Sunday, April 29, 2007

Notes On The Bean

- Some people make good coffee. Some people (like me) don't. Because of my fear of making coffee that is too weak, I usually make coffee that is too strong. DLang makes good coffee. Sara says her dad makes good coffee. The good vs. bad coffee-making is mysterious to me, because it's just a proportion of water to coffee, kind of like baking, which I'm good at!

- In Canada, ordering your coffee "regular" means with cream and sugar. "Double-double" means double-cream and double-sugar.

- Some Starbucks call skim milk "skim," others call it "non-fat." I think it's regional, and I was surprised to hear it called "non-fat" here in Waterloo (because I've always referred to it as "skim").

- Yesterday morning I made coffee and didn't close the lid on the coffee pot properly before I started the machine. When I got out of the shower the entire counter was covered in coffee. Oops.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You Know You're Old When...

Last night I talked to my almost-76-year-old godmother, Sunny.

"You sound tired, Sunny."

"Oh, I'm always tired in the evening. I doze off now and then, just like an old person."

"That's OK. You are an old person!"

"I know I am. And do you know how I know?"


"I have a rubber band around my address book."

Monday, April 23, 2007

So Happy

This afternoon I took Bartleby for a walk and to return a movie. There had been a thunderstorm earlier in the day and the air smelled fresh and rainy. At one point while I was walking I heard a pretty loud rustle across the street. I looked, and saw a cardinal with a piece of plastic in her beak, hopping into a bush.

At that moment, I thought my heart would burst with happiness.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


"Nope, bud, you can't just be on the boob if you're not working."

"Ah, Charlie, how many times have I heard that before."

Charles Franklyn Cummer

Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

The family's home now. Order has been restored: Sara, Charlie & Bartleby are napping and Greg & I are drinking.

More photos will be added frequently in Charlie's Photo Set.


Charlie was born yesterday at 6:38 p.m., weighing in at a rather hefty 8lbs 7oz (I only say hefty because Sirrah! barely looked 8 months pregnant at the very end). The Amazing Race was a huge success - I arrived at the hospital just as Sirrah! was fully dilated and a few minutes before she started to push. She was a total rockstar, managing to not only stay pleasant, but look absolutely beautiful through the whole 16 hrs of labour. Charlie is incredibly sweet, with a mop of dark brown hair not unlike his papa's bedhead. Everyone is super healthy, and the whole family will be home later today.

I paparazzied it up with Greg's camera - pictures later. Right now I need a shower and a nap.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Amazing Race Is On!

First, apologies to any of you with whom I have commitments (that includes you, work!) over the next 7 days. I'm going to be out of town, because SIRRAH! IS HAVING A BABY!

OK, to recap. I am currently at LaGuardia. DLang insisted on checking flight availabilities before I left for the airport, and advised that I'd have better luck with American than Air Canada. Good call. My all-time favourite car service, Arecibo, didn't answer their phone, so I had to unpack my computer to find other car services. On the way to the airport I phoned everyone I know and Sunny was the only person who answered. Where are you fuckers? My best friend is having a baby! I'll deal with you later. Anyway. I ran up to the AA counter and bought a one-way ticket on the next flight to Toronto, which leaves at 1:40 p.m. and which BETTER BE ON TIME because did I mention that Sirrah! is having a baby?

Sweet Sirrah - her voicemails this morning were so calm and nice and all, "I think I'm having contractions, but don't do anything yet, I'll call you in a bit." Damn! I can't believe I missed those calls. I did speak with Greg's dad, who confirmed that the doctor thinks Charlie's coming this afternoon. He could already be here! I've tried both sets of Charlie's grandparents since I arrived at the airport and there was no answer, so I assume they've all gone to the hospital.

Now I'm sitting at LGA Gate C1 IMPATIENTLY, but still happily noting that the weather's good, the flight's on time, I still have all my luggage with me, and the drive to Waterloo will probably be very pleasant, especially if I can avoid getting a $250 speeding ticket.

I forgot my camera so hopefully my detailed descriptions will suffice.

Car service to LGA: $37
One-way ticket to Toronto: $536
Airport food [Luna Bar, cheese, apple, large coffee]: $6.50
Intarweb access for blogging: $7.95

I'm getting all choked up over here.

Charlie is ON THE WAY!

Sirrah! called at 5:24 this morning and I MISSED THE EFFING CALL AND DIDN'T LISTEN TO MESSAGES UNTIL NOW! I'm on my way to LaGuardia. Updates later.

Yin Yang

Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Percy went home before we could get a family portrait. Maybe next time.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Later That Day...

Garth: and my keyboard seems to have reverted to french. ééééé argh
Garth: rebooting
Garth: effing vista
Gillian: hee hee
*** "Garth" signed off
*** "Garth" signed on
Garth: seems my french keyboard mapping was limited to msn
Garth: and closing/opening it fixed it
Garth: i hate computers
Gillian: Aw, no you don't!
Garth: if you blog that i will kill you

More on Facebook

Garth: What's up?
Gillian: I wanted to tell you about someone else on Facebook.
Gillian: :-)
Garth: oh goody (read your facebook blog post btw)
Gillian: :-)
Gillian: Guy From Elementary School!
Garth: ya, D told me. 2 kids. teacher. yada yada
Gillian: :-|
Gillian: I hate you.
Garth: :) i know
Gillian: I'm going to blog this chat.
Garth: i'm gonna have to find new IM software for talking to you on that encrypts the channel and disallows logging/copying. and expires my words moments after i say them so that they vanish from the screen.
Gillian: That'll be too late for this one!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I'm kind of enamoured with Facebook right now. I've had an account on there for a while, but for the first several months my only friends were co-op students working at my company (and my mom, but let's not talk about that), which I'm sure made my profile look like I was some kind of internet predator. However, in the past month or two I've discovered that many of the people with whom I went to high school are on Facebook. Some of them have even joined the prestigious ranks of people who read UFF! Congratulations. You know who you are.

Anyway. Since reconnecting with several St. David Catholic Secondary School alum, conversations with Dos have gone like this:

Gillian: Hey! Do you remember Guy From High School?
Dos: Yes.
Gillian: Was he in your grade?
Dos: Yes.
Gillian: He's on Facebook!
Dos: I know. We're not friends.
Gillian: But you know him, right?
Dos: Yes.

The next day:
Gillian: Do you remember GFHS?
Dos: Yes! You asked me this yesterday.
Gillian: Oh. Well, I just can't believe all these people are on here! This is crazy!
Dos: I don't even know those people. I haven't talked to them in over 10 years.
Gillian: OK. Just because I added them as "friends" on Facebook does not mean that they're all coming over for dinner or something. Geez.

As for Facebook itself, I'm not sure what's up with the whole Groups thing - it seems marginally useful for finding people from a particular area, but there are approx. 63,000 groups, so I don't know how you even find the one you want. I think the concept of "poking" someone is weird, but that's probably because I'm over 30 and I only sent my first text message last year. And I can't figure out how to write on someone's wall if he or she hasn't already written on mine. Finally, and somewhat hilariously, tonight when I tried a search I received the following error:

Note to friends from high school: You're invited over for dinner next time you're in NYC. Just don't tell Garth.

It's That Time Again...

I kind of feel like it's pledge week on NPR (and let me tell you, I HATE pledge week on NPR).

I'm about to start training for the NYC Marathon in November, and before that, the half-marathon at the Nike Women's Marathon in SF. And I'm not doing all this running for the good of my health... Actually, I *am* running for the good of my health. More importantly though, I'm running for the health of people affected by blood (and other) cancers, and their families and friends who benefit from the services provided by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. My fundraising site is all set up, ready for your generous dontaion. And I do mean generous.

This year, I'm fundraising for a half-marathon AND a full marathon. That's 39.3 miles, or 63.2 km! That is a lot of running, my friends. All you have to do to help the cause is click here and make a donation.

In the meantime, I'll try to keep the incessant nagging about donating to a minimum. Until we start those long runs in September, of course. Then you're going to hear about it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


1. The cats have been playing together! The last two evenings have seen a lot of running back and forth across the apartment. However, they are still far from being best buds. Memphis now tolerates Percy sleeping on the bed, but if he gets anywhere near her food bowl, God help him.

2. Due to the success of my email-a-photo post yesterday, my brother has joined the 21st century and started his very own blog, on which you can read about his life. What are Guinness and things that use Bluetooth, Alex?

3. Charlie is still in utero. Since I don't have to be reasonable, I decided to make the trip Amazing Race-style and head straight for the airport when Sirrah! calls me. Updates will be posted on UFF. For best results, check back early and often.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

After work this afternoon I took Jasper for a walk. Jasper's mom sent me email earlier today with very specific instructions about our outing.

"In the light blue Adidas bag hanging on the front closet door, you will find plastic bags and a round, red squeaky ball with feet. Jasper is obsessed with the squeaky ball and if he sees you put it in your pocket, he will stay by your side until you get to the dog park. Generally I only get one chance to throw it because he will not bring it back. But it keeps him from stealing other dogs' balls. You can wrestle it from him to throw it again if you want. The only downside of the squeaky toy (other than it is annoying) is that he is less likely to come back when called when he has it because he thinks you want to steal it."

Later in the email:

"This shouldn't be a problem today because the weather isn't nice, but if there are people at the Nethermead with strollers that are not moving, or anything on the ground (jacket or backpack are favorites), Jasper will pee on them."

Jasper does indeed LOVE the red ball (I tried to get some video of him shaking the bejeesus out of it, I'll link to it if it turned out). There were no strollers, jackets, or backpacks, but I'm pretty sure Jasper peed around 40 times in the 45 minutes we were out there.

[This post is also to prove to my brother that email blogging works, so if you're reading this, yay me!]

Within Reason

I'm very excited about impending birth of Sirrah!'s son, Charlie, who is due TODAY. She's going to call me as soon as she has her first contraction, and my plan is to be on the first available flight to Toronto. In fact, if I get there in time, Sirrah! says I can be in the delivery room! (When I told that to her husband Greg, he replied, "Good, you can have my spot." Heh.)

On Saturday we had a conversation about my visit.

"Gillian, I want you to be reasonable about getting here when I go into labour." Read: Don't spend $1,000 on a plane ticket.

"Sare, since when have you known me to be reasonable?"

"I know, but you're working on being reasonable, right?" I hear Greg snicker in the background.

"Well, yeah, I guess. I'll try to be reasonable."

I later relayed the conversation to the very reasonable DLang.

"I promised Sara that I'd try to be reasonable about going to Waterloo when she goes into labour."

"What? G, now is not the time to be reasonable."


"Yeah! Your best friend is going to have her first baby and you can be in the delivery room with her? You should not be reasonable."

"Really? What if it costs $1,000?"

"So what? You can't buy an experience like this."

Really? Did I mention that DLang is generally very reasonable? I'm very excited. This is like my mom saying I could skip school for a day! My new hobby is checking the intarweb to see just how soon I could get to Toronto if Sirrah! called right now. (As of this writing, I could probably be in Waterloo by 1:30 p.m.) And if Charlie can wait just one more day, I might be able to catch a Websaver.

That would be very reasonable.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gale Force Winds

All day yesterday DLang was talking about the "big Nor'easter" rolling in that was forecast to bring us "rain, sleet, snow, and gale force winds." He said "gale force winds" about 4 times before I finally called him on it.

"You really like saying 'gale force,' don't you?"

"I do!" He switched to his Fox News annoucer voice: "There will be gale force winds!" For the rest of the day, everything was subject to being blown over by "gale force winds":

"Those are nice daffodils."

"Too bad they won't be here tomorrow, because they can't stand up to GALE FORCE WINDS!"

"That's a big pylon."

"Not big enough to withstand GALE FORCE WINDS!"

DLang also mentioned that one of his reasons for liking the phrase is that it involves a hyphens, and he likes hyphens. (It's amazing the little things you can learn about someone years into your relationship.) I have bad news on that front: There's no hyphen. It's just "gale force."

While I'm kind of annoyed that Spring is taking so long to get here, I was secretly excited about such a storm because I love extreme weather. However, it looks like we might be out of luck for the big Nor'easter - it's raining, but (thankfully!) not close to freezing. That's kind of a bummer for you, UFF reader, as I had all sorts of clever posts (well, titles at least) ready to accompany photos of Brooklyn blanketed in snow today. Like, "April Showers?" and "Sometimes It Snows in April."

Oh well, maybe next year.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Percy the Cat
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

While my friend Vicki is away for the week, we're hosting her cat, Percy. Since Percy arrived last night, he has meowed incessantly and Memphis has sustained a low-level gutteral growl ALL THE TIME, even while she's eating.

My dreams of them curled up and grooming each other by Tuesday are withering.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

On Target

I've recently made a few purchases at Target that are simply too excellent NOT to blog about.

1. The Bunny Dish

Behold the bunny dish, in all her splendor. I purchased this dish at a Target store in Long Island. It cost all of $3.99. It used to be full of delicious Cadbury Mini-Eggs (the superior Canadian variety, of course), but those don't last very long when there's a Langenberg around. [Aside: In an effort to spend my π Day winnings, I was recently perusing a Williams-Sonoma catalogue and found a similar one for over $20! Go Target!]

2. A Sewing Machine

My mom is hardcore with the sewing. A few years ago Dos and I bought her a sewing machine with so many bells and whistles that I think it walks the dogs and does the dishes. (At least it should, for how much it cost.) Me, not so much. I'm an amateur crocheter and knitter, but the last time I touched a sewing machine was to make an elephant pillow in Grade 8 Home Ec. A few weeks ago I was at the (admittedly sub-standard) Target in Brooklyn, looking for a sewing kit. Instead, I ended up buying a very cute Shark Mini Sewing Machine for the low low price of $19.99. Yes, really! A whole sewing machine for $19.99! That's crazy. I came home and whipped up curtains from table runners I'd bought on sale for $9.99 each at West Elm. (The café rod on which they're hanging is also from Target, and cost around $4.99.)

3. Delicious Orange Rainboots!, $19.99.

I'm praying for April showers.

Time Waster

Brianna sent me a link to XKCD, a "webcomic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language"
and I have been sitting at my desk giggling ever since. Totally SFW. And hilare.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Canadianisms Part 3

Icing vs. Frosting: As Little Lisa pointed out in her comment on yesterday's entry, in Canada it's called "icing." In the US of A, it's more commonly referred to as "frosting." These are pretty interchangeable and nothing really gets lost in translation - until, of course, you're trying to *make* frosting/icing, in which case you need something called "powdered sugar" aka "confectioner's sugar" aka, in Canada (and apparently the rest of the Commonwealth) "icing sugar." It's our turn to be literal on this one.

Also, while looking for a colouring implement to make my bunny cake's sweet pink ears, I found a pack of Laurentien pencil crayons (from Canada), and was surprised to see the package labeled "colored pencils." Interestingly, they refer to "pencil crayons" on the main page of the site, and have a whole explanation of "The Making of a Pencil Crayon". Why the discrepancy? Also of interest, according to the history on the company's Web site, Laurentien spelled "colored" on the package without a "u" until the latest redesign in 2003.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Bunny Cake!

Every year I make at least one bunny cake. And every year I'm totally convinced that it's the cutest bunny cake I've ever made.

To wit:

Bunny Cake

This year I even took the time to write up the instructions for you, my loyal UFF readers, so that you too can create a bunny cake of your very own.

You need:

• A yummy cake recipe (or a cake mix, no judgments!) - I've made many a successful bunny cake with Epicurious' White Chocolate Layer Cake (omitting the apricot filling) but pick something that's easy for you. Carrot cake makes a sweet brown bunny.
• A round cake pan. You only need one round layer to make the cake, so you can either make two bunnies, or use the rest for cupcakes.
• Frosting (I'm going to recommend homemade for this, but only because I don't know of a store-bought one that isn't sickly sweet - funny that I used to be able to eat that stuff right from the cannister!).
• Coconut (fresh coconut is delish but sweetened shredded coconut in a bag works just as well).
• Green food colouring.
• White paper (regular copier paper is fine) and the pink colouring implement of your choice (a crayon, pencil crayon, highlighter, whatever).
• Jelly beans (for your bunny's eyes and nose, as well as to make a flowery meadow for your bunny).

After you've baked your cake, follow these simple instructions to assemble the bunny.


You should have something that looks like this:

Bunny In Progress


• Frost your bunny completely. The tail can get tricky; my best advice is to be generous with your frosting, and don't be afraid to sculpt the tail a little.

• Dye the coconut to make grass: Put some coconut and a few drops of green food colouring in a ziploc bag and squish it all around. If you love coconut, keep some white to sprinkle on the bunny. Spread the green coconut around the bunny so that he's resting in a lovely meadow.

• As you may already have deduced, the bunny's ears will be made of paper. I like to make them after I see my bunny so that they're proportional to his stature - chubbier bunny, chubbier ears. (Hehe, I said "chubby.") Cut your bunny's ears out of the white paper, and add a pretty pink hue to the insides. Tuck the ears behind the bunny's head (where you made the notch out of the cake back in Assembly Step 4).

• Give your bunny jelly bean eyes and a nose.

Voilà! Your bunny is ready to be the centrepiece at your Easter table. Not to mention dessert.

Bunny Cake Portrait

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

It's still cold in Brooklyn, but the pussy willows at the green market this morning are a sure sign of Spring.

Stuffed Bunnies

Easter was a big deal in my house. The Easter Bunny was always very generous, to the point where I'm kind of surprised that I didn't have any cavities until I was in my 20s (at which point the decay hit with a vengeance, but the 11-fillings-in-one-day story is another entry).

When Dos and I ran downstairs on Easter morning, in addition to an abundance of chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, we found a big stuffed bunny in the middle of the table, lording over the sugary treats. He was brown, and had kind of coarse fur, and soft white inside ears. We loved that bunny. We dragged him around and fought over him and took turns sleeping with him. A few days -- maybe a week -- after Easter, whoever had taken him to bed the night before would wake up to find that he'd disappeared. He always returned the following year.

I don't think he ever really had a name other than "The Easter Bunny," and I'm pretty sure my mom still has him around. I don't know where or how that tradition originated, but it's one I plan to carry on to my own family.

Also on the topic of stuffed bunnies, when I was 7 or 8 I wandered downstairs on Easter Eve around midnight, to find our kitchen in a complete state of assembly as my parents put the finishing touches on the most amazing sewn stuffed bunnies EVER. There was one for each of us, and they had baby bunnies too. Quite remarkable.

This year, I'm crocheting my first amigurumi, a very sweet bunny.

Easter weekend continues tomorrow on UFF with instructions to make your very own easter bunny cake!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Easter Week

Here's something to get you in the spirit: Daily Bunny.

The Guinea Pig at the bottom of that page reminds me... For a week a couple of summers ago, our downstairs neighbours were looking after a classroom Guinea Pig named Crystal. We wondered, could there be a more perfect name for a Guinea Pig? Recently I noticed a sign in my neighbourhood advertising a couple of Guinea Pigs up for adoption. Their names? "Peanut," and, the unprecedentedly sweet, "Dimmy."

Dimmy the Guinea Pig. That's some cute shit, yo.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And Found Again

I just found my wallet on the floor of my apartment, behind a chair.

The same floor that I mopped yesterday. I guess I missed a spot.

Take that, Universe.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Lost and Found

In the past two weeks, I have lost:

After all the losing, I decided that this week would be the week of finding! This morning when I arrived at work, I found a cookie on my desk! Thanks Doug! Later, when I came back to my desk from getting coffee, I found a gift-wrapped DVD of the first season of Three's Company. Yay! Thanks Bob! My attempt to implement the Law of Attraction might actually be working.

Now, about that cellphone and wallet.

Last Friday morning I noticed my wallet was missing from my backpack on my way to work. I looked around my apartment before I left, and when I didn't find it, I figured I must have left it at work. Apparently, not so much. I am still holding onto a thread of hope that it's in my possession somewhere and I will find it. Ideally tonight, before I actually have to buy anything with real money (like food).

Friday night I went out after work with some generous co-workers who agreed to purchase alcoholic beverages for me (see: no wallet). A couple of glasses (s/glasses/bottles/) of wine later, we took a car service back to my 'hood. Hours later I realized that I was phone-less. I borrowed various phones to call my phone and the car service many, many times, to no avail. DLang astutely pointed out that at some point the phone's battery would die. Good times. (I also probably wouldn't be as fortunate as Candace was in this regard.)

This morning I arrived at work to two email messages from friends who'd called me over the weekend and had spoken with a very nice car service driver who said he'd like to get the phone back to me. Hooray! I resumed my calling-my-phone regime and finally around 4:30 this afternoon the driver answered. He dropped the phone off at my office just now, and I am eternally grateful to him and Arecibo (please call them if you need a car in the BK - they rock). Sure enough, within minutes of having the phone in my pocket, it started singing the Low Battery Blues. Whew.

As an aside, it kind of sucked answering Monday morning how-was-your-weekend watercooler banter with, "I lost my wallet and my cellphone, and I set my cat on fire. You?"

There isn't really a moral to this story, or much of a point, except that my mom was totally right when she used to say that the thing that you lost was right where you left it. Now, if I could only remember where I left my wallet...

Advice for Cat Owners

On your cat's birthday, when you think it would be cool to give her a can of tuna with a candle stuck in it, don't put the dish with the tuna and the lit candle on the floor and try to take a picture of the cat looking at her "birthday cake" for your blog. In your cat's tuna-induced excitement she will have complete disregard for the open flame, and will burn off the lovely long whiskers above her eyes.

She will soon forget about this little mishap, but you'll be reminded every time you see the singed hairs, and you'll feel very, very guilty.

Happy Birthday, Memphis