Friday, May 30, 2008


I have the window open and my office has that 'just after the rain' smell. Mmm, I love that smell! It makes me just want to cozy up under a blanket and watch a movie or sit and write letters...

Y'know, I've often wondered if there isn't a job somewhere out there where a person just writes letters all day long. Doesn't that sound lovely? I often think of the days when being a scribe was revered. Apparently, this individual (male) was educated in the arts of writing and belonged to what was known as the 'middle class elite'. They used two types of writing, hieratic and hieroglyphics. In ancient Egypt, 'the task of recording history, expressing everyday and extraordinary happenings was the responsibility of the scribe' (courtesy of Kingtutshop).

Anyway, I've often dreamed of having some kind of job where I could just write letters and find beautiful paper to write on all day. Oh, and let's not forget the writing instruments - those lovely fine point nibs (or would I mix things up and use a gel?). Hmmm, I only wish these were the questions I had to ask myself during a workday! Of course, there would also be special considerations such as adornments - stickers, rubberstamps and handlettering. Why, there might even be any combination of these if I was feeling particularly playful and creative! Heh! Talking about it even makes me excited... the feel of the paper, choosing my weapon of choice and making it all pretty. Of course, it couldn't possibly even be sent out until some little surprises were enclosed. (I often do this for my penpals or any correspondence that I send out to people, really. I like to put bits of paper and maybe, some cool postcards/ad cards with interesting graphic design on it. I might even make a handmade card or throw in a piece of ephemera - if I can part with it, that is!)

Sigh. There has to be something out there that gives me the same rush as letter writing does...

[If you know of something out there, dear friends, please do not hesitate to contact me. I beg of you.]

Cake Love

I stumbled upon this website by virtue of googling for inspirational stories about people leaving their present jobs in search of something more:

Warren Brown's story, in a nutshell, is about a man who chose to quit his law profession so that he could bake cakes.

And how did he find his passion, you ask? Warren tells about his journey on his website. Here is an excerpt:

How did I find my Passion?

How many ways can one find their passion? There are probably as many answers as there are ways to describe the flavors of your favorite food. I love orange foods. Butternut squash, carrots, yams, and oranges. I like their hearty nourishment, electric color, resilient texture, and piquant zest. Orange foods take the cake - to me. But it's probably different for you. And that's what finding a passion is all about: You.

Do you want to fast forward to the answer? Try not to. The best parts of life are in the roads traveled to get to your destination. That's where you struggle and that's where you laugh. Be in the moment and enjoy it. Taste life. Taste what interests you. Listen to yourself and the world around you. It's a slow and tedious process where being patient helps a lot. Take your time to be sure of what you want. Then work like hell to get it.

His story gained quite a bit of press from the likes of The Washington Post, CNN, Oprah, Fox 5 Morning News and even lead to his own show on the Food Network called (wait for it), Sugar Rush. He's gone on to open two businesses - CakeLove (in five U.S. cities) and the Love Cafe, CakeLove's sister store.

It's a great story and one full of inspiration, not to mention, really sweet. (Okay, I couldn't resist!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Lastnight, I went to the 'This Is Not a Reading Series' event put on by Pages bookstore featuring best selling author, Barbara Kingsolver and husband, Steven L. Hopp. The presentation was based on the book, Vegetable, Animal, Miracle: A Year of Food Life and the couple's experiences in making the book.

If you aren't familiar with this gem, here is a blurb about it from the Pages website:

'ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A YEAR OF FOOD LIFE is Barbara Kingsolver’s bestselling memoir of a year of living and eating locally – paying very close attention to the provenance of everything that she and her family consumed. As Kingsolver says, “Our highest shopping goal was to get our food from so close to home, we’d know the person who grew it. Often that turned out to be ourselves as we learned to produce what we needed.” Beyond serving as a chronicle of the first year of the Kingsolver family’s ongoing experiment, Animal, Vegtable, Miracle is a call to arms. Kingsolver eviscerates the state of our food supply – from seeds controlled and patented by multinational corporations to a virtually two-crop system (corn and soybean) that leaves North Americans one pathogen away from massive famine. It’s also a rumination on the pleasures of growing and harvesting your own food. Above all, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a joy to read.'

The presentation was really wonderful. Barbara is such a lovely storyteller and very funny. Steven was also a great presenter and provided the back story to the book but was referred to the 'doom and gloom' part of the presentation as he was delegated to providing the statistics and academic portion of the presentation.

Prior to meeting, the couple had already been involved in gardening and this project was simply an extension of the way they were currently living as a family. The project began while their two daughters were 8 and 19, and the entire family was involved in the process that unfolded in the book (the youngest child even had her own little egg business!).

The couple offered anecdotes ranging from turkey husbandry (including a verrry interesting video clip - who knew?!) to their process of storing food for the winter; their community's support in facilitating the project to the involvement of petrochemicals in the food distribution chain. They talked about their journey in retraining themselves back to food culture and how they viewed food entitlement. Barbara commented on how strange it was to walk into a grocery store and see a kiwi. She felt that certain items (particularly, ones that were out of season but still being sold in the market) were now more of a luxury than something she was entitled to. The project changed their attitudes towards the food they ate and those who were responsible for producing them. People asked them what they missed the most during that year or more specifically, "Didn't you miss...?" They responded by saying it was a matter of changing their attitude towards items that weren't local to them and not seeing it as a loss but rather, as an opportunity to experience the foods near to them. People also questioned the flavouring of items and how they were able to address this. Steven answered by asking if they had ever tasted an item straight from the garden and by going on to say that if anyone ever has, then they would know that this is when an item was its most flavorful.

With regards to petrochemicals, Steven offered a simple solution and shocking solution: If every (U.S.) citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce the country's (in this case, the U.S.) by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. (Shocking).

Of course, I'm missing many, many details of the thoughtful presentation that was given. If you're interested in learning more about their experiences, please feel free to read the book. I know I am.

Hello friends!

These past few weeks have been full of so many lovely events including the start of a new job, packing/purging (okay, not so lovely!), spending time with special visitors, moving into our new place and celebrating/partying for days! It's been really wonderful and now, we're having fun settling into our new home and anticipating our trip to Japan (five more weeks!).

J has been amazing with getting down to business when it comes to organizing our place. What a wonderful surprise to come home from work and see the mess cleared away and the semblance of a home in place. It's really starting to feel comfy. Thanks, J! xo

H has been extremely helpful, too, and loves the new surroundings! She's trying to set up a little school under her loft bed for her 'students' and has been busy setting up her space. It's really cute to see and to hear, as she's often reading to or teaching her class.

And me? I hope I'm contributing to our new home, somehow! :) It's always such an eye-opener when you start packing and purging your things (at least, for me it is since I'm a horrible packrat!). I managed to purge 10 large garbage bags of clothes (mostly mine and some of H's) plus a few outdated toys and books before we moved. Now, as we're getting things set up, I'm finding more items I can get rid of. Each time I move, I swear to myself I'll try to change my evil hoarding ways but still, no such luck! Thank goodness, J is a purger (though, his collection of books and records isn't what you'd call modest!).

So, that's what I've been up to these days. What about you? Hope you're well and happy! xo

PS A big thank you to those who came out and helped us move on Saturday! We were so grateful for the extra hands and especially, the muscles provided by A!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Nice to meet you, otouto.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I've been obsessing about raw food for the past week and lastnight, I made my first raw dinner! I made a delicious zucchini pasta with an alfredo sauce topped with black olives and sun dried tomatoes. It turned out really well and was easy to make. H was adventurous enough to give it a try but didn't take to it but J was thoroughly impressed.

Alfredo Sauce

About 3/4 cups pine nuts
squeeze a whole lime, to taste
Some cayenne powder, to taste (optional)
1 clove of garlic (or more, depending on palate)
3 - 5 tsp. of flax or olive oil
Pinch or two of sea salt
3/4 to 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan

Blend all of the ingredients together adding water until desired creaminess.

I added the sauce to some zucchini which I had shredded into long strips and topped with sun dried tomatoes and black olives. DELICIOUS!

[The original recipe can be found at]

The olives and sun dried tomatoes definitely added a nice touch to the sauce. I also sprinkled dulse flakes to add a bit of flavour and color.

[For those of you that aren't familiar with dulse, it's a type of sea vegetable/weed. It can be used instead of salt and adds a nice flavour to meals]

Following dinner, I made a nice fruit bowl of sliced bananas, nectarines, a handful of blueberries, Goji berries, some agave and some ground flax. It was absolutely delicious and I had it again for breakfast!

I was worried that I had eaten too many raw foods yesterday but I felt great lastnight! I think I'll try adding more raw dishes to my diet, particularly at lunch time (as it only affects my eating). I'd like to see if there are any benefits to it since I've had a history of gastrointestinal sensitivity. Will keep you posted!

PS I had the leftovers from yesterday's meal and it tastes as good as it did yesterday, perhaps, even better! (The flavour of the sun dried tomatoes and juice from the olives have blended in nicely to the sauce.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy coffee

I just had coffee and a delicious piece of chocolate with a dear friend. This picture reminded me of her. It also captures how I'm feeling.

[It was so great to see you, girl! I've missed you! I'm glad we're so close to each other, again! Have a wonderful afternoon! xo]

Monday, May 12, 2008

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on a log in the middle of a forest when I asked J, "How did we get here?"

Our life has been taking us on some very interesting paths ever since we met and this weekend was no exception. Deep in the middle of nowhere, in the back roads of Ontario, we found ourselves breaking bread with some amazing people. We were invited to the summer home of a really lovely couple through yet another very wonderful couple. The grounds were spectacular - a work in progress - that included the beginning of an orchard, an expansive garden and a nice private body of water to swim in (and throw balls into for their furry companion). The summer home was a beautiful and cozy log cabin with a wood-burning stove and the perfect space for entertaining. Just a few feet away stood a two-storey sister cabin with a bedroom on the top floor and a sauna & shower on the main floor. Dare I say, it was a little slice of heaven...

We ate until we were practically unconscious (though, the free-flowing wine may have also been the culprit here!) and we talked until dark. It was such a good time. The little person also enjoyed it very much, especially in the presence of the four-legged lady of the house. The two were instant friends. I felt as though we were at a retreat. However, at one point, we had to check if there was a lock on the sauna door as we suddenly felt like an animal might after being fattened and overfed.

The hosts were such a special pair - down-to-earth and welcoming. We felt very privileged and grateful to spend time with them and see their beautiful space. The outside world seemed to disappear as we witnessed them work in their garden and explain their plans for the grounds. It felt as though we were back in time where people tended to their land and left their homes open. It was a great feeling.

Here is a peek at our lovely weekend...