Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Free stuff

Free internet.
Free software upgrade.
Free soy chai latte.
I can't believe I'm at Fivebucks and all this is free.
I couldn't connect at home so I walked down the hill on this gloriously beautiful spring-like day and parked myself at Fivebucks hoping to pick up a freebie connection and avoid their "hotspot" fee. Success.
I registered my trial screenwriting software (after getting some tech advice) and got the free upgrade and now ... success (true, I paid for the initial software at the start, but it feels like it's free).
Then, one of the Fivebucks employees carried around a tray of new flavour samples, but when I told him I don't venture into dairyland...five minutes later he brought me a FULL sized soy version (not the little sample shot, but a tall one.
Phew, the caffeine is swimming through the system now. I had a green tea before and now more caf.
I love free stuff.

Monday, January 29, 2007

From wood to synth wool

I made this on Saturday. This is my first ever woodworking project. I took a "Women in the Workshop" course at good ol' LV and had a great time. Women were there for all sorts of reasons. It was a pretty talented bunch. Many of them were very crafty in other areas and some had taken the course before and wanted to make another step stool. The great thing about it was I got to use all the power tools from a table saw to a drill press. I can tell you that I'm hooked. I'm hoping to sign up for the next project and build something else. Now I want my own table saw -- well not quite, but there's this handheld version that the instructor brought in and it was just so cute.

My co-workers were so cute. They kept coming in and would check on my progress, encouraging me, giving me tips. I was a bit slow in my progress compared to the rest of the class, but I am a bit of a perfectionist (as some of you know) and I wanted to understand the why we were putting things together the way we were before putting it together. Afterall, I want to be able to do this again.

At the end of the class we did have the choice of finishing the project with Danish oil, but I thought I'd bring mine home and apply an analine dye (that's a water based stain) that we have a good supply of here since it's D's finish of choice. The picture here is the plain unfinished pine just sanded down. I'll try to remember to post the finished project photos later.

The project may have jump started my crafty side. The next day I picked up some synthetic wool and jumped into a new knitting project. just like that. I haven't knit in ages and frankly I've been concerned about having dangly bits of faux wool around Gigi, but so far so good.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Stranger than Fiction

No Oscar nominations for this film. D. and I went to see it at the local second run theatre down the hill (isn't everything down the hill now?). It's a great theatre by the way. It was a great film as well. I really enjoyed the film as a story and in the way it made me think about how story is shaped and how it shapes itself.

I can't help but think of A. Buchbinder's idea that a "story is a living thing." This film is an example of how this is so. A woman is writing a novel while facing "writer's block." She's quite desperate to find a way to unblock herself as she searches for the method to kill off her main character. She knows he must die, but how? As the film demonstrates, the story will offer the right path if you listen to what it is telling you. Wonderfully, in this film the novel being written really is a living thing.

The main character, Harold Crick, exists and comes to realize that he is part of a narrative when he hears a narrators voice describing him and his actions. After disagreeing with the diagnosis that he's schizophrenic, he seeks the advice of a Literary scholar and the plot unfolds from there (or as in one point of the film, Harold forces himself to do nothing to see if the plot will come to him). Harold journey is to determine what type of character he is in the story, what type of story it is and ultimately can he change the outcome of the story? In his search for answers Harold uncovers who he really is and is able to experience life in a a new way.

Most entertaining for me was the question raised if Harold is in a comedy or tragedy. Not only does the character have to figure out what type of story he is living, but as the viewer we can also ask ourselves what type of story is this and does it fulfill the generic expections? This is where the writer (the writer of the film that is) plays again and successfully demonstrates that there can be a fine line between tragedy and comedy. Perhaps something similar is going on when we are able to laugh hysterically or sob with as much emotion. For the film it fluctuates between both, but has definite comedic leanings because it remains fairly light. Ultimately, on a more universal level, the film seems to say that we are not fully living if we do not let ourselves take risks. We must experience both the comedic and tragic aspects of life.

This film is definitely worth seeing. I know it's the time of year to rush out and try and see as many of the Oscar nominated films as possible (if you missed any or all), but I'd say skip one or two and try and see this while it's still in cinemas. I'm glad we did.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I've been tagged by red jane so here goes.

A - Available/Single or Taken? Taken.
B - Best Friend? The one who I'm taken with.
C - Cake or pie? Cake.
D - Drink Of Choice? Smoothie in the day and a beer at night.
E – Essential Item You Use Everyday? Coffee cup.
F - Favourite Color? Today it is blue.
G - Gummy Bears Or Worms? Ugh.
H - Hometown? Whoville (I've also been know to come from Saint John New Brunswick)
I - Indulgence? divine fine wines, mostly reds and preferably something D. has chosen.
J - January Or February? January. I love the "j" months. I love New Year's day.
K - Kids & Their Names? Three. Primavera, Svetlana, Gigi Buffon.
L - Life Is Incomplete Without? Supportive family and loved ones, the one I am taken with (D.) and, coffee.
M - Marriage date? April 19, 1999.
N - Number Of Siblings? Two. An older brother and an older sister.
O - Oranges Or Apples? Pears.
P - Phobias/Fears? spiders and those millipedey things back in T.O., tomato hornworms. Fears? Fire, losing one of our cats, insomnia.
Q - Favourite Quote? "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men." - Alice Walker
AND "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." - Dorothy Parker (this has stuck with me my whole life and I don't know why)
R - Reason to Smile? The trees, the sky and the ocean.
S - Season? Spring or Fall? Fresh ground pepper. Spring.
T - Tag 3 or 4 people? mister anchovy, julia and sis. (Julia and sis will have to use my comments space for the tag).
U - Unknown Fact About Me? I'm stumped. there's so much to not reveal. I'll get back to you on this one.
V - Vegetable you don’t like? I'm stumped. I'm not crazy about okra. I guess that's an "unknown fact about me" as well (sorry D.)
W - Worst Habit? t.v. watching, getting down on myself (there could be a link. No?)
X-rays You’ve Had? teeth, knees, wrist, ankle, arm.
Y - Your Favorite Food? vegan bolognese with whole wheat spaghetti, to be specific. Salad is also a favorite since it can be so many things.
Z – Zodiac sign? Cancer.

The Senior

This innocent looking creature is 18 and a half years old. If you've been reading in the past, you'll know that this is our dear sweet Svetlana. She is a strong old girl. She made it across the country with us on the plane. She's on two kinds of medicine, one for her kidneys and one for her thyroid. She has been chased by many cats over the years when D. had roommates with other cats. These roommates came and went and so did their cats. Svetlana has outlived them all. A year ago we realized she had lost her hearing (which isn't always easy to notice when cats can be so aloof) and the poor old girl will sometimes jump if you don't let her her know you're coming up beside her (my favorite indicators are waving my hand before her to get her attention or tapping my foot on the floor or surface she is lying on).

The important thing to remember is that she is a strong old girl. Over the last couple of months, she's been howling like a deaf siamese in the middle of the night. It's a blood-curdling bellow that she musters up with all of her strength and it is relentless. Nothing seems to stop it. We've tried ignoring it, getting up and sitting with her, feeding her, getting her water, fluffing up a nice fleecey blanket. Nothing works! So, I'm now accepting that our dear sweet Sveetie is senile. She's a senile senior and I just have to let her howl. She does stop when I sit with her and watch her pace the room, pause, look around and then begin to pace again. However, I can't really spend my nights up watching the cat (who's crazy then? the one with no sleep), but I will have to get up with her. There are people living upstairs with a small child who must be having nightmares with howling cats. Oh well, she'll talk about it in therapy in later years I'm sure.

So, farewell cozy sleep filled nights. Welcome to Svetlana's senior days.

p.s. photo courtesy of red jane

Friday, January 19, 2007

A few things got lost when I messed around with my page, but I'll slowly rebuild and add things again.

I'm off for my run.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I watched the sky clear this morning and then cloud over. By the afternoon a thick mist turned to light rain. The snow has become a thick slush, which makes walking on the sidewalks like walking on a sandy beach, my feet slid and struggled as the slushy snow gave way underfoot. The tree boughs and roofs still look lovely, but I can tell that the snow is weighty from the damp weather. I suspect in the morning much of the rest will have melted and washed away.

The day was a series of menial chores and bouts of play with the cats. Cozy at home, it took all of my strength to go out and make my way to one of whoville's fitness centres. While it felt good to run, I did not want to be chasing time and distance on a treadmill.

Something has definitely shifted in me over the past few days. A run outside usually helps clear my mind. Thoughts are jostled around and turned over again and again until I come up with a polished idea or problem solved. At least this is what I hope to achieve when I run with thoughts that need sorting. The treadmill really sorted nothing and I became anxious to return home and see my kitties again.

My sis has left the Haida Gwaii. Her plans haven't turned out as she had hoped. She's "back east" (as people say here -- surely we're not all from "back east" are we?). She's gone eastward now and is in Montreal where she is much wanted as an actress. She was recently voted best actress by one of the local papers (did I mention this already? Can I boast about it again?). Anywho...the travel south and then east brought her here and she stayed with us a couple of nights again. I got to see the cast of characters. As always it's great to see her and the cats, but i was still saddened by it all. I'd hoped she'd find the life she wanted on the islands, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

The whole turn of events has me considering my own life and its direction (or lack thereof) and thinking about what's really important in my life. I'm grateful that D. has the patience and wisdom I need in a partner. I suspect my desire to come home from the fitness centre to see the cats was part of that need to feel secure and certain of some things in my life. The next few days, I suspect, will continue like this as I try to figure out my own direction in life.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow of the Lower Mainland

The snow quieted the city. Every sound was muffled by the layers of snow and it continued to fall all day long.

The commute to work caused me to be an hour and a half late. The showroom never had more than seven people and a dog in it at any one time. On the way home I took a different route since I thought the regular small bus wouldn't show. I stood at the front of the bus since it filled up at the sky train station before picking me up en route on the highway. We were low to the ground and the snow was still falling, the traffic still crawling along the icy road. In one particular spot, I looked out the door at the creek between two highways with just a patch of dark water showing between snow covered shallow banks. A blue heron completely still in the water, it's neck jutted forward, stood without moving while snow collected on its feathers. It seemed frozen in the creek, unable to continue any further. I wanted to look away, but couldn't because by then I was uncertain of what I was seeing. It was so close, so still, and so alone. The bus inched foward. I had to crane my neck back to see the bird. It's head pulled back, went forward and pulled back again. The movement startled me. I looked around at the other passengers, but no one noticed the heron. Then it stepped back slowly and extended it's long neck upward as if trying to make itself look bigger to us. The bus driver pulled forward and we were moving again.

Thirty minutes late, but at least I made it to the bus depot.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On the subject of birds

I just saw an eagle on my way up the hill during my run. This gave me a good excuse to stop running up that crazy hill, but I also try to remember to stop and take in my surroundings when I run. There was no time to jog the extra steps to the house to grab the binoculars so I watched the eagle soar above me, circling, moving it's way down the ridge. I know s/he saw me too.
Now I've seen evidence of why the area is called "Eagle Ridge."

A wind warning is in effect and it seems to have just kicked up here so I'm going to lay low on my day off and get some things done around here.

I also wanted to add a link for anyone to check out. This page of info contains a video depicting turkey factory farming and will give you an idea of why I'm vegan. I've decided to add these links for anyone to go to since what I encounter most when in conversation with people is their lack of information about how animals end up as meat in the grocery store. Everyone seems to have a general sense of slaughter houses and that it might not be very nice, but the more concrete details really aren't available. So, please take a moment to read. I admit that I can never watch the videos since being permanently scarred by a couple of films on fur and the meat industry so I tend to read the text and that conjures up enough for me to keep me in touch with what is going on in the human/animal relationship in this world.

Sunday we went to Delta which was wide open and flat with a big sky above us. As we wound along the river I saw one farm field with just one turkey sitting out in the middle of it. It was such a strange sight for me and I almost thought maybe s/he was lost or had wandered away from the rest. Who knows. Anyway, I was amazed at the size of the creature and even though I only caught a quick glimpse I felt joy knowing that there was this one turkey out in the open (not too far from the barn) just doing his/her thing.

Monday, January 08, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

I've had this Newtonian quote in my head for years now. It seems applicable to more than just the laws of motion. I've used it for story telling and for making choices in my own life. I also see how it applies to the Environment.

You've probably already noticed my sidebar.
We watched An Inconvenient Truth a couple of nights ago and were both impressed with it. D., having recently read the Weathermakers was particulary moved.

Before seeing the film, I've always been listening with interest to what information is presented in the media on the topic of "global warming" and how it is presented. Obviously a CNN newscast has a different approach than a CBC newscast or a Fox newscast. What I have noticed is the growing frequency of this topic being included into newscasts. However, it is coupled with a good dose of skeptical "scientific proof" to conclude the newsbite of info so that we can all feel relatively safe again. In other words, the media is covering it's ass by addressing the fact that global warming may be a significant factor, while at the same time it suggests that there is no real proof since that oh-so-large group called "scientists" cannot agree 100%. Instead we are told there is also a "natural progression" of climate change and global warming is just another "trend". The choice of words make something that is quite catastrophic seem to be a benign phase that we somehow must put up with until it passes.

Since seeing the film, I've been wondering how long it is going to take for people to change and to believe in change? How many floods, hurricanes and tsunamis do we need in a year to realize our human impact on this one small planet?

Gore's argument is very convincing and he addresses the antithetical viewpoints and what "science" generates such viewpoints and why. Even if you can't fully swallow the entire argument (unlike me I bought the whole package as you can see by my sidebar) there must be some acknowledgement of responsibility for our actions.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cat & Christmas Photos

Stop the Insanity!

Snowflake cookies courtesy of the LV Snowflake Mold.

Vegan Pear Torte 2007!

After my three days off, I had to return to work. We all do right? It was difficult because D. had an extra day off and I thought of the fun we could be having if only I had had the extra day off too. I came home from work, walked into the kitchen and was astounding to find this beautiful creation

Even after all the food from the holidays I somehow found room for this. D. adapted it from a recipe his mother sent him. She had made it over Christmas. I think we should do the same next year. The shapes on the top are made from marzipan. I had a little whipped soy on the side and it was divine.

Maybe we should post the recipe, D?

New Year's Eve Vegan Feast

Menu and Miso Soup

Oyster Mushroom Calamari with Wasabi Cream

Miso Eggplant discs, Edamame, and marinated, sesame crusted tofu (you can't really see the tofu though)

For dessert we had lemon sorbet with fresh raspberries. We toasted the New Year twice with Lanson Black Label Champagne I acquired in lieu of a tip from a past catering gig. We toasted once for the central Canada New Year's, where much of our families are and once again at midnight for our new west coast New Year's.

I know it seems like a lot of food, but we did it in stages through the night (a bit of a New Year's tradition for us). We prepared a dish, enjoyed, had a little wine and then moved on to the next dish. It was a feast.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!