EoM

And so endeth the month (of blogging daily). 

sunset

There was a post for each day in November 2008 (even if the timestamps
sometimes pushed an entry into the next day!).

I found it an interesting experiment.  It was definitely
challenging to come up with something
for each and every day.  Some days were particularly challenging
— when there’d been nothing but meetings all day, a long dinner and I
was searching for something to say, outside of my immediate headspace,
at 1am.    But, by virtue of pressing on anyway, I did
get over some writers block like hurdles, I suppose. 

I observe that relatively few posts were about knitting.  I’m not
sure if this was a typical month in that regard:  I am not a
highly prolific knitter, I guess, but that’s not news.

I’m not sure what I will do with this space going forward.  I
doubt I will continue posting at the same rate:  I’m not sure I
need this in my every day, and I’m quite convinced the world does not
need my daily blather πŸ™‚    On the other hand, without
the pressure to put something up every day, I wonder if I will lapse to
the semi-annual posting rate I was supporting previously?  We’ll
just have to see.

This also ends our week on Grand Manan.  Time to head back to the
mainland and wend our way down south, to get back into our usual
routine and wind up for the holidaze.

Beach Glass

Beach:

Stanley Beach

Beach glass:

beach glass cat shadow

beach glass close up

Wikipedia gets it right in observing that beach glass is a strange
phenomenon — an odd case where something more valuable is created from
man-made litter.  “Beach glass” is remnants of (usually coloured)
glass articles that have been broken and distributed in the sea,
carried and tumbled by time and tide, to the point where it is
smoothed, etched, and gently colourful.

Die-hard beach glass combers can identify the source of the glass by
colour.  Blue is said to be pretty uncommon nowadays, as it came
from Noxema bottles — and Noxema has been distributed in plastic jars
for years already.

As littering and dumping are hopefully lessening, world wide, and fewer
products are available in glass containers, the availability of
“natural” beach glass should diminish in coming years.

This yields the delicate irony that lessening garbage in the ecosphere
is making beach glass a non-renewable resource.

Duck a la Something or Other

Faced with the question of “what are the top kitchen appliances you
would bring to an island”, I can tell you I include “slow cooker” on my
list.

This week’s culinary challenge was to prepare a reasonable Thanksgiving
dinner in a kitchen that has virtually no staples (can’t reasonably
keep liquids between visits — they’ll freeze) and an incomplete
battery of kitchen tools.  Oh, and it’s in a part of the world not
celebrating Thanksgiving this week.

I came away from the grocery store on Tuesday without turkey, but
rather a frozen duck, and incomplete thoughts about what to do with it
(mindful of all the fat that can make the duck experience less than
stellar).     The slow cooker seemed like a good
way to cook it, as I don’t especially care about the skin being crispy,
and I figured that would be a nice moist cooking of the duck.  I
found a recipe
for “Imperial Duckling”
on the net, and decided to follow it,
loosely.  (I couldn’t get my hands on currant jelly; I had no
tarragon; I backed away from the orange, somewhat).

In the meantime, I started thinking about braised cabbage.  I have
a family traditional recipe for braised cabbage with partridges. 
Rather than browning the cabbage in bacon fat, maybe I could put the
duck fat to good use?

In the end, the long and the short of it is that I slow-cooked the
duck, and threw in cabbage & onion partway through the
cooking.  There was much draining of fat along the way — as
someone observed, ducks are mostly fat and bone, with not much meat in
between.

Some pictures of the dinner…

Note the more-than-one cup of fat siphoned off the duck during cooking:

Duck done

Duck on a bed of cabbage — closeup:

Duck

Orange-cranberry-port-caraway sauce:

Sauce

Plated!

plated!

Remains after serving 2 portions (i.e., lots of bones, a little bit of
meat):

Remains

Dessert — I had no real ingredients to work with, and did not want
leftovers we could not use past Sunday.  So, I went with a box:

Dessert from a box

And, I have to say, they were Very Tasty!

sticky toffee pudding

And, oh yeah, the duck actually tasted quite good — overall, the slow
cooker experiment rates as a success!

Giving Thanks

Today we recognize that we have much for which to give thanks, not the
least of which is captured in the views from our driveway — that it is
our driveway, that we’re here to enjoy the island, that the weather was
so stupendous that it was impossible not to smile πŸ™‚

From the backyard

From the front yard

Today we particularly enjoyed the service here — left voicemail to set
up a service call and the response came in the shape of the service
person on the  doorstep (why phone, when you can drop by?). 

There was, of course, a cooking extravaganza.  Perhaps I’ll write
about that tomorrow.

Not so thankful for the blog spam scribblers — I hope I’ve gotten the
crap out of the previous blog posts, and that the upgrade/password
changes I did today will prevent further incursions. 

After the Storm

After The Storm

We had a pretty good blow last night/this morning, on Grand
Manan.  Winds were sustained at 50km/h, with gusts up to
70km/h.  A night to appreciate a well-insulated house!

It was windy enough that the ferry didn’t run last evening or this
morning, until the 11:30am departure from Grand Manan.   A
good day to plan to be going nowhere.

When You Just Have to Go

Dashing home from a week of meetings, sliding in by 7pm, time to
unpack, do laundry, repack and take care of some work deliverables, so
that at 6am I’m on my way to our favourite place on Grand
Manan
.

We transited Halifax, which is still digging out from 30cm (a foot) of
snow.

Blowing past Air Canada      
blowing perspex

And clambered onto the Beechcraft
18-seater
for the flight to Saint
John — big sunset, small plane.

sunset -- mile high    
beechcraft

An hour south of Saint John, we grabbed supplies in Blacks Harbour, and
made the 5:30pm ferry — arriving on the island at 7pm, to a fully
working (and warm!) house (but no Internet — hence the delay in
posting this).

Quiet…

Things seem a little quiet around here to me — do they seem a little
quiet to you?  Yeah.  Something to do with being busy in
meetings all day/evening every day for the last 10 days.  I think
it was a productive trip; I think the meetings moved stuff forward,
which is a win.  But there’s something about constant
concentration and trying to get the next meeting prepared even as the
last one is just ending that sucks the life out of you.

I don’t think it’s just a question of being tired (though big dinners,
nice wine, staying up till all hours and then getting up for 8am
meetings might have an impact
πŸ˜‰ ).    A positive spin is that level of engagement in the
activities simply pulls you in every direction and squeezes out every
bit of energy[*].  I always say, “better busy than bored”. 
But, here on Sunday evening, the meetings that ended Friday morning
seem like they were a month ago — as we transitioned into the
weekend’s meetings’ context around noon on Friday. 

Another way of looking at the “level of engagement” and intensity of
the meetings — intense flashbacks.  Last week’s meetings were in
a hotel where we’ve had 6 (of 30) week-long meeting sessions in the
last 10 years.  Yes, we’ve been there for 6 weeks, or 20% of our
meetings.  The flashbacks occured as I walked by meeting rooms and
could mentally replay intense discussions that had been undertaken in
many of them:  which BoF was held in which room, and what the key
objections had been (and who had them) — some of these from as long
ago as 2002, at least.

There’s also definitely an element of the impact of adrenaline (how
else to get through 12-14 hour days?  appart from 4 shots of
espresso in the morning, of course?).

But, for now, my immediate concern is how to stuff a queen-sized
flannel blanket into luggage as we head to an entirely different
context for the next week. 

[*]  It’s definitely some kind of reflection on the state of my
mind that this seems like a “positive spin” πŸ™‚

Ultitasking

I coined a new word today — “ultitasking”.  As in:  theULTImate in multiTASKING.  It has to do with doing a number ofapparently-divergent tasks simultaneously and achieving some coherentand successful outcome.

Consider it “ultitasking” if you are leading a meeting whilesimultaneously handling several instant message chats and updating apresentation (for the same meeting.

Or, carrying out a discussion while checking news updates and knitting.

I don’t want to say that texting while driving or otherwise distractingyourself from control of a motor vehicle count — the only appropriateword there is “dangerous”.

I’d be interested in collecting some examples of “ultitasking” observedin the wild…