Tuesday, February 28, 2006

mabel, mabel

i have learned something recently. i like eating (that almost goes without saying these days) but part of what i love about it is when you have the opportunity to share that time with someone and talk about big ideas or just about your day. the part that has become apparent is that not everyone does this or enjoys this. which made me think about why i like it so much and i think it has a lot to do with eating with my family at home.

we aren't overly formal, but we don't allow elbows on the table.
we don't always have fancy meals, but they are always healthy and tastey.
we don't always need to be there, but there is always enough if we all are.
we don't say grace or have to wait til everyone is finished to leave the table, but we talk a lot and keep up to date on everyone's lives.

now that i am away from all of this, i find myself craving it. and when it does happen i really feel at home.

now if i could just get more people to wash and dry dishes the 'right', oops i mean 'my', way.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

given'er at the games

the canadian female athletes are doing amazing things in torino and i am really happy that now so many young girls can have such positive role models. it beats the pop stars and hollywood set as examples of female lives well-lived. and i honestly believe that olympic athletes doing it for the love of their sport are much more honourable than the professional athletes doing it for the love of the sport AND the money they receive to do it. pretty easy to take a month off your day job if your day job goes on hiatus until you return.

as my mom says, "Canadian women are amazing everyone at the Games, so much for those men...maybe they should start playing like girls!!!" since when do we encourage boys to play more like girls?! i think it is about time.

5th in the medal standing with 24 medals overall is damn good for the little nation that could. pretty impressive when we are only one medal behind the us, with all their fancy training facilities, big dollar incentives, and huge population. right on canada!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

the nature of things

i received an anonymous package today in the mail from the cbc and guess what was in it? no, not peter mansbridge or jian ghomeshi. it was this shirt!i found out it was my sister who had it sent to me and i can't wait to wear it. it was such a nice surprise to have a totally unexpected package waiting for me this morning. and the surprise involved david suzuki, clothes, and my sister - three of my favourite things (not in that order of course).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

inspiration and rejuvenation

i managed to make espresso with my new italian coffee maker and now i just need those tiny little espresso cups to drink it out of! i always thought they were the cutest but until this time have not had any use for them. one small trip to italy and my whole world has changed...

so what is it that you are supposed to do when you go to italy? besides spin on your heel on the balls of the bull inlaid in the floor of an arcade in milan, you might ask. (because yes i did that, apparently it is for good luck and there must be a lot of lucky people walking around because that poor bull's testicles were nearly non-existent from many years of heel spinning).

if buying italian leather boots and a hand bag is what comes to mind then i have succeeded at having a truly italian experience. these boots are simply divine. cowboyish but rather pointy and probably far too fashionable for a simple canadian girl such as myself. but they sure are fun.

the kindness and hospitality of the people i met in my short time in italy and at the olympics was fantastic. my friend with whom i travelled speaks italian and lived in the country for a few years and i felt privileged to get to know her friends and to stay with people in every city we visited. going out for dinner is a wonderful experience in italy and i was glad to be doing it with people who could translate the menus and make great conversation. we laughed a lot, especially when we met a group of italians at a pizza restaurant and one of them taught me how to do 'skeleton' on the table top while sharing a bottle of wine and playing practical jokes on an unsuspecting japanese couple.

and now i know that i love anchovies! delicious fishy goodness.

the olympics were understated and not overwhelming and although some people might complain about the lack of atmosphere, i quite enjoyed it. i felt that the olympics had not entirely taken over the city. and if it weren't for all the roots paraphernalia, team canada jerseys, and maple leaves you might just think there was an international conference in town. but by far i saw more canadians than any other nationality and even met a bunch of cowboys from calgary as well the men's curling team and catriona le may doan.

it was nice to come back to lancaster rested and rejuvenated and ready to take on the rest of the semestre. amazing what time away can show you. i am feeling quite inspired to continue with research and have let go of some of my frustrations. i also was reminded to make the most of my short time here because i will truly never have this opportunity again. getting up in the morning, going for a run, tidying my room, meeting a friend for coffee, spending the afternoon in the library, and coming home to sit and chat in the kitchen with friends really is unique to this particular situation.

tonight i have found loads of muffin, cookie, and bread recipes to make in the coming weeks and i am beginning to realise more and more why my mom bakes. such a relaxing and rewarding experience. perhaps because the best part is sharing the finished products with other people!

i had an invitation by my friend who is older than any of my parents to have picnics this summer and i got all excited thinking about what i could bring and if i could find a basket (and it is not until the summer!) and she said she was happy to find another 'foodie.' now if you knew my history in the kitchen previous to arriving in lancaster this would be a huge shock. but i think i really can hold my own and am excited to keep trying.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

proud women

consecutive gold medalists! yay canadian women!

and we are 5th (or 6th, depending on where you look) in the medal standings overall. since when was germany a medal powerhouse? with the amount of canadian supporters i saw in the streets of torino, i am happy to know they will all be celebrating.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

when in rome...or torino or genoa or milano

i love italy.

what is there not to love about a country with such wonderful pasta and wine and such gorgeous handbags and shoes? and a country that drinks that much coffee is a good place to be in my opinion. and even the capuccinos you get on the train or at the stations are a delight. i was thoroughly impressed with the caffeine intake of the italian people. and when in rome... i managed to drink at least 3 every day while i was there.

and the olympics were pretty great too! i am attaching some photos for your viewing pleasure and will write more tomorrow when i am a little more rested and have attempted to make my very own italian coffee with my new italian coffee maker and my italian coffee.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

my luge is in the shop

i am leaving this morning for italy to watch canada play germany in the first round of olympic hockey and to taste the olympic spirit. i am rather excited. i hope that i get my passport stamped! that reminds me, i better put that in my bag now or i might forget it. and what in tarnation does someone pack for the olympics?? my luge is still in the shop, i hung up my skates years ago, and i passed on the funny looking team canada toques that the athletes are wearing... but i am sure i will figure it out and as usual, bring too much stuff with me. i am beginning to think overpacking might become my legacy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

a bright green scarf

how does one go into town to shop for tin foil, paper towel, a birthday gift, and face wash and come home with all that AND two pairs of shoes?! well if i knew how it happened yesterday i would tell you. but neither of them were very expensive and both quite cute, if i do say so myself.

i also came across the most fabulous little soup bar yesterday during my alone time. i had carrot and lentil soup and fresh bread and don't think i have eaten something quite that healthy or fresh that i haven't made in a long time. and the company of the woman running the shop was just as nice. i love a woman who wears a bright green scarf.

inspiration struck last night and i crafted little valentines packages and filled them with homemade cookies to give to people in my classes today. i felt rather good doing something for other people and it reminded me that when you are having a bad day that often the best way out of it is to do something nice for someone else. it really does work.

i had a class today where it was so incredibly theoretical that my brain is still trying to unravel itself from the confusion it managed to get into. but i did walk away with this quote, which i quite enjoy although i do not know for certain who said it: you are obliged to inhabit that which you critique.

and on a lighter note, someone outside my window is singing some sort of opera aria and it is not exactly what i want to hear when the sun has just peaked through the clouds on a tuesday valentines afternoon. maybe i should request something a little more upbeat?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

salty popcorn please

i figured out how to get podcasts and radio stations on my itunes. this technology thing is great! so i listened to a little country music because i have been feeling empty without it (haha, more like i just hadn't heard it in awhile and it reminds me of alberta) and then i heard a song all about how you are blessed by god if you live in the us and don't have to raise kids in baghdad, iraq. ummmm... yeah and they wonder why many iraqis don't want them there.

at the movie theatre last night i ate sweet popcorn! i don't love popcorn but if i am going to eat it i want it to be salty and buttery and make me so thirsty i think i actually need to buy a coke just to quench it, not sweet and sort of crunchy.

canada beat italy in women's hockey 16-0. i wonder if some of those weren't even supposed to be goals. cause after 10 i'd start to feel bad and maybe miss a shot or two. a shut out and 16 goals against, oh my.

Friday, February 10, 2006

grinding my beans and counting my freckles

i think working at a library might actually be sort of nice. apart from the reshelving, the job seems like something that i wouldn't mind doing. the librarians at my university apparently do not feel the same way because they all (except for that one pleasant one who helped me find a book once) are rather miserable and really not nice to interact with. makes my frustration with school in general that much more irritating.

i have spent my friday evening at a coffee shop studying, reading the newspaper, and baking banana bread. very nice way to spend a friday night in february if you ask me. the weather here is great though, i went for a wonderful run this morning and could have actually used a pair of sunglasses!

so far the first day of my lent has gone well. not an ounce of chocolate has passed my lips. only 39 more days to go.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

very first lent

the canadian dollar is BELOW 2 dollars for a pound, that is absurd and really quite fantastic. seems as though it is 87 cents for an american dollar too. giddy up canadian dollar! maybe this conservative government will do something for me after all. so when do they start changing the cost of books when they print both the american and canadian prices on the covers? cause that must get all out of whack if the dollar continues to rise like it has been.

i am going to see brokeback mountain again this weekend to celebrate this great fiscal news. well maybe not to celebrate, but to see it again and show off my home and native land to some people who have never seen the foothills or rockies. i will remember to stuff my pockets with kleenex (maybe even the canadian flag ones my mom got for me at christmas).

i have made a rather substantial commitment today and i am really solidifying it by writing in online for all to see, but i am quite serious about it so here goes...

i am going to give up chocolate for lent. now i don't know when exactly lent starts or why exactly you should give something up for it if you are catholic (christian too?) but i do know that it lasts 40 days and that i am going to start lent tomorrow and i will not eat chocolate for a whole 40 (long) days. now this is going to be rather difficult because i have seen mini eggs in the shops here and i am dying to find out if they taste the same as at home and if they are the same colours, but i will just have to wait til the end of my own personal lent to find out. i really think it is best as i have developed quite the little chocolate habit and i need to kick it before it gets out of hand.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

big and not so stinky city

i love big cities. london is one of them. and i had a really nice weekend there. i think i heard more spanish being spoken than i have since i was in central america in the spring. my dad mentioned that there were a lot of non-native-born british people there and i really noticed it since i had been there last as well. i love it though, so dynamic and pluralistic. but there are some people who have quite a problem with this, and i saw and heard them too...

we went on the london eye, which i now call the eyeball because well, i love that word. i had a teensy weensy panic attack but had a little sit down and then i could enjoy the views of the city. i must say, not an entirely pretty city, but i still kept wondering what it would be like to live there. i am really curious to find out one day.

my birthday lasted an entire week and i think it has finally ended with a nice dinner with some of my flatmates last night. it was a gorgeous meal and really nice company. and it included a small surprise, which i love - an unexpected card and gift!

and it made me feel a lot less frustrated because yesterday and the day previous were quite trying in terms of my lectures. partly because i know i need to prepare more, partly because i didn't feel like i had learnt too much after leaving either of them and that i couldn't have done much to improve the quality of the lecture or the absence of any meaningful discussion. but i am hoping that that will improve in the coming week. or at least i am keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday, February 03, 2006

inappropriate behaviour

when i first arrived and had all of my money in a money order drawn on canadian funds, the bank told me that it would take 6 weeks and cost money to get it into my account. rather stressful. so today when i went to deposit a money order from canada post, in british pounds, they told me it would take 6 weeks and cost money to get it into my account. i have had it with these silly rules and people who cannot seem to comprehend how frustrating this is. i was told perviously that it was because it was in canadian dollars that it would take so long. but now it is just that it is from canada that it will take so long.

my temper got the best of me and i ended up telling the teller that it was f*cking ridiculous and then i had to apologise before she would continue with my transaction. i realise that i shouldn't have sworn, but it was sort of funny that i had to apologise before she would continue. sort of like a stand off. well, i did cause that is obviously not appropriate.

apart from swearing at the bank teller, i have had quite a nice week. i spent my birthday attending a dissertation workshop, talking to my fam on the phone, and going out for sushi with a nice english boy. i love being out and about on my birthday, like you have secret that no one else knows. and yesterday i visited my auntie, cousin, nana, and second cousin whom i had never met before in liverpool. holy scouse accent on that guy!

last night we had a birthday pyjama party in our kitchen where we had cake and presents because it is my flatmate's birthday today and it was really nice just to sit and talk and not have to rush off to get anything done or attend a lecture. which should be the perfect preparation for our weekend in london. i am going to see the Lion King! i am SO excited about going to the theatre in london and just wander the streets of a big city.

here is something that has made me laugh a few times in the past couple days...there are expiration dates on EVERYTHING here. apparently my onions should not be eaten after november 25th! but they are onions and look fine to me. it is the proper storage of things that is important really, but all the food companies are so paranoid that you'll sue them and they'll make more money if you need to throw out your onions cause the label says they are too old to consume. yeah right. rage against the expiration date!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

all sheep, all the time

this is what it looks like around here (on a clear and sunny day!)