Wednesday, October 29, 2008

wilton class 2: cake final

All month Kendra, Shannon and I have been making sugar flowers as part of our cake decorating class. Last night we got to put it all together. Here's my finished cake:
My basket weave needs a little work. For some reason there are 7 layers of it in the front of the cake and only 6 in the back. I realized that to match it up at the ends I needed to get back to 7. So there I was, basket weaving BACKWARDS from the middle in a left handed direction to try and line up it to hide the earlier mistake. [ and "I am not left handed" <-- read that in your best Wesley/ Man in Black voice.] Clearly, it will be easier next time to just not drop a line in the first place. Still, I was very happy with the way it turned out and really, with so many flowers, no one will notice the weaving. The daffodils are my favorites. I gave up on Chrysanthemums -- mine all looked like sandcastles or spiky crabs. Who needs that when daisies are so very easy to do?

Here is Shannon's cake. Shannon has these huge, amazing roses and I love the ones that are multicolored.And here is Kendra's cake. She definitely wins the prize for beautifully even basket weave. She asked Nicole what she wanted on the cake and she said "Bob & Larry" so there they are. Complete with cobblestone garden walkway, of course.
We had a great time. Next week we start course three -- fondant and tired cakes. That's going to be a lot of cake. Any volunteers?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

the one with all the photos - updated

UPDATE: This post now contains more words, as promised.

At some point I will add the words to go along with these photos from my recent trip to Winnipeg. But I figured this is what people (well, my parents anyway) were really interested in :) As you can see, it was a great time away.

I love this photo of Corrina, partially because you can see how grown-up she's looking and partially because it so clearly shows her cochlear implant equipment and I am a BIG fan of that stuff. The last time I saw Corrina I don't even think she was saying "Hi". Now that's she's had her implants for over a year she's not only speaking all the time, she's starting to string together phrases. Anytime we were upstairs she would open her parent's bedroom door and point out "Mommy Addy's bed". If I asked her where her bed was, she'd run over and show me that too. One morning we talked about the stripes on my pajamas, another morning she went around the kitchen "Mommy [p]ocket, Addy ocket, Orrina no ocket" (hard consonants at the beginning of words are still very hard for her to say, but she'll get there.)

I know that some people look at the equipment she uses and think "oh no what's wrong?" but I look at it and see something wonderfully right. Corrina was completely deaf at birth and without this technology her world would have remained silent. With it, she is learning to hear and learning to speak. She may be able to hear music. It is nothing short of a miracle and if God chose to use magnets and wires do it it is no less miraculous. Just a few years ago it would have been impossible, so I love those things even if they do move barrettes in her hair and grab my ear rings when we cuddle.

This one is from our Thansgiving table and it should be down below with the others but it will take far too long to try and leap frog it down there. Same with the pie. It was great pie though. For the first time ever we started with a big ole' sugar pumpkin and roasted it the day before instead of opening a can. That was a really, really good pie. And Dave, you may not be able to make traditional whipped cream but your version which closely resembled vanilla ice cream in flavor and consistency is alright by me.

This pic great simply because she looks so happy and because she has this grin on her face so much of the time.
Another big change on this trip from the last time I saw Corrina is that she's in a stage now where she wants to be a part of everything the grown-ups are doing and wants to help. This was taken Sunday after church as Janie & I wer getting perogies ready for lunch. Corrina wanted to help so Janie got out Corrina's little cutting board and found something for her to chop. Technically perogies don't call for tomatoes, but as we know, that's hardly the point. I love the concentration in this photo.

More random Thanksgiving shots, apparently there are throughout. I really enjoyed getting to spend a major holiday with family members I don't usually get to spend them with (woah, nice grammar there editor girl, good thing you're off duty). Janie and Dave made me feel so welcome. To add to the list of first attempts, I also tried to recreate my Mom's famous roastie tatos that are actually deep fried. You'll have to trust me on this, they are devine. (As most deep fried things are.) They aren't quite up to Mom's level yet but they'll get there. Delish.

As usually happens on vacations, right towards the end we realized we didn't have any photos of all of us together. This was taken in the evening of Thanksgiving Monday. Corrina had felt rough all day but was perking up by this time. All in the photo is her beloved Pooh Bear. She's had him since day one and while I don't quite get why she loves to smell him, he does bring her much comfort.
These next few shots are Corrina helping Mommy get the pumpkin ready to roast for pie. We ended up with enough pumpkin that there were leftovers. Janie made some of it into pumpkin pancakes the next day (SOOO good) and put some in the freezer for soup later. That's going to be great soup.

Here is Janie & Corrina on the street where they live. It is an amazing street with hundred year old houses in all states of repair. There are beautiful old trees lining the street that meet in the middle like a benediction over the residents. It was October, but it was Winnipeg, so we bundled.
Action! This is me and Corrina and Kristiana, a student of English who is living with Dave & Janie. Corrina LOOOOVES Kristiana and Kristiana's English is coming along very well. Like children the world over, Corrina adores the 1-2-3 swiiiiiiiiiiiiing game. I'm not sure who invented that game or why all children know it, but I'm pretty sure a kid came up with it in the first place. [ok sci-fi geek reference here. . . .but in SG1 they have this idea of genetic memory and while in the show it's an alien thing, and not a human thing, I think a similar thing might apply here with the swinging.]

What can I say? This kid makes my heart happy. And just think, in a few more weeks Mark & Rachel's little guy will make an appearance and I'll get to be an Aunt again! Thanks to Corrina I'm all caught up on Elmo's World so I should be all set. (Did I mention that she's learning her ABCs now? You can hear her going through the house singing "... H I J K Elmo P"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

the dark knight

Tonight I discovered that I really need to watch more movies in Imax. I have been meaning to see The Dark Knight. I was concerned that I'd missed the theatre release on the west coast. While I am by no means a theatre snob when it comes to movies (only the live version) I do understand that some movies need to been seen on the big screen. I feared that this was one of them and I had missed my chance. Lucky for me, it's still playing here in Winnipeg. I got to see Dark Knight tonight and it was awesome.

I can't remember the last film I saw in Imax -- I think it might have been BodyWorlds at the Science Center. So Dark Knight was sort of a first for me. It won't be the last. And what a film to see on the big screen. The really, really big one. I wondered if the film would live up to the hype and for me it surpassed it. I wasn't a huge fan of the first two Batman movies -- you can keep your Michael Keatons and your George Clooneys (Clooney as a hero, really?). I much preferred Christian Bale's broodier, conflicted Bruce Wayne. And yes, I know, it's an archetype. It works in Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre too. But with the Dark Knight you get cool car chases. And explosions.

Imax reminded me a little of the Grand Canyon -- of standing there thinking, "Wow, it's really big." (I know, I am writer, you can tell, right?) The screen almost filled my field of vision which makes for a very cool viewing experience. The truly all around you surround sound didn't hurt either. But for me, the most compelling aspect of Dark Knight was not how great the story looked (although it did look great), it was how well the story was told.

**Spoilers ahead! If you are one of the last people left who has not seen this movie, skip the next bit***

From the very first time the Joker pulled out a knife and started telling someone how he got his scars I was convinced we were in for a very bloody scene. But they never did it. How rare is it these days to find anything in Hollywood done with subtlety? This story didn't need the help. You didn't need a lot of blood to make the Joker scary. Heath Ledger did that all by himself. He deserves all the hype he got, or at least the hype that will live on after him. I don't know if they'll give him the Oscar, but if they let the rest of vote he'd have mine.

The Dark Knight is interesting because they've managed somehow to inject some subjectivity into the usually black and white world of comic books. Often in hero movies there's the good guy and the bad guy and a little back lighting to make them look cool. In Dark Knight it's more complicated than there and so so much more interesting. It did bother me a little that the story in not canonical. One character dies much earlier than he should for the story's timeline. But Dave assures me that none of the movies follow canon so I can let it go.

The Dark Knight was great entertainment even if it is impossible to watch Heath Ledger without thinking about Heath Ledger. His acting and the character he creates out of a little makeup and slightly Jack Nicholson-southern accent is truly remarkable. Watching him you can hear the "if onlys" echoing through the theatre. Reminds me of a quote I came across recently, "We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahnuik

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Winnipeg - Day 2

Day two has brought some great opportunities to take photos, I'm just still having trouble uploading them. Maybe it just takes a really long time for the internet to get to Winnipeg (tee hee). In an attempt to upload photos faster, I put a few of them on Flickr. As I write, the Flickr upload is 34% complete. This may take awhile.

Winnipeg, Day 1

I am officially on vacation and loving it. I had a wonderfully uneventful flight to Winnipeg and arrived safe and sound yesterday. I tried to get some family shots yesterday but they didn't really turn out. I did get this one of Corrina though. Hopefully, it's the first of many from this trip (and hopefully hopefully, I will some day soon find a class to take so I can learn how to use my new camera and not always have to borrow Kendra's. Thanks Roomie!)

Dave met me at the airport and then we went to pick up Janie from school and Corrina from daycare. I am amazed at how well Corrina is speaking. We'll have to figure out what she's going to call me. Auntie Claire has a lot of hard consonants in it. The last time I saw Corrina she was barely saying hi and this morning she was sharing her fascination with pockets and helmets and stripped pajamas. Progress indeed.

Last night after a delicious supper Dave & I hit the grocery store. As we stepped out into the parking lot we were met by a true prairie wind. It came up close, entirely too familiar, slipping inside my coat and whispering rumours of winter. I shuddered. I turned to Dave and said "Now that's a prairie wind!" and Dave, battle hardened and much tougher than his thin blooded west coast sister casually asked "is there a wind? I hadn't noticed." You could have had a champion kite flying contest in that wind. It was wind sailors dream of and it bounced right off my younger brother in his wool sweater. Just wait til it rains, I'll have him beat then :)

Today Janie is a school, Dave is at work, Corrina is at daycare and I have the house to myself. I am quietly slipping into vacation mode. I finished watching Dan In Real Life which we started last night. I was completely prepared to be underwhelmed by a Steve Carell movie but willing to risk it on Dave & Janie's high praise. I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. Maybe I really do need to watch The Office. (And points, big points for either Pierce Garnder or Peter Hedges, whichever of them is responsible for the perfect line of teenage angst "You are a murderer of love!!!!) I passed the rest of the morning sipping tea and reading and now as I'm finishing up this post I have pretzel dough rising on the stove.

It is good to be here, among family. Corrina has warmed up to me much quicker than I expected and already I'm chasing her down the hallway on her trike, watching Elmo and spinning her round and round the living room. There are good days ahead, I can feel it in the wind.

*(And if I can just wrangle a few things to work together better -- I'm talking to you Blogger! -- I'll have more picture soon.)