she lives!

oh! wow!

i finally have time to blog and i really don't know where to start.

today: we finished the first two-day training session for the frosh leaders. 438 down this weekend, 304 to go next thursday and friday, along with another (unrelated but bigger) orientation event next saturday.

i've been tweeting up a storm because that's about all i have time for. what can i say? i never really thought the twitter thing was all that addictive but now that i barely have enough time to sit still let alone string together a thought or two, it's really convenient!

things are going to keep being busy for the next week - after that, i'm going to the CNE for some r&r.

hel-lo, craft building and food building! sweet.


the good aunt checklist

jess was organizing her stack and stacks (and stacks!) of baby clothes last night and cooing over the piles of little golf shirts and onesies got me into a mood for shopping for my new lil niece or nephew.

here's a few of the picks that i've been feeling lately:
  • an apple toque - how cute is that?
  • i love love LOVE that elephant print, as well - that lil trunk spray makes my day.
  • both pairs of lil baby slippers are so so sweet - if i wasn't positive that i'd look absolutely ridiculous wearing them, i'd order a pair for myself.
  • who says that baby toys can't be works of art? check out that lil wooden elephant - it's like a sculptural masterpiece. (ok, maybe masterpiece is a hyperbole. but hey - it's cute nonetheless).
  • that that lil white flapper beanie is adorable - i'm so gonna buy that if it's a girl ... and the photograph itself is beautiful to boot.
the moop bag, well, every mom needs a chic diaper bag, and so must every good aunt. it's technically an unwritten requirement in the auntie job description, along with being a constant supply of fun spontaneous road trips, sleepovers and letting them do things that their parents would never let them do. yeah, i pretty much need to get one. maybe i'll get one for jess, too.

... or maybe it's just a good excuse to drop some money on a bag i've been eyeing for a year now.

either way, i'm looking forward to this baby thing.

ladybug moks by scandeez
letter e by jenn ski
grasping and teething toy by little sapling toys
felted baby slippers by coffee lady
apple toque by mymarketstall
the letter bag by moop
white beanie by pdx beanies


swimmy like a fish

oh well hello my dearies!

it's been too long. come, sit down. would you like some tea?

let me explain a little bit about why my life gets so busy every august.

in a word: work. more specifically, orientation for new incoming students. we're in the middle of a well-needed overhaul of orientation training and things are going well, but the unfortunate casualty of that is my poor blog. which is why for the next few weeks my posting will be a bit erratic ... i'll aim for three days a week. maybe four, depending on how close to september 5th it is. (september 5th is move-in as well as parent orientation day, and is thus the crux of most of our planning)

in the meanwhile, a few updates:

  1. for some reason, i've been feeling the whole nautical theme lately - hence the collection above.
  2. summer seems to have finally arrived here in toronto, and i couldn't be happier. while everyone else is blasting their a/c and has retreated to the coolness of their homes, i'm savouring every moment of it. i remember the minus-25 degree weather. no complaints here. just ice cream.
  3. last saturday, i went on a re-stocking quest for a few local foods to continue my pickling/preserving mission, and bought ten pounds of beets, which are my next conquest. will update soon. (in the meanwhile - if there's ever a world beet shortage, i'm in a fantastic position to make a killer profit. or share. i guess.)
  4. it seems that saturday was a particularly productive day - this 26 year old had her first interaction with a butcher. i generally buy my meat from the packaged meat area (instead of ordering it at the meat counter) but i seem to have had a bit more gumption that day and after him asking me three times if he could help me with anything, i explained what i wanted to cook and asked him for a recommendation. not only did he tell me the tastiest steaks to buy for my budget, but how to cook them as well. i'm considering asking him to be my new best friend.
finally, i know i've been plugging the crap out of my twitter feed, but seriously - i discovered today two people that i thought i was following that i wasn't. come and find me there - i have more free time spent on the bus travelling back and forth to work than on my computer, so tweets are easier. it's the best i can do 'til i can figure out why i can't make blogger-to-go (or whatever it's called) work on my iPhone. has anyone had this problem? any guesses how to solve it?

BIG LOVE, all! talk soon. xx

images, clockwise from top left:
life preserver


oh hello, there

hello, lovelies.

am just finishing up the tail end of an insane week. big changes + busy times at work.

i've missed you this week.

stay tuned for an update post this weekend.


ps - follow me on twitter for mini-updates if you'd like.


so many paths

last night, arianne and i met up with my cousin paige for some coffee and key lime pie. we had a great time staying up way too late and talking about life and choices and the way people sometimes let their lives live them rather than the other way around.

one of the biggest things that i left with - and often forget much too easily - is that no matter what your situation, you always have options ... often times it's just a matter of broadening your perception of what's possible. to paraphrase ani difranco - if it's beyond your peripheral vision, you might want to turn your head.

here's wishing you a fantastic weekend, everyone.



pickles + jam

since having visited the farmers market a few days ago (i finally went berry picking!) i picked up some pickling cucumbers and now have six jars of my first-ever homemade dill pickles. they look delicious, all sitting there on the counter all ready to be eaten.

now i just have to wait six weeks.

yep - sunday was a productive day. i made tons of raspberry jam in little gift-sized containers, froze the remainder of the berries, and learned how to make pickles. i would have made pickled beets, too, if they had been ready to be harvested.

soon, my pets - soon. i'll go back in another week or two and will get a huge bag. i've got a pickling date with my mom and liz, our neighbour.

i'll have beet juice all over my apron and it'll apparently take all day but heck - it'll be delicious. and then i'll be able to say that i'm officially an experienced pickler. sort of.

i just need to get some of the timing down around when the sanitized jars & lids are ready to go on, and i'll be ready to rock.
for my pickling expedition last weekend, i ran my jars through the dishwasher and left them in there after the heat-dry cycle had completed, taking them out one by one as i needed them. i kept the lids in a boiling pot of water next to my "filling station", taking them out one at a time when i was ready to seal up each jar, using tongs. it seemed to work pretty well - i just had to time it properly so that everything was ready around the time the dishwasher was finished. i'd messed it up when i was making my jam - the dishwasher was still running and the pectin, sugar and berries were all ready to go into the jars, which caused for a moment or two of momentary panic - but it all worked out well in the end.

as it turns out, jam doesn't set very quickly. phew.

to make some deliciously easy dill pickles of your own, clean off the cucumbers with a rough brush and leave them in ice water overnight. in the morning, slice them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the jar then just combine:

6 cups of water
6 cups of white vinegar
1/2 cup coarse salt

in a pot, and bring to a boil until the salt dissolves. after that, drop a sprig of fresh dill into each freshly-sanitized hot jar along with half a clove of garlic. pack the container with cucumber spears and ladle the
still-boiling vinegar mixture into the jar. put another sprig of dill in, if you'd like, then - being careful not to touch the sanitized lid by placing it on the jar opening with some tongs, close up the jar and set aside for 4-6 weeks.

now the only tricky part is airing out the kitchen so it doesn't smell like dilly vinegar for a day afterwards.


all present and accounted for

six travel bags, one bottle of hairspray, one flatiron
three sisters and a mom ready for adventure
1 gps named gertrude
1 iPhone with maps loaded for cross-referencing
24 bottles of water (!)
5 rest stops before we even hit the quebec border
0 french-english dictionaries

twelve pairs of shoes, countless outfits
one fantastic weather forecast
1 eight-hour day of walking, streets navigated by yours truly
2 new watercolour prints, purchased from an artist named colombe on the rue de trésor.

two waterfalls, one taller than niagara falls and the other an unexpected discovery
one late lunch with a bottle of wine on a patio in lower town

one 3-hour drive to baie-ste-catherine for whale watching
several whales, porpoises and seals surfacing for air and a photo op
1 breaching humpback
30 minutes cruising through the awe-inspiring saguenay fjords

eight hours home again, plus a stop for a quick family visit
inspiration for the next morning's al fresco backyard breakfast, "à paris"


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