Winter Looks Like Failure

After a righteous snow storm last week, our province is insulated by a sparkling, pristine white blanket of snow.  The air is still and crisp, and as I stood in my kitchen with a hot cup of tea, gazing out into the back yard, all that I could think of was, “FAILURE”.

Meet Lexi, the garden cat.  Some people have garden gnomes, but I would hardly be a good Crazy Cat Lady if I scattered the yard with bearded little people instead of dirty old ceramic Persians.

In the summer time, Lexi stands guard over my wandering zucchini and cucumber patch.  In the winter though, Lexi just stares out with those hideously all-seeing eyes and she judges me.

She judges me for the “squirrel proof” bird feeder, which was badly battered by villainous fluffy-tailed vermin, and eventually physically torn off the tree from whence it dangled.  Squirrel proof my arse, I say.   It in no way repelled them, it just made them more creative.  That said, the damage was done in August, and you can see how far I got with repairing the feeder and finding it a new home.

Lexi shakes her head at the tall bush in the back yard which is growing fungus faster than a high school wrestling team.  In the spring time, my Mother cautioned me that the bush was sick and the three or four affected branches needed to be cut off before the disease spread to the rest of the shrub, and eventually to the other plants in the yard.  I really meant to do something about that…..

Lexi has no comment at all for the abandoned plant pots.  Although it has never been said directly, I totally knew that she thought putting okra in pots was a bad idea, and she blames me for the poor yield, most of which withered on the stalks.

What she will hound me for, however, is the unconscionable wasteland of dead tomato plants which were never cleaned in the fall and still stand staked in the ground.

Lexi had a few choice words for me about that one.  Every now and then she’ll just look at me with those unfocused green eyes, and point a regal paw at the frozen tomatoes which are still on the vine.  Nobody does palpable disgust quite like a feline, and Lexi makes her feelings clear.

2010 was a busy and challenging year, with an abundance of joys but an equal number of missed opportunities and things left to slip through the cracks.  In the fall, which I like to think of as the height of wedding planning hell, time was of the essence and we started to neglect this site of ours.  After the wedding, there was a whirlwind of ‘catch up and close out’ at work before the holidays, and then with travel and whatnot…..not a lot of cooking, not a lot of blogging, and a whole new level of neglect for my house plants.

Something has got to give.

I’m not particularly good at making New Years resolutions, but I am a fan of setting goals, creating a plan, and executing the vision as flawlessly as possible.  With that spirit, I wanted to share with you a few of the goals I’m setting for 2011.

1.  Water house plants at least every 2 weeks.  Do not convince self that the suffering will make them stronger.

2.  If self insists on only cleaning bathroom before guests come over, for god’s sake, start inviting over more company because that tub is truly appalling.

3. Work less, sleep more.

4.  Trick Mike into thinking that Bitter Melon is actually cantaloupe, and record his outrage and disgust.

5.  Time is limited, but make every effort to post at least three (3) Choosy Beggars articles a week.

6.  Comments are one of the single greatest joys of running a blog, so let people know how grateful we are.  Respond to comments at least every two days, particularly comments with a question or inquiry.

There you have it.  I have goals for myself and goals for this blog, and hopefully sharing them with you will keep me honest and bring some momentum to kick-start this year.  Because really, Lexi is a little bit terrifying and I’m doing my best to stay on her good side, one task at a time.

  • Rachel

    Hahahahah! Tina! Awesome! I actually laughed out loud (I abhor acronyms and chatspeak – maybe I should spell them out. That’d confuse peeps: Ell Oh Ell).

    Your garden, my house. Your garden cat, my in-laws. Seems we can’t win. Or, can we? Legends in our own minds, that’s right!

    Say hi to Mike for me!

  • Mike

    Jesus Christ these cats haunt my dreams.

  • erica

    Please photoblog #4. I beg you. Please.

    • Mike

      For added cruelty, she will pair it with “disguised” tofu.

  • Davey

    I’ve been lurking for a long time and love your site. I’ve made many a dish of yours with mucho success. Thank you! (especially for the dips, lavash, and bread dishes… YUM!)

    Just so you know I bought heirloom Italian Tomato “Tree” seeds and planted them the other day in a pot in the dining room. After doing some research I did not realize that the effing tree actually gets to be 15 feet high and bushes out everywhere. I can’t wait to explain THAT to the boyfriend in about 6 weeks. LOL!

    • Tina

      Davey – thank you so much for your kind words!! I’m so glad that you’ve found a few things that you like on our site!!!

      That’s too funny about the tomato tree. I have *never* heard of such a thing, so I would have been right there in Shocksville with you….and the 15 tree that has taken over the dining room. Christ that’s funny. I actually usually have the opposite problem….for some reason, I have an awful habit of unknowingly buying plants that are dwarf, so I’ll expect a big bushy hedge to fill out in our yard and instead I get a twee little munchkin shrub with emptiness all around.

  • Amy

    I for one am very excited about more blogging! My husband has already started to look at me strangely when I try to explain that I got a recipe from this awesome food-blog that I follow, but he can’t argue with the awesome-ness of cheeseburger dip and curried mussels. And I haven’t even tried pull-apart bococini bread yet. Can’t wait for new content in 2011!

    • Tina

      Aw, thanks Amy!!! That totally makes my day!

  • lo

    This post was totally good for a laugh… and then a cry. It reminded you of the state of our backyard, which didn’t exactly get the once-over it usually gets in the fall.

    Am excited to read that you’re still committed to blogging — though I must say, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with you people if you go all over-achiever on me! 🙂

  • TS of eatingclub vancouver

    Hmm, I still think our garden fared much, much worse. Basically it sort of reverted itself to a jungle. I finally cleared it because I feared there were some nasties breeding there.

    It seems “goals” such as #5 are getting harder and harder. I remember posting everyday! I was much younger then. 😉

  • Renata

    But bitter melon IS a fruit and it goes wonderfully with that luscious Tofutti (or whatever it is called) ice cream…..

  • Nanco

    I love your trickery, even at Mike’s expense. Our backyard is in a total state of neglect, and has also been the dogs’ litter box since the first snow fall. Spring will be a terrible surprise and will require gloves, shovels and lots of garbage bags… Cleaning the bathroom is my least favourite job and I can’t seem to remember that it’s easier if you do regular upkeep. Good resolution!
    Can’t wait for Choosy Beggars 2011!!

  • Erin

    Well, I’m finally going to comment! I love your site and I’ve made many recipes from it. My favorites are Roasted Vegetable Strudel, Green Lentil Feta Salad, and the white bean/feta/olive dip, among others. I also like your Lebanese recipes–I grew up in an area where a lot of Lebanese people live and I miss the easy access to great Lebanese food. Can’t wait to see what you make next!

  • Rebecca

    Oh thank gods – I’m not the only one who didn’t clean out their garden at the end of the summer! While I managed to get in all the ceramic and clay pots, the plastic pots and wooded planter are still on the deck, under 2 feet of snow.

    Your articles are delightful and I’m amassing a stack of new recipes to try someday. Keep up the excellent work!

  • Tina

    Guys, THANK YOU!!! You’ve all made me feel so much better…and glad that I’m not alone!!! Thank you for your comments, and it’s so great to ‘meet’ some new friends and hear about what you like (or don’t!!) and want to see next!!!

  • MJ

    I’ve actually had to put myself on hiatus from blogging for a while now because of health issues, but I wanted to LYK that this particular Crazy Cat Lady has an awful lot in common with you…my tomato plants are still in their containers on my deck, all shackled to their trellises, my container garden still has frozen, dessicated herbs sticking out of the soil, and my garden cat statues (yes plural) along with Homie the Gnomie, a fabulous repurposed magic 8 ball (, and a moose all look at me sadly whenever I glance out the back window…well, the 8 ball can’t actually look at me, but I think you catch my drift…

    I just found your site tonight while doing a search for fennel and fish recipes, and I’ve been exploring it for over 3 hours now! You’ve given me a LOT of awesome recipe ideas, and I was proud to realize that aside from 4 or 5 items, my own pantry is as well-stocked as yours!would be considered well-stocked according to your guidelines! YAY!

    I look forward to reading more of your postings!
    Hugs from your new friend,
    MJ, aka Crazy Cat Lady