Monday, October 29, 2007

no longer unemployed!

actually i've had one very part-time job for a couple of weeks now. i'm the assistant coordinator for the langue program at le maison de l'amitie. and i'll continue with that, 8 hours a week, throughout the year. friday i recieved word that i got a second job at lululemon athletica . they are a clothing/supply store specializing in yoga. (benefits include 2 free yoga classes a week at different studios in town!). i start training next week. it will be full-time over the holidays, which will make coming home for the holidays pretty challenging, but i'm going to do my best. i really want to see you, dear goshen friends and family. stay in touch, i'm homesick.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

the greyer side of montreal

for the last couple of weeks my friend suzanne and i have been talking about going to this mysterous "schmataland" i heard about in a low-budget shopping guide:
"Chabanel Street Just north of the Metropolitain between St-Laurent and du Parc is schmataland. Montreal still has a large textile industry, most of which is located in this district. Here you’ll find factory outlets that sell to the public directly, but only on Saturday mornings."

so we set out a little after 10, a bit painfully early after my 2am friday night, plus it was raining. but we were determined to find those deals, or at least have a bit of an adventure.

well great deals we did not find, but we did have quite an amusing adventure.
so schmataland is a street full of industrial buildings and out in front of some of them there is a guy or two handing out fliers, "huge sale on floor 7", "designer samples on floor 3, suite 307" etc. so we venture into the these big industrial buildings, take the lift up to such and such a floor and there are just these big rooms full of racks of clothes. they might be designer samples, but definitly not from 2007. most of them might have been stylish oh about 10 years ago, or if you're 60 and still think its the 90s.

but we did find some other interesting shops. like this one where retailers must come to get their maniquins.

or this one- great deals... if you're a stripper!

i did buy one item, very appropriate given the weather. i invested in this great strippy umbrella at rona on the way home.

after a nice long cozy nap, i'm ready to head back into the rain to take a friend for dinner at this little mauritanian restaurant .

Friday, October 26, 2007

Meet my new friends, Les Vers!
I’ve finally got my apartment set up for vermicomposing . Susan, “the Worm Girl,” who has a sweet little vermicompost business that I found on craig’s list , delivered them last night.

My pound of friends came in a nice Rubbermaid bin with a tight fitting lid and little holes around the top, which are then covered in a cloth.

The worms can eat their own weight in organic scraps a day, so the worm girl said that’s about a yogurt container full. You rotate where you feed them each day so they move around the bin in a circle. The worms reproduce every 2-3 months so eventually you can start feeding them more or give some to a friend to start a bin.
If you’re in the montreal area and want to start vermicomposting, I recommend getting your worms from The Worm Girl . She sells a pound of red-wigglers for $10 or will get you a whole box ready for $25. It’s a way better deal than going through the EcoQuartiers. They charge twice as much and you get stuck on a waiting list for at least a month.

If you want learn more about how it all works here , here , and here .

Composting is a great way to reduce how much you’re adding to the landfill and help grow lovely plants to make you some oxygen!
Regular updates to follow!!
wish me luck...

the last couple of days i have been study and waiting. studying for my environment and culture midterm (worth 40%!). and waiting for a call whether or not i got the job that i interviewed for tuesday.
the studying and waiting are almost over. so now i'm on to anticipation. my midterm is in an hour and i should be getting the call this evening. i've just got to remember to keep breathing. the hour of yoga i just did helped calm the nerves a bit.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

how to spend a sunday afternoon in montreal?

i've been told countless times about the sunday tam-tam (drums) circle on the mountain and have been meaning to go every weekend since i arrived. today, the weather was perfect, i finished my studying and walked towards to mountain, camera in hand.

heading though Parc Jean-Mance towards the moutain.

so i was expecting a circle of 20 or so people, sitting in a neat circle, all drumming together. maybe some people dancing around the outside or just listening. but as i approached i could see this was certainly not the case...

a sense of community in such a huge crowd.

i felt like i was in some weird time warp between 1960s woodstock days and some happy time in the future where people of all races, ages, backgrounds come together to play music and dance.

there were families, young people, old people, people who had come alone, people who had come together. there was little talking, mostly just the rythm, the smell of sweat, weed, and autumn leaves.

i don't know if i've seen so much eccentricity all in one place. but while people were such individuals, so uniquely interesting, there was a common rhythm, a shared beat, a shared place, a shared outrageously beautiful autumn afternoon.

apparently the sunday tam-tams are quite famous. you can read about them on wiki, montreal city site, city noise and even see them on youtube.

you can see more of my photos on flickr.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday Decompressing

after a stressful week of school and job searching it was with time to...
sleep in, chat on the phone, clean room and cook!

Cranberry Scones
- 2 T ground flax mixed with 3 T water (vegan egg replacer)
- 3/4 C plain yogurt
- 1 C cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1T orange juice, or orange zest
mix, then add
- 2 T sugar
- 3 cups whole grain flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 salt
cut in 3/4 c cold margerine
add- 1/2 cup pecans
with a round cooking cutter cut into circles and place on grease cookie sheet.
mix 1T white sugar and 1T cinnamon and sprinkle on top
bake for 12-15 minutes

Big pot of Lentils Francais
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 med. onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
saute until soft, then add:
- 2-3 carrots, chopped in rounds
- 1-2 stocks celery, chopped
- 3-4 C water and a bullion
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 t dried thyme
- 1/2 dried rosemary
- 1/2 t pepper
- 1 C french lentils (the ones that are small and bluish brown)
bring to boil and then simmer till tender, 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Over the last couple of years I’ve been steadily reducing my meat consumption, and in the last 4 months I’ve become ovo-lacto vegetarian (meaning I still eat some dairy products and eggs occasionally). When people ask why I’m veg, I usually respond “there are a number of reasons but that biggest reason is the environmental effects of eating meat.” A lot of people look puzzled with this response. Here’s a bit of an explanation of the connection between reducing your carbon footprint and reducing meat consumption:

Acccording to’s guide to greening your meal “Meat is the most resource-intensive food on the table and eating less of it can be the single most green move a person makes. Producing meat requires huge amounts of water, grain, land, and other inputs including hormones and antibiotics, and leads to pollution of soil, air, and water. A pound of beef requires around 12,000 gallons of water to produce, compared to 60 gallons for a pound of potatoes.”

Not convinced yet? Here are some other stats:
• A meat-based diet requires 7 times more land than a plant-based diet according to
• According to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization , livestock production is responsible for more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world. In total, it is responsible for 18 percent of human induced greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to methane, manure, deforestation to expand pasture, fertilizers and pesticides for feed crops.
• In Latin America, 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.
• Animal waste accounts for 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.
• The meat industry is immensely resource intensive and accounts for 70% of the water pollution in the US. (
• Livestock production is at the heart of almost every environmental catastrophe confronting the planet – rain forest destruction, spreading deserts, loss of fresh water, air and water pollution, acid rain and soil erosion.

Being the single most green move a person can make, I’m really disappointed that reducing meat consumption is not more center stage to the current environmental movement. I guess that might be due to the fact that vegetarianism is a bit more controversial than changing the kind of light bulb you use. But most of the concerns people have about vegetarianism are misconceptions. For example, with a little effort and nutritional planning you can get plenty of protein on a vegetarian diet. Not ready to give up meat all together? Start by just trying to eat meat-free just one day a week. Even small steps make a difference. Also, if you do continue to eat meat, consider switching to free-range, organic meets (these farms are usually smaller and don't load their animals up with antibiotics and hormones).

Ready to go veg? Check out this link for a free vegetarian starter kit! Or here for vegetarian recipes.

and just in case you like to make moral choices based purely on asethetics...
Check out this summary of where 2008 US presidential canidates stand on environmental policy!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I just created this delicous stir fry for lunch! all made from locally grown, seasonal produce of course.

Autumn Stir-Fry

1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cloved garlic sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained
2-3 inches fresh rosemary and oregano
a few dashes of salt and pepper

put all togehter in large frying pan with 2 Tbs olive oil and cook on medium heat, stiring occasionally until potatos are soft and browning. serve over a bed of fresh spinach or quinoa.

makes 2 servings, total prep and cooking time 15-20 minutes.

today i went to the musée des beaux-arts de montréal with a friend. we went to the e-art exhibit. there were some really fun, interative pieces in it. Quebecer, Marie Chouinard's piece, Cantique 3, was SO much fun. i have never laughed so hard in a museum! if you're in the area, take time to check out the exhibit. it's FREE every day (as is the rest of the museum all fall)!

Friday, October 12, 2007


i tend to be a very future oriented person. i'm a dreamer, an idealist. i've got lots of plans. this has its advantages. for example i attribute my ability to work for something in the future- to set a goal and work towards it- as one of the primary reasons that i've had some amazing experiences...such as my studies and work in burkina faso, or my overall progress in learning french.
but quiet often, by focusing so much on the future, i lose appreciation for the present. sometimes, i start to feel overwhelmed with all the things i want to accomplish. today it got to the point where my head was completely out of the present and my thoughts started feeling very muddled.

in my attempt to un-muddle, i started making lists of my goals. goals for the present year only (although some of them will hopeful build bridges for longer-term aspirations). This is what the list turned into. too bad i didn't have any pencil crayons to make it even more crazy.

on to lighter yummier things...

i just took a big batch of orange-ginger granola out of the oven.
here's the recette:

4 cups oats (rolled or not)
1/2-1 cup nuts and seeds (i recomment pecans and pumpkin seeds)
1/2+ grated unsweetend coconut
1-2 inches of fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 veg oil
1/2 maple syrup

bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until it starts looking golden and a bit cripsy.

after its baked, while still warm add:
the zest of 1 orange
1/2-1 cup dried fruit (chopped apricots, raisins, cransins)
1/2 c ground flax seeds

makes 2 big yogurt containers full. if you don't eat that fast, you can freeze one of them for at least a month.

enjoy with yogurt as part of a beautifully balanced breakfast. mmmm mmmm mmmmmm

Thursday, October 11, 2007

sun shine in uptown waterloo

wish it was this sunny in quebec. its been grey and raining and cold since i got back.

enought of the weather, on to the classifieds: any one in montreal want to hire me?
i've dropped my CV at abut 15 restaurants in the last 2 days. tomorrow i'm hoping to get to about 10 or 15 more.

sports? well not exactly. but a had a yoga class tonight, its ashtanga style. it was a fabulous escape from the rain.

Monday, October 08, 2007

happy canadian thanksgiving!

a pelee thanksgiving wouldn't be complete with out a dip in the lake and some fire battons!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

tomorrow morning i embark for thanksgiving (or "l'action de grace" as the french have it) #2. after going through a plan B and plan C of how i am getting to southwestern ontario, plan D has worked out and i now have ride for 8am sharp tomorrow morning. my ride, found on craigs list, is taking me as far as toronto. in toronto i'm very excited about plans to meet a couple of friends for a late lunch at my favorite veg restaurant. Late afternoon i'll catch a bus to KW where i'll spend the night and the next day. and then i'll head down to the island

to have

oh, and maybe some of this, considering the locale,

with these fabulous folks

de retour monday evening, back in time for classes tuesday morning!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner, numero un

Potlucks are fabulous! Our appartment + 10 guests had a delicous thanksgiving dinner of: cinnamon summer squash soup, sweet potato rolls, roasted vegetable parmasan, nutmeg double baked potatos, turkey, stuffing, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, apple pie, pumpkin pie, wine, hot milled cider.