Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Crafty Craftersons

A lot of days have gone by since I last blogged. For this I have no excuse, except to say that I am well and truly back on the hamster wheel of life after the Christmas hols (feels funny to type that as they feel so long ago!)

Tonight was the first evening in a long time that I've been home to just chill. Since Stu is out working ce soir, I decided to get to know my new hot glue gun over a pot of tea while watching a rom com. Let me explain - I have been experimenting lately with the wonders of felt which basically means I compulsively visit charity shops to hoke through the old men's jumpers looking for ones of just the right colour, thickness and consistency. I have been following these directions which are just dandy and tonight I made some Julie-Original broaches! I have to say that, apart from the nasty glue gun burn I sustained on my palm, I am well impressed with my bad self! There is a rather exciting motivation behind my recent craftiness which I reveal to the blogosphere in a post coming soon to a computer near you . . .

The only other thing on my radar (apart from the usual of work/church/friends of course) is going away this weekend!! Yes, I know I was just on a three and a half week vacation in snowy Sasky but just never you mind. Stu proved himself to be quite the romantic and spontaneously booked us a trip to lovely Westport to stay here. I am stoked beyond belief, I have to say! Maybe it's just me but it has been a long January and isn't it great to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Let my love open the door

Just in the door from 'Sunday Night at the Cinema' (that sounds something like an actual event but really it's just me and Stu at the movies on a Sunday night . . . ) Anyway, I almost can't tell you how much I enjoyed watching Dan in Real Life. I laughed, I cried . . . I felt real empathy for the characters and it's got a lovely soundtrack as well. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable film and I am a big Steve Carell fan. If you go, let me know what you think.

It's been a good and reasonably long weekend. Yesterday morning, on a colleague's recommendation, we took a jaunt to McKee's Farm Shop for coffee and a browse. The coffee shop was very nice for a cuppa and I'm recommending it to any greater Belfast readers (masses that you are) if you're looking for locally produced fruit and veg or perhaps one of those happy chickens Hugh and Jamie keep going on about. Saturday's Guardian had a very funny comic of a man at a conveyor belt in a factory spraying dirt on carrots in order to improve their sale-ability but I'm on board nonetheless.

As they say, time flies when you're watching movies and drinking coffee and here we are again at Sunday night. Speaking of which, also this weekend I had something of a revelation and resolved to make a concerted effort (and do hold me to this please) to stop wishing my life away because really, life's too short as it is. As such, I look to Monday morning with some sense of anticipation. Yeah, right.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Whatever butters your muffin . . .

Yeah, I know, I know. Where've I been? No real excuse for the non-blogging except the predictable story of struggling to re-adjust myself to 'life as usual' after the lovely and long holiday. I don't really have anything genuine to complain about, so I will spare you my lament about how generally blah January can be . . .

Looking on the bright side, it's Friday night - quite possibly my favourite time of the whole week. To round out the work week and decompress a bit I went to a class at my newly joined fitness club - the club is all classes (which suits me because treadmills are yawnsville) and the instructors are fantastic. They keep you motivated by saying things like 'Whatever butters your muffin . . . ' as you sweat it out. Love that. I went to two back to back classes last Friday night and struggled to raise my arms above shoulder height for the entire weekend but have resolved to continue. It can only improve from there really.

In addition to gyming it a bit more (I know, predictable in January) I am trying to be a bit more organised on the food front and cook lots of delicious and nutritious meals. Tonight we made a scrummy butternut squash and sweet potato curry for our tea. Thanks to my beloved family's yuletide generosity I have a delightful whackload of new cookbooks to crack into - so far this has mostly involved bedtime reading, but it's inspiring stuff! The Barefoot Contessa is my new hero and I was especially inspired to read that at one time she worked for the government. Dare to dream . . .

Monday, January 7, 2008

Tears, tense and taste

Well, we're baaaack . . . I've got that slightly confused feeling tonight after travelling nearly 24 hours from 'home' in Sasky to 'home' in Belfast. After crying my way through significant portions of the three flights (par for the course after saying goodbye to my family at the airport - a routine that is far too familiar) I was feeling pretty tired when we finally returned to our humble abode this afternoon. Thankfully we eventually managed to warm up our little house and while Stu started organising our many many holiday pics onto a Ibook photo album (the coolest thing by the by) I caught a few jet lagged zzz's.

I really shouldn't complain - all in all the journey was snag-free and of course the whole holiday was absolutely wonderful. The Toronto to London flight went by pretty quickly as I was engrossed in a wonderful novel called Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This was recommended to me months ago by the lovely Beth and I don't know why it took me so long to crack it open. Now I'm spreading the word as the story and characters are wonderful. I read the whole thing on the flight!

Somewhere along the way I also stumbled upon this extract of a new book called In Defense of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating by Michael Pollan. I think this is already out in North America and wish I would have bought it when I was home. If the extract is anything to go by, I think this will be a worthwhile read for anyone remotely interested in food and eating (that would pretty much be all of us huh?) Another extract will be published in G2 tomorrow - maybe I will read it on my lunchbreak as I'm BACK TO WORK (shock horror) tomorrow morning!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year (four days late!)

My, my . . . where does the time go? The days just seem to fly by when you're busy busy busy skipping between lunch, coffee and dinner dates! Yes, believe it or not we are still on holiday. My posting has been sporadic during our time at home (despite appearing to be a computer addict I do still actually prefer visiting with friends over blogging!) but Stu has been a much more frequent blogger so if you're just desperate to find out more about what we've been up to, check his blog as well!

But enough about blogging and back to the main purpose of the post . . . Happy New Year to all and hope your celebrations - quiet or rowdy - were fabulous! I must confess that I'm usually of the 'New Year's Eve is over-rated' school of thought (apologies to those who find this perspective irritating!) While in my nostalgic mind few NYE events hold a candle to the great Mafia Party of 1998 ;) but for me NYE 2008 ranks pretty highly. This year was so memorable because we were at the beloved cabin with family. Our stay was a delightful mixture of novel reading in front of the toasty cook stove (I finished The Thirteenth Tale and highly recommend), chilling and chatting with Mom and Dad and Nancy and Matt, playing with the dawgs Cleo and Mable (woo hoo for the dog family) and going for long walks in the powdery snow! Okay, admittedly the actual stroke of midnight found party animals Stu and I sitting in recliners reading but I'm okay with that :)

But NYE has come and gone and we in the Broten house have kept right on partying - well, not really, but we did all get together last night for a 58th birthday soiree to celebrate my dad! Good times were had by all at the slightly chaotic Fuddruckers. In addition to our immediate family and spouses/beau we were joined by Auntie A and Uncle K (party organisers) and the lovely Nico and Jeff. Afterward, nine of us went to see Enchanted. Hey - don't laugh! This was Dad's special request and I am proud to say that I, along with several other members of our entourage, loved it! And yes, in case you're wondering, it certainly helped that Dr McDreamy had a starring role.

Before I sign off I must spare a thought for our friends and family in NI who received 27 centimetres of snow yesterday! I am not sad to be missing that, because something tells me Sasky is slightly better prepared for the white stuff. Enjoy building those snowmen :)