Thursday, February 20, 2014

Old Friends

In less than two weeks, I'll be attending an epic concert. Paul Simon is teaming up with Sting for, what promises to be, a fantastic evening of solos, duets and song swapping.

I discovered Paul Simon during my high school days. More accurately, I discovered Simon and Garfunkel during my high school days. While browsing the Columbia House brochure (who remembers Columbia House?!?!) I decided to order Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits on cassette. That's right folks! Cassette!

I fell in love with the beautiful harmonies and the poetic lyrics. In fact, I think I wore that tape out.

I stumbled upon Graceland and Rhythm Of The Saints at a second hand music shop, and discovered Paul Simon's solo collection. I realized that although I loved the sound of S&G, it was really the musical genius of Mr. Simon that I admired so much.

In 1999, I heard that Paul Simon was touring with Bob Dylan. I was convinced this would be my last chance to see my favourite artist in person. At the time, I thought he was aging and would probably not play many more live shows. (Oops. Naivety of youth I suppose.) This excerpt from my scrapbook sums up my first show.

Yesterday was the big day and let me tell you, I was EXCITED. Bob Dylan came out first...but let's face it, I wasn't there to see Bob Dylan. Then I heard "Ladies and Gentlemen, Paul Simon". I grew weak, I grew slack, like he captured the breath of my voice in a bottle and I can't get it back. (see what I did there? PS lyrics!)

Since then, I've had the privilege of seeing Paul sing with Art Garfunkle, Brian Wilson, and several solo shows. Can't wait to add the Sting & Paul show to the list!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Easy As Pie

Creating a pie from scratch is a lost art form. It is all too easy to walk into a grocery store or market and pick one up ...and it's "good enough". But, if you've had homemade pie, you'll know there is no comparing.

I'm fortunate to have inherited the pie-making gene from my Mom and Grammie. Growing up, exceptional homemade pie was commonplace at family gatherings. So, you can imagine how it goes over when served the grocery store variety. It just falls a little flat.

I made my first pie as a teenager. Both of my sisters seemed to have perfected the craft but I was being left in the dust. The pie baking contest at the Moore Reunion was the perfect opportunity to learn. Am I right? Nothing like a competition for your FIRST pie.

While flipping through a magazine, I found a recipe for Carmel Apple Pie. Wow, that sounded good. I decided that would be the one. While my sister Jo-Anne worked on one side of the kitchen, I worked on the other and my mom was between us "overseeing" the creation process. When I asked about how to do a lattice top, Mom replied "This is your first pie Janice, you're not going to try and do a lattice top. Use this cutter instead." And with that, she held up a plastic disc with squares cut out. I was NOT going to use that ugly topper for my pie. I insisted on cutting strips of dough and weaving the top to make a beautiful lattice. I must say, it did look impressive.

My scrapbook page from the event
When we arrived at the reunion, there was a bevy of pies vying for the top spot. I think, perhaps, I was not seriously considered to be a contender. However, once the judging pie was getting top marks. As it turned out, I won for "Best Looking Pie" (thank goodness I didn't wimp out on the lattice top). That is not to say my pie didn't taste good too.

Then there was the time I shipped a pie to Halifax. No kidding. My friend Amy & I had worked together at Petrolia Discovery that summer and after hearing about my big win at the reunion, she wanted to try my pie. I made one for our end-of-summer party and all agreed, it was a great pie. So, when she headed back out to Dalhousie in the fall, I decided it would be fun to send her a pie. You know, like a care package. Her brother Scott just happened to be flying out for a visit, and he agreed to take the pie as his carry on. God bless him. What a surprise for her!

This weekend I had my parents over for lunch and decided pie would be the perfect dessert. (Do I know my Dad or what?) I had just inherited my Grammie's marble rolling pin and marble board for rolling and wanted to try it out. I used some rhubarb that I had stashed away in the freezer and it turned out perfect. Seriously, best pie I've had in a long time. Even my Dad, who does not throw around compliments loosely, said it was "excellent". Yay.

I'm glad I have learned from the best in this long-lost art form and when asked about my offering for the potluck, I can see "easy as pie".

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A Fish Tale

To say John is an outdoor enthusiast is an understatement. For as long as I can remember, he has been passionate about the outdoors. He's an avid angler and hunter and is always trying to convince me to join him. Perhaps he's remembering the days when we were kids. I would be by his side as we went fishing in the ditch or exploring in the bush behind our house.

This weekend, I found myself beside him once again in an ice hut on Mitchell's Bay. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but thought I'd give it a try. So, I hopped in the truck with John, Josh and Kaelyn and set out for an adventure.

John has a 4 wheeler that he normally takes, but since we were only going for a few hours, we decided to save loading the ATV into the truck and take the "ice taxi" instead. Sounds pretty impressive, right? In reality, it's a tractor pulling a wagon with bench seating. And let me tell you, it was a wild ride! Lots of bumps along the way, but sure was better than pulling all of that gear.

We got off the ice taxi and that's when I realized, we still had to pull all of that gear! Shut the front door! We started off in the direction of the huts that dotted the horizon. Pulling the sled loaded with gear was not too bad in the beginning. But the longer we trudged along, the further I got from John & Josh and the more I questioned whether I would actually make it. Kaelyn, God bless her, stuck by my side. What a trooper.

We finally arrived to a suitable spot and the three of them set to work setting up our "camp". Clearly they had done this before. While Josh set up the hut, John drilled holes and Kaelyn scooped the slush off the top. Before I knew it, we were ready to get our rods in the water. And, that's when my phone (which was my camera for the day) powered down. Nice. Thanks a lot. I had 70+% battery so I have no idea if it was too cold or what. So disappointed. I have no photos of actually fishing.

I started in hut #1 with Josh. (yes, there were 2 huts) It was cozy. We had a heater and padded seats that flipped down from the side. I was impressed. Josh baited my hook and explained that I should "jig" the line occasionally. So, that's what I did. It was pretty cool to be able to look right down the hole and see the fish when they finally arrived!

After about 20 minutes of no bites, Josh went out to explore and John joined me. We waited patiently and then heard a ruckus in the next hut as Kaelyn caught the first fish! It wasn't long before I could see fish curiously checking out my minnow. Before I knew it... I had a fish! When I envisioned the day, I expected John would take the fish off my line and hook the bait. But, when I caught that first fish, there was no time for him to help me. He was busy catching fish! So, I grabbed the fish, unhooked it and re-set the bait with another minnow. It didn't take me long to catch on.

In total, we brought home 42 perch. John & Josh have a system when it comes to cleaning them and spent more time than I would have the patience for fileting the fish. I got to take enough home for a few dinners.

My favourite part about the day was not catching the fish, but watching John catching fish. The excitement that oozed from him was that of a seven year old boy. It made me so happy to join him for something he is so passionate about. Good thing I got a one year fishing license!