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If my life could be a painting...

It would be Dada-esque

1/22/09 01:29 pm - chocolate chai cupcakes

I tried the Chocolate Chai Cupcakes and they are good but I'm not sure if I'm entirely sold on them yet.



I think the icing is a bit too much chai (who would ever think those words would come from my mouth). Maybe if I make them again I'll opt for a non-chai icing. I think it's the fresh ginger. Chai should be a sweet, gentle flavour and I found the icing to be a strong zingy taste. However, the icing might be nice on a plain cupcake.

Final verdict: tasty but probably not making the wedding cupcake cut.

1/21/09 02:20 pm - Cupcakes!!!!



So I have officially baked, iced, eaten, frozen, eaten, iced, and eaten my first trial batch of cupcakes. And they were good. Very good. I'm actually pretty impressed by how well they turned out. Even post freezing. Granted the post frozen cupcake wasn't quite as soft.

Now I've found this:

http://cupcakeblog.com/

And they have a kazillion of cupcake recipes. I'm going to be in baking heaven (or hell) for a very long time. I think I'm going to pick a recipe and try it tonight. Fantabulous!!!

I may have to start feeding my coworkers because if I eat all these cupcake concoctions I won't fit into my wedding dress (no matter how flowy it is).

1/15/09 08:29 am - Welcome to 32

The year didn't start out so great as I was ill on my birthday. At first I thought it was a hangover, then food poisoning, and then resigned myself to it being a gastro. However, prolonged pain, sneaking suspicions, and analysis of symptoms has led to the following realization:

Welcome to 32, you may have a duodenal ulcer!

Yay, just the birthday present I always wanted. Now some might say that I was always prone to an ulcer because I'm a stress case but I would like to point out 2 facts:

1. ulcers are not caused by stress. They can be aggravated by stress but the source of an ulcer is bacterial.

2. although I'm an analyzer and even sometimes the cause of my own misery because of over-analyzing angst, I am not a major stress case. Don't bother disagreeing with me, because my mind is made up on this matter. I have met major stress cases and I know I'm not one of them even if I'm less zen than others. I'm a thinker, not a stresser. There is a difference.

For years I've dismissed the particular feeling I have in my stomach at times as being the way I feel when I'm stressed (even when I'm not stressed because I either just finished going through a time of stress, or apparently according to a particular person's advice, my body knows I'm stressed even if I'm not aware of it).

However, this particular incident being very bad, I'm finally persuaded that an ulcer (as opposed to imagined stress or just plain old heartburn) might be the source of my misery. Obviously this all needs to be confirmed by a doctor at this point, but I have a sneaking suspicion that my self-diagnosis is accurate.

In other news, the boy and I are working through some wedding related issues and I think we have negotiated a ceasefire. Now on to music, which is an issue that stresses him out and I'm totally mellow about. My only stipulation: no cheesiness (ok, I know it's a wedding there's bound to be some cheesiness but it must be kept to a minimum!).
Tags:

1/8/09 10:04 am - Permaculture class

I went to the 1st permaculture class last night. It was great. I was in a room with people who care passionatly about some of the same things I do and it's really been a long time since I felt like I could say that. I miss that. The energy was positive and people wanted to make a difference on a personal level in their own lives and in a community. It was great and inspiring and I hope that continues to be a positive experience. I can't wait to learn about how to actually start putting some of the ideas into practice in an urban environment.

On a very basic level, permaculture is about creating a sustainable and regenerating ecological environment (be it agricultural or cultural). Here's an example of what permaculture can do:

http://permaculture.org.au/2007/03/01/greening-the-desert-now-on-youtube/

It's amazing! Even more so when you consider that it was a 3 year project. Unlike the speaker, I don't think greening the desert will necessarily cure the world of all it's woes, but I do agree that it could have a significant impact.

In some ways I think that the best part of it was that I was able to spend time caring about something other than weddings and thinking about things that are important on the larger scale.

1/5/09 04:13 pm - Back to work and new projects

Vacations are over and it's back to work.

It's been a quiet day but I've gotten a lot of work done. I also did some outside research during lunch.

I've signed up for a course on permaculture and city living. I'm looking forward to it. I think it should be very interesting.

http://www.montrealpermaculture.org/index.php/Spring_semester

It's going on for a long time, but I'm hoping to learn a lot about how to green up my life and that's exciting to me. I'm particularly interested in grey water systems, composting and creating sustainable gardens.

1/5/09 02:25 pm - just checking

to see if this actually works...

12/31/08 09:13 am - Consumerism, New Year's, and Health

On Consumerism:

The boy and I have officially launched ourselves into the technological age. It's sort of insane how much stuff we've now acquired. A new hand mixer, iPod docking station, carpet, tv stand (matches the bookshelf), and a rather large flat screen TV. When did I become surrounded by all new things? I'm not sure if I should be more concerned about the fact that I'm a full fledged North American consumer, living the American TV dream or the fact that all of this stuff obviously indicates that I'm getting old and that 32 is the year of full blown material adulthood.

On the bright side, I can't think of one single thing that the house needs now? Well, aside from some more organic sugar (but that's groceries).

On New Year's:

I just got a long (sorry) but very sweet email pondering the nature of the past year and full of well wishes for the upcoming year that now has me thinking about the past year and year to come. I don't know, 2008 feels like it's been a really big year both personally and globally.

Personally:
Was hired as a college teacher, finished thesis, defended thesis, went home, got engaged, graduated, got a full time career job, moved in with the boy, started sponsoring a 5 year old Nepali girl (thus fulfilling a long held dream/goal), started planning a wedding, booked wedding venue, little brother got engaged, good friend had her first baby, one of my best friends moved back into the country, started donating money to Oxfam (also long held goal), started paying back student loans (not so much a goal but the realization that I could afford to pay them back was pretty sweet), went to Boston (another big dream), um... yeah, I think that's all I can remember for now. It was busy and big! How on earth is 32 going to top that? Oh yeah, I'm getting married in 2009!

Globally:
One word: Obama-mania!

Ok, not really one word but in summary: The world continues to defy my expectations for humanity. Yup, that's a horrible thing to say but I have to say that 2008, aside from the overwrought hope placed in Obama, the world just hasn't been a good place in the past year and I currently have a bleak view of the world (maybe it's the fact that Harper, my nemesis, got re-elected for a 2nd time, thus betraying my vain belief that being Cdn was better than being American and that my beliefs were pretty common). Yes, 2008 was the year that officially made me realize that after the brutal 20 something age realization that I am not unique and that it's all been done before, that in fact, I am unique and different because my views are not as commonly shared as I was believed. Thank you Canada and global politics for making it possible for me to reclaim my individuality, albeit in a rather disappointing, bitter fashion. I admit it, the past year made me question the possibility of ever having children in a world so bleak and a future inheritance so full of gloom, even while having a year so full of personal joy. That's sad enough of a statement that it makes me want to cry, even as I write it.

However, while the world continues to disappoint (Isreal refuses truce, 10 more dead Cdn soldiers, Mumbai bombings, and others) and we continue to kill ourselves and the earth in the name of political and material progress, I do have hope that next year will be better. Obama will hopefully live up to his electoral promises and, since Harper doesn't do anything without American approval, Canada may once again be a nation that I am proud to call home.

On Health:

The past year hasn't been the best healthwise and if there is one resolution that I hope to make for the new year, is to treat myself (both emotionally and physically) better, starting with a very frivolous but well deserved facial scheduled in January.


On a side note, full of glee:

Mayla continues to prove her allegiance to me and keeps sleeping on the boy's pillow, much to his dismay and my amusement. For some reason she likes leaving her hair on his pillow. Welcome to cat ownership!

So ends another philosophical Wednesday musing...

12/17/08 02:38 pm - Wednesday's musings

I'm not sure why, but I think that Wed tends to be a particularly introspective day of the week for me.

Today being no exception....

I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm not meant to live in North American society. Yup. I think it's that, or that I'm not really cut out for permanent settling down in one city. She says, on the verge of getting married and committing to a life in Montreal. Oh the ironies!

I see the merits of owning a home and creating economic security in life but I don't know if I believe that the life we're being sold is as ideal as it is depicted. I don't know my neighbours (ok, I'm not very friendly, that's partially my fault), I'm tired of being taught to consume, and feel like we're trained to buy to live as opposed to living with what we have. And all this leads me to wanting to leave it all behind.

I love my partner, I enjoy my job, I see the value in the work I do but...

I often wonder if a life lived in relative anonymity, travelling from place to place, would actually be more satisfying than working a job that has me on committees and going to conferences.

I don't know, I just see my life becoming a white picket fence existence and I get anxious for adventure. There's nothing wrong with wanting the house, the kids, the dog, the car, etc. It's just not what I want. But would moving to another country be the solution? Or do I just need to get more involved in the community I live in? Maybe it's just winter. I hate winter. It's beautiful in its own way, but I don't know how I'm going to survive a lifetime of snow.

12/16/08 02:32 pm - Bail Outs, Big Business, and the Government

I realize that I'm not an economist and that my knowledge of economics is limited but I have to say that all of this government buy out is starting to really irk me. I don't exactly understand why it is the ethical and moral responsibility of the government to buy out bankrupt companies that did nothing to help themselves, even when they knew they were on the verge of bankruptcy, just because of the jobs that will be lost. I'm sorry, but those jobs will only be lost at a later date because the companies aren't going to make the necessary changes to make their businesses sustainable. They are going to go for the quick buck instead of the long term investment, which is the same vicious cycle that is constantly perpetuated by corporate industry.

Sometimes I wish that I could move to an island far away from society. I'm so sick of the bullshit attitude/approach taken towards things in our world. I don't understand why it is going to take an implosion before people make the necessary changes. Do we have to learn everything the hard way? Obviously.

12/12/08 02:30 pm - the value of education in our society

I've been busy with work over the past few weeks. ...
I've been busy with work over the past few weeks. I've attended 4 conferences in the past 3 weeks and am starting to feel conferenced out!

One of the things that I've been contemplating, related to it all, is the nature of education in our society and my generation. Everyone keeps claiming that students are lazier, not as smart, less dedicated, or just less "intelligent." The thing is, with all of the reforms that are supposed to be helping, but actually do more harm; the overworked teachers and full classrooms; all the special needs coming into education and the lack of resources or training to cope; poorly trained teachers; the government cuts in education; and parents who are unwilling to be involved in the learning process, no wonder our students are a mess. I think it's somewhat unfair to condemn the student or the teacher when the system isn't providing an infrastructure that allows for success.

I mean, enough of the "those who can't do, teach" crap. It's time to put the value back into education. Before kids can be anything (career wise), they need an education. Why is it that one of the few things that can make a difference in our lives is so routinely ignored and placed at the bottom of the list of things to deal with? I mean really, if you want to create leaders inthe world, you have to educate them.

Anyways....
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