Thursday, July 27, 2006

Meme's the word

Brie and her buddy Simone came up with their own meme a few days ago. I only had the imagination to answer a few of the questions here. If you're up to it and/or bored at work on Friday afternoon, you can copy the questions and answer them in your own blog or answer them in my comments section.

Describe your favourite pair of underwear:
Tina makes underwear and other things under the Vancouver clothing label Oona. I especially love her cinchy gitch. I have many pairs because they are very comfortable.

Favourite sandwich toppings?
I can't eat wheat right now, but when I do eat sandwiches, I love roasted veggies (onions, egg plant and red pepper), feta and fresh basil.

Four favourite desserts?
The chocolate and cherry cake I had at Long Beach Lodge will always be my favorite dessert. When I lived in Tofino we went to the hotel lounge to watch the sun set on occasion. They baked your personal-size cake fresh when you ordered and the inside was saucy, sort of like a lava cake but high class. I could eat it four times over.

Your ideal cocktail would include what ingredients?
Right now I'd like Pimm's and Ginger Ale with a slice of cucumber.

Five songs you could listen to over and over and over:
Mahgeetah - My Morning Jacket
Corner Store - Jonathan Richman
One Night in Bangkok - from Chess
Somewhere There's Music - the version from Biloxi Blues
The Coast - Paul Simon

A quote that summarizes your outlook on life:
"Is this a shifter car? I cannot drive a shifter car, alright, so we got a little situation here. I can't drive these kinda cars! What the fuck is goin' on! You think that's funny? Would you like to know, smartass? Would you like to know why I can't drive this kinda car? I'll tell you why, I'm used to luxury cars. Have you ever heard of a luxury car? You know what luxury means? Ever heard of Cadillac, Cadillac Eldorado? That's what I drive. I drive cars that shift themselves." - Billy Brown in Buffalo 66

"I never let the facts get in the way of the truth." - Farley Mowat

Bath or shower?
None of the above.

Are there mouldy things in your fridge?
I clean out my fridge every week but something always manages to go bad on me. So yes.

Percentage of time spent at work actually working:
75% on a good day, when there's actually work to do.

You’ve been given $1000 to spoil yourself with, what would you buy/do?
I'd buy a plane ticket to Ireland (which I hear go for about that much). I want to see the latest addition to the family and also the little one that's expected next year.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Family bonding

My americano (with soy milk!) is sitting loyally beside my computer, CBC radio is buzzing in my ears, and I have a moment to post a few pictures on my blog. Life is good. I've been taking it easy the last few days, hunkering down in my cool apartment with a good book (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris) and some good TV shows (My Name is Earl and Strangers With Candy). My horoscope told me to hibernate and I did. Also, my family wore me out with their summer visits, and I needed to be lazy for a spell.

These are my folks David and Darlene. Michael and I had one day off while they were here, so we took advantage and went to Salt Spring Island for a whirlwind tour. So far Hornby Island is my favorite of all the islands. Salt Spring was ok, but I think it's a little big, really. However, I really enjoyed the multiple lakes for swimming, and I successfully convinced my mom and Michael to join me for a dip in Cusheon Lake. I wish you could have seen my mom's face as she inched her way into the water, which wasn't as cold as she made it seem. The snarl on her face reminded me of the grimace I make when I have to drink my evil, herbal supplements. I'm sure she wishes she could be in the lake right now, though; my parents are visiting Shannon in San Francisco, which is currently surfing a heat wave.

This is the view that we're blocking in the first picture. We drove to the top of Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring, and even though there were some nervous moments due to the state of the road, the view was worth it, as you can see. However, we were promised eagles and vultures and we didn't see any, so don't believe the hype.

This is my uncle Stephen and the horrendous car he had to rent during his visit. He's upset about the size of the windows, which don't allow the driver to see much of anything. He got Michael pretty worked up about it too. Stephen was visiting from Ireland and we're sad that he had to go home. He's currently reading one of my favorite books (Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins) and I've asked him to write me some comments on it, a book report if you will, which I may post on this blog (if his writing is up to par). I'll ask my dad to do the same because he just happens to be reading the same book. They must be brothers.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Smoothies break my fast

I’ve always been a strong proponent of the importance of breakfast: if food is fuel for our bodies, I’m pretty sure we should have some before we start the day. My gut tells me this is true. Science too.

Over the years I’ve eaten a range of breakfast foods: Life cereal, Lucky Charms (it’s hard for me to admit that), toast with bananas and peanut butter, whole wheat sesame bagels with a slice of cheese, Nature’s Path cereal with soy milk, et cetera. Sometimes I would indulge in wheat-free toaster waffles and maple syrup and, of course, naughty brunch goodness on weekends.

The “diet” that I’m currently following suggests that I drink a smoothie for breakfast, and I want to share how pleased I am with this meal choice. My smoothies are made up of almond milk, berries of some sort, half a frozen banana, 4 tbsp ground flax seed, and 4 tbsp hemp hearts (seeds); I’ve also added fresh mint on luxurious occasions. I just find the smoothie a satisfying start to the day, and I’m not usually hungry before noon (except today, when I was ravenous at 11). Also it’s healthy.

Shannon sent me a couple of recipe ideas today, which I will definitely try out. One blends banana, almond/soy/oat milk, blueberries and 1 tbsp tahini. The other combines banana, milk of your choice, and 1 tbsp molasses. I'm finding there are many options for the discerning palate.

I just wish my blender wasn’t so loud first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ode to Jillian

For those of you that read this blog regularly, you will have enjoyed comments from Jillian (Michael and I have bets laid on how long it will take her to get her own blog since she's proven to be such an enthusiastic commenter). She's on Vancouver Island for a holiday right now, and we've had grand times with her over the last week. Jillian was supposed to move here this September, but she landed a wicked job in Nunavut and we're not sure that we'll ever live in the same city again. Even so, we're entrenched in each other's lives – so much so that I introduced her to my parents over martinis on Monday and I learned my first Afro-Brazilian dance steps with her mom on Friday. Also, we'll always have the best guest room for her to stay in, so we'll continue annoying her other friends, who complain about the amount of time we get to spend with her, for as long as we're able. The only thing that's left now is for Michael to become buddies with Jillian's dad, because I'm out of the running on that one.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Breaking in the tent

A couple of weeks ago we went camping on Sidney Island. We took a boat from Sidney with our camping supplies, loaded everything up into a wheel barrow (provided by the park), and walked our goods to the camp site 10 minutes away. We only spent one night there, but many adventures were had: Michael got lost; we tried to walk around the island, which happens to be quite big, and failed; we got caught drinking alcohol on the beach after I asked Michael, in my outside voice, whether he had brought beer for Ananda from our tent - the guy who enforces the no-drinking rules happened to be right behind him; we saw Canada Day fireworks across the water in Sidney (anti-climatic, but there you have it); we took many photos; we ate cold tofu dogs for supper because there were no fires allowed (is it really camping if there's no fire?); and we got some exercise, despite protests from Zoe and me, when we walked to the end of Sidney Spit, a long sand bar that extends from one end of the island. There we enjoyed our very own white sand beach before catching the boat back to Vancouver Island. It was such a lovely excursion, and I hope to have more of them before summer is through. My parents bought Michael and I a MEC tent last year, and we've only been able to use it three times, to date. We're new to camping, and we still have to iron out a few problem areas, like how not to freeze to death when the sun goes down. I think we have to give up our double sleeping bag and accept the fact that individual sleeping bags, though antisocial, keep you warmer - and one day we'll give up our inflatable air mattress, because frankly, it's a little embarrassing.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My greens make me gag

I had tentative plans to see a naturopath for eons (just ask Erin Coulter), and I finally went this year because it was covered by my UVic health plan. I learned a bunch of stuff, but in the end I didn't like my doctor. On my third visit I told her I was interested in balancing my pH (I had done some research on my own) and she basically said not to bother - that interest in pH is a fad that comes and goes. She didn't want to follow my lead, and since I felt that my acidic body was the root of all of my problems, I wasn't too happy with her reaction. I didn't go back.

Time passed and my problems didn't get any better. So, last month I made an appointment for a live blood analysis. The doctor is so popular I waited until last week to see him. We looked at a drop of my blood under a microscope and he told me what's wrong with me: I'm really acidic. He prescribed a ton-o-supplements and told me to eat an alkaline diet for two months until I see him again. That means I'll be eating a lot of fruit and vegetables - and most of them raw at his suggestion. But it turns out the diet isn't the hard part; rather, the supplements are causing me serious anxiety. I've never been a fan of taking pills, but I'd take a million if it meant I never had to drink gross liquid concoctions again. I'm such a baby I actually plug my nose as I'm drinking my greens supplement or liver cleanse, and Michael can attest to the awful face I make when I'm done.

I'd like to say that this diet has changed my life, but I'm only on day three and still experiencing headaches from (refined) sugar and coffee withdrawal - once I wrap my mind around drinking my coffee black I'll be enjoying my daily cup once again. I don't feel so hot right now, but trust that I'll keep you updated on my adventures in alternative therapies. You can share too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Early concerts, early nights

I paid $7.50 to see Neko Case last night. It was a mellow concert, the kind of concert I usually avoid, but it was wonderful because it took place in the inner harbour at sunset; a cool ocean breeze flowed through her red hair in the most picturesque manner. I was pleased that she sang my favorite songs: I wish I was the moon and Hold On, Hold On. She also covered Bob Dylan's Buckets of Rain - lovely. I saw Jamie Lidell on Friday, who was also playing for the Victoria Folk Festival. He performed in the beer garden, which seemed a little trashy to me. The concert was too casual, I think, and then in between his funky, wonderful songs from his latest album he mixed some hardcore electronic music. I took the opportunity to get another drink. We may try to see Tanya Tagaq, the throat singer who has performed with Bjork, on Thursday. We actually tried to see her at the Railway Club in Vancouver many moons ago, but ended up leaving when the show had yet to begin and it was past midnight - true to Railway Club style. More recently, I left the same bar before Elliott Brood took the stage. A girl has got to sleep! That's another reason why I'm fond of this city: early concerts. Neko Case took the stage at 8:30, giving me plenty of time to get a good night's rest.

On that note, last month I heard a story on CBC that claimed people have wildly different sleep requirements: some people need three hours and some people need 10 or 11; the reason we always hear the eight-hour recommendation is because it is the average of the extremes. Since I've always suspected this was the case, the story struck a chord. Personally, I need eight hours or else. That's why I don't think I can spend a summer up north ever again: the constant sun makes it difficult to sleep. I'm sure Jillian will have something to say about that, since she lives in Nunavut. The fool recently tried to tempt me to her lair with promises of kayaking in the middle of the night.