Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

This is my nephew, Fynn. I got to hold him yesterday while he was sleeping. Holding a sleeping baby? Rocks.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fantasy Fulfillment

I'm in Waterloo, and over the weekend while Gregoire was in Toronto, I spent some quality time with Sweet Sirrah, Charlie-in-Utero, and Bartleby the Labradoodle.

On Saturday night as I was heading off to the basement guest room, Sirrah offered, "You know, if it gets too cold down there, you can always come sleep with us." She paused. "That is, if you want to sleep with a pregnant lady and a big brown dog."

Dear Penthouse Letters,
I never thought it would happen to me.

Another Birth Day!

The population explosion continues with the birth of the lovely Miss Cara, who entered this crazy world on Saturday morning in California. Many congratulations to her mom & dad, and big brother Ewan, all of whom are happy and healthy!

(This bodes well for UFF readership, which will practically double by the time these kids can read. You know, in 2011 or so.)

Thursday, February 22, 2007


When I was visiting my parents in January, Sunny asked me to go through her storage space to clear out my stuff, which I thought might amount to a few boxes. It did, if by "a few" you mean "1,200 sq. ft. worth of". Anyhoo. Much of it was throw-awayable, but there were a few keepers, like a box of pictures that contained such gems as this:
Apparently I thought that XL was an appropriate t-shirt size. So hot.

Please note my resemblance to Canadian icon Kim Mitchell:I am a wild party.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

Today is Shrove, or Pancake Tuesday - aka Mardi Gras (which literally translates as Fat Tuesday). To celebrate, we held Waffle Wednesday this morning, and tonight DLang & I will be dining on deliciousOrange and Cinnamon Buttermilk Pancakes.

During many conversations today about the origin of Shrove Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, I heard an (unconfirmed) rumour that Brits generally only eat pancakes on this day, and eating pancakes on other days would be weird there (like if we were to eat a Büche de Noël on some random non-Christmas Thursday). Discussing the religious origins of days like today (Shrove Tuesday is the precursor to Lent, which begins tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday) generated questions about the calendar, and it's interesting to note that the Christian Easter is based on the lunar calendar - that is, it falls on a different day each year, depending on the cycle of the moon.

It's almost like it's Pagan.



"Hey G, thanks for the Smarties. Did you get them in Canada?"

"Yeah. You know they have Smarties here, but they're really--"

"Rockets! I know! So weird."

"Hey, you know they don't have point form."

"What? What do they call it?"

"Bulleted points? Or bulleted list, I think. And also... What do you call the thing you colour with when you're too old for crayons?"

"Pencil crayons?"

"Right, but here they're coloured pencils."

"Huh, and a toque is a knitted cap. It's all very literal."

As Seen On "Survivor"

"So now what do you think I should do with this coconut?"

"I dunno... Shred it or something?"

"No, the shell."

"Oh. Maybe you could make one of those coconut bra things."

"Oooh! A coconut bra! Good idea!"

Pause. "Or you could make the sound of horses' hooves."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Coconut Miracle

Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

I followed the instructions for cracking coconut on Epicurious to get into the coconut I bought this afternoon. I've cracked a few coconuts in my day, but I've never had one open so cleanly - the shell split in two, and the meat didn't break at all! (DLang suggested that I'm ready for "Survivor" now. Hee.)

P.S. General Tso's Chicken didn't photograph well, but it tasted awesome.


Today is the first day of the Year of the Pig. Last night, to celebrate the Chinese New Year's Eve, DLang & I met a couple of friends we hadn't seen in a while and went to the Notorious MSG show. If you have the chance, go see one of their shows. Or head on over to their Web site and watch some of their videos. They are completely hilarious and awesome, muthabitches.

For dinner tonight, because I like food celebrations, I'm going to try my hand at some Chinese cooking, and make General Tso's Chicken. I haven't cooked much Asian food (besides stir-fry), so this will be fun! My trip to Fairway this morning inspired me to cook more. I ran into a couple of friends there and we all agreed that shopping at Fairway makes us feel calm and happy about food.

Will post pics of dinner later. I also bought a fresh coconut which seemed appropos for dessert; I'll try to document the ceremonial cracking open.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Happy Caturday!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

In Which Gillian's Social Life Gasps Its Final Breaths

Dos: you said you're coming here next weekend?
me: yeah
Dos: you wanna buy a wii? I have an extra
me: No way! And, YES!
Dos: ya, fred found a bunch, no per-customer limit, so i told him to grab me one
me: Sweet! How much?
Dos: ok, i'll hold it for you. $330 cdn after taxes
me: that's awesome! Thanks!
Dos: standard sports pak bundle, same as i got
me: W00t! I'm very excited.
Dos: cool :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Go Ahead. Smooch It Up.

Little Lisa loves Valentine's Day, and so do I.

The Top 8 Reasons I Love Valentine's Day:

  1. It has colours! Red, pink, and even white. Sparkles optional (only not really).
  2. The theme! I love anything with a theme, like Vegas hotels and Super Bowl parties.
  3. The theme of Valentine's Day is LOVE! A whole day dedicated to love? That totally rocks.
  4. I like having an excuse to dot all my i's with hearts.
  5. I have kickass Valentine jewelry.
  6. Champagne, strawberries, chocolate.
  7. Heart-shaped cookie cutters.
  8. Did I mention celebrating love?
Here are a couple of happy (and fun) links for when you're not drawing hearts on your notebook today:
Anahata, the heart chakra
Monkey makes Valentine's Day cookies (this is so cute I can hardly stand it)

And, if you're reading this before you get dressed for the day, think pink.

Be Mine

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Birth Days!

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to two brand new humans and future UFF readers:

  • Daphne Chareau, born yesterday morning in New Jersey
  • Fynn, born this afternoon in K-W, Ontario (probably getting me the closest I'll ever come to being an auntie! W00t!)
Both babies, moms, dads, and Daphne's big sis Little G* are totally rockin' their now-with-33-to-50%-more families!


*Not her real hair. Or mine, for that matter.


Last night I received the following email:

From: K-Dog
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 11:46 PM
To: Gillian
Subject: Biter

Look at the dolphin in the picture, biting my name.

I don't think Dog does a lot of drugs or anything, so I was quite puzzled.

It turns out he'd forgotten to include the context-providing link.

This is still cracking me up.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Alternate Realities

This afternoon, Bri and I attended a Heart Opening and Purification Workshop led by Nancy Allen at Lucky Lotus Yoga in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The first hour of the workshop was spent discussing reality and karma, which to me is very interesting stuff. One story that Nancy used to illustrate illusion was this one:

Say you have a pen. When you look at the pen, you see a pen, and you know that it's an instrument to write with. Then a dog comes in the room, and you throw the pen. What is the pen to the dog? It's a toy. The dog knows it's a toy, as surely as you know it's a pen. Then say the pen is sitting on the ground, and a bug walks up to it. To the bug, it's a giant hill. Again, the bug knows that as surely as you know it's a writing instrument and the dog knows it's a toy. And so in that moment, you have three equally valid and accurate realities.

Nancy's point was that nothing has its own reality; it has whatever reality we assign to it. We *give* the reality to the object, or the situation, or the person - it doesn't have innate quality in itself. This comes from Patanjali's Yoga Sutra IV.3:

We must destroy the veil of the quality of things. Then we must become as gardeners.
I guess the point is, next time you see something as having a negative quality, try to figure out how you can change your perspective to change the quality of your experience - that is, don't assume that the quality belongs to the object/situation/person, but that you are responsible for the quality that you see. Then, if you can, plant a seed (that's the gardening that Patanjali was talking about) with positive intention.

I'm pretty psyched about this idea.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Presenting a new feature on UFF: Caturday, featuring the lovely Miss Memphis:

Saturday Morning Sunshine

Inspired by Gillian, who blogs about her cat SheBang every Friday. And really, how could you not be inspired by a redheaded Canadian geek-girl named Gillian, who loves cats? The similarities are eerie. I wonder if her mom was ever a nun.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


"I guess this happens when you live with another creature for 10 years, but I think Memphis and I have similar personalities."

"Yeah. You're both big and orange."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Groceries And The City: Part 2

In the heady days of FreshDirect first delivering to the BK, I was receiving at least one order a week from them. I loved that each fresh-food item had its own label that said, "Packaged for Gillian on ." I loved not lugging around the granny cart, and not carrying bags up the stairs. I also loved the occasional freebie that FD threw in. I had the idea that FD should team up with Epicurious so that when I was browsing recipes I could just add all the ingredients to my cart, and not long ago, FD introduced shopping by recipes! Woot!

On the other hand, while I kind of loved having boxes for recycling newspapers, but I didn't love the excessive packaging stylings of FD (they've since gotten much better about consolidating items).

Last year, a new outpost of Fairway opened in Red Hook, Brooklyn, about 2 1/2 miles south of our apartment in Park Slope. One Sunday morning, on a mission to check out Baked, also in Red Hook, DLang and I walked down to the 'hood. We ate delicious scones with strong coffee chasers, then walked down the street to check out Fairway.

I felt like I was home. Fairway in Red Hook has the little happinesses of a suburban grocery shopping experience, like a parking lot (!) and aisles wide enough to accommodate bona fide shopping carts. They have bins of neatly-stacked, fresh produce. And then there are the things that make shopping at Fairway a special experience, like signs enthusiastically recommending a particular goat cheese or coffee blend, and the half-dozen or so samples of olive oil from around Europe and even California.

Subsequent visits, the second of which was on Saturday, did not disappoint. This weekend, after stopping at the deli and meat counters, I took a coffee break in the café, which is right on the water and has a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty. When I finally arrived at checkout with an overflowing cart, there was no waiting at all, and I breezed right on through. (Did I mention that Fairway delivers for the same price as FD?)

And so, while I'm still quite enamoured with grocery shopping while sitting on the couch in my pajamas, I'm going to take a little break from FreshDirect and start a weekly brick-and-mortar grocery shopping adventure. I think I could get used to a Sunday morning walk down to the water, a stop for breakfast, and an hour (or two) wandering up and down the aisles of this amazing store.

P.S. Brianna posted an excellent NYC grocery store rant yesterday - it's very frustrating living in a NYC neighbourhood in which Key Food, D'Ags, or even Gristedes are your best grocery options. At least when I lived on the Upper West Side, the 24-hour Duane Reade at the end of my block sold Ben & Jerry's.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Groceries And The City: Part 1

On a recent trip to D.C., one of the highlights was a visit to Trader Joe's. The brief stop made me long for suburban grocery stores with wide aisles and 56 brands of salad dressing and the irony of throwing reusable cloth shopping bags in the back of one's Subaru wagon. This weekend, then, when I found myself with both a rental car and a Super Bowl party shopping list as long my iPod playlist, I did what any displaced small-town girl would do: I went to Fairway.

My first NYC grocery experience was surprisingly good. I'd just moved into my apartment on the Upper West Side, and had nothing except a couple of suitcases. My company put me up in a hotel for two nights during which time I purchased a futon, bedding, and a towel. As my truckload of stuff wasn't due to arrive from California for another week or two, I wandered out to Broadway and found Zabar's. I went upstairs to the housewares section where I purchased a plate and glass (both of which I still have and use). I had a brief affair with Zabar's, going there regularly on my way home from work to buy some exotic cheese or other and delicious loaves of Eli's bread.

At some point I ventured a few blocks south and into Fairway, and I was hooked. The quality of Fairway's produce rivaled that to which I'd become accustomed in California. I found exotic sauces like pomegranate marinade, and I spent way too much money on them. I always bought more than I could carry home, and usually ended up taking the bus. Once, while toting about 6 bags, one of which contained a giant bouquet of fresh basil, I overheard a kid exclaim, "Dad! Something smells like spaghetti!"

When I moved to Brooklyn, I was disappointed in the lack of good grocery stores. I almost immediately started visiting the green market regularly on Saturday mornings, and supplemented our pantry with unexciting (and sometimes downright discouraging) stops at D'Agostino's (overpriced) or Key Food (yuck). Shortly thereafter, FreshDirect started delivering in our 'hood, and I started regularly internetting my way to yummy food (and wine! and beer! and even kitty litter!) delivery, which I didn't even have to carry up five flights of stairs.

To be continued...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Sunday!

I started watching football about 10 years ago, kind of by accident. I'd just started dating J, and when I visited him for a weekend during football season, he spent most, if not all, of Sunday in his sweats on the couch. At first it seriously ticked me off. The sun was shining, the outdoors beckoned, and there we sat, eating pizza and watching JB, Terry, Howie and Chris yuk it up during halftime. Then it occurred to me that not getting dressed and lying around for a WHOLE DAY without anyone caring is actually pretty sweet! After that epiphany I started to learn and appreciate the game, jumped on the Broncos bandwagon, and the rest is history. I don't watch other sports on TV because the commitment is too great. The beauty of football is that it's one day per week (two if you have cable), and since each team only plays 16 games per season, they all count. Plus it's a really smart, strategic game.

Although my interest has waxed and waned in some seasons, I always love the Super Bowl. I love the commercials. I love the scandal. I love the food. Every year for the past 10 years I've had a Super Bowl party. Even last year when my yoga teacher training fell on SB Sunday and we decided not to throw an official 'do, about 10 people showed up anyway!

I have a few Super Bowl Party Must-Haves:

1. Guacamole
I make chunky guac with tomatoes, red onions, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic. Also lots of salt and pepper. I'm a little worried about the guac this year as the avocados in these parts are woefully under-ripe. I bought 6 yesterday that were still quite green and they're currently stashed away with a couple of bananas in a paper bag in a cupboard, with a group of little avocado ripening fairies casting magical spells on them.

2. Whoopie Pies
These are really good. I make them every year. My friend Meredith has said when she gets married she wants me to make her wedding cake as a stack of whoopie pies.

3. Betting. On whatever. $5 that the Bears will win the coin toss? I'll take that bet. $2 that there'll be a flea-flicker in the first half? Done. If you're coming to my Super Bowl party, be prepared to gamble.

4. Team Colours. I strongly encourage you to dress in the colours of the team you're supporting. Can't decide? Look at the team colours, look in your closet, and pick something that matches. I really like team colours.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone! Go Colts!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Groundhog Day!

In today's episode of Adventures in Google, I found this little tidbit about Canada's own Wiarton Willie. Scandalous!

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Little Lisa went back to high school today.

I laugh aloud. Plus, mad props to her for using "hilare" on her blog.