Saturday, June 27, 2009

I'm so glad you're home

We never broke up and the words really don't apply to us but the song title fits. I'm so glad J is home from his week in Winnipeg directing a music video. We've missed you. Welcome home, Love. ♥

I should go to sleep

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

First day

My practicum begins today. I can't believe it's already here! I've given myself ample time to deliberate over what to wear and ease into my day.

Wishing all my classmates a good first day. See you soon. xo

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Thanks for everything that you do. We'd be lost without you. Love always. ♥

[And a Happy Father's Day to all of the other Pops and Papas out there (including my own Dad!). Have a great day! xo]

A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. ~Author Unknown

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beta Vulgaris

I think beets are sadly underrated. How often do they show up at parties or are part of regular meals? When was the last time you had a nice bowl of borscht or nibbled on a beet and apple salad? (I thought so.) Is it the color? The preparation involved? The possible staining? Or, let's get real here, does beeturia turn you off? Whatever the case is, please don't discriminate against this potent produce before you've given it a chance.

Here are some interesting tidbits about this lovable root:

* Beets are loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. The greens have a higher content of iron compared to spinach. They are also an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium and iron. (Juicing for Health)

* Approximately 100 pounds of sugar beets are needed to produce five pounds of sugar. (

* It is a natural cleanser which removes toxins from the body and nourishes the bloodstream. (Organic Facts)

* Beet powder is used as a coloring agent for many foods. Some frozen pizzas use beet powder to color the tomato sauce. (

* Modern beets are derived from wild sea beets that originated around the coasts of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. (Eat This!)

* Since Roman times, beetroot juice has been considered an aphrodisiac. The juice is a rich source of boron, which plays an important role in the production of human sex hormones. (Wikipedia)
Vegan Borscht


1/4 green cabbage
2-3 potatoes
1 yellow onion
1 carrot
1/2 bell pepper
1 beet (med sized)
3-4 cloves garlic to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste, or 1 can diced tomatoes, or 1 can tomato sauce
Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste, and or sea salt to taste
Other spices to taste (E.g. Mrs. Dash's Garlic and Herb)
Olive oil to sauté veggies (adjust the amount to your needs and taste)
Fresh parsley, dill, green onions, optional
Non-dairy sour cream, or eggless mayonnaise (optional)

In a big pot bring water to boil and add your spices including crushed or diced garlic. Then add shredded cabbage. When cabbage starts to boil add peeled and cut up potatoes and let them cook. Cut onions and peppers, shred carrots and beets. In a separate pan heat up olive oil and sauté the veggies until almost done, add canned tomatoes( or sauce) simmer for a little bit, then add all this to the pot with boiling cabbage and potatoes. Let cook for about 25-20 min. Enjoy - hot or cold!

(Traditionally Borscht is eaten with sour cream. Tofutti Sour Supreme is a nice alternative.)

Preparation time: 45-60 mins.

(Recipe courtesy of VegWeb)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Sometimes I just need to be alone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


It was a gorgeous day in Toronto. A few of us went out at noon to St. Lawrence Market to sit on a bench and have lunch. I frequently go there to get away from the campus and have a little down time. Afterwards, I'll make a pit-stop at Lettieri to get my new favorite beverage - green tea with fresh ginger and lemon slices. A classmate once referred to it as a "cup of summer" (it really is).

After lunch, we reconvened in the computer lab and then went on a field trip to an ERC (Employment Resource Centre) where we were met by a CEIS (Career Employment Information Specialist) who told us about the centre and all of the wonderful services they provided. I wish I had known more about what ERCs offered when I was looking for work or contemplating a new career. I always thought the services were only available to people who were on EI or social assistance but that's not the case. Depending on where you go, the services are open to everyone and the majority of them are free.

We went to the Toronto Centre ERC, which had wonderful resources such as computer training, job exploration workshops and dozens and dozens of books and publications to use. They even offer online resume critiques with a five-day turnaround and free wi-fi.

The ERC has hosted job fairs and recruitment days which surprised me at first but of course makes total sense. They also strive to serve clients within 15 minutes, which is pretty amazing if you consider how busy they must be these days.

There are Newcomer Services that include free English Conversation Circles every Tuesday and Thursday. They also have a section of matériau en francais seulment (I apologize to the Francophiles out there for my weak translation). There are several computers and telephones for public use, as well as fax machines and photocopiers. There are job boards organized by industry and field, online job search resources and information about factors that may be impacting one's employment such as child support or having a criminal record.

The centre is located at 21 St. Clair Avenue, Suite 600. If you're looking for an assessment centre, The Career Foundation is located in Suite 1200 in the same building. It's very easy to get to by TTC as it's right by St. Clair Station on the Yonge line. It is also conveniently situated close to a Citizen & Immigration office at Suite 200, 25 St. Clair Avenue, as well as an Employment Insurance office on the 2nd floor of 55 St. Clair Avenue.

So, if you're thinking of a new career or just need access to information that you can't find on the web, why not stop by an Employment Resource Centre? You might even see me there one day.


When I was a child, I remember my Mom wearing a fur coat. It was all the rage in the 80's - big ol' 3/4 length furs. There were even sections in major department stores that specialized in luxurious furs, as well as stores that only sold fashionable pelts and fancy accessories to match. To this day, there are still fur storage places operating (though, I wonder how much longer that'll be). My Mom eventually got a hat to match. It resembled a sleeping animal curled around her temple.

I had forgotten what her coat was made of until a few months ago when I was reminded. Raccoon. Pure, unadulterated raccoon hide. I'm beginning to wonder if this is where my maniacal fear of the critters stems from. Although there was once a time when I recall petting my Mom's coat. The thought now makes me sick.


Tonight, I can hear the vicious and monstrous cries of raccoons fighting just outside the window. Have you ever heard them? It's frightening - somewhere between the sound of a cat screeching and a human shrieking. (Brrr) Anyway, J heard from the neighbor that she saw some baby raccoons around the tree in our backyard. She also told him that there was a baby skunk living behind the shed! ACK! Help! What is this? The maternity ward for critters?! What next - a squirrel nursery?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pif, Paf, Poof

I saw the most heartbreaking and beautiful film tonight. Watching the trailer just now nearly put me to tears.

Everlasting Moments is set in the early 1900's and is about ''a woman who experiences an artistic awakening after being introduced to photography" (source: Rotten Tomatoes). The film revolves around a complex protagonist, Maria Larsson, and her many roles as a mother, an abused wife and a woman living in times governed by strict gender-based norms. The story is both harrowing and liberating as she goes on a journey of self-discovery seen through the lens of her camera. It moved me in such a profound way that it was difficult to rewatch the trailer as I relived moments from the film.

[I realize that my description is extremely vague but I don't want to give away any spoilers about the movie or take anything away from your viewing experience.]

The movie is by 77 year-old director Jan Troell and is based on real events in the life of Troell's wife's grandmother. It's an amazing story about friendship, love, heartache, tradition, family and violence which Troell captures beautifully. If you get the chance to see it, please do. It's somewhat of a masterpiece.

Here's a sneak peek.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hello my feathered friend

I took these pictures in Kingston at my in-laws'. They have a hummingbird feeder just outside their kitchen window. I love seeing the little birds visit and find them fascinating. Aren't they cute?

Gypsy, give me your tears

Last night, after a delicious meal of tasty treats and live jazz at Commensal with my cousin visiting from Vancouver, we headed to Dundas Square where Goran Bregovic, along with his 20-piece Wedding and Funeral Orchestra, were performing as part of Luminato, the Toronto Festival of Arts + Creativity. (For those of you that aren't familiar with the name, you may already be acquainted with Bregovic through his score for Borat.) The concert was full of energy, jam-packed with people and the music was amazing.

"Serbian Gypsy brass bands are party generators and Mr. Bregovic's compositions let them do their job." (The New York Times)

Special guest appearance by Batman. (Superheroes like to party, too, y'know.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Certified (and certifiable)

We finished the segment on Personality Dimensions today and now I'm officially certified as a Level I facilitator. This rounds out my qualifications in Level B testing which I'm quite excited about. Tomorrow we'll be learning about Job Development.

Things are moving along quickly. I can't believe I'm already halfway through the program!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sweet dreams

Another long day. I'm in the process of getting certified for Personality Dimensions. My introverted side is taking a beating with all of the extroverted activity that's been taking place. G'night all. Sweet dreams. xo

Monday, June 8, 2009


During a little drive in the country a few weeks ago, we came upon an abandoned motel somewhere between Kingston and Gananoque. J stopped the car so I could take a few photographs while H explored the grounds. She noticed that one of the doors to the motel was slightly ajar and suggested that we go inside to explore. I teared up a bit at her sense of adventure before I dragged J out of the car to act as our guide (y'know, just in case there were squatters or critters taking refuge inside). My biggest fear was being attacked by a rabid critter but of course the thought of some knife-wielding vagabond wasn't far behind.

I've often looked longingly at abandoned houses and buildings as I drove past them but never actually set foot in them so this was very exciting. It was even more thrilling to be able to share this experience with the little person who I imagined would look back on this event as something quite special (or traumatic).

We inspected the motel and found beer bottles, employee slips from the 80's, a dusty record player, a contraption which I guessed was the switchboard, old furniture, an aluminum video camera case (empty...we checked) and rolls of unwound tape (among other things). What I found most interesting were the different textures throughout - a result of the neglect and decline of the building. A door kept slamming in the wind which added to the creepiness of our tour. It was particularly unnerving when we were exploring the second floor as we felt it shut behind us. I kept freaking out every few feet (as did H) but we were loving every minute of it.

If you've ever wondered what was lurking within that old abandoned farmhouse off the highway or what was hiding behind the walls of that boarded-up building down the street, I urge you to consider exploring. There's always room for one more.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And now the screaming starts

There are a few really talented and amazing people amongst the students in my program. My friend K is one of them! Thanks so much for sharing these. They're awesome! ♥


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Garage sale goodness

It's garage sale season here in my neck of the woods - one of my favorite times of the year. You can't walk very far on a Saturday morning without seeing a sale sprawled over someone's front lawn or a bright, neon-colored sign leading the way. The sales I like the most are the ones that have lovely vintage items, interesting used books or neat old cameras. Garage sales need not be conventional, either. A few weekends ago, J & I came upon someone on the sidewalk of a busy street who was selling a small collection of vintage treasures. She seemed a bit out of place in the middle of the block of stores and restaurants but I was happy to see her. I ended up walking away with a beautiful little cupcake tray with a decorated glass cover (I think it's actually a cheese tray but it would be perfect for showcasing mini-cupcakes!) and an old turquoise pyrex bowl with a pattern similar to that of a set I recently found in Kingston (at another garage sale).

Last weekend we went to a few notable yard sales close to home, one of which I found a really sweet retro picnic basket with green and tin utensils and sandwich boxes at. There was even a little thermos that came with it (unfortunately, the lid was missing).

Today we found the Mother of all garage sales as we were walking to our favorite neighborhood cafe. This sale had many items you would see at some of the trendy (and at times, expensive) antique shops on Queen or Roncesvalles. I spent a total of $13 and came home with a really lovely antique chair, a dainty gold and cobalt blue vintage compact, an interesting old jar and a collection of rose-tinted, retro dessert dishes including a little tray and pitcher. My hope is to one day have a sideboard filled with all kinds of kitschy and eclectic old dishes, bowls, serving trays, glasses and doohickeys. I think it would be nice to host a party with all of these delightful things or to eat dinner every day on such charming little pieces.

Hope you had a wonderful day today. Talk soon. xo

Drag Me to Hell

H went to help out at a birthday party today so J & I thought we would make the most of our time and watch the new Sam Raimi movie, Drag Me To Hell. It was fun to watch with moments that were a bit over the top and others that made the audience jump. I wouldn't say it was a blockbuster hit or of the same caliber of Evil Dead but it did its job for me which was to entertain and get me to escape for 98 minutes.

The movie in a nutshell: Movie opens with a supernatural scene set in Pasadena where a child exemplifies the title of the film. Next scene cuts to a young woman, Christine Brown (Christine Lohman), a loan officer, who denies an extension to an old woman, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver). Old woman seems to put a curse on Brown which materializes after Ganush's death. Brown tries to get rid of the curse with the help of a local clairvoyant. More supernatural mayhem ensues.