Making a place for baby

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So, remember when I mentioned I would be building Ikea furniture for the nursery? Well, I’ve successfully managed to put it off until now.

Renting can be tough on someone with very specific design ideas. I’m a bring-in-the-light-white-walls-with-bright-punches-of-colour kind of girl, while the house we’re renting has been painted in dulcet coffee tones, with heavy, dark wood accents that are begging to be painted out. In this prairie setting where winter lasts 7 months a year, I totally get that most people want to surround themselves with coziness. It’s just not me.

So, until we move, the nursery will have to be as adorable as can be with walls the colour of milky coffee. I’ve decided on white furniture with accents of turquoise, which I *think* will go okay with the brown walls.

And here, behold the fruit of my labour:

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Why is there a hairdryer on the floor, you ask? That’s because Ikea stuck sticker warnings all over the crib and they use that glue that won’t come off come hell or high water. Since I don’t want to risk damaging the paint with rubbing alcohol or other chemicals, I’m using the dryer to heat up the glue, and a plastic knife to gently peel it off. It is a grueling effort. Here’s evidence of what I’ve gotten myself into:

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And while I’m complaining about Ikea, I’ll mention that I should have had a photo of three pieces of furniture – a crib (check), a dresser (nope), and a bookshelf (ixnay on the elfshay). This is because Ikea screwed up BOTH the dresser and the bookshelf and I have to GO BACK TO IKEA first thing tomorrow and see what they can do.

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Celery remoulade – aka French coleslaw

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When I was in my very early twenties, I had the privilege of working as a ski guide* one winter at the 3 Valleys ski area in France. Once a week, we would eat at a lovely hillside restaurant in Courchevel where I would order the exact same lunch each visit: vichyssoise to start and their house salad as a main. The salad was an assembly of various vegetables, meats, and a hard boiled egg. A pretty haystack of juliened carrots with raisins here, a rolled up slice of ham there. My favourite part of the salad was a seemingly exotic version of coleslaw. Dense and crunchy, with a creamy, lemon-tanged dressing, this turned out to be a staple French salad that uses celery root instead of cabbage as its base. I hadn’t thought of the dish in years until I was at the Italian Centre this week and stumbled upon actual celery root with the celery still attached.

I ran it through the food processor using the grater attachment, which gave it exactly the right shape and texture as I’d remembered. Here it is in the bowl, ready to be dressed up:

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I’m a little embarrassed to reveal that I keep Hellman’s 1/2 fat mayo in the fridge, but it’s what Adam likes, and heck, I grew up on the stuff and don’t mind a little every now and then. If I was being truly authentic, I would have made mayonnaise myself, or at least used a high quality full-fat variety, but as I was just whipping up a little lunch, Hellman’s it was.

I adapted the recipe from French Women Don’t Get Fat – unabashedly one my favourite cookbooks – substituting capers for chopped up pickles, and using a smidge more Dijon than called for and sherry vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. And while perhaps lacking the intense satisfaction that can only come from a morning of skiing and breathing in high altitude alpine air, the result was pretty close to what I remember from all those years ago: a tasty, hefty salad; the capers giving it a necessary pop of saltiness and a texture, the edges of the celery root absorbing the lemony dressing and lending a bit of chew with the crunch.

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* I want to be clear: there are legitimate, trained ski guides in Europe who are highly educated professionals trained in mountaineering. I was/am NOT one of these. I was paid by a tour operator to take guests staying at a chalet around the large resort at which we were based. It was possibly the best job I’ve ever had.

 

 

Bow-tie optional

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One of my favourite bloggers is Garance Doré, and today’s post about the discrepancy between the way very young girls and guys dress really gripped me: http://www.garancedore.fr/en/2014/03/25/short-cuts/

I’ve noticed lately that when very young couples go out on dates together, the girl is often in heels and a dress and totally done up, while the guy is wearing a ball cap and in baggy jeans and a T-shirt. Why the discrepancy? Why do girls stand for a) their guy looking like a total slob while they went to such an effort, and b) sending the message both to her date and to those around her that the discrepancy – the implicit suggestion that girls are sexual objects and that guys need not hold themselves to any standard – is not just okay, but expected?

Biding my time

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Those who know me well know I love running. It makes me feel tough, strong, and capable, and it affords a connection with my neighbourhood and environment I wouldn’t otherwise have. Those who know me also know that I’ve basically taken a two year hiatus (yes, when I look back it really has been this long). I wish I was one of those people who, when times get tough, dive head first into making their bodies stronger, knowing it will help with their headspace at the same time. Instead, I found the sofa and took comfort in long visits with friends over glasses of wine and delicious meals out. (Honestly, is there any better medicine than this, though??) The runs I did do got more and more challenging, and less and less enjoyable. And now that I’m fully into this pregnancy, I know that I’ve got to wait at least four months more until I head back out there.

I can’t wait to hit the road. I’m fortunate to live right along the river, replete with a network of trails and paths, most of which are very hilly. They’ll kick my butt when the time comes, and I say bring it on!

So as I bide my time, telling myself the slow, pokey walks I take with my dog are a reasonable facsimile, I’m sourcing inspiration for when I can start again. To that, I’m loving the weekly newsletter from iRun.ca, and especially loved this week’s post titled 9 common running mistakes.

Another cozy weekend indoors

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It’s freezing out, and the chill shows no sign of letting up for days and days. I’m staying in this weekend under the blankets with movies, House of Cards, my new Porter magazine, and a good book. Any suggestions for good books? I recently set aside The Goldfinch. Donna Tartt is a super talented writer, but her descriptions of drug/booze-induced haze were so convincing the book was making me feel ill!

Adam and I are also going to start work on the nursery. Lots of Ikea flatpack to build!