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Balsamic vinegar and political puppets

I’d almost forgotten what it was like, cramming everyday life into the little pockets of time around the edges of work. I’m sure I’ll get better at it, but so far I’m pretty tired and I’m scrambling to get things done.

Then there’s Christmas. I’ve been watching from a safe distance on facebook as my friends make 17 dozen gingerbread men and build dollhouses and plan parties and decorate rooftops and wrap all their hand-made gifts in hand-made paper. So far all I’ve done is take Duncan for his Christmas photo shoot.

I’m ahead of the game on Christmas shopping though, but only because I did it online.

The thing is, I get up at 6:00, leave the house at 7:15 and by the time I get home from work at 5:45, I’m beat. I spend an hour with the animals, then we eat, then I spend a couple of brain dead hours Christmas shopping on the couch, and then it’s bedtime. I usually manage to squeeze in some online Scrabble too.

I have dreams of cleaning my bathroom before Christmas (well, not of actually cleaning it, but of it being clean.)

I’m not complaining, because I’m very happy to have a job and a paycheque and not to be job-hunting. Besides, I managed to fit a job into my busy schedule for 18 consecutive years before I got laid off, so I know it can be done.

We do get out from time to time. We went to the opening of Great Big Smalls at the Cube Gallery on Thursday night. And when we left, we accidentally found the most interesting store at 1283 Wellington Street – it’s called Emulsify, and it’s a brand-new olive oil and balsamic vinegar store. They have all these barrels of exotic flavours of oil and vinegar, and you can sample them. We bought an 18 year old garlic & cilantro balsamic vinegar – it’s thick and delicious. So far we’ve had it on chicken, salads, and roasted veggies.

We’d never even heard of an oil & vinegar store before, but not two days later I saw that Dr. Dawg had stumbled across a completely unrelated but strikingly similar store in the Glebe.

I’ve gone to a bunch of craft shows, too. On the Chinatown Craft Walk I bought a Stephen Harper puppet from the woman who makes politician puppets. I have always coveted Meg’s Larry O’Brien puppet, which is now a collector’s item. (Once a politician is booted from office, she stops making that model, and they become collector’s items.) Anyway I couldn’t decide whether to get a politician I liked or one I disliked, and she urged me to get one I dislike. There were so many to choose from! I picked Harper and she smiled sweetly and said “Would you like me to shove him in a bag for you?”

(Later I began to wish I hadn’t gotten Harper, since I feel physically ill whenever I even see a picture of the man. GC came up with the brilliant idea of stuffing the puppet and using him as a pincushion.)

8 comments to Balsamic vinegar and political puppets

  • We have an olive oil & vinegar store here, too. I’ve tasted some of their goods at home shows and farmers markets but haven’t purchased any yet. I hope to gather some friends for a tasting some time.

    When I think of all I did when I was working full-time, commuting 45 minutes each way, parenting two kids, cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc. it amazes me. I don’t have that kind of energy anymore. What is important gets done, and what doesn’t get done isn’t that important.

  • Squeezing regular life around a full time job is challenging enough but when you add major home construction and the holidays and time becomes a very precious commodity.

    I wouldn’t have chosen to do major construction this time of year but things happen when they will for a reason so I’m going with it. It means a new holiday plan, which is not a bad thing. I am not willing to give up my sanity for the sake of one day.

  • grace

    If you have good things to eat with people you love you have Christmas. My story and I’m sticking to it. Could you manage to install a dimmer on the bathroom light switch?

  • I understand how you feel about the puppet. One year I thought it would be hilarious to dress up as Sarah Palin for halloween. But every time I saw myself in the mirror I just felt hateful.

  • mudmama

    Oh I love the idea of turning him into a voodoo poppet!

  • I believe GC has a brilliant point. Maybe a few dozen.

  • Good grief, Zoom, who knew? Another one? Will these places become as popular as McDonaldses? Yum!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • Lisa in Toronto

    In July I was in a small town near Modena, Italy. Modena is the epicentre of real balsamic vinegar. We visited a balsamic vinegar workshop. It smelled amazing in there! Some of the families in the region use the same barrels for 100 years, so there is a lot of extra flavour from the wood. The best appetizer I think I have ever had was a plate with hunks of aged parmesan cheese (also from this Emilio-Romana province) served with a bottle of real balsamic vinegar. One just took a hunk of salty cheese and dipped it in the vinegar. Yum yum! I haven’t been able to find old enough cheese in Toronto yet, but I am still looking.
    Balsamic vinegar is really good on kale salads as well as tomatoes. We were told not to cook it, just to add afterwards.