Thursday, June 13, 2013

Janine Soup

When I was little one of my favorite foods was Janine Soup.  It was green and mushy and yummy and had pieces of ham or bacon in it and it was glorious.  It wasn't until I was eleven or so, that I learned that "Janine Soup" was really "Split Pea Soup."  My mom would make it from scratch after we had ham for special occasions.

My dad and I would drive across the border to Bellingham to buy milk, gas, ham (or turkey) and pop.  Dad really liked Cherry Coke which you couldn't buy North of the border, so he would stock up on our little trips, while I would get Original Trident Gum which you couldn't get in Canada.  It tasted like their bubblegum (pink) and mint (blue) flavours had been smushed together into one gum, and for some reason I really liked it.

It's funny how memory can play tricks with you... I'm not sure how often we made these trips, but it seemed like we went at least once a month if not every couple of weeks.  We'd often stop at Denny's for lunch (The day my dad finally let me order my own meal instead of ordering me a corn dog which I HATED will always stand out in my memory.) We'd get ham for Easter, Mother's Day, Christmas, and a number of other special occasions, and there was always a batch of Janine Soup to look forward to the following week.  Our trips across the border became less frequent after mom found out that she had high cholesterol and had to stop eating red meat.  Sadly, the occurrences of Janine Soup became fewer and farther between as well.

This Easter we went to K's for dinner and had a delightful time watching little D completely ignore her Easter egg hunt in favor of an old ball in the backyard.  After our delicious dinner, K was wrapping up the ham bone to freeze until she returned from her vacation in sunny Hawaii, while we all started commenting on how we were each eager to stop by "to water the plants" while she was away, and should the ham bone mysteriously go missing from her freezer and one of us happened to make split pea soup, these things should be considered merely coincidental and IN NO WAY RELATED!

Apparently K decided that if the ham bone was still there when she returned from her vacation, she would get each of us a ham bone of our own.  It would seem that none of us carried through on our thinly veiled threats, so she bought ham hocks for each of us.  I picked up mine from its temporary home in my mom's freezer the other day and today I made my first ever pot of Janine Soup... erm... I mean, Split Pea Soup.  The whole place smelled yummy all afternoon and the kids upstairs and their Grandma Sim commented on the scents wafting upstairs.  Sim was awesome in giving me pointers about how low to set the temp as it simmered, and approved of the ingredients and method I used.  I haven't tried the soup yet, as it wasn't ready in time for supper, but it looks and smells just right!  While I know it's technically Split Pea Soup with Ham, it will always be Janine Soup to me.

Friday, May 24, 2013

What I found at work today.

Mannequin Boss
Yesterday was my birthday.  I had the day off of work and had a yummy dinner out with my mom.  When I returned to work this morning it was clear that some of my co-workers had been rather mischievous in my absence.

The first thing I noticed as I was getting myself a cup of tea was a mannequin head sitting on top of the drinks fridge with a typed note attached.  I didn't get a picture of the note, but the general gist was that the head (which had been given glasses, a mustache and grayed hair) was meant to represent our boss.  It's purpose? To make sure we didn't miss him too much when he goes away on holidays next month.

While funny, the thing was a little bit creepy, especially with the giant "5" on its forehead.

When my workday started, I opened my drawer to find another mannequin head sitting there with two taped notes attached.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR" was stuck to it's cheek, while it's neck was wrapped in the following:

Hi Jannine I am UR
BOY FRIEND Finely U got me" [sic]

Funny how my new "boy friend" spells like my old apple (remember the notes from my fruit?) and looks like a punk girl with very bad hair...

After laughing and showing my co-workers the head, I put it in the staff room so it could freak other people out too.  That was my mistake!  All day various co-workers would grab the disembodied head and either place it somewhere so that I'd turn around and see it staring at me, or would hold it up, shoving it in my face as I turned around.  It felt like the damn thing was stalking me... so I decided that turnabout was fair play.  I put it in the bathroom and one of my coworkers had the misfortune of finding it there.  After screaming, then laughing, she put it in the stock room with a new note for the night manager to find - this might have had a stronger result had she not been the one to bring the things to work yesterday in the first place, but we managed to get a couple of people by sending them to get various items from that area.

 When I left work, my plastic stalker was still in the stock room waiting for unsuspecting employees to happen upon it while stocking up on lids, and the boss-like one was sitting atop the first aid kit outside the manager's office.  I can only imagine what I'll find tomorrow morning!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Adventures in Un-decorating the Christmas Tree

My tree in all of its pre-Christmas glory.
Today I finally took down my Christmas tree.  Yes, my tree was still up on January 20th...
In my defense:
1. I've been kinda busy since Christmas, especially on my days off.
& 2. The Christmas party for work is tomorrow, so technically my holiday celebrations don't end for another 24 hours or so...

I got home from work today and thought enough is enough, the tree has got to come down.  So, there I was this afternoon, carefully taking the most breakable items off of the tree first... I tend to take ornaments off one type at a time as I find it easier to pack them safely if I do so - if you think this is weird, you should ask my mom what she thinks of my system for decorating the Christmas tree!

I pulled lightly on a lower branch to try to turn the tree a bit in order to reach the back branches, when all of a sudden the tree was falling towards me.  I tried adjusting the angle of the tree in the hopes that I'd just unbalanced the base... to no avail.  No amount of fiddling with the three thumb screws on the base would convince the tree to behave as a good little artificial tree should.  The tree would not stand upright on its own.  I had to hold it up with one hand while I tried to rescue all of the breakable ornaments with the other.  I finally managed to get the most fragile items to safety, then had to wrestle with the rest of the ornaments which I just tossed into an empty box whilst trying to keep the tree from falling over.

The hardest part was getting the lights off, and once I'd managed to de-light the top section of the tree via rather unconventional methods, I was able to remove it, making the rest of the tree a little easier to handle, but making the de-lighting and de-garlanding rather difficult as I was then dealing with a tangled mess, all one-handed.

Somehow I managed to disentangle everything, including myself, and when I finally got to the point of dismantling the base of the tree I found this:

What? Doesn't your tree look like this too?

That's right, my tree broke about four inches from the base.  The metal twisted so that it was clinging to this piece by a tiny sliver.  I'm not quite sure how this happened, but it seems to have collapsed into itself where the screws held it in place.  I've examined the remains and it looks like I'll still be able to use the tree again, it'll just be a few inches shorter next year!  This may be a good thing as my tree fairy was brushing against the ceiling this year.

The poinsettia I rescued from work is
the only remaining sign of the holidays.
Actually, that's not true...
There's also my Gingerbread Tardis.