Monthly Archives: September 2012

Pretty. Sometimes I Miss the 90s So Hard. By, m

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Alanis + Green Day

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Important Dates

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The new school year began for all of us sisters, and I would be amiss if I didn’t highlight the wonderful-ness that is the start of my last year of my Masters of Social Work.

I start off my second full time year with a light course load, but with a four day a week practicum placement. But that’s not the interesting part.

Mark it in your calendar:

JUNE 14th, 2013

Yes, we already have our convocation date for the program. If I was the type, I would create a vision board for this event.

I’m so excited about being done I have to remind myself that I do actually have a very full two semesters to get through first.

But there are also some other dates that are worth noting. So in that breath, here we go:

Tuesday, November 6th

We’ve got the juggernaut that is the US presidential election, with another bipartisan explosion between two oddly named nominees.

So far I have been able to determine that if we simply read transcripts of speeches we would probably think that we’re actually at the beginning of the 1980 presidential race. Seriously? We have to make a case for why women should have the right to medication and to have autonomy over their own body? And we are still living in a world where not one Republican voted for the Equal Pay Act? Seriously?

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And did we all get a chance to watch Clint Eastwood’s descent into madness when he spoke to an empty chair?

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September 26th, 2012

Johnny Appleseed Day

The only reason I mention this obscure holiday is because A and I are currently obsessed with the fact that fall has arrived! As I’ve mentioned before, A and I used to be closeted fall lovers (or maybe just me), but no more. In our weather obsessed culture we rarely express our love for autumn because of the viciousness that is found in lovers of summer. Move over summer lovers. Time for some chilly weather and hot beverages.

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Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Three important events on this day.

First, my good friend Leah is leaving for Fort Smith, Northwest Territories to take job as counsellor at a youth residential treatment centre. I predict it will be more than difficult, but a challenge she can meet! Scary, yes. But most awesome things are.

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Second, is the celebration of marriage of a certain couple that is responsible for five kids, four great grand kids and one supremely awesome granddaughter.

Happy anniversary Grams and Papa! 58 years is awesome. And according to the last conversation I had with my ever increasingly macabre grandmother, she’ll hang on for another two years so she can say she made it to her sixtieth anniversary. Grams really knows how to inject excitement into a celebration, no?

Side note: enjoy this video some awesome grandparents took when they were trying to Skype with their granddaughter. Little did they know it was on, and their granddaughter decided to upload it.

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And finally, something else epic will happen on this Tuesday, something that I’ve been waiting two years for…Ke$ha drops her new single “Die Young“!!! OMGEEEEEEE!!!

I can’t wait!!!

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Sigh.

An Open Letter to Those Who Dine Out, by m

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Dear Diners,

I thought about titling this letter “An Open Letter to Bad Tippers”, but didn’t want to discourage anyone from reading. I particularly didn’t want to discourage people who think they’re good tippers from reading, since I’ve come to the conclusion that the ONLY possible way that bad tippers can look me in the eye, engage with me in witty banter, and kindly thank me for good service and STILL tip me so poorly (or not at all), is that they mistakenly think that what they’re doing is socially acceptable.

I’ve been working as a server on and off for about 7 years. I have worked in fine dining, I have worked in amusement parks, I have worked over seas.  I am a really good server. Not to toot my own horn but…TOOTA-FUCKING-LOO, I’m good at my job. I can tell when you’re thirsty; I’ll bring free refills before you ask. I know if your kids can’t wait any longer for their meals; I’ll bring over some bread or crackers from the kitchen.  I am attentive, kind, and–above all–patient.

And let me tell you, teaching small children for four years has got NOTHING on you in the patience department. Imagine, if you will, that I have seven tables, all needing my attention, all wanting drinks, appetizers, and advice on the menu, or to order dessert or pay for their bill (all at once). Then, imagine that you aren’t sure what you’d like to order, but insist that I stand with you while you peruse the menu, trying to decide (“No, no, one second…hmmmm, lemme think. K, start at the other end of the table. Hmmm, no I’m still not sure! HAHA”).  I have other customers, whose tips I depend on for my livelihood. If I cannot attend to their needs as well, you are screwing me by assuming that you’re my only care in the world.

This brings me to my point: tips. Servers in Ontario do not make minimum wage. The expectation is that customers, having received good service, will tip 15% of the total bill, thus bringing the server’s wage up to minimum. So, you see, when I provide you with good service, your tip still only ensures that I am making minimum wage. When you tip ten per cent, or nothing at all, I still have to share 3% of my total food sales with hostesses and bus boys, and 8% of my gross liquor sales with the bartender. This means that when you leave no tip at all, I am paying these other restaurant employees out of my own (less-than-minimum) wage. When you don’t tip me, or tip very little,  it’s not as if I am losing out on a bonus. It’s as if I’m paying to serve you.

Please understand that if the service is poor, or if you’re unhappy with your experience, I don’t expect a tip. I understand that I have not made you happy and perhaps I haven’t earned a tip. I’m the first to admit when I haven’t done my job well; we all have off-days.

Last night, you sat at table 61. You sent your drink back twice, but you said the food was delicious.  You argued about the price of the bill. You left no tip, and I was sympathetic to that; you weren’t completely happy with your experience, and despite my best efforts, that happens from time to time.  But you know what really got to me?  The way you flossed your teeth, at the table, after your meal.  And when you walked away last night, I had to stay behind to clean up after you. I got to your table where I found–in all it’s disgusting glory–your used dental floss, sitting next to your crumpled napkin and your empty glass.

If your aim was to make me feel like your personal servant and slave, congratulations. You threw my dignity like a dog walker throws a stranger’s water bottle for a game of fetch.  You really drove the point home with your biohazardous waste.  Way to stick it to the franchise. I look forward to spitting in your food the next time I see you.

Yours in servitude,

M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In School and Liking it! by, a

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Well, today commenced the second week of full time classes at Western’s Continuing Studies. So far everything has been wonderful, if slightly overwhelming, but first weeks tend to go that way.

Today I had my Introduction to the Arts Class, as well as my Strategic Leadership class. So far, Intro seems to be a basic review of a lot of the material I learned over the years in my Art History classes, but it’s nice to get a refresher just the same.

My leadership class is one that I think I’m going to get a lot of insight out of. For example, today’s class was all about “understanding who you are” and how it’s critical if you’re going to be an effective leader. Homework for this class is some self-reflective exercises which I think are going to be pretty neat. I have to say, it’s going to be difficult, but ultimately pretty cool to focus on my strengths and how to build on them, instead of honing in on my weaknesses and approaching everything from a “what I can’t do” perspective.

After these two classes today, the class trekked it down to Museum London, where we met with the Executive Director, Brian Meehan. It was really neat to be able to meet him and ask questions- he was super open and friendly. After introductions, he actually took us on a tour of some of the vaults of the museum. This is where they house all of the paintings and artifacts not on display.

In one of the vaults there were rows upon rows of artifacts that did not have a home- it felt like a museum in itself. My favourite area was where all of the old steam trunks were- I loved seeing the owner’s initials on them; very eerie, but so cool! In another vault that housed artwork, Brian actually looked through the archived paintings (it kind of felt like the art room in high school; organized, but not in a crazy sterile, classified information government way) and non-chalantly pulled out a small framed Group of Seven painting. No big deal. Just sittin’ back there.

I really really enjoyed being able to look behind the curtain on this tour. It was the first time I actually got to see behind the scenes of an arts organization and it’s intrigued me even more. That kind of rhymed and I didn’t even mean it to.

Pulled Pork and Mini Cakes! by, m

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We’ve been celebrating a birthday around here for the last week or so! We’ve had visitors, camping trips, bbqs, parties and delicious meals.

I was able to trade a Saturday evening shift for a lunch one (I know, I know, I gave up a lot of tips!) so that I could make a special B-Day dinner as part of the festivities.

I made pulled pork in the slow cooker, which turned out to be SO EASY. And cost-effective! I went to the butcher and asked for a pork shoulder roast between 3 and 4 lbs (the one I got was boneless, but bone-in works, too).  On Saturday morning, I put the roast in the slow cooker after rubbing it with salt and pepper.  Here’s what I added:

-1/2 cup dry white wine

-1 onion, chopped

-4 cloves garlic, minced

I put the slow cooker on low for 8 hours. Then, I took the roast out and shredded it with two forks:

This recipe is a definite keeper. The roast itself was less than $15 and will last us for at least half a dozen meals.  So far, we’ve had pulled pork and pesto penne with fresh tomatoes, and pulled pork sandwiches.  Before the week is up, I plan on making pulled pork nachos, and pulled pork pizza on the bbq.

While it may sound like overkill, we don’t seem to be getting sick of the mounds of pork yet!

I also made a mini cake on Saturday. I used this recipe, and made butter cream frosting.  I don’t have an electric mixer, so I count this as my upper-body workout for the week. I got a few mini cake pans and over filled them, so the batter poured into the bottom of the oven as the cakes were baking, making the whole house smell like burning. These are the kind of tricks I like to pull to lower people’s expectations of my cooking: maybe if they enter a house that smells like burnt food they’ll think, “Brace  yourself, taste buds, this is going to be gross”. But then, they eat the food (which is  actually burnt less and less often these days) and they are pleasantly surprised.  Other tricks include, but are not limited to:

-misshapen but delicious loaves of bread

-exploded homemade pizza pockets, and

-gourmet cakes that look like they were decorated by a 5-year-old…

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Yum-0!

Getting my sh*t together, by m

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Since J called me out on a previous post about DIY, I decided I should give some of it a try.

I find that one of the biggest challenges about waiting tables is that more than half the money you make, you earn in cash. It’s never deposited into your bank account like a normal pay cheque, and there isn’t really a way to keep track of how much bacon you’re bringing home.  Typically, I spend all my tips instead of hitting up an ATM, but I’m currently saving up for some big ticket items (a flight home for a friend’s wedding, snow tires, winter boots and a winter coat, to name a few) and I realize that I can’t afford to squander my tips on nail polish and lattes.

So, a la Gail Vaz-Oxlade, I got my sh*t together and painted up some mason jars (I hear J is a fan of mason jars), and labelled them with my goals. Voila!