Friday, November 30, 2007

i haven't brought my bike in for the winter yet. optimistically, i was hoping that there might be one last warm spell before winter really set it. actually, mostly its just i've been too lazy to carry it up the 3 flights of stairs to the storage room. so, this afternoon i i was running a bit late for class, and it was sunny, so i figured, why not use my bike one last time before december?
well as a descended from the plateau towards the mcgill getto, the sky started looking less sunny and the wind was ripping at my ears. i peddled as fast as a could, wishing i was walking and generating more heat rather than losing it. anyways, i made it to class on time.
however, when i got out of class an hour an later there was about a half inch of snow on the ground. and when i went to unlock my bike, my sturdy U-lock was frozen solid, i could hardly get the key in. to make a long story short, i walked home, and my bike is still sitting on campus.
any suggestions of how to unfreeze a u-lock would be ever so appreciated.

bon weekend!

Friday, November 23, 2007

its been a busy last couple of weeks- starting the new job, keeping up with the other job, finishing up last papers for the school term, and working on MIE stuff. i just haven't had much energy to write something interesting or reflective on here. so, how about another recipe? i made this one up myself! tell me if you think i should make some adjustments.

spicy sweet potato fries
- 1/4 c+ olive oil
- 1/4 c maple syrup
- 1/2 t cayenne red pepper
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t salt
spread over
4-5 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
make sure that all potatoes are coated, if it doesn't seem like enough, just add some olive oil.

bake/broil on high heat (400) until golden brown and crispy on outside and soft on inside. turn them over ever 5-10 minutes. should take 30-45 minutes to bake.

p.s. congrats saners!!!!!!!!! josiah is beautiful. i can't wait to meet him a boyne!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

smashing the fluffy pink duck

no, it wasn't real. yesterday was my housemate amy's birthday, and normally on housemates birthdays we make a meal or go out to eat. but amy said she wanted to drink beer and smash a cute pinata. this was a brillant idea. we had a blast!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Home-made Yogurt!

Nothing goes better with a bowl of home-made granola than home-made yogurt. Oh my my.
Making yogurt is about a scientific as I can get. I’m talking sterilization, bacteria, monitoring temperature, incubation…
No, actually, its pretty simple.
1. heat milk to kill any existing bacteria. I recommend putting your pot of milk, inside a pot of water which you place on the boiler, less risk of burning. Heat it 180 degrees F.
2. let milk cool down to between 110-120 degrees. Add 1/2c powdered milk if you desire thick yogurt.
3. next add, in a jar put several Tbs of fresh, plain yogurt (or from your last batch). Add a couple Tbs of your warm milk. Mix. Then add the rest of your milk. Mix.
4. heat your oven to about 125 degrees, turn it off but leave the light on. Put in your jar of milk + bacteria.
5. Now give your milk some privacy, the bacteria are basically going to have a big orgy and reproduce like there’s no tomorrow. In about 6 hours, they’ll have transformed your milk into delicious yogurt!

For more detailed directions I recommend consulting this fabulous wiki how page .

And as always, I recommend organic, hormone free milk form happy free range cows.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday, I spent the afternoon at a brainstorming and planning session of MIE (Mouvement Intercultural pour l'Environment). MIE is a new non-profit org that was envisioned by several workers at Éco Quartiers . In Montreal, each borrow has an Éco Quartiers that serves to educate constituents of recycling programs, provide composting materials, do environmental education and conduct workshops on environmental issues. MIE was created because several Éco Quartiers workers felt that environmental education is often not culturally sensitive and applicable for different cultural communities in the city. Here is MIE’s noble mission statement:

Intercultural Movement for the Environment is an environmental non-profitable organization that aims to incorporate culture as a part of environmental thinking, and integrate environmental consciousness in all cultural communities. Our role is to provide a platform that allows for active dialogues and exchanges of knowledge between all stakeholders, and at the same time, foster home-grown environmental culture. We welcome diverse points of view, ask for cultural and political sensitivity from all members, and place emphasis on communication.

I see great value in the mission and aspirations of the organization, and I’m really excited about its potential! It seems like a perfect fusion of my interests of anthropology and environmentalism. So I jumped right on board- I have taken the position of Secretary for the brand new board of directors of MIE. It should be a fabulous experience of learning how starting a non-profit works, reflecting on and promoting environmentalism and multiculturalism, and getting to know a diverse group of people who have similar interests to me. As secretary one of my tasks is getting/keeping the MIE blog updated. So check back there soon to hear about our plans and up coming events!

Friday, November 02, 2007

what does a language assistant coordinator do?

This has been a busy week for the MA Language Program . It has been registration week for the next 6 week session of French and English classes. This means that we have certain times when new student can come in. They complete paper work, take a written test and then spend 5-10 minutes chatting with a professor to determine which level they should be placed in (we have 4 levels). My job in all this was preparing and copying forms and tests, information to hand out, registering students in classes once their level was determined, taking their money. Once all registration was finished I’ve been entering all the data on students into our database and making attendance sheets and the like.
The MA program fills a special need in Montreal. Although there are lots of language schools around, many of them are targeted at business people and aren’t very affordable. Likewise, the adult education commission has some great programs, but these are not available to those without permanent residency. The MA program is fairly unique in that all of our teachers are volunteers. Therefore prices of classes kept low, at only $65-85 for a 6 week session of 8 hours of class a week. We also offer a substantial discount for refugees, only $25 a course with proof of status.
I really enjoyed work during registration this week seeing the broad demographic of students joining the program. There is such a diverse group of people both accessing the service and volunteering to make the service possible. A large majority of students enrolling are Mexican, but beyond that I registered Haitians, Chileans, Cubans, Sudanese, Algerians, Guineans, Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Americans, Canadians, French, Columbians, Brazilians… such diversity must make for interesting classes, as most of the classes are conversations based. Furthermore, many of the teachers are immigrants as well.
Overall, I’m finding it to be a great job. I get the opportunity to work in primarily in French, interact a variety of people, see the inner workings of a non-profit and the hours are quite flexible. Definitely better than working at McDo’s!