Sunday, November 28, 2010

House Red

I am in the liquor store, buying two bottles of my current House Red, Montalto Nero D'Avola Cab Sauv, which was on sale for a ridiculously low $10.99. For Canada, that is cheap. It is worth more.

The cashier says, "Can I see two pieces of ID?" I think she has said "Are you going to a Christmas Party?" I say, "No, they're on sale!"

She gives me a very, very blank stare and repeats herself. I sheepishly pass over my driver's license. My boyfriend, waiting outside with our dog, taps on the glass and laughs. "She's 30!" he mouths.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My BFF Angie: "Can we go for a hike?"
Me: "Sure!"

Angie: "Can it be a long one?"

Me: "Sure."

(Above: From the hilariously named Mt. Unnecessary)

Angie: "Is seven hours too long?"

Almost. But the views made up for it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grapes and Sun

Just got back from our 2nd annual trip to BC's Okanagan. Perfect small town BC getaway: fabulous scenery, local wine, lots of Dairy Queen.
(how had I never had a Peanut Buster Bar? I digress.)

Above, Road 13. They have a castle!

One Malbec for the wine rack.

Also had some Cabernet Franc, my new favourite wine.

The lake from Soaring Eagle.

Didn't check my email for 3 whole days. Didn't get burned. Perfection!

Monday, June 7, 2010


I would love to read away the day in one of these chairs.
While an authentic Barcelona chair is not in my budget, should I go for the expensive copy in leather or the cheap one in pleather?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I'm now house poor. Yeah! Here's our new apartment living room. Balcony to the left, den to the right, boxes of wood floor front and centre. (If you look really close, you can see Mozart eyeing up the neighbourhood from the balcony.)

These rain clouds have a silver lining

Why am I making stew in June? Because Vancouver is cold and rainy, my friends. Following the suggestions, I added garlic, lemon juice, and extra herbs. Delicious!

I am now excited about lunch for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rosewall Creek

Last weekend, I got to take one of my friends on my favourite hike on Vancouver Island. You park in Rosewall Creek Provincial Park and walk under both the "Old Highway" and the "New Highway." Then, you follow the creek for 45 minutes to a spectacular waterfall.
And of course, you have to stop at Qualicum Foods for sandwiches for the trip. (I worked there in the late 90s right after high school. I can still remember produce codes. Bananas, 4011. Green peppers, 4065. I could go on.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Four-thirty is my grumpy, hungry hour. God bless the Internet. Old tortillas + some salt + 350 for 12 minutes = chips and salsa! Crisis averted.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend (Food) Warrior

I love weekends. It's amazing how much you can get done (read: eat) when you don't have to go to work!

Friday evening: First BBQ of the season.
Saturday: My first ever roast chicken. It was easy, especially with extra tips. I made stock with the bones, which gave my boyfriend a reason to stay up until 2:00 am playing online poker. Someone had to turn the stove off. Way to take one for the team, babe.

Sunday: Dinner party stand-bys, including Jamie Oliver's "Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham" (prosciutto), roasted veggies, and apple crisp.

Shockingly, I was still too full to eat breakfast this morning.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vegas, baby!

Vegas: where everything is fake, fabulous and fun. While my favourite pics seem to be from New York, New York, we stayed at the Wynn, which can be summed up in the phrase: "Twelve dollar pool-side Pina Coladas that are worth every penny."

Look at this sandwich! That's pastrami, corned beef, coldslaw and turkey. With a side of potato salad. And a pickle.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More dining chez the curb

Last minute dinner before last puppy class.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


L.A. has Korean taco trucks, Vancouver has Japanese hotdogs.
Word is spreading, and rightly so. We had two of the "terimayo" before going to see Avatar: all-beef hotdog, teriyaki sauce, mayo and seaweed. (Mine is the one on the left; I couldn't even wait for the picture.)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Urban Family Easter

I rarely go home for Easter. This year, like most, I have a lot of work to do, I'm tired, holiday ferry traffic is awful, and I was home two weekends ago for my god-daughter's first birthday (adorable!).

My boyfriend took Mozart to his hometown this morning, and I am on my own. With the boys out of town, I am having some girly fun (in between conference books, marking and lesson planning. Sigh.)
Today, I went to a local historic farm house, London Farm, for tea with my sister and Julie, one of my friends from university.
(Yes, those are my sister's crutches. She broke her ankle running to a free Our Lady Peace concert during the Olympics. Free concerts: there's always a catch.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Say what?

Mind-blowing facts are seeking me out.

  1. Taking short showers to save water? Try one less mouthful. One pound of meat takes as much water as a year of showers. Vegetarian chili it is!
  2. When my lovely friend Angie gets into her new Mazda 3, the speakers play the music on her iPhone, even from her purse in the backseat.
  3. Apparently, I cannot combine my passion for collecting air miles and my passion for the Maple Pecan Danish. Tim Hortons does not take Visa.
  4. The Vancouver housing market is the most expensive (considering prices and income) of 272 cities including London, New York, Sydney, and every other city in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Ireland. Ouch.
Photo: flickr

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Mozart and I were outside obedience class last week when one of the pupils pulled up in this adorable wicker pet bike carrier. (Hers even had roll bars for added safety.) It looks more comfortable than the bus for everyone involved.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You know what they say...

Are Mozart and I starting to look alike?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Looking for a date?

Wine Gum belly is particularly unpleasant to wake up to. It's like having a sugar hang-over. To minimize my Wine Gum consumption, I sought out a sweet but healthy snack and rediscovered date squares. I combined two recipes (here and here) plus the reader comments to come up with this hybrid recipe.

Combine 2 cups of chopped dates (I used a 375 g package) and 1 cup of water in a small pot. Boil, then simmer and stir for five minutes.

Combine 1 1/2 cups of oats, 1 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1/4 tsp of salt in a bowl. Add 1/3 a cup of melted butter and 1 beaten egg. Mix.

Pat 3/4 of oat mixture into the bottom of a 9x9-inch baking pan. Top with dates. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the topping browns. Share to prevent over-consumption and to spread the love.

This Tornado Loves You

My boyfriend has the gift for Finding the Words. The first time we saw Neko Case, he said, "Her voice is a weapon." In addition to that voice, she is beautiful, funny, and she also has The Gift for Words.

We all have our tornado days.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

O, Hockeyland!

We really do love hockey that much. I watched the Canada-US game downtown with friends on Sunday, and then we wandered down Granville St. There was much cheering and high-fiving. I even high-fived a policeman.

Ah, the Olympics. The good: gold medalist freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau, inspired by his brother Frederic, who has cerebral palsy. Bronze medalist Joannie Rochette, whose mother died the Sunday before her figure skating performance. Dancing in the street. Taking transit to all venues. Two golds in hockey. Curling becomes sexy. The beautiful opening ceremony.

The bad: the tragic death of an athlete. The brilliant official who put the Olympic flame behind chicken wire. Trucking snow up to Cypress Mountain.

The ugly: the closing ceremony. Giant dancing Mounties. Shudder.

You're Dead to Me

The puppy class teacher thought we should put clothes on the dogs to get them used to being handled by vets and groomers. Mozart did not agree. Those socks were off a second later.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Hearing more French: definitely one of the many benefits of having the Olympics in Vancouver. Last night, I ordered a beer in French at Quebec House.

Last week, I went to Men's Snowboard Cross on Cypress Mountain, and the commentary was done by three chill boarders, one of whom was from Quebec. Sometimes it was in English; sometimes it was in French. When the guy from Quebec said something especially funny, one of the others might translate it for the rest of us, but we could understand a lot of what he was saying. ("Le canadien," "rouge," and "premier" being the kinds of basic vocab. necessary.)

O, Canada. Why can't it always be like this?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sisters, sisters

When I was a young, mean teenager, I had a grey hooded sweatshirt that I wouldn't let my sister borrow. Her solution was to, sensibly, buy her own. She was so happy with it, but I was so mad that she would copy my style... obviously grey hooded sweatshirts being the height of originality.

Now, American Apparel's ads occasionally make me shake my head, but this circle scarf is beautiful, practical, and cuts down on weight in your holiday luggage. It can be a scarf, a skirt of any length, a dress with one shoulder or two, etc. In fact, I bought it for my sister for Christmas. The only problem is that now I want my own.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

O, Canada!

I went to the dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics last night. While they swore us to secrecy, I can tell you that it was very exciting without being a circus, beautiful without being tacky, and touching without being too sticky sweet or (most of the time) too overly patriotic.

In the meantime, here is an almost profanity-free video to show you the fun side of Canada. For reals.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Drive fast, eat slow

Put a moped in a coffee shop and I will come. Not only does local chain Caffe Artigiano make excellent coffee, the one on West Hastings does a killer breakfast. Picture this: grilled cheese with poached eggs and tomato sauce on top and Italian sausage on the side.

I also love the logo of Ottavio's in nearby Victoria: Drive fast, eat slow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can I ask you a favour?

It takes a village to raise a puppy.

I have been asking a lot of favours lately because 1) Mozart can't yet stay alone as long as we have to go to work and 2) I love the little dude, but I have no idea what I'm doing.

My lovely neighbour checks in on Mozart at 10:00 am and walks him at noon. Because of this, he can happily last from 8:30 to about 3:30, and I can concentrate at work without worrying. My sister, her boyfriend and my lovely friend A. have been checking in on him periodically and walking/chaperoning him for anywhere from an hour to half a day. While I sometimes worry about taking advantage of them, there is reciprocity in our relationships. I can pay them back.

But then we leave the zone of personal relationships and enter the zone of favours from strangers. The puppy class teacher is kind, and I try to emulate the calm, kind voice she uses. I have emailed her twice with questions that expand upon what we do in class. Her last reply was missing those tell-tale signs of intermediate intimacy, salutations. Can you email your puppy class teacher with questions, or should you be paying for that advice? I give heeps of advice to my students in emails, but it would be a conflict of interest for me to charge them for my tutoring services. Also, I'm A type.

Where I'm not sure that I'm A type, however, is with my dog. My boyfriend and I are just not routine people. Mozart is potty trained, sleeping through the night, not barking or biting, but I may have a pinched nerve in back from his pulling on the leash. How do I know that? A. is a physiotherapist. She hates giving advice. Now I owe her twice.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Books and Wine

I've been invited to be in a real live book club. We also drink wine. Here's our first pick:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Floating Sushi Bar

Tasty sushi. That floats towards you. Immediately upon sitting down.
Close to shopping to avoid crashing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lock up your shoes!

We have entered the team sport of puppy ownership. It is a collaborative effort that has us enlisting the direct assistance of friends, family and neighbours. I have used more paper towel in the last two weeks than I ever used in my entire life. I am too tired to shop for clothes, shoes or food, which makes the direct financial impact of the pup nil even considering the colossal amount of stuff that rotates around him. We take pictures of him in compromising positions, such as sleeping and bathing. We are trying extremely hard not to walk around carrying him or wake him up when he is sleeping - which is constantly - because we want to play with him. I am personally contemplating puppy daycare, but at least he still doesn't have a sweater.