Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Friday, November 30, 2007


These blinds came with the house. We hate each other, these blinds and me. Tonight as I begged and pleaded with them to cooperate, I realised our perfectly-shoveled-across-the-street neighbors probably think I am trying to send them some kind of distress signal every evening at about 5:30. Up and [almost] down go the blinds. Up...and almost down... If this was torture, I would rather be drawn and quartered...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Let It Snow... if there's any way to stop it, genius.
This is our house. This is our house with snow. Everywhere.

This is our neighbors' house (with snow). See how nicely their driveway shows through? That's because our perfect neighbor [Flanders, in the best sense of the name] shovels his snow before anyone walks on it. Sometimes even while it's still snowing.

This is how our driveway turned out after I tried my hand at shoveling. I thought I could teach myself the skill, but as it turns out, one has to be a Canadian to really get the job done right:

Ditto the sidewalk. [It is against the law to neglect shoveling snow from one's own sidewalk. If someone were to slip and get hurt on a snowy patch of sidewalk in front of our house, we would be criminals.]

I will admit,'s lovely.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dinner Theatre

Let me set the scene...

Kitchen table, cluttered with things not "out of place" so much as "homeless." (Things like apothecary jars and huge white bowls and 11x17 wedding photos [leftover from the reception]). A 9x13" pan of chicken enchiladas rests on a wrought iron trivet, steaming with gooey melted mozzarella cheese. Clear glass bowl of tossed green salad is nestled in the background, and to the side lies a bag of tortilla chips and a gallon jug of Costco salsa. (Chips and salsa are backup dinner.)

Me: (calling to the computer room) Kyle, are you ready for dinner?
Kyle: Yeah.
(five minutes later)
Me: Kyle!
Kyle: I'm coming...
(He comes)
Me: These enchiladas might be a little spicy because enchilada sauce doesn't come in a can in this country, so I had to make my own with sour cream and jalapeƱos. I think I might have used too many jalapeƱos.
Kyle: (Takes a bite) Mmm...this is good.
Me: (With a questioning look on my face) Thanks...
(Kyle rises, refills his glass of ice water, and returns to his chair. Takes another bite. Re-rises. Meanders to the kitchen, opens the fridge, pilfers, and closes the door empty-handed. Turns to the cupboard, opens the doors and reaches for a bottle of a molasses-colored elixir of some sort. Returns to the table.)
Me: (After noticing the elixir is not elixir at all, but actually a bottle of Tony Roma's original Barbecue sauce.) ...Umm...
Kyle: (Noticing my questioning expression) Oh, it's okay. Barbecue sauce fixes everything.

Does this mean The Honeymoon is finished? Should I be getting over the part where my cooking determines my worth as a wife--as a human being?

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Thursday, November 22, 2007


"Post something," he said. "Entertain me, despite your lack of inspiration."


I went hunting with my husband and Ronnie, our neighbor. This was last Saturday at the dim--yet nevertheless early--hour of 7 a.m. Since I am turning green in the environmental sense, I didn't know if I could withstand the pressure. Even though I knew I wouldn't be pulling any triggers, I still wasn't sure if I would be okay with killing an animal for sport [Ronnie was on a quest for a 5 point buck]. Ethics and morals, and what-not.

But I went. I hate the thought of missing out on something fun.

I was surprised once we started the hunt, though--I'd always figured the definition of hunting included actually finding, cornering, and eventually killing something alive. We had no trouble finding things alive, but the cornering and killing aspect of the hunt didn't go so well. We saw many animals. {Evidently Ronnie is a bit picky when it comes to the heads he'll hang on his walls. Go figure.} We even chased one down, but the clever buck eluded us in spite of our efforts--they say that big bucks are big for a reason: they were too smart to get themselves hunted and killed last season.

Here was our prey:

Ronnie spotted.

Ronnie hunted.

Kyle spotted.

Kyle hunted.

Both returned quite empty-handed...

My bed head and I tried to look interested and enthused.
"It's a good thing we aren't pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail and don't actually need these animals to sustain us," I said, "or we'd be goners."

I was more keen on watching the beauty of Alberta.

Nobody shot this little lamb. Nobody even tried. Thank goodness.

I am more attractive than a deer--why doesn't anyone ever try to shoot me and stuff my head for their wall? Hunting doesn't make any sense. I have a lot of relatives who sport heads on their walls, and they will surely mock me for this post. Ho-hum. I bet they'll love me anyway.

On a more pleasant note, I am thankful for these dusty wooden pedestals. I got both of them for $7 at Goodwill. Someday I will paint them black or cream and they'll be lovely in my house. But for now, on this Thanksgiving that's not even celebrated where I live, they do a swell job of cheering me up...

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Friday, November 16, 2007


It was about a year ago when my inclination toward homemade marshmallows began. I was lucky enough to experience these ones in hot cocoa at a rich friend's house last winter.

A few months later I moved to Belgium and was introduced to these little pretties. {Pierre Marcolini, by the way, is the Belgian chocolatier of the very rich.} Unfortunately, despite my ghastly high wages as a Belgian au pair to the very rich, I never could seem to save enough euros to try Monsieur Marcolini's mallows.

Then, I moved home, started Archives of our Lives, and meandered upon this blog [look down two posts] which inspired me to take matters into my own hands. I had to have the homemade mallows again; I became obsessed.

So bought the ingredients as specified in Martha's recipe here and invested four hours of my life into these mallows, and what follows are the results. Of my Friday night. {This is me married.}

See this?

Those are Martha's up there.

And these:

These are mine.

See any resemblance? Me either.

Then I remembered what my long-ago young womens advisor used to tell me in our cooking classes, "Never forget, Camille, about presentation. Presentation can make or break a meal." So then I remembered that everything looks better in an apothecary jar....

Still no resemblance?

I have been faced with a dreadful failure in the kitchen, and I am going to sleep sad and forlorn at 12:48 a.m. Rachel Ray never would have given me false hopes like Martha's recipe did. That's because Rachel Ray has never been a convicted felon...

I am changing my loyalties.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

...Okay, but I Don't Know Why You'd Care...

I've hesitated updating my blog because I really haven't had much by way of inspiration lately. Don't misunderstand: I am enjoying my new life and new experiences... It's just that it doesn't seem like anyone reading my blog would be interested in what I'm doing. Do you care, for example, that I have cooked four meals already as a wife (burritos, lasagna, chicken cordon bleu, and stir-fry)? Do you care that my rice was not too sticky, my snickerdoodles turned out beautifully, I succeeded at banana bread muffins and chocolate chip cookies, and even my apple crisp wasn't too shabby? Does it matter to you that I went to the dollar store today and bought four clear squirt bottles so I could fill them with windex and disinfectant spray, just so my under-the-sink kitchen cupboard will look spiffy and uniform (reminiscent of Martha, friend to the masses)?

Probably not.

Do you, as a blog reader and (very likely) an employed member of society, care that, because Immigration Canada says I can't work until my papers go through, I have instead organized my closet--and Kyle's--color-coordinating both for easy access? I doubt it.

So you see, though I enjoy what I am doing, I have a hard time believing that anyone else would take delight in it.

Aside from that, the only news is that Kyle went to get his teeth (or lack thereof) inspected by the dentist and the specialists today. Not one, not two, not three, not four, five, or six, but seven thousand dollars is what it would cost to get them fixed properly. Three zeros. That would pay off the car I left in Mesa. (Anyone want to buy a '99 white Toyota Camry?)

I told Kyle that I'm used to the toothless him, and he shouldn't base his decision on whether or not I mind his new look. I mean, who could resist this face?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

{In Sickness and In Health...}

There has been an outbreak of the mumps at the college where Kyle attends classes.

How could this happen? It's not like Canada is a third-world country, or excessively poverty-stricken... I don't know; I guess I just figured that I had enough to worry about, between my pregnant sister, setting up my new house, and learning how to drive in snow; catching the mumps wasn't really high on my list of concerns until now.

I had my standard two doses of the MMR vaccine when I was younger, so I think I should be immune to the potentially-fatal disease. Kyle, on the other hand, did not. (I'm not saying this was an oversight on his parents' behalf [I myself barely got my second dose of the shot in 2004, and only because it was required by the United States Government for me to get my overpriced passport so I could visit overpriced Europe]. Maybe the Canadians aren't as strict about that sort of thing. [Maybe they should be].)

At any rate, it's too late now. What's done is done (or not done, in this case). Kyle and I went to the school yesterday to get him immunized with the MMR vaccine. A pamphlet the shot people handed out listed some potential side effects of the vaccine, and as luck would have it, Kyle woke up today complaining of most of them. He's been throwing up all day; he's been freezing cold and boiling hot; he has a fever and a headache and he says he's sore all over. The worst part, though, is that we aren't sure if it's just a reaction to the vaccine, or if he really has the mumps. (The symptoms are the same for both scenarios--go figure.) Or, it could be that he just has the flu. I followed the pamphlet's instructions and gave him a dose of Tylenol (Tylenol Cold, actually--just to be safe), but he's since thrown up three more times, so I doubt it's still in his system.

I myself haven't showered in several days, what with toiling in this house all week, and nursing Kyle back to "health" all weekend. My hair is greasy. My face is greasy. My eyelids are greasy.

To top it all off, Kyle's three front teeth fell out. Again. This happens every year or so, and I am used to it--but I think it must be awfully miserable to catch the mumps on one's weekend, and not even have the pleasure of front teeth to take comfort in. His dentist is on holiday and won't be back until Wednesday.

I just ran a lukewarm bath for Poor Kyle to soak, and he's in there moaning away, sounding for all the world like the sad song of an orca. Humanized. Free Willy...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

{Move-in Day}

Hells, bells! What are we going to do, Holmes?


Monday, November 5, 2007

...To Begin at the Beginning...Update #1

This used to happen to me in high school. Between band, orchestra, volleyball, track, student counsel, family stuff, church stuff, the occasional formal dance, and regular school work, there could often be weeks between journal entries. It would get to the point where I was so far behind that it would have taken me hours to get caught up--hours which, of course, I could never spare. And so the cycle would continue. Invariably, the guilt would become so overwhelming that I would sit down, open my neglected diary, and write an inadequate overview like, "I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote last. I turned 16 in September, went on my first date to Golf Land [I know. Bad.], passed all my midterms, and got a new flute for Christmas. Now it's summer vacation."

I hate the fact that someday when I'm old and feeble, I won't be able to remember the more intricate details of my glory days.

So here I sit in front of my MacBook in Dillon, Montana, humbly compelled to get down to business. The way I figure it, I ought to post on the following major events of the wedding: Bridal shower (actually, I was lucky enough to get two, but I only have photos of the second one), pre-married open house in Canada, formal wedding photos, actual wedding day, wedding reception, honeymoon, and immigration over the 49th parallel.

And so it begins. Bridal shower. My wonderful sister worked tirelessly to throw me an amazing shower. We sent out about a hundred invitations (this was for ward and high school friends--we had a second one for family) and had an awesome turnout of over 80.

A recap, in photos:

I went to Adell's house the night before the shower, and we put together this fairytale centerpiece. Got loads of compliments, and it's still gracing her kitchen table with Autumn goodness...

My hair looked incredible thanks to a fresh cut and colour by Lindsey, the one and only hairstylist I've loved--and who "gets" me--on the same level as Raygon.

Here's my sweet Grandma trying to make sense of the orange crocheted bikini I a joke, of course. {Everybody knows I totally only sport fuchsia swimwear!}

Of all the lovely domestic goodies I received (and I received many; people were so generous), this apron was the most beautiful. But then, I've always appreciated what aprons do for my figure--they're so...cinch-able!

This three-piece stackable cooling rack made me very happy, wouldn't you agree?

My mom's been great through it all, considering her youngest daughter is moving out of the country. She thought it was funny, though, that I didn't know how to use half the gifts I received at the shower--even the ones I registered for! {She must be so proud...}

And I mustn't forget to post a photo of me with my big sister, who made it all possible. She started working on the adorable invitations back in the summertime, and had been planning out the menu for months. And this she had to deal with, on top of working full-time, taking classes for her masters (master's? masters'? Help me out, Sis!) degree, and having a real-life child growing inside her...she's wonderful. (She also gave me the most adorable rocking chair I've ever beheld, which deserves--and will get--a post all its own.)

This is a photo of my very first apothecary jar. I have always been inclined to like these, and I about had a heart attack when my friend Lee included it as part of a much-too-kind gift. (She has since given me two more, and I was no less excited about the others than I was with the first.) The dark chocolate M&Ms were included with my prize.

So there it is. My second bridal shower was a smashing success! Many thanks to all who helped, attended, and participated (I always stress out about parties in honour of me--I worry too much, I guess). And an extra-notable thank you to Lindsay White Sherman, who took over 200 photos of the event when she found out my camera was out of battery juice--I told her not to but she seemed to think I would regret it otherwise. She was right. Thanks a million, Momentito!

**Of course I realise this is a ridiculously long post--why else would I have put it off so long? If you survived it, and masochistically want to subject yourself to more, stay tuned for the next installment of Marital Bliss and Other Whimsies, as featured here on Archives of our Lives.