Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vegan Rice Krispie squares

As I was heading out for lunch, a co-worker told me about a fundraiser that was happening in the next building - $1 for a box of cereal! (Sweet!)

Three boxes later... I began googling for vegan Rice Krispie recipes and found the following:

1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter (can omit if you want)
7 cups Rice Krispies

Combine brown sugar and corn syrup in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, and mix almost starts to boil. Stir frequently. Remove from heat, stir in PB and mix well. Stir in cereal, mixing until evenly coated. Press evenly and firmly into greased 13x9 pan. Let cool, then cut into squares.

(Courtesy of Tigerlily at

I'm excited to give this a try! Now, I won't have to exclude my husband and/or sister-in-law from the Rice Krispie square gluttony that may ensue. (I'll let you know how it fares on the delicious scale in a following post!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

7:04 p.m.

...and it's still bright out. Helllloooo Springtime!

P.S. Does anyone know how to change the time on here?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The countdown begins!

We leave for Japan in 99 days. I cannot wait!

Wow, is this really Osaka? It looks like the setting of some futuristic world!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sometimes, this is how I feel...

San Zhi

I am definitely going to mark this as one of the places I need to see before I die. San Zhi is an abandoned housing complex located just outside of Taipei, Taiwan. It's rumored that several fatal accidents occurred during construction which caused the development company, as well as the locals, to believe the site was haunted. Another speculation was that the developer simply ran out of money and halted all construction. The pods were built in the 1980s and were targeted as a holiday location for the rich of Taipei, however, there is very little conclusive information about San Zhi.

The Flickr site below provides some stunning shots of the complex along with a little blurb about it:

Happy Easter - wherever you are!


While J was away on business in January, I tried to think of interesting and fun things that the little person and I could do together when I stumbled upon private knitting instruction through the Toronto Craft Alert site. Little did I know what a treasure I had found! The instruction went very well (unlike my ability to catch on to knitting!) and we discovered that K taught other classes such as felting, crocheting, watercolor painting and needlecrafts (to name a few).

Since then, my husband and I have taken the little person to see this wonderful artist every Saturday morning. It is really amazing is to see what the little person creates and be witness to her exploration of creativity. K is such a talented and lovely person, as is her husband. We feel so fortunate to have met them and find it such a treat be in their presence.

Ah, the Norwegians sure know how to celebrate!

Tonight, the little one had some challenging questions about Easter such as:

- Why is it an Easter bunny and not an Easter bird? (After all, bunnies don't lay eggs, right?)
- How did Easter start?
- Does the Easter bunny only give presents to children?

Of course, you're going to have to look up the answers yourselves but I wanted to share an interesting finding with you about traditions in my favorite country, Norway.

In Norway, in addition to cross-country skiing in the mountains and painting eggs for decorating, a contemporary tradition is to solve murder mysteries at Easter. All the major television channels show crime and detective stories (such as Agatha Christie's Poirot), magazines print stories where the readers can try to figure out who did it, and many new books are published. Even the milk cartons change to have murder stories on their sides. Another tradition is Yahtzee games.

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's hot in here

We stayed up until 4 am yesterday watching Hell's Kitchen. (Gee, I hope it isn't sacrilegious to admit that today...) We just couldn't break away from the profanity and torture. This show is not for the weak of heart - the humiliation the hopefuls endure is an ego-crushing boot camp designed to annihilate a person's spirit, psyche and any semblance of passion they may have had coming into the show. Tempers flare, tears flow, cat-fights ensure, dreams are shattered, people smoke incessantly and food gets spit on,'s wildly entertaining.

Gordon Ramsay is a celebrated chef, author and successful restauranteur, as well as the most vicious and degrading man to grace the scene. His style is harsh and one may wonder if the contestants aren't somewhat masochistic to put themselves through it all but I suppose the idea of heading up a brand new five-star restaurant with a guaranteed six figure income is quite an incentive for some. Oh yes, not to mention the satisfaction of proving to the viewers (and perhaps, their families and themselves) that they're worthy of it all has some obvious appeal as witnessed through hard work of the participants.

Of course, not all people are cut out for that kind of pressure. In the very first episode, Aaron, the 48 year-old retirement home cook, loses it even before they are given their first assignment. He's blubbering like the man-child that he is in the first episode, right up until Chef Ramsay calls him at the hospital and kicks him off the show for good. (Did I mention that he faints in that particular episode?) Anyway, he was beginning to annoy me with his total incompetence, extreme insecurity, profuse sweating and his childlike persona. (Gosh, that was heartless, wasn't it??)

[Giddy up]

Anyway, if you're looking for something fun to watch in reality television programming, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Garage sale at work!

Today was 'Clean Up Day' at work, followed by goodies and a GARAGE SALE! (Sweet!) As I've mentioned in previous posts, I live strongly by the motto, One person's trash is another person's treasure (much to the chagrin of my husband!). This garage sale was special, though, in that most of the 'trash' happened to be brand new promotional items from sponsors of our organization. I did very well and spent practically nothing (well, less than $8) and came away with some really awesome treats. For starters, I purchased three fishing rods for my posse at home since the little person has mentioned many times how she'd like to go fishing some day. I think this would be a great little adventure for us this summer and now, we've got some sporty pink rods to use! In addition to this, I got a ball cap for the little one to use whilst baiting hooks that says, 'Fisher Girl'. Ohhhh... ("It's all the rage", I was told!)

Unfortunately, I missed out on a Twinkie costume. Boo. I thought it was some kind of tacky yellow blanket or tablecloth. (Sigh).

In any case, I'm discovering that this place has a really strong social committee and the atmosphere appears to be quite congenial. Yesterday, the social committee went around and gave everyone a basket of goodies. We even had a little Easter celebration in the boardroom complete with fancy cupcakes, chocolate and gummies! There was also a very heated game of 'pin the tail on the bunny'. A representative from each department had to wear a bunny eye-mask, spin around and throw a jelly which they hoped would land in the vicinity of the tail. (Side note: Poor bunny was humiliated as his naughty bits seemed to get the most attention!) Winners? Why, our department, of course! Yay! We get a month of sponsored treats (one per week!).

It was great to see such a positive turn-out for both events. Already, this place is a million times better than the art college I was working at. The people are friendly, smile a lot and appear to enjoy working here. Plus, there seems to be incentive for upward mobility which certainly never hurt (in light of all my doomsday drudgery and boohoo-ing about finding fulfilling work). If I have to be in this particular kind of work, it may as well be here. (Coincidentally, this is what one might call a 'pink ghetto' job. For those of you who know where I'm employed, you'll understand what I mean!).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Imbibing on the green

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone (especially to MGDC - xo)!
"Erin go bragh!" or "Pogue mahone!", as an old friend used to say!

What a creepy looking character (he kind of reminds me of Charlie McCarthy meets Planet of the Apes).

I don't know what to make of this one...

Or this one...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Red Letter Day(s)

Last week, I was in postal heaven! I received so many wonderful letters and treats in the mail that left me ohhhing and ahhhing. Our new neighbors even asked if it was my birthday because of all of the packages that were delivered one day.

Among the packages that arrived were two envelopes filled with vintage goodness. They were part of an ephemera swap that I had joined through Swap-Bot. There were vintage photographs and papers, old advertisements and ticket stubs, postcards and other miscellany. I don't know what it is about ephemera that I love so much but I think it's a combination of nostalgia and inspiration. I try to imagine what was going on in the pictures, how people related to each other and what stories they would share. I especially love looking at old advertisements as they are indicative of the gender roles and division of labour that existed during the time they were being circulated. Of course, I also love the beautiful artwork and the rich styles of clothing that accompany them. Another aspect of ephemera that I love is its tactile nature - touching the weathered pages of a book, feeling the typeset or letterpressed print on the pages, holding the tattered black and white photographs, feeling the superb craftmanship of a book spine or photo album - it's all very pleasing to me.

And what do I do with all this stuff? I often make little goodie packages for my friends who share a love for ephemera or I slip in bits of paper into envelopes of letters that I've written. Sometimes, I'll use the pieces to make cards, adorn packages or paste them into my journal. I consider them to be little treasures and often search for them wherever I go.

One of my favorite blogs is by Marty Weil, a freelance writer and ephemera researcher. It's a wonderful read for ephemera-enthusiasts or anyone who is feeling nostalgic.

Beware the Ides of March

I can't believe that three months have already passed since the beginning of the New Year! Where has the time gone? What have I done? Where have I been?

These past three months saw the beginning of a New Year and marked the end of one that was just amazing (the highlights of which were traveling, getting engaged and tying the knot). I've experienced the usual ups-and-downs that accompany the February blahs but have also gone through a range of emotions regarding finding out my 'identity' and my place in life. There have also been the slew of interviews I've been on, the starting-and-stopping of jobs, the removal of a tooth, several snowstorms, another birthday (sigh), meeting new people and watching the snow melt (sort of). The highlights, thus far, have been celebrating the videos that my husband directed, watching my little person learn and grow through her lessons with an artist and meeting a kindred spirit through an unlikely place of work. Oh yes, and then there are the tickets to Japan that were just purchased... now, THAT, is definitely exciting!

In finding my place in this life, I've struggled with what I'm supposed to 'do' (career-wise). People say that what you do for a living shouldn't define who you are but on some level, I believe that it does. To me, what a person does for a living does represent some extension of that person. For some, it signifies what that person is interested in and in some cases, what they're passionate about. It may indicate that what they are doing or where they are working is considered worthy of the eight hours (or more) spent each day. It may also provide clues to what that individual sees as important outside of work (ie how they choose to live) by the amount of money they are being compensated. Or... it may signify nothing.

If a job gives you no sense of accomplishment or pride, or is simply a means to an end, then how can it provide some insight as to who you are or what you value (including one's self)?

I wish that what I did for eight hours a day represented the me that I see as creative, passionate, happy, alive, proud and not embarrassed, sad, and unfulfilled. Often times, I ask myself what exactly it is that I think I should be doing or what I see myself doing. I've researched so many different vocations and have even taken courses towards them but without much luck. It always seems that I'm on the cusp of finding which path I should take but then find myself on some other tangent. Practicality has often dictated what kind of jobs I've ended up with. Inevitably, due to financial reasons and the need to secure a position with benefits, I end up in the same sort of job lamenting about the same ennui. It's really quite a vicious cycle.

I keep hoping for some kind of epiphany to happen or that "a-ha!" moment that you hear so much about. I am even in the process of meeting with a Life/Career Coach to sort myself out, though, I am finding that much of what we've talked about are things that I have already processed through my own self-discovery. (Still, it can't hurt, can it?).

I guess I'm afraid of being one of those people who never realizes their dream or fails to use those talents that are bestowed upon them and finds themselves at age x having spent a large part of their working life being unfulfilled or wasting time. I hope this incubation period ends soon so that I can finally do what I'm 'supposed' to.

On a more positive note, I'm happy to report that the other aspects of my life are quite satisfying and fulfilling. I'm with a partner who supports & loves me, makes me laugh, cooks (particularly important for those of us who are resistant to it!), takes great care of my little person & I, is passionate about life, shares the same values & hopes for the future as I and who is also my best friend. Similarly, I get to spend my days with an amazing little (medium-sized?) person who is healthy, creative, intelligent, kind, a little precocious, incredibly humorous and continues to teach me about love, life and more importantly, myself. I am always grateful for what I have and the fact that I still have the desire to expect more out of myself and the initiative to do so.

Can you think of anything more permanently elating than to know that you are on the right road at last?
(Vernon Howard)