Saturday, November 20, 2010

The big four.

My son turned four yesterday. Four is big deal. For me, it's when I started to remember stuff. I can't remember too many specifics that happened when I was three. Some images and places and people, but four, that's a different story.

When I was four...

My brother was born twelve days after I turned four. He came home and his umbiblical cord fell off while I was next to him in the living room playing on the brown carpet. I thought it was my fault and I as going to get in trouble.

I never did.

John moved in two doors down and that was a big deal. I didn't know why one woman moved out of the house and another, John's mom, was moving in. I remember asking his dad as a four-year old why he was getting divorced. I don't recall his answer, just that he seemed to turn red.

So Zack is four now. He's had a busy four years. He's lived in three different houses from Alberta to Kingston to Morocco. He's travelled to five different countries (Canada, Spain, Morocco, USA, France.) He's been on at least twenty different flights, so many I've lost count. He's been to three different US states and five different provinces in Canada.

I wonder how much of it he'll remember when he gets older.

My pre-4 years are a mix of memories all blurred together. I remember peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I remember being upset at nursery school when I was left there. The nursery school had orange doors and books on a shelf that temporarily distracted me from the devastation of being without mum. I remember my sister had her dolls and her friend Erin. I remember my favourite shirt that said "super kid."

Four years old, life starts here, now lets go start some memories...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Got it - my Guinness Chili Recipe

I was searching through the stacks of paperwork that has to be filed, somehow six months away from home, a long move and getting into a new house has put my paperwork in disarray, not that it was ever really in array to begin with. Is that possible, for something to be in array, I suppose, though I've never heard the term.

Within the depths of my paperwork I found something, my favourite chili recipe, and I'll share it with you now. Although the main purpose of writing it here is so that I have a back up should I ever lose it again.


2 teaspoons oil
2 onions chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced.
1 lb lean ground beef.
3/4 cup beef sirloin cubed
1 big can of diced tomatoes
1 can of Guinness beer
1 cup strong coffee
2 cans tomato paste
1 can beef broth
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp red pepper jelly OR (hot) 3 tbsp tabasco
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp cocao
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans kidney beans
1 to 4 chopped chili peppers depending on desired heat.

Heat oil
Cook onions, garlic and meat until brown
Add Tomatoes, beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth
Add Spices, stir in one can kidney beans and peppers
Reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes
Add remaining can of kidney beans and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Bon Appetite.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Been a while

I'm in a bad mood. I can't say why, in particular, that is. I don't have anything particularly terrible happening that might cause me to be feeling down. I guess there isn't a whole lot to be feeling excited about either. I think I'm in the accelerated version of culture shock.
Am I missing home?
No, not really.
Do I dislike my job?
I like it, though it has it's good days and bad days. I'm learning lessons and figuring the system out.
My colleagues?
They're good. I like them, although I haven't gotten really close to anyone.
I guess I'm in a rut. A rut where the week races by and I don't feel like I've accomplished what I wanted to get done. I'm tired, a lot.

The question is, what should I do about it? What can make me feel better? That's what I need, a plan, some goals, realistic goals.

Happiness starts with health. The intention to work out daily kind of went out the window. I haven't had a proper workout in weeks.

Goal number one: excercise six out of every eight days. Half a hour per workout.

My eating habits need to improve. No more McDonalds on the night shifts. Now that the halloween candy is on it's last throws, that won't be a big issue either.

Financial - deep breath. I'm not in trouble, but I like stability and that's not where I am right now. Sure, we just moved and have had a lot of expenses lately. My wife still wants to buy a sectional couch, do a dozen improvement projects, etc, etc. I like to keep a cushion of $10,000 and climbing.

It was there, but I see that goal slipping further and further away.

I might get a cheque for $5000 for some taxes that I filed a grievance for. Then again, I might not.

I might get my book published and get some extra income that way. Then again, I might not.

I should get a raise in January if everything goes well.

So there's plenty to be optimistic about. I'm clamoring to the next level, to get some debt paid off. I've two little ones that absorb the majority of my time off.

It's the life of the Dad in the new city, in the new job, without enough friends.

We need a Mrs. Lee, and that will be the subject of my next blog. I've finally figured out something to write about. All I needed was a good rant to get me going.