Maine or bust!

Friday, July 12, 2013


I got a bit tired of the lack of functionality here on Blogger/Blogspot, so I moved my blog over to Wordpress! You can now find Blue Ceramic Mug over here! Don't forget to update your bookmarks or RSS feeds!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Decompressing from vacation...

I was away in Chicago the last week and a half. It was lovely, but stressful. You see, I drove my own car (a 2006 Chevy Aveo) instead of the ex's larger, more comfortable car (2005 Toyota Corolla CE). I normally take his car on road trips because it's more comfortable for the kids, and we can fit more crap into it. But my car needed its brakes replaced, and car parts are WAY cheaper stateside, especially when you have a handy mechanically-inclined boyfriend who is willing to do labor for sexual favors ;)

We ordered the brakes. Then he took a peek under the car because it was making a weird grinding sound - which I told him about back in March! Said my struts were finished, and the sway-bar links didn't look too good either. So we trekked out to Autozone to get parts. He and his best friend got the struts and links replaced, but the grinding noise continued. The brakes never arrived, and when we checked online, it appeared that never even registered the order I watched him place with my own two eyes. *sigh* So off to Autozone again for parts. Brake pads and rotors replaced, the wheel bearings seemed fine, but the grinding noise and extreme vibration continued. So... the car stayed in Chicago, and we came home :(  At this point, it's likely that something in the drive shaft is to blame, since it doesn't seem to be the wheels or suspension. That's a bit more complicated (and expensive) to fix. So I kind of feel like I'm left with this:

Poor Rob was so concerned that I'd have trouble at work (and to be fair, my boss scheduled what looked like a very important meeting for me on Monday afternoon) so he actually drove through the night on Sunday night to get me to work for the meeting - and to get Skye to her one-week CSI camp on time. He spent most of yesterday sleeping at my house while I was at work, and then last night he took off to drive back home. That's roughly 28 hours of driving in a 36-hour period. Two hours after he left last night, I discovered that the 401 through Toronto looked like this:

*ahem* slight freak-out there, since Rob was halfway between my house and THAT. I did finally manage to reach him and tell him to detour or turn back. He detoured onto the 407 and that was fine since it's a bit elevated and was somewhat removed from the extensive flooding going on in the GTA. Ask me if I managed to sleep a wink until he was safely out the other side of this though!

We did have some fun in Chicago though. I filled his freezer with most of the usual suspects. He got a batch of seafood pasta sauce (which I sadly ruined half of by forgetting to turn the stove off after serving it for dinner - this, kids, is why we don't cook while sedated); a batch of spaghetti sauce, probably my best ever; a batch of chili which was also pretty tasty; a lasagna (again, my best yet) and some matzo ball soup. I need to remember to adjust the amount of matzo meal if I use club soda instead of water, because half my matzo balls disintegrated into the soup, but it was pretty good nonetheless. We had matzo ball soup and lasagna for lunch the day Steve came to help Rob with the car :) The freezer is now well filled and I'm looking forward to my next visit being spent entirely outside of the kitchen!

We ate at Pizzaria Due (the original home of deep dish pizza!). We went to Illinois Beach State Park, which is a few miles from Rob's house:

I don't mind telling you that the water was so damn cold that I only made it in about half-way up my calves and I couldn't feel my legs anymore. Skye actually got all the way in the water! Nuts.

We also went here:

That would be the Field Museum of Natural History. It was a lot of fun. We only got to see about 1/4 of the museum, but it was well worth it, and we will go back to see more another time!

We were there for nine days, so what all else did we do? We worked on the car. ARGH. Next time I bring the kids, I'm going to work up a tentative schedule so we can get more fun stuff in and less hemming and hawing around the house trying to figure out what we're going to do that day ;)

So now that we've had all this fun and stress, I think it's time to relax a bit, regroup and slowly start getting things in order again. To get out of the rut of stressed, poorly planned travel, I'm going to start concentrating on getting to Maine :) I've mentioned the deal Rob made with me about going to Kennebunkport if I reach a certain weight. In the coming days and weeks, there will be further discussion of this. But for now, I will simply mention that it's 659km to the resort from my house ;) Stay tuned!

If you are so inclined, feel free to share a nightmare travel story in the comments! I have a few more I will probably type up in the near future. I VERY BRIEFLY met with a friend while in Chicago that I hadn't seen for a couple of years, and he reminded me of my very worst trip ever. :) Thanks, Steven!

Monday, June 24, 2013


I've been away for almost two weeks again, but I haven't had much energy for blogging lately. First a rather lengthy battle with strep throat, and then fun with a lymph node infection. I slept a lot. And had two different types of antibiotics. My stomach is still trying to get back on track.

Last weekend, Kari and I made some strawberry rhubarb jam and some plain strawberry jam, both from the Bernardin Guide to Home Canning book (circa 2009 I think?). I didn't use nearly as much sugar as the recipes called for, nor did I take any pictures. I was pretty wiped out by the time we got around to the jam-making, and I just wanted to get it done and go home.

I'm trying to get my place cleaned up a bit (both at home and at work) in preparation for the nine days I'll be away starting on Friday. I think I'm going to have an early bedtime tonight so I can rest up in preparation for the long drive! We're going to spend 9 days in Chicago with Rob (sadly, without his boy, who will be fishing with his grandparents in Canada.) So far, there are plans to visit the Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute, and possibly the Shedd Aquarium.

Yes, this means we're going to miss Canada Day.

Knitting has been going fairly well - the vanilla socks and the crocheted baby blanket are THIS CLOSE to being done (I have a tiny bit of foot left to knit and the toe decreases on the sock, and I'm within a couple of rows of binding off on the baby blanket). I'm bringing a few long-standing projects to Chicago with me, although I can't guarantee how much knitting time I'm going to get.

Right now, I feel like a nap.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


So today, I trucked half my kitchen over to my friend Kari's house, and we got to jammin'. The plan was to make a batch of black cherry jam for Rob, since it's his favorite and the kids and I are going down there at the end of the month for a visit. I couldn't, however, find the big bag of cherries I know I froze last summer. I found a huge bag with just a few cherries in the bottom. I'm thinking that my kids have perhaps been sampling the cherries since I tossed them in there. So what to do? Well, I found these in my fridge:

Cherries... blueberries... they could go together, right? And so they did.

Sooooo good! And then, because it's not really worth it to drag EVERYTHING over to someone else's house for one batch, we made some kiwi daiquiri jam too.

And now, now I have this:

Both recipes, by the way, were adapted out of the Bernardin Home Canning Guide.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

And we're back in action!

Damn, son. Strep throat sucks. I'm on day three of antibiotics and it still feels like someone is jabbing something blunt into the roof of my mouth with considerable pressure *sigh* It'll get better :)

I've been itching to make some jam or pickles or SOMETHING, but I need to sort out my kitchen before I can start canning for the summer. I want my new stove, dammit, and I need to de-clutter the apartment so I can have the damn thing brought up. I also just want less STUFF in my house. I've come up with an idea or two to ensure that the yarn will no longer be taking over my house and will all be safely packed away, so now I just need to implement that! Especially since Marisa at Food In Jars just posted what looks like an excellent Fennel Relish recipe!

Rob is going to build me a spice rack (from Shanty 2 Chic blog) for the kitchen and I'm very excited about that! Maybe he and the boy can work on it while we're there in a few weeks! I'm also pretty excited because he told us to bring bike helmets! He hit a police auction last weekend and bought ... um... well, a LOT of bikes. He cuts them up and then builds recumbent bicycles with the parts, but he has a few that are in good enough shape to refurbish and give away, so we'll be riding some of those until he figures out where to donate them.

This is one of his bikes!
Our little balcony garden at Kari's house is going gangbusters. There are blooms on all the tomato plants, the strawberries have already started producing (I'm assuming they're tasty... those were for Kari) and I'm actually looking at the basil, thinking to myself, maybe it's time to try pesto again! I need to pick up some tomato cages, because the poor things will fall over once all those flowers turn into tiny tomatoes. The rhubarb has even rallied from the injury my daughter dealt it (she accidentally broke off one of the three stalks it started out with). Fortunately, the house plants I bought are all very low-maintenance and are tolerating my neglect quite well. The jade is flourishing, my philodendron is still going gangbusters, the wandering Jew is still pretty, sparkly and purple, and the aloe vera just has a bit of browning on the end of one spike.

I have no pictures because I am a bad blogger. I swear, at some point, I will get the hang of this! (and maybe then, I'll start getting some traffic LOL) Just for a twist, let's get some feedback. What's your favorite houseplant and why?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sorry! Sorry...

I know it's been a while, but cut me some slack. I have these little buggers taking up residence in my throat:

That would be strep throat. I am uncomfortable, I haven't been able to eat solids since Saturday, and I'm in a fuck of a lot of pain and sleeping a lot. I am currently surviving on Danactive yogurt drinks, soy pudding and the odd piece of bread I mangle until it's soggy. I will report back if I manage to kill the dreaded plushy. If it kills me first, well... I'm sure my mom will miss me :P 

Monday, May 27, 2013

My weekend...

I really need to start bringing the camera with me when Rob and I have a fun weekend together :) I don't know how many people who actually read this blog are familiar with long-distance relationships, but distance sucks. Don't let anybody tell you differently. We even got to cheat another night onto our weekend, because Rob left earlier than he normally does and got here late Friday night rather than late Saturday morning! I sent him home about four hours ago, and it really, truly sucks to know that I'm going home to an empty apartment tonight. I know it's not REALLY empty... the two kids will be there, as will the two demons *ahem* I mean cats.

So to cheer myself up from the fact that I'll have an empty bed tonight and nobody to kiss me when I wake up in the morning, you all get to hear about our fantastic weekend! On Saturday, Rob and I went for a walk here:

This is the Shirley's Bay walking trail (this is obviously not my picture, since the leaves don't change in May around here). It's trail # 10 in either the NCC's list of walking trails or Ontario's list. We only did the small one-km loop, since the ground was uneven and kind of boggy in places. Next time, I think we'll hit the 4km loop and see how we do :) We made a quick dinner at home and then we picked up the kids and went to see this:

If you get the chance, see it. It was awesome :) If only the ass who was sitting behind me hadn't felt the need to keep bashing my seat back with his feet through the whole movie. Yes, I said something to him. Several times. The last time, his girlfriend/wife/female companion actually punched him and told him he was being a jerk. Didn't stop him. Ugh. But the movie? AWESOME. So worth it. And now I kind of hope that Iron Man will be relegated to Avengers movies, because I don't think they can top the trilogy as it stands (and I hope they won't try). Thing of beauty :)

Sunday, Rob got the kids to help him move some furniture around - I'd been trying to do this for weeks. He asks them once, and they hop to it. I don't get it. *sigh* But then, we went to my mom's, and we did some of this:

Folks, this was the first time I managed to ride a bike in 20 years. Okay, I wasn't on a two-wheeler. My mom has a trike:

Looks just like that one, except it's got a huge basket on the back that my dad put on for her. She let me ride it! Dudes, first time on a bike in 20 years. I went 2.5 MILES. And I kept a decent pace (I was the slowest rider, so they made me lead, since I'm the only one who knows the neighborhood around my mom's house). I was shocked and amazed that I was even capable of doing it. I think Rob was a bit shocked too :) He's always said he wants to be able to ride with me, and this was the first time. It was pretty fantastic, even with the kids along ;)

Then we went to the driving range and Rob did some of this:

He's always wanted to learn to play golf, and my ENTIRE family (except me, of course), plays. So my aunt offered to take him to the driving range and give him some pointers. He smacked 75 balls all on his own, and was actually doing pretty well by the end of the bucket. I stood by admiringly and hoped they wouldn't ask me to hit any, because I'm pretty sure I'll suck at it. The kids were off playing mini-putt with my parents on that side of the facility. Everybody had a fair bit of fun, we got some outside activity time, and we all slept REALLY well last night.

This morning, Rob and I drove to my office together (that's where we parked his car) and we had breakfast at a local dive before he headed off into the sunset (10am sunset, that is). Tonight is the last class in the Introduction to Judaism class. I have my final meeting with the rabbi this evening, and I'm a bit nervous. Let's hope the answer I give him tonight is acceptable and I get to continue on with the conversion process!