Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This news story makes me so angry that we can let this happen! This disaster was inevitable to happen and Stelmach's "full investigation" isn't enough for me. The deeper problem for me is that what do they expect to do about these tailings ponds that grow daily. How long can we continue to stuff the earth with toxic waste?

Work and Play

Sorry folks but I've been busy working, doing my taxes (then db re-doing my taxes. He almost enjoys doing taxes) and running. The race is this Sunday and I can't wait. My evenings seem to fly by with just enough time to play with cats, get in a run if I need to, have dinner, and check on the garden.

db is focused on the play-offs (hockey of course) since he's in another pool and presently sitting in first place. Me? I'm not so interested. I'm the opposite of the fan that gets into hockey at play-off time; I only watch the regular season and am interested in the play-offs if the Blues are in it.

I have been enjoying Newcastle's vast improvement in their season. They're just below midway in the table and I'm more than happy with that because not long ago I started to fear that they would face relegation to the second division. They are exciting to watch again. I think next year could be a very interesting season (I guess we're not getting rid of Setanta yet, db).

I've rented four seasons of the Trailer Park Boys that I've been watching mostly when db is not around since he's not a fan. I missed the series the first time around because initially I found it annoying to watch these guys acting like people I knew growing up. Now I find it hilarious because these guys act like people I knew growing up.

Training has been going well. I feel ready to run this Sunday at 7 a.m.! I don't think I've ever run at such an early time (except for maybe the same race last year). I also feel like this is the beginning of the season for me. Already I'm pretty sure I want to run the Trail River Run again because it is such a cool race being small and so close to home, and it is such a beautiful route. I would like to do another marathon in the fall. What a great way to end the season, no? Victoria has a nice looking race and are offering a very slick looking New Balance shirt for those who register and, as one person said in Spirit of the Marathon , "I run it for the t-shirt."

Anywho...the time is ticking and I'm about to have dinner...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

Always searching for athletic inspiration, an email from the Running Room announced the one evening only screening of the Spirit of the Marathon. db and I went and I did find inspiration from it.

The film gives a brief historical overview of the marathon and its origins, how it has changed over the years, and the runners who stand out in the history of the marathon. Interspersed with this historical context are interviews with runners past and present and of all levels, from the novice to the champion, each telling her or his story of why they run and what they hope to achieve. The race central to the film is the Chicago marathon so we the audience also have a goal in watching each person set out on their run with the goal of finishing that race.

The stories move the documentary forward and do capture what it is like to train, face injury, overcome obstacles and the excitement of race day. Being a runner I connected to the film and understood the determination of each person. I’m not sure this film would hold everyone’s attention for its full length and I did find that it may have lost its thread somewhere in the middle, but overall it was a worthwhile film to watch.

Personally, I find it very moving to watch people achieve such goals that require physical and mental strength to push through to the end. There is something very unique about that experience. Even when I watch the Boston Marathon or any running event, I feel so moved watching the runners break through that finish line because at that moment in her or his life it is only about that moment and all the hard work that went into reaching that goal can be seen in their facial expression or some sign of relief at the finish line.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It was our anniversary this past Saturday, our ninth anniversary to be exact. Rather than sitting around or running errands (hey I didn't book the day off to do chores), I thought we should take advantage of having a vehicle (db had the work van) and go somewhere we've always wanted to go in the city.
Wherever I go I always seem to find a glorious garden that amazes me. This was just a small section near the parking lot at UBC. Heather filled the slopes all around.
Several trails lead down to Wreck Beach.
The cool weather wasn't exactly beach inviting for most; there were few people around, a couple of guys in a lean-to shelter, two photo-snapping tourists, and a nude sunbather in true Wreck Beach fashion. The sign leading down the trail has rules of the beach as in no liquor, dogs on leashes and then there's another sign that says "clothing optional." It's the only beach of its kind in Canada as far as I know.

Even though the weather was a bit nippy, with the sun shining it felt glorious. Anywho I love the beach in all weather; I always feel like I'm at home. I grew up in a coastal climate and there's something very comforting to me about the sound of waves. It goes deeper than just their rhythmic pace; I feel safe, grounded and completely certain of everything around me.

It's hard to believe this is part of the city.


The real reason for our trip to UBC was to go here:As a teaching museum there is an extensive collection of First Nations' objects from all over BC.
The Bentwood Boxes in the above photo are made from a single piece of cedar that are joined (sewn) on one corner, the other three corners thus being formed by steaming the wood and bending it.
The visible storage is accessible through the many, many drawers around the exhibit space. The collection is extensive and covers a wider range of cultural objects. Now I can't remember who did the beautiful bead work. I'll have to go back.
The exterior recreates a 19th century Haida village.

The two pieces above were carved by Bill Reid. One of the centerpieces of the museum is a Bill Reid sculpture "The Raven and the First Men" that depicts the Haida myth of the Raven discovering humans and releasing them from a shell onto the beach. (Incidentally, this image is also on our $20 bill along with a few other images from Bill Reid's collection).

We'll have to go back. We didn't even get to the ceramics room and there is so much in the visible storage and new pieces that will be added as the restoration continues.

We concluded our day at home with homemade potato gnocchi (gluten free) and a fabulous 1999 Bandol. 1999 was the year we were married so it was definitely ready for tasting. For dessert I made a chocolate cherry mousse pie. Sorry I have no photos of that. I got the mousse recipe from fat free vegan (definitely not one of the fat free recipes
) and I made a raw crust I pulled from an issue of veg news. It all came together very nicely for a day that hadn't been planned at all.

Friday, April 18, 2008

these are a few of my favorite things

Wandering Coyote tagged me for this meme that is about websites I visit and why. After reading Wandering's list I think I'll have few more places to visit now.

Mostly I visit blogs. The most visited are on my sidebar so you can visit them yourself. I am completely fascinated by the blogging world and being able to see the amount of creativity in the world.

My other most visited websites are related to my activities.

1. Running. I am a regular at Okay, mostly I'm there because of my running blog and to read other active blogs, but I also use the training log to record all of the active living I do whether it be running or yoga or gardening (yes, I see this as exercise. Have you ever turned soil or pruned a hedge? It's a workout). Related is the Running Room site where I also use the training log, search for upcoming events and register for most of my races.

2. Knitting. Need I say it?! This is a great source of information and fun about knitty with free patterns that are for every level. They're fun (check out the pattern for the Womb, yes you heard me) and funky (how about a Hot Tamale?) and I one day hope to be so talented as to be able to submit a pattern to

3. Job search. This is a more recent and ongoing activity for me. I've been frequenting the alliance for arts site for a while now searching for that perfect arts job. I haven't found anything yet (or I should say no one has hired me yet), but there may be a breakthrough. I also like the links on this page for what's going on in the arts regionally and nationally. It's a good source of info.

4. Gardening. The UBC botanical garden site is where I go for my botany photo of the day. I'm not here as much, but the photos come to my dashboard daily so I have the option of reading on or not. I also go here to find out about what events are coming up.

5. News. I'm a bit of a news junkie. I start my day with cbc radio and if I'm home for the day it will be on most of the day (I can't listen to Sounds like Canada. I just can't). If I remember to and I'm home I'll watch Politics with Don Newman. It's on so much earlier in BC! My evenings do not feel complete unless I've watched the National (I never watch Rex Murphy though. I just can't do that either). So it's no surprise that CBC news headlines are front and center on my home page so I can quickly click to a story I want to read. Did I really need to link the cbc site for you?

Yup that's my extremely exciting life in a nutshell.
Now I'm going to go ponder the possibility of Don Newman, Barret Jackman and Grover
somehow being related.

new post

There's a new post at my Run Vegan Run blog. You can click on the link in my sidebar or if you can't venture your mouse all the way there, click here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I just registered for the half marathon in Van city. I just realized the race is a week earlier than I thought. Oops. I have no idea how that happened. It's probably because I registered so so late and took it all to casually. I also just realized that my training schedule is two weeks off now, not one, and I have to do some tweaking.

What to do? Well, like the Hitchhikers Guide says, "Don't Panic." I guess I'll go out for a run and think about this some more.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Let the gardening begin

Saturday was garden nursery day. tp from work and I have been planning this since February. We booked off the same day together and planned which nurseries we should visit, most of which are located in Langley.
Langley is not far from whoville but the landscape is very different. It's more a rolling countryside with small lots of farmland off a grid of narrow streets and avenues.
As it turned out Saturday was the most beautiful weather we've had this year. The temperature went into the twenties and it was sunny all day long.
tp picked me up at 8 and we drove out to the only nursery open that early. Rain Forest Nursery has six greenhouses and a narrow property with several levels that are all filled with every plant imaginable. The owner told us the season is so late this year that the front exterior garden wasn't really set up as it should be. However, I thought it was fabulous to see all the plants coming along at different stages. When tp mentioned where we worked and that she had seen them at last years garden show, they kindly gave us a "show discount." This is where I bought the Black Beauty Lenten Rose pictured in above two photos). This may be my new favorite flower.
After spending two hours there we finally loaded up tp's car and headed to our next stop. On the way I say a sign that read "Heirloom Tomatoes 75 cents."
Twin Oaks Herb Gardens was this fantastic little place with two small greenhouses run by a woman with great enthusiasm for carnivorous plants. I may have to go back and get one because these plants were so unusual looking and to have a plant that captures fruit flies seems like the way to go. Anywho her selection of heirloom tomatoes were varied and chosen to be most suited for our climate with many originating from Eastern Europe and Russia. I chose six for us to try.
She also carried a variety of scented geraniums and of course a nice selection of herbs. I chose a few perennials from her and got a great deal on the Beauty Bush (below). The photo doesn't really do it justice because you can really see the small buds of purple flowers that will soon open to a shade of pink (I 'm guessing since this is the most common). I'll have to find a location that will let it grow and grow. I suspect it could get quite large. We stopped off at tp's parents' house for a quick snack and to view tp's mother's garden that it a great collection of sedums planted in shallow pots and some in tall narrow pots. Her garden is all containers since they have little garden space, but a wonderful patio that faces a duck pond. Not far from their house is Cedar Rim Nursery which is a large well established business. We never even made it into their greenhouses and just walked the grounds picking up a few more perennials.

We had to watch our time because most places close at five and we had to drive to Abbotsford for our last stop at Tanglebank.
The day was very warm by now and the car was very full of plants. It looked beautiful.
Tanglebank is located in a more hilly area of the fraser valley. This is where I found the Japanese Rosy Buckler Fern.

By this time of the day though I was starting to fade. I was losing my enthusiasm. We headed back to whoville with just one more little stop in Port Who-dy at my favorite local garden shop that is tiny but carries an incredible variety. We just browsed. The car was full and we were running on empty.

Back home we unloaded the plants. tp stayed for dinner and another friend from work came by. db and I had made ravioli the day before. So we had a great dinner, talked plants, gardens and of course about other things as well. It was a great end to the day.

I hope to make it an annual event. Or would that be a perennial event?

plants in photos with the botanical names when I know them. (Corydalis, Helleborus Lenten Rose, Ranunculus ficaria "Brazen Hussy", Japanese Rosy Buckler Fern, Beauty Bush, Fritillaria, Aquilegia vulgaris, Dodecatheon pulchellum "Shooting Star")

Monday, April 07, 2008

A review! The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed

When I first arrived in B.C. my sister had just moved to Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands). A mysterious place to me, a remote island that I hoped to visit one day, I became further curious when my co-workers started to tell me about what a beautiful jewel of an island it is. Standing out for its uniqueness in marine life, a strong Haida culture and its remoteness, I knew that Haida Gwaii was like nowhere else.

The book The Golden Spruce came up in conversations and people kept telling me I had to read it. Finally, a year after moving here I finally got a chance to pick up John Valliant’s book and soon realized that I would have trouble putting it down. Most of my reading is accomplished on transit and when I opened The Golden Spruce and read Valliant’s opening few pages, I knew through the care he took in describing the Northwest coast that I wanted to savor every word.

Valliant introduces the Northwest coast by describing the landscape this way: “there is no graceful interval between the ocean and the trees; the forest simply takes over where the tide wrack ends, erupting full-blown from the shallow, bouldered earth. The boundary between the two is unstable, and the sea will heave stones, logs, and even itself into the woods at every opportunity.” He then continues, “A coastal forest can be an awesome place to behold; huge, holy, and eternal feeling, like a branched and needled Notre Dame, but for a stranger it is not a particularly comfortable place to be. You can be twenty paces from a road or a beach and become totally disoriented once inside, there is no future and no past, only the sodden, twilit now.”

I closed the book until I could get home and have fewer distractions to take me away from it. Once immersed in the story, the legends and the history, I was able to transit with this book again and enjoyed every moment the bus was slowed by rush hour traffic.

The drama itself could not have been better scripted. Valliant gives us the character of the young logger, Grant Hadwin, who has either gone mad or has turned activist, that cuts this symbolic tree in an act of protest against the clearcutting of the Northwest forests. The Golden Spruce was a 300 year old Sitka spruce that grew 16 stories high and more than twenty feet around that was so unique in its golden colour that it was protected from logging and held legendary significance to the Haida people. When Grant Hadwin cut the tree it changed the landscape of the people and the place forever.He had no understanding of the spiritual significance of the tree to the Haida people who believe that if the tree died so would the Haida nation.

Valliant tells this dramatic story in a way that often balances between the mythic and the real and like the landscape the “boundary between the two is unstable.” While the story is about the tree and the man who cut it down, Valliant puts this seemingly simple narrative into a greater context, depicting the history of Haida Gwaii, the Haida people, and BC’s logging industry. Without this greater context the full significance of the event, the death of this tree, cannot be fully understood. The result is, we are left with a deeper knowledge of a place, a people, and the significance of this one Sitka spruce to all those involved in the drama.

What I most enjoyed was Valliant’s ability to weave all points of view together to give us a whole picture of this event so that we understand the full drama of it and remain with questions. I leave the book with a greater understanding of BC history that is as complex and as many layered as an old growth forest.

500 for Tkachuk!

The Blues played their last game yesterday. It was supposed to be on NHL Centre Ice as was listed on the on-screen guide. At noon db had the t.v. on and the screen stayed black. And so it continued. I'm not sure why they chose not to broadcast the game. I guess they figure no one cares since neither team will be in the play offs. If they do think that way that's stupid.

Anywho...we listened to the game on the computer. The Blues were winning. Not only did we want to see their final game, but there was a good chance that Keith Tkachuk (a.k.a Walt) would score his 500th NHL career goal and we did not want to miss that. It didn't sound like it was going to happen, but with just over a minute left in the game Walt scored into the empty net while they were killing off a penalty. It was very exciting even if we were only listening to it.

Today db sent me an article from the St. Louis Today paper. Here's where Walt stands in the record books:
"Tkachuk became the 41st player in NHL history and only the fourth American-born player to score 500 goals. He is the third player to do it in a Blues uniform, following the lead of Brett Hull and Dale Hawerchuk." (from J. Rutherford at

Congratulations Tkachuk! I'm glad they ended the season on a high note (pun intended, db).

Thursday, April 03, 2008


As if you couldn’t tell, I adore my cats. My cats are a big part of my life. I can’t imagine life without them. But it’s not just my cats it’s cats in general. Just today I was running late for an appointment and hurried out the door, coming up the walk was a fluffy ginger kitty with his/her tail up to greet me. This cat walked right up to me and I had to stop to pet him or her. S/he had a blue collar and bell on and was very friendly. I wanted to spend more time but I was running even later and had to run to catch the bus.

I haven’t seen my sister’s cats in over a year and I miss them so much. Sis sends me pictures and when we talk we can go on for an indefinite amount of time about our cats.

Ever since I can remember there has always been a cat living with me. There was a brief time when I was a teen that we didn’t have a cat because they initially didn’t come with us in the parental divorce. Later my mom did go back for the cats and they lived the rest of their lives with my mom. Even in that time though there was my grandmother’s cat Victoria. She was a small gray tabby with a gentle manner and a bit aloof when it came to attention. She had a large yard that she spent much time surveying and at night she would only sleep on my grandmother’s bed.

After high school I moved out on my own and it wasn’t long before I rescued a kitten from a dodgy home. Not that it was a scary place, but I think the kitten might have gotten ignored or possibly lost or some other scenario that wouldn’t end well for the kitten. The mom, who was sort of a friend and someone I babysat for, was going to take the kitten to the SPCA because she didn’t want it. Her son showed up at my apartment one day and asked me if I could take the kitten because he couldn’t bear to not know where it would end up. I probably wasn’t ready for the responsibility of a cat but I did it anyway. When I think about it now it’s amazing to think of that kid walking all the way to my place with a frightened kitten in his arms. Catherine I named her and she lived with me for sixteen years in four different provinces. She was quite the character and we had quite a bond.

As I write this Prima is seated next to the computer screen with one paw resting on the edge of the keyboard. She is fascinated with the small movements of the cursor as it slides across the page. I think she would like nothing better than to lie on the computer because of the warmth it gives off, but she knows I stop her when she attempts to walk or lie on the keyboard and so she sits with one paw perched on the edge. Eventually she will walk on the keyboard causing it to delete, lock the caps, add spaces and repeat the same letter over and over again. And I’ll just have to gently guide her to the desk and do some more editing.

Gigi makes a trip into the fridge to do some inspecting of db's sourdough starter.

A rare sighting of these two on the same window ledge at the same time. It's a great spot because we get all kinds of little birds and squirrels around that tree.