Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Check out this posting

I recommend visiting red jane's blog and visiting this post. She sums up how disgusted I've become with the events I've been catering and the complete ignorance and refusal for people to confront what is going on.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Writing again

I did a full day at LV today and whew retail days are long days, arent' they? It didn't help that I wasn't fully rested from the weekend catering for Rosh Hashana, more retail, a late night Saturday (probably too much to drink, I admit it) and a wild chase just to get my ride to the catering gig early Sunday morning and later that day another rush home to drop my bag and dash off again to meet with a filmmaker about a script.

By Sunday evening I wasn't at my best to meet with this filmmaker, but I tried to be as clear as possible when trying to discuss his work. In the end, I'm actually writing a segment for his film and I will get an actual living writing credit! I am elated. I am thrilled that he wants to work with me. If all goes well there will be potentially more collaboration. It'd be better if I was staying local, but with email et al it should work out. It's been over a year since we first talked about this film he's working on now so...these things take time. Anywho...he's a wonderful filmmaker and I'm so happy to be writing again.

In other news...

The Packing Continues
The crunch is on. The entire contents of our house must be sorted and packed ready for the movers to load the truck on Saturday. With my stress level rising, I'm trying to keep it together and stay positive that it will all get done. And it will.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Notes from NOW

NOW Magazine is a local freebie paper that I don't read every week but I pick it up occasionally to get another point of view on whoville. At work people bring in the two big papers that are quite awful all around and I end up in the arts section every time and always spend the most time on the crosswords. It's not compelling journalism, unless you like to get worked up and feel compelled to write letters to the editor. Of course I'm generalizing and there are good components or articles now and then, but mostly I get my news from the radio in the a.m. and t.v. in the p.m.

Anywho...back to NOW. In light of the recent shooting at Dawson College, Susan G. Cole has written an article inviting the reader to inquire about yet another side of the problem that I haven't seen addressed yet. You can read here article here.

* * *

Continuing with NOW, I read my horoscope as I always do when I pick up the paper. It reads not only for how I'm feeling for this week but how I'm feeling towards the next few weeks and months actually.

"For years, I lived 13 miles from the top of Mt. Tamalpais, the highest peak in the San Francisco Bay Area. Every day I gazed at it from afar through my window or while riding my bike in the hills, marveling as it glided through its ever-shifting relationship with the sky. It was a remote yet familiar beacon, an awe-inspiring touchstone against which I could measure my own undulating rhythms. Now I've moved to a new home at the foot of Mt. Tam. I feel as if I've become part of it--am embedded in its protective and majestic aura. It's no longer an objective gauge, but rather an intimate tone and texture in my subjective experience of myself. I predict that you will soon undergo a comparable shift, Cancerian: from being there to being here; from outside to inside; from strength absorbed at a distance to power felt up close."

BTW I've been to the foot of Mt. Tam (as it's called) and driven around it, it's a beautiful area. My uncle lives not far from there.

* * *

Tonight we're going to see Natasha Atlas as part of the Small World Music Festival. D. introduced her music into my life and I became a devoted fan. I saw her once before in Montreal at the Spectrum and it was an incredible show. Seven years and six albums later I can't wait to see her performance. She sings in Arabic, French and English and has combined both Arabic and Western music, making it her own unique sound. I can't wait!

D. bought tickets for all of us (me, sis and R.) as a way to thank everyone for getting the house into shape for the recent showing. Now we can also celebrate it being sold and all of us taking directions in our lives that we've all wanted to do for so long.

p.s. If you want to hear her music from the latest album, click here

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tired Vegan

Vegans can have low moments too right?
I'm tired of being idenitified and associated with what I eat and wear. I'm tired of answering all the questions about what I eat or what I don't eat and "Why?" I'm tired of taking stupid meat jokes in good humor or stupid jokes about how I go home and secretly tuck into a big steak. I'm tired of having to talk about the choice I made to be vegan if people don't want to discuss it in a mature way. I'm tired of being looked over and scrutinized for signs of being unhealthy. If my dark circles are showing then it must be because I don't eat meat and not because I'm working on three of four hours sleep. My distraction is due to not having enough meat. I lift something heavy and someone makes a joking comment: "Oh that big piece of beef you had did the trick." I'm tired of people trying to break down my choice to be vegan with comments like, "well the air is polluted so that's probably more damage." I try and say "I live as healthy life as I can. I realize that there are always environmental concerns." I'm so tired of people commenting that my shoes might be sweatshop even if they are vegan.

What are these people afraid of? Why must fun be poked? Am I really so different? So alien to the rest of the world? Do people not see the veg selections on menus, the restaurants popping up, the fact that there are many many people who have chosen to be vegan, be heathy and live compassionately?

I'm not trying to be perfect. I know I'm far from it. I walk this line of not wanting to reveal my vegan choices to wanting to let everyone know that this is who I am. I'm not striving to live some unrealistic life. I chose to be vegan because I couldn't live with myself any other way. The decision was made after being veg for a long time and really confronting information that I knew was out there. I knew the suffering was going on and I had to confront it one on one. After reading, hearing personal stories and listening to my heart, I made the choice.

Have I consumed sugar without knowing if it's vegan or not? Yes. Have I had wine from a bottle without knowing if it's fining process fits with my vegan lifestyle? Yes. Have I accidentally consumed some animal product without knowing? Maybe. What if I do? Why do people delight in that so much? Why do people delight in the fact that I may have participated in the suffering of animals by feeding my cats cat food? What's wrong with this picture?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bottle caps and Churchill

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." -Winston Churchill

Don't get excited I don't have a theme to this post. There is no thread, no through-line to carry us all through to the last period of the last sentence. I'm going to ramble stream of consciousness as always. That's my way. That's how I speak and think and that's how I blog (mostly).

The quote came on the inside cap of a Kashmiri chai cold tea I purchased on the way to my doctor's office. It's fair trade organic tea and didn't contain honey so I decided to try it. It was delicious and once home I discovered this quote on the inside cap. The bottle has since been recycled, but the cap sat on my desk for a day and I wondered what to do with this piece of information. I use to store this stuff in a drawer or stuff it in a notebook, but now I have the blog.

Of course if I put the quote on the blog and toss the cap I lose the design of it. There's something in the design that I appreciate. It reminds me of coke caps (on the real bottles when they were mass produced here) and how you could work your fingernail under the rubbery gray insert and peel it away from the cap to uncover if you'd won a free coke or bag of chips or something (sorry mom, I drank coke when you weren't looking. My teeth didn't rot either). Sometimes an imprint was left behind on the silver cap. You had to make an initial purchase in order to reap the benefits of a reward (assuming you won). You felt like you had really won something, but there's a price right? You have to buy the coke or fanta or one of their products. Is this cap working under the same principal? Will I start to seek out these teas so I can find other quotes? I really have no desire to try and hunt another one down. Fair trade organic? That's a limited purchase here. You have to hit the right store and they might not even carry the same products as another store. Oh those small businesses with their individual thinking! Where would we be without them? Loblaws I suppose.

Be bear aware

On line I'm reading about our new whovillian hometown and come across the bear aware info. Really? I grew up in rural NB but we never even thought about bears, but I guess we were a few house scattered here and there. We may have seen a bear once at the dump (we transported our own garbage then). I keep reading since all the points are important to know (pick up fallen fruit from trees, don't leave pet food outside, etc) and then read a bear alert in a creek area. It sounds familiar so I keep reading and lo and behold it's in our neighbourhood! I find that amusing actually. What a change. We're going from worrying about crack addicts in the alley to bears in our backyard.

I'm off to work. More later...

Monday, September 18, 2006


The house sold today. I'm relieved for sis and everyone who has been focused on this house lately. She put a great deal of work into it and I hope she feels like it was worth it. I'm also relieved that we don't have to inconvenience the cats and our lives anymore. I'm relieved because now we can just put our energy into our move which is coming upon us rather quickly.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cater waiter no more.

The end is near. My catering days are numbered and I think the timing is perfect since I'm very ready to go. Summer isn't so bad when you're outside in people's gardens, but when the fall comes, HR starts doing lots of events and our staffing service provides most of the catering staff for almost all of the events. These HR events all full of pointless work for us, lots of waiting around with nothing to do and finally serving clientele that are being lured in to pay for over priced "fashion" that is all about label. Who cares. Well, HR does.

When I started doing these gigs I was curious and interested by the overwhelming amounts of wealth and waste that I saw around me. Now I've done enough of these events to just be irritated by the complete absurdity of such displays of wealth. I view HR as a place that is all about celebrating the culture of the rich and works to remind that culture that they are loved because they are the upper echelon of society. Yes, I know it's a store and they want to sell, sell, sell but some events seem so fabricated and false, especially when they conceal their marketing scheme under the title of "thanking the shopper."

Today's event was no better. Once again HR had transformed a corner of the store with a mini runway and little soft cube chairs for a kiddy fashion show for one of the designers. These poor kids were trotted out, some of them quite reluctantly, all trussed up in designer kiddy wear. Did I mention that by that point they were full of sugar from the cupcakes, cookies and rice krispy squares. Parents? Most parents didn't care how much sugar their child consumed. There were sandwiches and fresh veg, but they were barely touched. The parents mostly ate the non sugared food. So...here were these kids on a mini runway approaching the photographers flashing bulbs and the ecstatic smiles of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and who knows. They were all vying to get their little darlings attention as s/he shuffled down the runway. It reminded me of Donnie Darko for some reason. I suppose the importance placed upon the moment of the show so that it comes off like everyone is happy and having fun, but few really are.

Me? I was stuck behind the sandwich cart. Yes, the crusts were cut off and I haven't felt this ridiculous since the lemonade stand this past summer. The cart was just an inch too short for me so I had to stoop a little in to push it. At least we could wear a black t-shirt today. I'll give HR credit for that, sometimes they let us wear t-shirts for the more "casual" events. Anywho...after several rounds around the parents and after dodging children, watching them break into tears for what seemed like nothing, I parked the cart and stood their like an idiot. Do they really need me to stand next to the cart? Their finger sandwiches! Grab and go. I could tell that the events manager was distressed by seeing us like this too, but it wasn't her feeling bad for us but rather irritated by our presence. I had little patience for her since I had gotten up at 6:30 this morning for this kiddy show after having worked until 1 am last night for another overblown party that didn't have to be so...so...over the top.

You can see that the move is very conveniently lifting me out of that world. I hear the catering state of affairs on the lower Mainland in BC is quite pathetic and the pay is awful. A co-worker once lived there for a year and worked in catering. He said I'd easily get hired since my "training" has been here in whoville and they'd know I was good, but he also told me that the wages are bad and there is a lot of extra heavy work to do that we would never do here (like unloading trucks, picking up rentals, and working way understaffed). He had to negotiate a higher wage for himself and it still wasn't even close to what we're paid here. So bye bye catering life. It's been swell.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Away from home

We're at a friend's house because our own house is being viewed today by strangers who might want to buy it. This week what seems like a huge for sale sign was planted in the front garden next to the rhodo with the real estate agents info. We've been cleaning, tidying, de-cluttering for weeks now. It's been weeks right? I can't remember. It's exhausting. I can't even imagine what my sister is going through since it's her house that is for sale.

This morning we put the cats in their respective carriers and trucked them over to a friend's place close by and here we are. Sis and R. went to a movie. I'd do that too if my cats weren't here. I also have to work later today so...

Anywho...our place is empty and full of echoes. It looks a bit bland to me but whatever works to sell that house. The description on-line is quite lovely. It sounds so beautiful and it really is. I'm going to really miss the house and I haven't even had time to process that. It's been such a good home to us for the last seven years.

We found a place in Coquitlam and it sounds amazing. The person who viewed it for us really loved it and we saw a couple of pictures on line so I know we'll be fine. We'll have a garden which is a HUGE bonus. We did have to sign a year lease but whatever. Most places are listed month to month out there, but really I'm ready to settle into the new place. If anything "odd" comes up like psycho landlords or something then we'll deal with it accordingly, but I'm sure it will all be fine. I'm just anxious to get there and start getting settled.

I'll be transferring to the L.V. in Coquitlam which means I don't have to panic and look for something hastily. I hope to get back to a script that I've been toying with but haven't had the time to sit down and write! We've been far too busy.

Last night I surprised D. with a birthday dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Grappa. We've had some great meals there over the years. It's fine dining so it's always been a special occasion place for us and his birthday and I thought a little farewell to our town would be just what we needed. We also needed to get out of the house and take a night off from preparing for the viewing. It's a splurge but well worth it. We had a gorgeous Chianti (a wine we never buy and rarely have when we go out so D. chose something very fine. It was amazing) to go with our meal. I had the crispy arugula salad with fennel shavings, toasted almonds and a white truffle vinaigrette. The crispy part was butternut squash finely sliced and lightly fried to just crispy, but still soft enough to really enjoy the squash flavour. D. had a rolatini (I think it was called) which was pepper filled with fontina cheese (he's veg not vegan) in a rose sauce. Then we shared a spinach salad with warm portabello and shitake mushrooms and a balsamic vinaigrette. That is one of my favorites. For our main course we had Linguine Campagna which is another mushroom laden dish with a full bodied tomato sauce that clearly had a strong mushroom flavour as well. I was in heaven since I love mushrooms (can you tell). It's the only thing on the menu I can eat being vegan. When I was veg there were more selections. Since I booked last minute I didn't have time to make requests with the kitchen (I know how they love that). We didn't stay for desert because I had already baked the famous vegan chocolate cake with a chocolate glaze. It turned out superbly as usual. It's moist, rich and dark. Ahhhh. High quality cocoa makes such a difference. I like the cocoa camino brand (fair trade organic). So at home we had espresso, cake with lemon granita and blueberry grappa. I pretty sure D. enjoyed the birthday dinner.

Our hostess for the day has offered us some lemon lentil soup that she is known for so I'm going to have a bowl of that and just take it easy today. It's all been very stressful for all of us today.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Today's list

Shortening my text entries to lists will help me keep connected to my blog since I do have the desire to blog, but also have little time.

return calls to movers/estimate times for evenings
check new listings
order new contacts (update lenses in old frames?)
double check West Jet's cat carrier meas. for carry-on
3rd person for flight?
more stuff to garage
paint mud room (if there's time)
gym? run?
finish clearing out bsmnt mid room for showing
email A. re: Earth shoes location
call Will re: possible Oct dates
groceries (veg pate, vegenaise, celery, luna/clif bars, dental floss, cranb, coffee)

gotta go

Film Festival?

I've always wanted to really participate in the film festival and do things such as line up in those long ticket lines when the box office opens, or stand in the rush line for an hour hoping to get in at the last minute, enduring rain and wind while gripping notes about the next films to be seen. Romantic isn't it? Ideally, I would have written some small bit of entertainment that might, just might have been film festival worthy.

I did go to the festival one year. The ticket prices were a bit lower and I was truly motivated since my sister was in one of the films. So I took in a few films that year. I didn't have to wait for hours for anything except the initial purchase of the tickets to the film my sister was in. I waited in a line that streamed outside the mall, across a barren lot and down the sidewalk. I went early and was about mid-pack in the barren lot (I think the lot was supposed to be some sort of park. Whoville has a lot of such parks in its downtown core).

The past couple of years I've been far too busy working to find time to hop from theatre to theatre and line to line. Catering (of course) is an essential service for those involved in the fete itself. Someone has to get food served at those pre and post parties. This has been my role in the festival. It's been quite entertaining. While I don't get caught up in star gazing like those poor saps waiting outside Holts on Friday to catch a glimpse of someone famous, I do find it kind of fun to be at the same function as these people. What I've noticed is that as catering staff we have a bit of a privileged view since we sit a bit in the background, not to be noticed and we can take quite a bit in. We don't participate in conversations so we can listen in. It's quite interesting really.

So without saying who I was working for or where parties were held, here's a list of the people I saw (at least the ones I recognized. There were other stars at these functions, but I didn't know who they were) and in no particular order:

Dustin Hoffman
Sean Penn
Mark Ruffalo
Kate Bosworth (didn't know who she was until after)
Dan Akroyd
Deepa Mehta (that was the best for me. I love her work!)
Norman Jewison
James Gandolfini
Patricia Clarkson

Here are the people at the parties I was working that I somehow missed seeing:
Penelope Cruz
Anthony Hopkins
Kate Winslet

There may have been others but I forget. Yes, I'm name dropping or bragging or whatever you want to call it. I also saw the former premier of the province I grew up in...Frank McKenna and his wife (sorry I don't know her name) were at one of the parties. I know he's in Washington now. Is he still posted there? What was he doing here then? Hmm. I almost wanted to speak to him because I felt we might share that east coast thing that I sometimes come across when i meet others from "down east". I thought maybe if I got Frank talkin' I'd hear that hard "ar" sound emerge and...I thought better of it since I'm the background right? I'm not at this party really. I'm just feeding the part goers. Also Frank became liberal premier of the province when I was 18 and working for the NDP. The fact that the liberals took all of the seats in that election really devastated me (and the rest of the province that wasn't liberal).
where am I going with this?
No where
It's 4 am and I've got to get some sleep!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The posts are becoming text bites. I have no way to put up images with my version of explorer so once again I am relying on the text to do all the work. This is fine for me, but I think images add some colour to the page, no?

Anywho...these fragments of my day or my life attempt to convey what is mostly on my mind or what keeps me preoccupied in the day.

Mom's on the phone. She's just rang and I'm on the phone with her. She's just returned from the Montreal marathon. Her friend ran the marathon. She's an amazing running and really part of my inspiration to start running later in life. I'm excited about living in a place where I can run all year round with out the snow crunching underfoot (not that I really ran in the snow here since we get so little of it, but I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather). Rain I can handle. I grew up in fog city N.B. so I'm use to rain, fog and endless cloudy days. That type of weather actually makes me feel nostalgic.

This morning I didn't run. Our dear sweet 18 year old, Svetlana, wasn't feeling well and I was worried about her. I just wanted to sit with her and make sure she was herself today. She's been vomiting a lot lately and my previous experience with my first cat, Catherine, suggests to me that it's a bad sign. It was a fur ball, but still it really took a lot out of the old girl. I can't help but worry a little about here. After all, she's got this long trip ahead of her and I really want her to travel as comfortable as possible. I'll speak to my vet soon about traveling with Svetlana and possible meds etc. The other two will be fine travelling. There might be some howling or crying, but I know they'll be good girls and they're young and healthy cats so they'll make it okay.

Well, I'm off to grocery shop and then come home and guess what? That's right pack and clean. The realtor is coming this week to photograph the house so it needs to look less like a pit stop and more like a home.

I'm also catering later so it's a full day. I didn't even go into Friday night's film festival party. All I have to say is it's a lot (or a big waste) of work and money for a two hour party for those VIPs. I finished at 3 in the morning, was in bed by four and up again at 7 to go to work. Yee haw!

Friday, September 08, 2006

2 more minutes

This morning I couldn't get into my blog to post so I've been delayed. Now I'm waiting until I leave for job #2 that I was ready for a half hour ago and then realized that my start time was 7:30 and not 7 pm. Hmm.

Packing has been put aside the last few days because I've been too busy and last night I just couldn't face it.

In the garden I see the huge faces of the dahlias leaning towards the house trying to get my attention, trying to get me to come over and really enjoy their splendor. They just keep coming and I only get to see them from afar. Tonight would be the perfect night to sit out on our patio as well. It's balmy out and I imagine the setting sun, candlelight and a glass of wine in my hand. I love those nights and sometimes I never want to come in (until I start missing my kitties of course) and wish the nights could always be so wonderful.

Nostalgic aren't I? I've read somewhere by someone (help me out here) that nostalgia is a kind of homesickness. I'm getting more and more nostalgic lately. I forgive the little annoyances of certain catering colleagues because I know I'll miss their quirks and smiles, their jokes that are crude and obnoxious at times (at most times). Tonight I'll see most of them since I'm about to work a big party at whoville's glitziest store. It's a film festival party and it's big. This should be an interesting night. It will be a long night too. I expect a quiet bike ride home in the late hours. I'll take my time along bloor and take in these moments that are so fleeting but leave me with such impressions, with a feeling of nostalgia.

I'm off. Until next time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

2 minutes to blog

It's a quick post. I'm packing daily and rearranging the apartment to suit the needs of the realtor and my sister to sell the house. We still have much to do! Packing and then stacking the boxes in the garage has given our place an echo. The walls are now white, folded cartons lean in corners, waiting to be packed, labelled and stacked. The rooms suggest transition and reflect how I feel, unsettled.

Seven years ago this month we moved into this apartment and lived in one room while the rest of the place was worked on. The basement and kitchen floors were laid and we painted the entire apartment. It's been quite an interesting time here in the little Portugal area of whoville. Now we're venturing into something new. I'm both sad to leave and excited to be going to a new place and my days presently contain both emotions. I've been scanning craigslist for apartments (well, "suites" as they're called out there -- I'd forgotten about that) and looking into moving estimates.

Tomorrow I start a series of double shifts so I'll have to pretend that we're not moving just to get through my long days. Otherwise I'll worry myself thinking about all I could be doing at home to get things done.

One box at a time, right?