Friday, June 15, 2012

How to not Boil an Egg: Dad in the Kitchen

My awesome, local, independent grocery store, Fiesta Farms, is running a contest as a part of their Apron Strings series about family food stories. In other words (theirs), "the ties that bind." Until the end of June people are sharing stories, recipes and videos all about their dad's (or granddad's) cooking for a chance to win Fiesta Farms gift certificates. But I think it's more about sharing with the community if you ask me.

My dad's relationship to cooking is the antithesis of the kinds of stories found in the Apron Strings community and consequently I have no recipe to share. While my dad is known to have a generous appetite with an extreme bias towards starch, it was mom who did 99.999% of the cooking. He does claim to be able to make a mean spaghetti but we never saw any proof.

I do have one vivid memory of my dad's cooking. On one of the rare occasions that my mom was away, probably at a spiritual retreat or something like that, and there was not a casserole to heat up, my dad was left to his own devices. Usually in these rare cases my sister and I would beg to go to McDonald's and dad would cave. My adult self recoils in horror at the thought. So this one time we were unable to work our charm/pestering on the situation and dad was going to make boiled eggs for dinner. I knew that he liked his yolks runny and I did not so I requested a hard boiled egg. He must have been in a foul mood because he snapped back, "you'll get what you get." It may have something to do with the fact that I had been previously telling him that he was going about it all wrong; being nine or so I knew how to boil an egg. It was not a good scene and the mood was sombre.

When, minutes later, the three of us sat down I was the first to crack open my shell and was shocked when out came a completely raw egg! I think I said something like "it really isn't hard boiled" or I hope I did anyway. My sister and I cracked up (ba doom doom ching!). At least my dad was good-natured enough to see the humour in the situation as well. I don't remember what we ended up eating for dinner that night (my guess is McDonald's) but we still laugh about the time that dad couldn't even boil an egg.

Have a happy father's day this Sunday!




Friday, June 8, 2012

There was a lamp

So I have this lamp that I call the "naked lady lamp" (the ladies have varying degrees of exposed  breasts) that I used to think was quite tacky but I loved it despite that. She used to live in my grandparents' living room. Actually, there was a pair but one of them went missing. That's a long story but the moral of that one is don't lend things to people for an extended time while you are out of the country, because it seems convenient to both you and to them, and expect to get it all back. There could be a higher moral lesson here, something about not putting too much emotional stock in your possessions, but I'm still learning that one. Let's just say I'm happy to have at least one lady lamp left. In fact, I think I like it more because I have only one; rarity increases worth. That, and somehow it seems less tacky not be part of a pair.

For, like, a decade or so I had the intention of spraying her a glossy bright, uniform white. She had some gold and green accents. I also wanted to get a new lampshade - nothing too curvy or traditional - something streamlined to tone down the so very not modern aesthetic of the thing. Well, I finally painted her last fall and managed to upset a neighbour with the fumes from the paint. I don't know why I mention that; upsetting him is no amazing feat. I hemmed and hawed about whether I wanted to do it white. Maybe neon pink would be awesome or chartreuse. But then how long would that be pleasing? Best to go with classic white. It was ridiculously simple and could have been done more than a WHOLE DECADE earlier.

Since then she has lived shadeless on my desk. You see, I had a shade that I scored for free - a reject from some design show. It was a drum shade and it was sloppily covered in cheap black fabric with satiny hem tape used for a ribbon trim. I removed the fabric and was left with a linty, sticky mess on the styrene so I removed the plastic as well. So now I was left with the two separate rings from the drum shade. I've been trying to source the styrene so I can build the shade again and have only found UK sources thus far. I'm not paying shipping on that. So I gave up.

I also looked for tutorials on how to sew a lined fabric shade but all I came up with were tutorials on how to glue fabric to an existing shade but remember that all I had were two independent rings that could become a shade. I saw a video on how to make a drum shade out of poster board but that seemed like it could be flammable.
Naked lady lamp in all her tacky glory: the before picture

Today when I was about to go down the Internet search rabbit hole I got so frustrated with myself; I can figure this out without losing hours to slightly helpful hints online. You can go from one site to the next and think, but is there a better way? and you go around in circles and the next thing you know your day is gone and the million and one projects that you have in mind never get done, am I right? Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant that there are all those free tutorial and ideas online but sometimes the Internet comes up short. What happened to tinkering? What happened to attempting to do something, having it fail, and then figuring out a better way from a place of true understanding? And besides, ENOUGH ALREADY! HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE ONE PERSON TO UPDATE A FREAKING LAMP? 

So I've just told you this extremely boring story to tell you that I'm going to figure this shit out even though I fear that the result is bound to be monumentally anticlimactic. I'm going to rely on my own wits and ingenuity. I had originally intended to build my shade with some Mylar that I've had kicking around for ages but it's not firm enough. I'm going to see if I can make it work anyway. So take that, Internet. 

While I'm updating my tacky lamp have a lovely weekend, all you lovelies out there.