Sunday, February 08, 2009

tuco and klompengirl tied the knot -- and i'm finally doing a post about it!

Well, well, well. It's been six months since my last post! I'm surprised I haven't been kicked out of blogdom by now.

Why, you may ask, have I been so silent? Well....let me tell you!

First, after purchasing and moving into the lovely little house pictured in the last post, my next order of business was getting married. That's right! Chris and I got hitched on September 27, 2008.

Our slightly unconventional ceremony took place on the grounds of the Stephen Leacock Museum, which is on Lake Couchiching in Orillia. The day started out drizzly, but started clearing around noon so we were able to stay outside! We had no bridal party, but my cousin Mary and Chris' brother Matt were our "witnesses". The aisle I walked down was made of trees, and I was facing the guests as I arrived. And Chris and I chose to say a little thank you to our guests at the beginning of the ceremony, to tell them what it meant to us that they were there with us. These were little changes to the "tradition" that made the day mean so much more to me.

After the ceremony, we had dinner with 50 of our nearest and dearest at the local Ossawippi Dining Cars - a restaurant comprised of several train cars. We were very pleased to have an "all vegan" meal - carrot/ginger soup, thai asian salad, a trio of stuffed pepper, cabbage roll & vegetarian wellington served on a bed of tomato basil sauce for the main course, and a german chocolate cake for dessert.

....Then, we boogied all night in the Party Room back at the Leacock. Here, Chris and I sang a song to our guests, after having serenaded each other with surprise songs. We also had live music from my 10-year old niece Michaela, our friend Anil, and my cousin Mary. We snacked on homemade hummus and salsa, with pitas and nacho chips, and homemade vegan cookies too! (not to mention leftover apples and trail mix from the ceremony)..... since I was forcing everyone to eat vegan for the day, I wanted to make sure no one went home hungry!!!

It was an absolutely amazing day. Unforgettable! Several people had told me beforehand that it would go by in a flash, and they were so right. But as much as it flew by, I remember it so clearly and every time I think about it I feel so loved!

After the wedding, Chris had to go back to work rather quickly (time of the year = not so good for holiday) so we just had a long weekend to recuperate. Then, I started my new job as Executive Director at Hospice Orillia on Oct 6, 2008! It has been quite the whirlwind since then, because things never seem to slow down at the Hospice. I can do another post soon to explain a bit more about my job.

For now, I leave you with the e.e. cummings poem that was read during our ceremony:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Friday, August 08, 2008

movin' on the east side...

well, in this case, we've technically moved DOWN the hill, but we've moved UP in style :)

I announced on Facebook back in June that Chris and I had purchased our first home. Well, we moved in on July 31st at about 3pm, so as of today, we've been officially been living here for a whole week! We're settling in nicely, despite the gong show that happened on moving day.

Short version: Was supposed to get the keys at noon, helpers arrived from out of town at eleven. Got call from lawyer at 11:30 saying there'd been a mix-up and we needed to send more money to cover the taxes already paid by previous owner. Sent money transfer at 12:20. Proceeded to sit around and W....A....I....T with helpers (some more patiently than others) who had already packed the first load into the trucks. Got call from lawyer at 2:20 saying keys could be picked up, house was ours. Arrived at new house with keys at 2:30, opened front door, discovered that previous owner was not done moving out yet. Started moving her stuff out to garage, and our stuff into house. Previous owner arrived, embarrassed, gradually got her act together and departed the premises!! It was a crazy day, but we lived to tell the tale! And, the aforementioned lovably scattered previous owner left us a LOT of stuff -- ladders, wheelbarrow, shelving, treadmill (!!) etc, etc, etc. I think she got tired of packing !!! Luckily, it's mostly stuff that will come in handy.

Anyway, we haven't taken any photos yet with OUR stuff in the house, but these are a few photos from the listing, and some we took on the day of the house inspection. I'll try to take some updated photos and post them soon :)

Our rhubarb patch.

The living room.

The guest room!

The kitchen.

The backyard!

Monday, July 14, 2008

the sound of summer

Back in May, my dear friend and cousin, Mary Simon, came to visit me in Orillia. She brought a fancy new toy with her....a funky video camera! So we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and record some songs that we love to sing together. Here are two of them:

"We Walk the Same Line" by Everything but the Girl which we originally performed together when Mary visited me in Saga, Japan... (if you watch closely you can see our kool kat Owen run down the stairs behind us right at the end of the video!)

and "Cecilia" by Simon and Garfunkel which we used to sing together as teenagers walking through the streets of Burlington, Ontario!!

We also recorded "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison and "Linger" by the Cranberries. Then Chris and I recorded "Lua" by Bright Eyes, and Mary and Chris did "Special" by Justin Rutledge. They are all available here. Lots of strumming and singing and sunshine!!


Thursday, July 03, 2008

the taste of summer

i offer you....


Are your tastebuds tingling?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Beets, Parsnips and Pineapple: A match made in veggie heaven

I had some pineapple juice leftover from a week ago when I made the Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir fry from Veganomicon. I didn't post that recipe because a) I had no time and b) the recipe didn't turn out so great.... I think because I did a few substitutions that I really shouldn't have. Lessons learned! But, a fellow blogger did post about that recipe here.

Anyway, I'd been wanting to use up the pineapple juice and I found a recipe earlier in the book for "Shredded Parsnip and Beet Salad in Pineapple Vinaigrette". Sounds like a strange combo, and the authors even acknowledge this when they say "At first blush, the ingredients look a little insane, but once they come together it is out of control delicious; earthy, sweet and fragrant." They also describe the salad as "magical" could I resist that description? I gave it a try, and I loved it!

NOTE: The authors explicitly say that you need to use a food processor to get the beets and parsnips to their desired uniform thinness. I ignored them and made this recipe with a normal hand shredder and it was fine (sort of like a wet coleslaw but better), however, I'd be curious to try once I get a good processor.

2 cups pineapple juice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 grapeseed oil (I actually have this, but I'm sure you could sub. in olive oil)
2 TBSP maple syrup (or agave or sugar if necessary)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk all of the above and set aside.

1 pound beets (I used 3 medium sized)
1 pound parsnips (I use 2 medium sized)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint

Mix the beets and parsnips with the dressing and use tongs or your fingers (!) to squish the veggies down into the juice. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Add the mint and stir again. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before eating.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

beware of turtles

Chris took me on a nice long bike ride the other day...a much needed break from my mind-numbing research paper. The ride was a challenge for me, even though Chris does double that ride with his eyes closed several times a week! As we turned back towards Orillia, I saw this fantastic road sign and wanted to share:

Turtle crossing! As we rode along the path, we did see one baby turtle but no big ones.

My other big project this month, to get out of my head for awhile, has been this little garden I dug beside my patio. Just a modest one since we will be living in our very own first house by August, and it has a huge yard, so next year I won't be so modest!

I've planted 6 lettuce plants and 2 tomato plants :)

Hope everyone else is getting into the swing of summer too!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Good Food Box

As promised in my last post, I wanted to share some information about The Good Food Box program. A lot of communities have them - throughout Ontario, Canada and the world - although they don't always go by the same name.

From what I understand, the first program in Ontario started in Toronto in the 1990's and then other communities began to adapt the idea to fit their own demographics. Usually, it is run by volunteers, and they make it possible for anyone in the community to engage in monthly bulk purchasing of fresh fruits and vegetables. The goal is to make fresh, high quality fruits and vegetables available to everyone. What could be better than that?

I've been doing a student placement at the Barrie Community Health Centre, which hosts the Barrie Good Food Box, and they asked me to do an evaluation (survey) of how the program impacts those who buy it. Does it make a difference for them? In what ways? In doing this project, I've learned a lot about what a valuable program it is and how much people depend on it. I've also learned that the more people who participate, the better it is (and the more accessible it becomes). So, I wanted to spread the word to everyone.

Most programs operate on a pre-pay system, where you pay in cash during the first week of the month, and you pick up your box during the 3rd week. A small box costs around $9 and a large costs about $13 (depends where you are). Everyone gets the same veggies - you don't get to select the produce you'll receive because it's basically a bulk order. The program utilizes a local wholesaler who delivers the food to one location, and then a group of volunteers divide the produce into individual boxes for each purchaser to pick up. So, I picked up my first Orillia Good Food Box today, and for $13 this is what I got:

A photo of what it looked like when I picked it up this morning

A photo of everything that came out of the bag!!

In case you can't tell, it included potatoes, cabbage, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, carrots, onions, honeydew melon, apples, oranges, cucumber, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes!

In my evaluation of the Barrie program, I've heard a lot of people say that it's like getting a treasure chest every month. You never know what you're going to get, but you always know it's going to be GOOD.