Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wintry Weather

Driving in wintry Manitoba I realize I do not have a sufficient vocabulary to describe Manitoba winter weather. For instance I do not know the word for the weather condition where the wind blows the pre-existing snow across the road in front of you causing you to be unable to see. I am also uncertain the term for when the wind literally begins to blow you off the road. In fact I'm not even sure the word for the type of snow they get here which is so devoid of moisture it is more like white dust. The drive to Winnipeg took me 3 and a half hours instead of 2 and a half. I am glad I left early enough so it wouldn't be dark when I got here. The streets were full of Boxing Day traffic. I found my cousin's house relatively easily and made myself some eggs for dinner. The cats looked at me suspiciously when I entered the building. We are good friends now though. I tried to sleep because I have to be up around 3 but just couldn't do it. Finally I gave up and played some Sudoku and read part of one of my books for next term. Then I found an internet signal. I will have to plug in my laptop soon though.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Monday!

Here is a picture taken from the hallway window outside my sixth floor room. One of the advantages of living in the tallest building in town is the spectacular view. (Although the view from the hall is very much better than the one from my room right now as my entire window is covered with a thick layer of frost.)

Currently we are sitting at a comfortable -22 Celsius (-8 F) with a windchill of -35 C (-31 F). The sun is setting and it is beautiful. It was quite windy earlier in the day and when I went to retrieve my x-country skis from the car (I didn't have enough hands last night) the cleaning lady was washing floors and looked at me with a horrified expression, "You weren't actually skiing were you?" I assured her I was just bringing the skis in from my car. I am sure my face was bright red from the wind. Certainly I would have worn a few more layers under my down jacket had I been skiing! And a scarf across the face!

We are currently in 22 hour lock down at the University until the end of the week. (Meaning all hours except between 5pm and 7pm must be absolutely quiet so people can study for exams. The loudest noise is the wind beating against the building and people's keys jingling when they unlock their doors.)

This morning I picked up most of my books for next term except 2 that haven't come in yet. I am thinking I better bring a couple on my flight home later this month judging by the stack!

I am thinking I should go find some dinner and then work on some drawings. I am trying to design a bookmark for my boyfriend to go with the book I bought him for Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's Growing On Me

There is something wonderful about living here despite the cold. I know that whenever my path pulls me away to warmer climes I will be forced to leave a part of me behind. There is something truly magical about watching people pull toboggans full of groceries home from the corner store, snowmobilers taking an evening ride, the way during winter dusk the white of the sky blends with the white of the snow on the horizon so it feels you are driving a narrow strip of asphalt into a place between earth and sky. It is truly spectacular how the snow drifts like a swirling smoke across the road and the way the trees are bare and white with frost. The way the air shimmers with ice crystals and the horizon goes on and on forever leaving you with an exhilarating sense of freedom. Yes, it will definately be hard to part with this strange landscape. But for now it seems if all works out I may be given more than ample opportunities to stay here for another 1-4 years. If I finish my teaching degree here and then work here as a teacher for two years it sounds like the government will reimburse me for my schooling. And that would be wonderful. But for now baby steps. We will see how I deal with January's -50 Celsius weather before considering that too hard!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Good Literature

Today in Literary Criticism class our professor asked us each to come up with 2 books we thought everyone should read. They could be fiction or non-fiction. (In some cases they were identified by author not title.) Here was what we came up with...

Official suggestions:
The Bible
The Making of the English Working Class
Huckleberry Finn
Aesop's Fables
Jane Eyre
East of Eden
Oscar Wilde
Infinite Jest
White Noise
The Hobbit
The Communist Manifesto
Crime & Punishment
Brave New World
Slaughterhouse Five

Unofficial Suggestions:

Fight Club

Our Prof then asked us to look over the list. He asked whether we thought we would get a good education taking a class that had these works for the book list. We all agreed we would. I thought to myself it would be a very heavy course!

Looking at this list there are a lot of religious, social and political themes. However, I feel a lot of areas are unrepresented. This seems like a very useful book list in a course based in a Caucasian, Middle-Class, Western neighbourhood. For sure we are not being biased just to look within the Christian faith for our texts but how far are we willing to expand these limits? The Qur'an is not that far away from The Bible in many senses. Also there is very little literature representing women, people from different culture groups, gender minorities or even local or Canadian authors. We might learn a lot about the classics, about European and North American history... but what type of education are we really receiving by reading this book list? A good one we say... but good how? Good because from a viewpoint of a literary critic these books are important milestones in literature? Good because these are some of the titles that we would expect to see appear if someone asked you what books you think everyone should read? Are these books good for expanding our horizons and making us more open to our fellow man? It is important to ask ourselves these questions I think.

It is also important to realize that of these books there is very little pop. fiction. Most of the books are intellectual or literary landmarks, many are classics. If you asked me my favorite book it would not be on this list. However if you asked me what book I thought everyone should read I would hum and haw for a bit (just as I did) and then say (as I did) Huckleberry Finn or Aesop's Fables. These aren't my favorite books. They were good books for sure and significant landmarks in literature. But what does that mean exactly? I certainly would not have said Harry Potter or Twilight or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or The DaVinci Code or any book of that nature when adding to this list... the question is why. I think perhaps literature is still stuck in an elitist notion. Good literature is about structure, aesthetics and big ideas that are portrayed in an intelligent and well thought out manner. Good literature is art. Pop Literature is entertainment. Basically literary critics are book snobs and terribly biased. Something important to think about. Or at least I believe it is.

What two books would you choose?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's that time of year again...

Snow is everywhere, the air is cold, people who didn't do their holiday shopping early are stressing and I'm stressing over end of term stuff. It is this time of year that I turn to my favorite online seasonal stress reducer game: Penguin Baseball. So if you are feeling stressed at this busy time of year take a whack at it! (pun intended)

Have a great Sunday and hope your weekend was fabulous!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Exams and Term Papers

As some of you may know I am in my third year of University. I likely won't have anything to write here for the next couple weeks due to all the exams and papers in my near future.

To my American readership Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Artists and Music Lovers!

I have been asked by my good friend Sleepy from Baltimore to post this around. It is a live internet broadcast he and a friend are working on. Check it out! (And send your music if you want.)

9pm est - 1am est.

Indie artists...send your mp3 to be played.

Include track name, artist(s) name, and location and contact info.

All videos are archived at:

Need to advertise your website or business, email me at

Come support me and join in the chat and in the discussions.



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best Blog Award Nominees

You will see that I received the "Best Blog Award" from SunTiger in the below entry. I will now nominate 15 new recipients. In order to claim this award you must post the blog award pic below, give a link to the blog of the person who nominated you and pick 15 new nominees. Here are my 15 nominees for this award:

Vegetarian/Vegan Cooking Blogs:
Although I had to temporarily give up my vegetarian eating habits due to the mandatory school mealplan that does not support healthy eating for vegetarians I have found many great recipes on these blogs!

Herbivoracious Excellent recipes and pictures that leave you drooling for more!

Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen Enter the kitchen and see what is cooking! Specializing in Indian cuisine there are definately some keepers among these recipes!

Vegan Lunch Box Great lunch ideas for vegetarians and vegans. Elegantly presented!

Fun Blogs
These are themed blogs and otherwise all-around fun blogs!

Coffee Messiah A blog of coffee and art. Appealing to distinguished coffee drinkers!

Uniquely Tea A blog about tea as the name would suggest. So grab a cup and sit down and read!

The Unexpected Life of the Green Frog The photographic journey of a world-traveling frog.

Presurfer The Presurfer surfs the net for the awesome and unusual and then posts links so anyone can take a look! Great fun!

Personal Blogs

Life's Free Treats A wonderful blog about life and its free treats! Take a gander!

Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker A personal life journey through pain to find light. Another wonderful blog!

Roll Call A great blog of heart-warming stories and sometimes jokes and personal life stories as well!

A Life in Indigo A personal blog of pictures and poems.

Another Dumpsite A blogger I have been visiting since the days of journalspace. Sometimes opinionated but always a great read!

Photo Blogs

Island Blog A photo blog of life on British Columbia's coast, particularly Gabriola Island.

Charleston Daily Photo I have followed Joan Perry in her blogs since the old days of journalspace. Her amazing photography brings joy to my heart each time I visit her blog. Also Check out her other blog: Concrete Thoughts

OutHouse Capital of Canada Photo blog of a Canadian blogger! Absolutely fabulous!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Another Great Tea Spot

The Plum. Souris, Manitoba. This little tea shop and museum used to be part of a church. Full of history, with beautiful stained glass windows and plum and chocolate decor it is well worth a visit. The woman who runs it is charming and animated and the young girls who work there bake all the goodies sold there from scratch. I recommend tea and the strawberry rhubarb cake!

Monday, August 31, 2009

baked apples

Today my uncle and his friend were out getting a start on the canola harvest. My aunt was at work so I cooked up supper. I made a chicken stew with a mixture of leftovers and some veggies that needed using up and a can of mushroom soup. I made cornbread to go with it and then started brainstorming desserts I could do without running to the store. I found this recipe for baked apples at Kitchen Parade and it sure hit the spot! (I did add a bit more spices than it suggested though and a bunch of raisins.)

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 1 hour
9 servings

* 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* Dash cinnamon
* Dash nutmeg
* 1-1/2 cups water
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 9 small or medium apples

In a 1½-quart saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and spices; stir together with a wooden spoon to remove any obvious lumps. Add water and stir. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add butter. Cook until thick, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, rub a 9x9-inch glass dish with butter. Wash and core the apples and place right side up in the dish. Pour the sauce into and over the apples.

Bake 45 minutes at 325F. Halfway through baking, remove from oven and cover the apples with hot syrup again. Return to oven to complete baking. Serve hot or cold.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life on the Farm

I have been on the go nonstop for the last month and finally I have a day sort of to myself just to relax. It is easy to fall into the pace of the farm. My aunt and uncle were my legal guardians as a child if anything had happened to my parents. Although this is only my third time staying on the farm it feels like home. Actually in some ways it feels more like a home than my parent's house. It is definately a less stressful environment. Things are not expected to be perfect on the farm. A little bit of mess is allowable and everything gets done, but at its own pace. My aunt and uncle are very busy people. My uncle works in town on the base. He works nights. I think he is a handyman/night watchmen. I am not sure. It sounds like a boring job; sometimes he brings work from home to do at his work. My aunt is a baker in Brandon. On weekends my aunt grabs her viking stuff, loads up the truck and heads out of town for practice with her viking reinactment group. My uncle tinkers with machines in the shed or processes more bio-diesel. All the vechiles belonging to my aunt, uncle and cousins run on biodiesel including the farm machinery with the exception of one pickup truck. My uncle makes his biodiesel out of grease waste from fastfood restaurants in town. He has made it from canola oil in the past but he finds that his current method is a better way to recycle. He recycles all the waste products created during biodiesel production. He condenses methanol gas and reuses it and he uses glycerol either as fertilizer or (more recently) to make soap products. On top of all this the crops are late this year so my uncle's Canola needs to be harvested in the next week. I try to help out where I can but being I am ignorant still of how the farm runs I can get in the way more than I can help sometimes. I do make sure I pick the peas in the garden and walk the dog and brush the dog and two cats. I make meals sometimes too. The general rule of meal cooking around here is that the first person to decide to make a meal should make enough for everyone.

Tonight my aunt is away at another viking gathering and my uncle is out trying to get his machines ready for harvest. I will find a recipe for chicken as it needs to be used up. I am letting my vegetarian eating slide while I am here because I don't want to cause extra work for my aunt and uncle. My uncle wants to have a fire tonight so we can make banana boats for dessert. (This is where you make a slit in a banana and put in chocolate chips and then cook it in the fire wrapped in foil).

Tomorrow is Sunday which means we will have pancakes for dinner (dinner=lunch and supper=the last meal of the day on the farm). It is tradition on the farm that my uncle makes pancakes every Sunday... mounds of them. Some of them he cooks cheese into the center. Yum!!! We can always expect guests for Sunday pancakes. Usually my cousins and their significant others or my uncle's mother. All meals on the farm are served with tea. This makes sense because the water comes from the resevoir and comes out a muddy brown colour. It is perfectly drinkable but looks gross so the tea disguises the colour. My uncle drinks exclusively green earl grey tea and the tea cupboard is full to bursting with packages of it.

Today I am doing laundry because all but a weeks worth of clothes are packed still. We have hardwater so I had to buy more soap. I like the earthy feel of the water on my skin in the shower but it sure wreaks havoc on my hair! Luckily good fashion and neat hair are not expected on the farm. (Viking fashion however is perfectly acceptable.)

My cousin, Andrew might be stopping in tonight if his plane gets in early enough. His wife and baby are staying in the other farmhouse until they find a place closer to the city to live. Andrew was recently hired by Apple and has been away for training. I am curious to see him as last time I did he was an antisocial teenager. It sound like he has changed a great deal. I am not sure I would even recognize him it has been so long since I saw him.

Well that's about it for now. I am just charging batteries for my camera so photos will have to wait for the time being.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Great Tea Spot

The other day I went with my bestfriend to a tea and coffee shop in town. We got to pick the tea we wanted from jars on shelves against the wall. We could even take the jars down to smell them. I choose a tea with maple in it and my friend chose "bella coola" which smelled of fruits and flowers. It was a lovely little modern looking shop and reasonably priced. It had a friendly, comfortable atmosphere and we didn't even have to pay until we'd finished our drinks!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Smoky With Sun

Today was another scorcher and as is common in the summers here, the air was filled with smoke. Even though we are only in a moderate risk zone for fires at the moment at least one has broken out locally. This is small and the fire services are quick to contain it so it likely will not be much of a concern. Here are some pictures taken over the river this afternoon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

bbq shrimp wraps and spinach raspberry salad

bbq shrimp wraps:

serves 2

soft tortillas

1/2 cup frozen shrimp
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
2 green onions chopped

1 Tbsp honey mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tbsp bbq sauce
a dash powdered ginger
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp water
1/2 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
parmesan cheese garnish (optional)

in a pan fry shrimp and vegetables. add seasoning. let simmer until sauce thickens. place portions in wraps. garnish with parmesan cheese and fold.


spinach rasberry salad

baby spinach
green leaf lettuce
sliced cucumber
hemp hearts
a dash lime juice

mix veggies. garish with raspberries and hemp hearts. add a dash of lime juice

Monday, July 13, 2009

Old Friends

In my grade 12 year we had an exchange student live with us named Emy. She was from France. This summer she has come back to Canada to see all her friends here and to attend the wedding of one of her Canadian friends. Last night she came to our house for a visit.

Below are pictures of her and I at our graduation. We had matching prom dresses but in different colours.

Me with my prom date and my mother

Emy and her prom date

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Toasted Mediterranean Sandwiches

-sesame seed hamburger buns
-leaf lettuce
-tomato paste
-chopped yellow onion
-olive oil
-garlic powder
-black olives
-smoked gouda slices

Toast hamburger buns. If the buns won't fit in your toaster, flatten them first. (Or use a toaster oven). Fry onions in a pan with olive oil. Add garlic powder, basil and oregano to taste. Add olives and stir. Spread tomato paste on the top half of the bun. Stick gouda slices in the tomato paste. Place onion mixture on the bottom half of the bun. cover with leafs of lettuce. Close bun. Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Picture Update

my daffodil picture is apparently on the camera's internal memory so it will be posted when I find the right cord. In the mean time here are the rest....


maple leaves first come out


mother's day dinner

Sunday, May 17, 2009


My brother came home this weekend to visit. It was a surprise for my parents. I knew he was coming. He brought his girlfriend, who is back home from England for the summer. He wants us to hang out and get to know each other better over the summer. He really loves her. I'll have to go visit him this summer too. He is renting a house with a sauna!!! :-D

Tonight was the fireworks at the fair. It was a much longer show than I was expecting. And next weekend is the May Days event here so more fireworks!!!

Picture update soon I promise. I am too tired now...

Saturday, May 9, 2009


so yes the daffodils are blooming and the tulips too. they have been for awhile. i meant to upload pics but i was having some computer troubles. i think i have fixed it for now though. and good news, i will be ordering a new laptop at the end of the month. (i had planned to next week when i got my pay check but i have the more pressing matter of paying for my parking pass for school first.)

i am very excited i have gotten into all my classes. which means a lot of english classes. good thing i am good at english. (not that you can tell from my lazy version of typing here).

i just finished making cupcakes. there are a lot of birthdays this month.

pics soon of daffodils and tulips.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Tomorrow is my birthday! I turn 21.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Freestyle Apple Bobbing

Today I went for a walk with my dog after work. I was surprised to see an apple bobbing in the creek. I went down for a closer look and then saw there were 3 more. I grabbed one for my dog.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Now the violets are blooming. Violets are my favorite flowers.

Still no daffodils yet!

Friday, April 10, 2009


So the snow is pretty much melted here and it is warm enough I dug out my capris and sandals. The crocuses are in bloom as well so of course I snapped some shots.

Now I am waiting for the daffodils! :-)

Happy Easter weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Saving Money Tips

Chocolate: I love chocolate. in order to cut costs when buying chocolate I buy Waterbridge Belgian Dark Chocolate bars from Walmart. They are huge and just under $4 Canadian (Regular chocolate bars are about $1.25 and these bars are 4-5 times as big). Eating one square a day they can last a few weeks and have less of the junk in them than the junk chocolate bars you find near the cash registers.

Magazines: If you are going to buy magazines don't by anything that is not going to strengthen your mind. Therefore if you must spend money on magazines something like a National Geographic is preferable to the latest Star magazine. Also don't buy any magazine that has tips for saving money in it. Usually these magazines are around $10. Basically you are being duped. You will ose more money than you are likely going to save. For the most part I don't buy magazines except for the occassional science magazine or a magazine with recipes.

Clothes: I used to work at Value Village, a huge department thrift store. For this reason I am used to getting quality clothing items for as low as $1 Canadian. I shop at thrift shops, or stores like liquidation world. And if I do shop at other stores it is almost solely off the discount racks. Shop out of season for even better deals! I got my winter jacket for next year this way. Regular $124, down-filled. It cost me $19. Who can argue with that mark down?

Food: Don't buy junk food. It may seem cheaper but it doesn't fill you up and can leave you feeling ill or cause you not to sleep well. It is worth it to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy choices. I also never buy cookies. You don't need cookies! And if you do think you need them buy some flour and sugar and milk and make them yourself. If you need convenience food I like the lentil or black bean soup cups from President's Choice. They taste good, are filling and nutritious and all you have to do is add hot water. Also don't buy lots of condiments. A lot of condiments, such as BBQ sauce are easy to make in the quantities you need and then are also not cluttering up your fridge.

Toilet Paper: Buy toilet paper on sale and stock up. It doesn't go bad.

Transportation: I have a car. I spend about $20 a week on gas. This gets me to and from my appointments and work and out to see my friends once a week. If I need to go shopping I go after work to save a trip. If I have errands I wait until I am going into town for an appointment. Otherwise I walk, bike, snowshoe or cross country ski. If you live in a city a public transportation pass might be a good way to go.

TV: I don't watch cable or satellite because I don't have them. I have one channel that I don't have to pay for. If there is something good to watch I'll watch it. Otherwise I'll pick up movies from time to time or watch different things on YouTube or other similar sites. Quite often I find videos posted on YouTube far more entertaining than feature length films. I also make good use of the library for books and movies. When I get tired of my old movies I take them to the local trading post and trade them for other movies I haven't seen.

Birthday Cards: Have paper and Pencil Crayons/Felts? Use them. Don't spend $5 on a Hallmark. That's ridiculous. If you like the saying in one... use it. But make your own!

Credit Cards: I have a debit credit card with no overdraft. I put money in the account then spend it. It earns me credit history but I never go into debt.