate for the sake of comedic effect. I did not think we would be thrown into any pokey, Disney or otherwise. We actually got the lay of the land before doing this, and given that we selected a place that was not where official Disney weddings would take place, there was no problem with us doing this. **

We planned and planned and still my worries about doing this on the beach persisted. I truly didn’t want to disturb anyone or cause a fuss; I just wanted to get married discreetly. I was on the verge of saying, let’s just get married in the room of our off-site hotel and then enjoy the Minni-moon at the parks the next two days. Then Josh had a brainstorm. He fully expected to be shut down and me utterly poo-poo the idea, but he greatly underestimated my desire to be weird.

What if we just got all dolled up and sidled onto the monorail to Epcot? Do it early enough and we could still hit the bar at the Poly for a drink and the fireworks, and then head to Atlantic Dancehall for our “reception”? Not only was this idea a) less intrusive for hotel guests and b) less likely to cause the aforementioned toss into the Disney pokey, but also c) wicked freakin’cool! Who gets married on the monorail? We do, suckas.

The day arrived and after the flurry of getting ready and making our way to the Polynesian to park (ssh, don’t tell) to walk to the TTC (during which my bozo friends and soon-to-be-husband kept singing the Monorail Song), we assembled at the monorail station to wait for our mobile chapel to arrive. We JUST missed the infamous “TRONorail” (one monorail adwrapped to advertise the new TRON movie), but that was ok. Monorail Yellow rolled up about five or ten minutes later; I could tell the wait was a little nervewracking for Josh, who, unlike me, has never been married before. We got a few congratulations from monorail cast members at the platform seeing our very obviously celebratory clothing. I wore a purple Renaissance festival type dress, my hair in twin buns, each adorned with a tiny tiara, ribbons trailing behind, and held a handmade bouquet made of sheet music. Josh wore a purple button down shirt, with a matching boutonniere. We accepted the congratulations without further commentary, not mentioning that we were about to do the deed on their monorail.

All prettied up!

Getting ready together and a jump start on the smooch.

We all scrambled into a car, and our friends, including our friend Joy, who is both a ULC minister, as well as a minister of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude (I swear I am not making this up), all got places on the bench seat while we took places standing in front of them, holding onto the poles so our married life did not begin with us tumbled in an undignified fashion on the floor. We had been concerned about the sound in the car, and I had planned to do the deed during a stretch where the “monorail spiel” goes quiet for about 4-5 minutes. We were pleasantly surprised to hear that the speaker was uncharacteristically out and so the volume was low enough that we could be heard over it.

The ceremony itself was the most basic, straightforward one I could find…with a few additions. We vowed to love, honour, and cherish each other, taking each other’s hands and standing clear of the doors as long as we both lived. After Joy pronounced us husband and wife, by the power vested in her by the state of Florida and Mickey Mouse, we had the traditional kiss…to the enormous cheers of the other monorail riders. I foolishly thought we were still managing to be discreet, but apparently even in a loud, crowded monorail, the words “Dearly beloved” and the presence of a bouquet is enough to make ears perk up and heads swivel. The rest of the ride was spent giggling and hugging, and trying to remember every little detail as we zipped along the track. We circled Epcot and then got off at the station. Amid congratulations and smiles, we wandered around the monorail station, taking the opportunity to change our Facebook status on our phones (beginning a flurry of “WHAT THE….??????”s on our Walls. After travelling back to the TTC, it was a quick restroom break, a photo op or two, and then back to the Polynesian where we signed the marriage certificate, had a drink, and settled in to watch the fireworks. Those fireworks will forever be associated with that day for me. My new husband made a beautiful toast to the four friends who were with us, and we headed over to Disney’s Boardwalk to grab some food and party at the Atlantic Dancehall. Josh went over to the bakery and grabbed a tiny cheesecake to serve as the world’s most wee wedding cake. We even sliced it bridal style and flicked a little icing at each other. The drinks at the Dancehall were relatively cheap and strong (like me!) and the music was awesome, which is too say “bad”, but in the best possible way (“OMG! It’s Ke$ha! WOOOOOO!”). I made the huge mistake of telling Josh to pick our first song; he asked the DJ to pick the cheesiest 80s song he could find, so our official first song was “Girl, You Know It’s True”. This was not ok. 🙂 Thank God we had already unofficially danced to “Say Hey (I Love You)”.

Exchanging vows on the highway in the sky.

Cutting the cake.

We partied for a few hours before returning to our cheapie hotel and getting some rest before our wonderful Minni-moon that weekend. The adventure was just beginning…

For more pictures, go here.

Point #43-Grindhouse

17 Jan

I don’t know if it is a sickness or a sign of sheer Optimus Woot-itude (when my dreams of becoming a super hero come to fruition, my name shall be Optimus Woot) that I can scarcely look at a piece of plastic without picturing what I might be able to do with it. Whenever I buy a new pepper grinder, the grinder part is covered with a plastic cap. These little incidental pieces off of every day food packaging fall under two categories in my head: very disposable and too substantial to be accidental, usually as a result of their shape and the material out of which it is made. It isn’t to say the the very disposable isn’t useful; anyone tying up a tomater plant with a stray twist tie or occupying a kitty cat with a milk jug ring can attest to that. But some of these little treasures just scream to be used for something. This pepper grinder cap is just such a substantial piece and I am sure that my endless staring at it in lieu of doing the dishes would have been amusing to any onlookers. Of course, I will do just about anything in lieu of doing the dishes, including self dentistry. Stare stare stare stare. What can I use this thingie for? As it has a nice little shallow rim and a convenient little tab sticking out of one side, it does sort of cry out “I am pendant waiting to happen!” I want to think of something truly awesome for it, though.

Which has me thinking. I really suck at crafts. I do. I am not a master sewer, knitter, crocheter, or painter. I do not excel at cross stitch, watercolour, bead weaving, or collage. I do not make dolls, use pastels, or sculpt. My rubber stamping looks like something monkeys would do. What I do is take a lot of crap that any rational sane person would take one look at and toss into the trash with a carefree flourish and try to figure out what I can do to make it useful or pretty. The more lowly any item is to start, the prouder and more satisfied I am with the outcome. I almost feel like I am cheating to start with actual raw craft supplies.

Monocle!!!! That’s what I should make out of it! I will be so awesomely steampunk with my pepper grinder monocle! Ok, maybe I need to stop drinking coffee.

Point #42- You Can Learn a Lot of Things From the Flowers

16 Jan

These flowers sing, yo.

This is one of the few “wedding crafts” I actually have completed and I thought I would share. Things are coming together pretty piecemeal, which is good considering we have no official date set for the shindig yet. But when the mood strikes me, I do whatever I feel like doing, much like life in general, and so here, view with amazement and wonder my musically themed roses.

Music is very important to me, and to my fiance’, and when I determined that I do not want the hassle of fresh flowers, nor the potential mess of dried/preserved ones, I chose to eschew the silk route and go with something a bit different. I have seen lovely tutorials for sheet music roses before, and as I often do, I gave it my own touch and created a very simple bouquet that is utterly and completely me. The only thing that would be more apropos would be if I could toot the damn thing like a clown horn and frankly there is still time.

Here is the basic rose tutorial. I just added a touch of paint to mine, lightly so as not to lose the obvious sheet music awesomeness of the roses. I used coral and light copper paints on three of them, and a darker copper wash on two, with a soft gold shimmer over all. First I painted them the desired colours, and then went outside and sprayed them down with a clear coat of spray paint. Then I swore blue buckets as the wind whipped the spray paint merrily into my eyes. Then I went inside and got annoyed with Josh for proposing to me and thus causing me to make roses and thus spray myself in the eyes. Whipped some floral tape around the scrawny little copper stems on which the roses are wrapped, wrapped all five stems together and piccolo! a bouquet! I wrapped the resulting single stem with a very pretty sage green satin ribbon and secured it with tiny sequin pins. A few more purple and green ribbons tied around the top of the stem and I have no more stupid bouquet to worry about. Well played, me.




These things would kick the crap outta Alice. I got ninja flowers.

***This post is part of The CraftyChica’s Valentine’s Day linky party!***

Point #41- Death Be Not Proud…nor remotely reverent.

11 Jan

It has been a month since my fiance lost his father, since the call that after a certain age, I think we are biologically programmed to know we will receive, but end up never being fully prepared for. It came without warning, on the heels of the good news that I was employed once more. Our phone was out at the time, and we had to travel the short drive to my sister’s home to call the cousin that had emailed Josh, telling him to call her…it was urgent.

We’ve all lost someone; there is no need to rehash the details of something that everyone has or will one day share. What struck me then, and continues to strike me weeks later, are the reactions of the people around me, including my own and Josh’s. Little things that I take out of my memory and look at like a morbid little mini scrapbook, with pictures of love and smartassery on the pages. The gentlemen involved got all manfully annoyed at me for making a big deal of it, but when our good friend Demko arrived at a graduation party we attended the next night, he put his arm around Josh and Josh hugged him back, and for a moment Josh laid his head, just for a second or two, on Demko’s shoulder, in a way that men never do when things are fine and good and fart jokes are more appropriate. I squeed aloud and made a joke about hetero man love and the boys got all hurrumphy and told me to stop making a big deal of it, but it was one of the most touching things I had seen in a long time.

My family are extremely irreverent about sickness, death, and dying. Through three grandparents deaths from stroke, cancer, and just plain antiquity, we have made every inappropriate joke you can think of. My mother’s diabetes has offered up reams of humourous material, including my calling her “Helen Keller” when, in addition to being blind as a mole, she was having trouble hearing me one day. During a stint in the ICU a few years aback, the nurses looked on, aghast, as my fascinated sister and I made my mother laugh because it “made the monitors jump like she was coding”. Hilarious!

When Josh and his cousins started talking about the plan to send his dad’s ashes down here, the inevitable coffee can jokes began. He wished to be spread in a canyon in California (real convenient, Mike!) and I immediately mock worried that we would inadvertently recreate the scene towards the end of The Big Lebowski where the ashes fly at Jeff Bridges’ face. “Don’t accidentally make coffee out of him”, I also joked to Josh. And Josh got it, and ran with it, and there was some back and forth along the lines of the best part of waking up was not Dad in your cup, or some such. Totally not acceptable, but it worked for us.

The most recent episode of How I Met Your Mother featured the death of one of the lead character’s dads, the emotions of disbelief and horror excruciatingly and realistically rendered by the actors. I saw the rather twist-y ending coming not three seconds before Josh did, and I lunged to turn off the tv before the scene played out. Josh stopped me and insisted he was fine. I think I cried more then then I did at any other point after he got the news. I won’t try to analyse why. Josh’s dad and I didn’t always get along well, but he gave me Josh, and Josh loved him dearly, and when his remains arrive on our doorstep, I am going to hug that coffee can to me and tell him I that I think, in his own slightly bumbling way, that he was good to the very last drop.

Point #40- That’s Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man

6 Jan

Ah, New Year’s Eve. The chance to tie one on and look like an utter ass with little to no consequences, provided you steer clear of making out with your boss’ wife or urinating on anyone. The festive night usually finds my fiance’ and me at the home of some dear friends who hold this party every year. This year held a twist. After dressing as The Dude for Halloween, Shelley was inspired to hold a Big Lebowski themed party complete with costumes, with a prize to the best one. Which is how I ended up on the mean streets of Tampa Bay on New Year’s Eve, dressed as a rug.

For Josh, it was easy, he knew he wanted to dress as Marty the weirdo dancing landlord. He had a very brief thought towards the standards: Walter, the Dude-but he kept coming back to a costume that no matter what, was going to require me to wrap him in leaves. I found it more difficult, having only seen the film once and remembering very little about its female characters, the vapid and little seen Bunnie and the marginally more interesting, but not remotely like me Maude. Just to be a smart ass, I said, “Heh, I will go as the rug.” Note to Me: never say smartassed things in front of my fiance’, for he will happily run with said idea like a switched mustang. I was all for this idea, but had no idea how to really make it happen.

I should probably let the pictures do the talking. I haven’t done a whole lot of pictures of myself here, but I will make an exception for this, I think.

First Josh:

With the bottle of Kahlua he, spoiler alert, won for best costume. He even did the interpretive dance.

And then there was me:

I particularly like the Death Ray Eye Cat in the background readying his lasorz.

My costume consisted of interpreting broadly the concept of an Oriental rug. I wore a Chinese style cut dress, with my hair up and tied with some fringe (like a rug, natch) and then a bathmat cut into two pieces that I then wore like some fuzzy pink horrible loincloth. Jessie Fuzzbutt of the Martha Stewart At Home tribe, just call me. I guess I looked like a rug personified. Or I just looked like a terribly non-politically correct mess, especially given my quasi-Geisha girl makeup. In any case, it was well received, particularly the final touch, in order to, as the rug did in the film, “tie the room together”, I carried a roll of bondage tape.

Heh heh…f***in’ A.

Point #39- Why Living with Me Sucks.

3 Jan

The events about which you are about to read happened one random morning, but are representative of any given morning in my household. I had the sudden, urgent need to share them here.

I have awoken. My fiance, Josh, is still lightly sleeping next to me. I am bored.

Me: ::flops teddy bear arm over Josh’s face::
Josh: ::sleeps::
Me: ::places arm more firmly over nose::
Josh: ::opens one eye, visible over furry bear arm::
Me: Heehee.
Josh: Stop that. ::mildly, for he is used to this::
Me: Hello. ::moves bear arm firmly over mouth and nose::
Josh: ::moving arm:: Stop smothering me.

A small tussle ensues wherein Josh moves bear arm, and I replace it, only to have Josh tuck bear arm tightly under his head with a slight “Ah HA!” flourish. After a moment or two, I simply flip entire bear onto his face.

Josh: ::giggling a little:: STOP IT! You’re smothering me.
Me: ::exerts more pressure::
Josh: Your sense of humour manifests itself weirdly.
Me: How is that?
Josh: You’re trying to kill me.
Me: Don’t be silly, I would stop before you die.

Bear is removed and there is peace for a few moments. I cannot have this. And so I start poking my finger into the edge of Josh’s nose. He groans irritatedly and flops over onto his side, little spoon fashion, upon which I start fluttering my fingers at his ear. He squirms and says, “Stooooop iiiiitt!” I take pity on him for a short while. Then I get over that.

Me: ::hugging him tightly:: My lil spoon.
Josh: ::suspicious, but enjoying hug::

Under the covers, I very lightly tickle his tummy, where he goes berserk and starts squirming madly. I have, in the past, managed to squirm him off the bed with this.

Josh: Stop TICKLING ME!!!
Me: Don’t be silly. This is simply an early morning ritual of advanced yoga moves for the hands.
Josh: You’re full of shit.
Me: No, dude, there’s a book, called Yoga for the Hands.
Josh: I believe that. I don’t believe that is what you are doing.

A pause. I have stopped tickling him and have my fingers up by his ear again. I flutter my fingers at his ear once more.

Me: This one is Fluttering Moths.
Josh: AHHHHH! Stop!
Me: ::stops:: ::long pause:: ::places finger directly into ear::
Me: Piercing Arrow.
Josh: :;appears dangerously close to forcibly locking me in closet for the rest of day::

I subside. But I will return with my Fluttering Moths of Doom and Piercing Arrow of Annoyance.

Point #38-No Place Like Gnome

2 Jan

I am going to go out on a bold and daring limb here.

Buy gnomes.

You know…garden gnomes. I think gnomes are going to be big this year, mostly because I have become mildly enamoured of them and am willing them into popularity with the power of my brain darts. They are fun, easy to personalise, and can be found for a song at yard sales and thrift stores. I found several at a yard sale recently and went to town making them a bit weird for the enjoyment and “WTF?”-ery of others. For my West Indian father, I painted a gnome as a tourist visiting our home island of St. Vincent, complete with tropical printed overalls and a gnome hat painted with the Vincy flag. The end result was a certain something that art critics the world over have dubbed “tacky” and “odd”. I take great delight in this being in my dad’s yard. He and his girlfriend seemed to enjoy the off-putting charm of it, though, and that is all that matters. Another gnome has gotten the Steelers treatment, complete with eye blacking and wielding a large hoe. Haha! That must be a Ben Roethisberger gnome, amirite? *fist bump left hanging*

I think that there is a lot of scope for imagination with gnomes, as well as other plaster critters and folk. My niece found a little ceramic bunny at a thrift store once that, well, it could only be described as “possessed by demon lords from the depths of Hell”. It appeared to have been painted for a young child’s room. I am assuming Rosemary’s Baby. My niece (thirteen years old and charmingly morbid) decided this little gem was just terrifying enough to make…more terrifying. On Thanksgiving, a holiday, of course, traditionally marked by the giving and receiving of horrifying statuettes, she bestowed upon me her completed efforts: a vampire bunny in full bloody rage, blood on teeth and paws and with bits of brain and stitching scattered on his Gothically ruined body. *sniffle* The psychotic little nippers grow up so fast, don’t they?

Thus, I recommend that you wander the aisles of your local thrift store for whatever strange little creature you can and see what you can make of it. It fact, just now, I have decided I want see them. How’s that for spontaneous? Let’s get an informal little linky party going here. Link back in the comments to your best thrift store creature redux. Scary or sweet, silly or artistic, I want to see what you can do with that creepy ceramic cat. Post your creation by January 16th and I will select a winner. The prize will be awesome. It will look stunning in your garden.

Point #37- A Boot Up My Rear

2 Jan

Which is what it will most likely take in order for me to me productive again.


Long time no see.

After several months of some pretty difficult experiences that have kept me away from anything remotely creative, I have some solid goals for the New Year, including starting a podcast, committing to a new post each week, and getting in some guest authors to the blog.

Oh, yeah, and I am going to make stuff.