Wednesday, December 30, 2009

CBC News - Politics - PM seeks Parliament shutdown until March

Excuse me, but what is going on here?! This government is out of is taking too much control. I can't believe this is going ahead. Surely, no one is really going to let them shut down Parliament until such a late date.

I know I'm going to write my MP about this.

CBC News - Politics - PM seeks Parliament shutdown until March

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas, and are all very stuffed with their favorite foods. Um...I forgot to take pictures of our dinner last night, but I can assure you it looked as delicious as it tasted. We had wild mushroom & butternut squash ravioli with a simple spicy tomato sauce. db brought out a Super Tuscan wine he's been saving for a number of years. It was smooth and warming. We also had a spinach salad with pear and balsamic. It was a nice simple dinner.

I do have a photo of our Christmas morning breakfast though.

I know, I know. You're saying, "what is it?" It's from my Vegan Brunch cookbook, and it's called Tofu Benny! I marinated the tofu, pan-fried it. The bottom is home fries with green pepper and onion. I opted for the home fries base over the English muffin, because I love potatoes and could probably eat them every day. I also didn't have any English muffins. There is also some tomato in the middle with a little liquid smoke, and on top is the hollandaise sauce, which was a little strange because it really tasted like hollandaise sauce! The texture of it reminded me of that non-vegan eggy sauce, but the flavour really was so much better.

db was impressed as well, and I always know I've come up with something good when he's impressed. He's such a good cook. 

It was a nice way to start our morning, and a great breakfast after my run.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you're all having a restful day.

It's fairly quiet here in whoville. The cats have finally settled down (I think).

It's clear and cool here. We didn't get any snow for Christmas (I was hoping, but no luck), but it made for an easy run this morning. I couldn't think of a better way to start such a beautiful sunny day than go for a run. The other runners I saw out there wished me a Merry Christmas as they passed. It was nice.

For db and I (and most of us) it's all about the food. So without further delay here's the food.

The Christmas Eve menu started with Hot and Sour Soup, and it lived up to its name. db did a beautiful job on the soup. The wine was a Gewurztraminer by Cono Sur winery, which I couldn't really taste by the time I finished my soup because the spiciness was so strong. So I waited until my mouth cooled down to finish my wine.

Our main dish was a recipe from The Artful Vegan, our favorite special occasion vegan cookbook. We made the Cajun-Crusted Tempeh with Lemon-Caper Dill Cream and Braised Collard Greens served with Pecan Dirty Rice.

The lemon-caper dill cream was a cashew based cream, and I think I could almost eat this daily it was so good!

The Cajun-crusted tempeh was dipped in a vegan aioli sauce that db had made earlier in the day, and then dredged through the cajun spice mix I put together.

The Pecan dirty rice was actually "almond" dirty rice because I realized at the last minute that I didn't have any pecans. Fortunately, almonds subbed quite nicely.

The wine we paired with this dish was Smoking Loon Viognier from California. It was a very nice wine with the spiciness of the cajun tempeh.

At midnight we wished each other a Merry Christmas, kissed the cats (even though Gigi doesn't always appreciate kisses), and exchanged our gifts. It was a wonderful and delicious Christmas Eve.

It looks like Christmas Day's menu will be another feast. I'll post more on that later.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Marie Dubas - La Charlotte prie Notre-Dame (1934)

This is something my inlaws listen to every Christmas. Even though we can't be with them at this time, db and I found this on you tube and listened to it on Christmas Eve. It's a tradition in his family, and I'd like to share it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Christmas Tree Adventure

This year we returned to the organic Christmas tree farm we've been going to for the last 3 years.

It's about an hours drive from our place, but we think it's worth it. We support a small business, and we get to choose and cut our own tree.

It was snowing that day (Dec 13th), and by the time we reached the farm the snow was really starting to accumulate. It was so beautiful to be out in the country in the snow.

After a good search, we decided on this little tree. It was a bit narrower so it'd fit nicely into our space. Our plan was to put it on the ledge between our two living room windows, so we'd have to crop the top a bit. db took out his tape measure and checked the height. It would be a good fit.

We paid for the tree and put it into our tree bag, and it just fit into the car with the seats down. We were ready to go, but then db realized that he couldn't find the car key. So the search began.

Everyone there (the family working that day and a couple of friends) began to search. The snow was piling up quickly. Someone brought a bucket of hot water our and poured water around the car, and then around the spot where we had cut the tree. We took everything out of the car, and searched every inch of it. The tree came out of the bag, but nothing. No car key.

I took a rake and tried to retrace our steps through the farm, but realized the impossibility of finding anything in the snow.

It was definitely a "needle in a haystack" kind of situation.

Plan B. Get a key cut. One of the men told us that there is a place in Mission (or Abbotsford - I can't remember which) that will cut keys for you.

db goes inside and starts calling, but we need to initiate this through the dealership, and it's Sunday and dealerships are closed.

db tries to reach a co-worker who doesn't live too far away. She always has her cell phone with her and on. He could get the work keys from her  (it's a company car), and then drive to work to get the spare set in Vancouver (about an hour and a half from where we are). He can't reach her. 

db calls the company's roadside assistance while I wait outside standing around the fire with the family and friends getting acquainted. I also take another look out in the field, because it can't hurt.

Roadside assistance is no help. There's nothing else to do, but get the spare set of keys. Someone wisely suggests that we rent a car to go get the other keys. Furthermore, one of the family members is heading back into Vancouver and could drop us at the rental place.

We book a car at the Abbotsford airport since it's the closest open location. The roads are looking quite bad because of the snow. The woman who drives us to the airport is super nice. It turns out she owns a place on the Sunshine Coast she rents out to friends, but gives us her card because she would be willing to rent to us as well. She drops us at the airport. db and I are the only people at the airport who don't work there.

We get the rental car. We drive home to get db's work keys (an hour?). We drive to his work (another 45?). Then we drive from Vancouver back to Mission (over an hour). We pick up the car with the tree in it. db follows me out. I'm in the rental. It's now around 7:30pm. It's snowy, dark, and it's Sunday so there's very little traffic. The highway does seem to have been salted so it's a bit clearer, but it's by no means completely clear. It's slow going.

We're driving from Mission to the Abbotsford airport to drop off the car, and I see an airplane sign, and turn off the collector route, thinking it's a short cut. It turns out to be an airstrip and not the airport. We really have never been to Abbotsford so we don't really know where we are. We turn around. On our way back to the highway, there's a tow truck in the middle of the road in the process of pulling a mini-van out of a seriously deep ditch. We have to wait about 15-20 minutes in what seems the middle of nowhere while this accident is cleared.

Finally we get back to the highway and find the airport (it's around 8:45 or so by now), drop the car, and head home (another hour).

Our $30 tree cost about $110 in the end. At least we were fine after driving what seemed every road from here to Mission and Vancouver and back in poor conditions.

The plan had been to grocery shop, pick up the tree, come home and bake Christmas cookies. The cookies got made, but later that week so I was a little late sending them out to family.

The cats were very happy to see us after being alone all day and night. We were happy to see them too, an of course we were exhausted from the very stressful day.

Tonight we decorate our tree. I hope it looks even more beautiful than I could hope because it is a very unique tree for us this year.

Oh yes, I forgot about db's company having to get a new key made because it has a chip in it, so a completely new one had to be made for the car.

Also this past Thursday, someone from the tree farm called us to say they found the key (it had rained all week) about 10' from the where we cut the tree. We drove out on Sunday to pick up the now useless key, but the remote to unlock the car still works. db also decided to wear his jacket with the zippered pockets just to be safe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CBC News - Canada - Tories pondered weaker emission targets for oil and gas

It's very distressing to think that our government could be taking actions like this.

CBC News - Canada - Tories pondered weaker emission targets for oil and gas

I'm so disappointed in this government for so many reasons. I feel like we're never being permitted to know what's really going on unless something gets leaked or a whistle blower comes forward.

Can't we be a leading nation? Can't we be a nation that aims for something greater? Am I too much of an idealist for believing our country could make the necessary cuts to greenhouse gases?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Food this week.

Brrr, it's cold! Snow is on the way for us. This will be the first weekend of snow, which means unploughed streets, cars getting stuck on hills, buses re-routing or not showing up at all, and all of that fun stuff. Hopefully, my commute to and from work will not be too disrupted.

So that's the outside. Inside, we've been keeping toasty warm of course, and have been eating warming foods.

db made a stuffed focaccia; something he hasn't done in a long time (as in ever since I and then he gave up cheese and became vegan). Now that we have daiya in our life, he realized that it was possible to make a stuffed focaccia. He also put chanterelles (did I mention he found more a couple of weeks ago in our trusty spot in the woods?) and pine nuts in the bread. Oh yum.

I had cooked a Sugar Pumpkin with intentions on making a pie, but...of busy schedule kept delaying the inevitable.

My co-worker, jh, had mentioned how someone had brought a pumpkin soup to the potluck, and how much she enjoyed it. Just her talking about the soup made me want to make my own.

I even had Sour Supreme on hand to put a little in the center to help cool the soup's heat. It turned out quite well, and was perfect on a chilled night in whoville.

Now if I can just get to the baking!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Cold weather running

I'm faced with a chilly run tomorrow. It's clear and cold here; the temperature hovers around zero through the day and then dips down at night. The upside is the sunshine and dry conditions, which are great for running.

I went out Sunday and had a nice short run. Once I was warmed up I was fine. Even with the wind in my face, I was doing okay. I just kept going at a nice easy pace and got my run in.

Tomorrow morning I want to take advantage of the clear weather again and go a little further. It will feel great and I'll be so happy to have gone a longer distance, but I hate that first step outside, leaving behind the warmth of my home to step out into a chilled air. That's the toughest part of the run for me right now. Even if I feel sluggish, I know how to deal with that; I can talk myself through the most difficult of times. But to step out into the cold in just my running gear...brrr!

It's going to be a cold one tomorrow.

Friday, December 04, 2009

In whoville this week...

I've been busy, but I like being busy. I'm adjusting to my new 6 days a week schedule. Sunday is truly a day of rest for me now, except that I have to spend it getting all the other chores done Fortunately we have an organic produce box delivered once a week. Otherwise I don't know when I'd grocery shop. db actually does most of the grocery shopping while I'm at work on Saturdays.

Bottom line though, I'm loving my life right now and that's a good place to be for me.

My 4 hours a week at Wildlife Rescue has so far been very exciting. The jobs could be called "mundane" (laundry, dishes, cleaning out the pigeon aviary), but I find it all part of the cycle of care for the animals (well, it's really all birds right now).

There seem to be new birds when I arrive each week. Part of me finds this exciting, but it also bothers me because I know they're at the rescue because they're injured in some way. There are always pigeons. City life takes its toll on pigeons, and they have all sorts of injuries. Once they're through the tough part of recovery, they move outside to the aviary. There's even a cool room they spend a couple of nights in before going to the aviary so they get acclimatized to the outdoors before being moved to the aviary.

I seem to be the one who doesn't hesitate to take on the pigeon aviary first. It's a lot of pigeon poop to clean, but I don't mind. I like setting up new food and clean dry towels for them on some of their perches. I've never really taken much notice of pigeons since they always seem to be just part of the cityscape, but seeing them in this new context gives me a new point of view. They really are unique, and each one seems to have its own personality. I'm basing this on how they react to me being in the cage. I could be way off on this one, but each one does seem unique.

This week I did another round of cleaning the indoor cages for the pigeons, and then I couldn't avoid it anymore, I had to take on a more challenging bird: a Varied Thrush.

With a bird that moves so quickly, and is already stressed, I was convinced it would escape and I would spend the rest of my shift trying to catch it, but fortunately, I found it easier than expected and remarkable that I could handle such a flighty bird (I'm sure it won't be so easy all of the time, but at least it helps me feel more confident going in next time). Next stop gulls. I have yet to deal with any really larger birds.

I'm always nervous that I'm going to injure the bird or do more harm than good, but I'm realizing that I'm more capable of handling them than I thought. I guess that's part of the learning curve at the Rescue.


Some other good news this week is that I got a raise! I mean I received an real raise in recognition of the work I've been doing for this independent little store. It was completely unexpected and very exciting for me. It's been a long time since I've been rewarded for the work I've done.

My other job (I have 2 part-time jobs) gives everyone a small percent raise once a year and it is not negotiable, and it is pennies. We're expected to do so much, and are paid so little.

This new job has been such a breath of fresh air for me. I really feel like I'm contributing to a small business' success. That is rewarding in itself.