Friday, August 27

Update on Goals

There are none. I hit a snag a few weeks back and my motivation to do anything other than basic self-care and watch Criminal Minds diminished to almost nil. More relationship drama that I'm trying oh-so-hard not to be emo about but to be a grown-up. So I'm back on the goal wagon but not likely in time to complete them before I move back to school on Wednesday. The lagging goals also include my 10km stretch. Considering that it has been almost two weeks (TWO WEEKS! I need some motivation!) since I last ran (and I am pretty ashamed of this) I'll have some seriously stamina-rebuild to do. It is hard to explain why I need so much motivation to go running: I enjoy it (most of the time), I like the satisfaction of progressing in my 'training', I long for it when I haven't done it (ok just a passing wish not so much with the pining). Alas, it has been 12 days. This had better improve because I believe that I agreed to run a 5km race in mid-Sept. I thought a looming race was supposed to motivate????

Thursday, August 19

Worlds Collide

According to a list on wikipedia, these are the places in Toronto that make up Scott Pilgrim's world. I'll indicate where our worlds converge*.

Book 1

  • Toronto Public Library - Wychwood Branch Walk by this on the way to the house of a supreme blogging duo (will not name duo since this is referencing their abode).
  • The Rockit: This was a small venue for local bands in Toronto. Negative
  • Pacific Mall: An Asian mall just outside the Toronto municipal limits. Done. Undergrad at G-welf. Miss Sassy Spont and Miss Nay-peer took me on an Asian Adventure. We ate dimsum, we took cheesy photos in a booth, we played DDR.

Book 2

  • Sonic Boom: Nope
  • No Account Video: Nope
  • Casa Loma: Both the building itself (nope...sad!), as well as the Baldwin Steps, (check, ran these stairs with the talented JPD)
  • Toronto Reference Library: A distinctive 6-floor reference library. Do I even need to mention this. Of course!
  • Lee's Palace: A night club in Toronto, featuring local and international bands. Gloves and I witnessed an incredible concert by Mumford & Sons here in January.

Book 3

  • Honest Ed's: A large discount store founded by Ed Mirvish, a local businessman and theatre mogul. Check. Meather, Sprimmer and I scored some classic crap (77 cent Kim Cattrall flick on Global Cooling).
  • Yonge-Dundas Square: A large public square in downtown Toronto. Numerous times. Sighted almost daily.

Book 4

Book 5

Book 6

*This is based on the books and not necessarily on the film. Although it did have some classic shots of Lee`s Palace and Casa Loma along with a TPL location.

Tuesday, August 17

Wawa 2010

My uncle (Berd) & his daughter (Ace) stopped in on their spastic tour of northern ontario and New England (itinerary: Sault -- Wawa -- Sault -- Sudbury -- Ottawa -- Montreal -- Boston -- Hoboken). Since they would be passing back through I hopped in the backseat of their Ford "Exploder" and go along for the ride. Berd took us on a guided tour of the history of the area. I think he has fished, canoed or almost died just about everywhere. Even though it was mid-August, the rainy weather and wind churned up Lake Superior and brought it down to about 15 degrees ('it' being the temperature outside; I'm sure the water was even colder than that).

For the one night I stayed 'up north' I had the option of crashing in town or at my aunt and uncle's log home right on the shore of Lake Superior. Check. Waking up to have Long Beach (which really isn't very long) all to myself was not something I was willing to pass up. The lake has a history. For First Nations people, for the community and for my family. It is the lake that claimed the life of my great grandfather. It is the lake where my uncle caught the fish we had for dinner (smoked...drool). It is the shore that my family brought sand, wind and water from to my grandmother's bed in her last few days so she could feel like she was back in the place she loved the most. It swallowed the Edmund Fitzgerald. It is the site of the Ojibwe/Anishnaabe Creation Story.

This time it was where my cousins and I enjoyed a long sauna and at dusk, went wave-jumping until dark. At about 4 feet the waves still looked impressive but it was the undertow they created that was most dangerous. We swam only about 50 feet away from shore and, at times, you could walk towards the shore as a wave was going back out and end up further out to sea.

The rest of the guided history tour included one-lane gravel roads past the old open pit mine that supplied the ore to the cinter plant where my dad worked. After we abandoned the vehicle to terrible road conditions we continued to walk the mine road (eating blueberries along the way and encountering blueberry-stained bear poop) until we reached a blasted out portion to keep the locals out.

So much history of the area is lost as people continue to leave for bigger and better opportunities. This trip was a chance to put some of that history in my own head for safe keeping. Guided tour by the locals is the best way to experience small town Northern Ontario.

Sunday, August 15

Accomplishing Left and Right

A few weeks ago I set some goals for myself for this August (here). Two have been officially checked off: pie and the postcard to postsecret. Two more can now be made official: meteor shower and the unnamed item. The meteor shower was more of a trickle but definitely worth it. Out at Pancake Bay Provincial Park on Thursday the clouds rolled in and out all day and I nervously waited to see if the meteor shower would be visible. By 10pm it was dark and the sky was clear so we stationed ourselves on the (almost) empty beach and gazed upward. We should have researched some more constellations beforehand because there was lots of staring up. The meteors were so fast and random that they were easy to miss. Between us we could confidently identify the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia (thank you Serendipity). Until that night I had seen perhaps 2 shooting stars in my lifetime. I have now seen over 20 and each was a gorgeous surprise when it burned through the atmosphere. Around midnight it started getting cold, dewy and the clouds came back so we headed to the campsite (possibly beaming a little).

Other camping highlights: swimming in lake superior for the first time in years (3 times!). Being informed of swimmers itch after going swimming. Roasting sausages on the campfire. Building campfires. Hiking 5 km through spiderwebs to lookout over the great lake. Why don't I camp more? Oh, because everything gets soggy when it rains.

Wednesday, August 11

Pie Numero Dos

Apparently I'm not on a pie kick. Part of the reason is that mastering pie crust takes practice. Finding the best crust takes trial and error. In my pie research I learned that crust is pretty simple. It needs 4 basic things: sugar, salt, flour and some sort of fat. The fat is where things get fun. Traditional types include shortening, butter, lard and oil. The first one I made was of the shortening variety. This more recent crust is the butter family. It smelled so much more luxurious as it baked. The dough itself was rich (yeah, I tried the dough...). Apparently lard makes the flakiest of flaky crusts but I can't yet bring myself to use pure animal fat.

The filling is raspberry peach. Mostly peaches and a handful of raspberries. A whole of of sugar. Also read this (scroll down a bit) beforing attempting a peach pie. Who knew that you don't just grab a knife and start peeling them like an apple! This should come in handy for my next project (peach mango jelly).

As of this moment I can't comment on taste. But since that is the most important aspect I'll update as soon as I can.

Baker's Note: I'm never going back to shortening. It doesn't compare. The crust was so flaky the top was breaking apart and it had a hint of shortbread taste. I think I have found my pie crust recipe so now I can just perfect this one. The filling, according to the sister, resmbles spiced peaches.


Brownies and cookies in one magnificent pan of stupendousness. The idea came from here. Why have just one awesome thing when you can combine two of the most amazing desserts on earth? The gospel here is that YOU DON"T HAVE TO CHOOSE!

The recipe on the Bake at 350 website calls for box brownies and bag cookies. This isn't necessary! Whip up a good brownie recipe and then slap together some cookie dough and voila! It takes 20 minutes if you're quick (or if you have help.....ok are 'helping' someone faster). And maybe put some chocolate icing on top. Definitely put chocolate icing on top. I have changed your life, you're welcome.

Monday, August 9

Another Goal Down

This morning I checked off another summer goal: send a postcard to postsecret. It took me some time to actually think of a secret. I realized that the concept of secret is a relative term for me. Certain things are common knowledge with certain people or social circles and unmentioned in others. Perhaps I should work on my 'mystery' factor.

The secret is sent. I'm not expecting to see it on the website but I can check off something from my list and go on looking for more life goals.

Saturday, August 7

First Summer Goal

The pie. It might not have been on my original list but I added pie because being able to create a superb and flaky pie crust seems to be the coveted baking task. My first go was a berry pie (rasp, straw & blue).

The crust.
The filling.
--I took the liberty of modifying this crust after a tutorial pie session from Fancy Nancy earlier this week where she taught me some secrets. In addition to the recipe I added 1/8th cup brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp flour. The berries were frozen.

Positives: the filling is a bit tart but also sweet. Not runny. The top crust has a beautiful golden look that appears flaky.
Developmental criticism: bottom crust was too tough. This means that I'll likely try a different crust next time. I'd like to do a butter crust instead of shortening next time. The crust was also a bit overworked because I rolled it out once and it looked lovely but, alas, it was too small and I had to start over. Beware.

The Trap

My parents' house is a trap. Meaning that this is where I find junk food all around me and it gets trapped in my hips. At school I'm usually much too cheap to keep junk food around (although pop has recently been welcomed into my home on a regular basis....). Here food is love. And boy are we loved. The things that I currently want but shouldn't eat, in order of "on my brain".

1. (recently discovered) Oreo drumsticks in the freezer
2. Sister's birthday cake on the table upstairs (perfect to take mini slices off every time I pass by)
3. cinnamon buns on the counter
4. carrot coconut muffins on the counter (#3 & #4 were brought home by my dad from a local bakery even though there was birthday cake in the vicinity)
5. strawberry rhubarb pie in the freezer just waiting for an oven revival
6. granola (with chocolate!) on the counter
7. the pie that I am about to make

Not only is there a plethora of actual desserts but also potential desserts. All the ingredients I could want to check off pie and jam off my list of summer to-dos. Add Finnish Coffee bread to the list because I don't want to lose my touch. Must lock self in room.

8. half a bag of mini-eggs on my closet shelf

Friday, August 6

A New Low

Actually, this isn't that low, just sad: I cried at the library today. In serious need of some library time (even though I have about 5 books already on the go and they are going slowly). The library is a refuge and sanctuary for me. This was my first visit since, you know, (aka. attempting to ruin my own life) but I knew that I would have to return eventually. I stopped by while running errands (Happy Birthday, sister) and my stomach started to wiggle as I got closer. In charge of my emotions I opened the familiar door and strolled in. I got a friendly greeting from one of the staff that I knew from *before* but opening my mouth basically set me off. Making it through the obligatory social niceties I disappeared into the stacks. It wasn't a full out cryfest but just a few tears. I found my books and received a death stare at the counter.
1 - pleasant greeting
1 - deathstare
4 - books

Tuesday, August 3


Approximately 78 minutes ago I arrived at my parents' house for a month of vacation. I mentioned all of my grand plans a few posts ago. This is about a first that wasn't on my official list: I bought a bikini. Yikes! Technically it isn't a true first because I owned a rainbow one at the age of 7 that I begged my mother to buy me at the Northern Store. My more recent one is (I think) a bit more sophisticated in a dark brown with some autumn-leaf-coloured jewels. My biggest problem right now is actually wearing it out of the house. I think I could pull it off if I spent all of my time either standing or laying down without transition time (and no sitting or bending at the waist for any purpose). This somewhat limits my range of motion. Perhaps it will act as a motivator for the next few weeks to boost my running that has dwindled from 4-5 times per week to 2-3.

On the topic of swimwear, I've recently found a new waxer*. She will forever be my waxer: foul-mouthed, hilarious, chatty and great prices. If only I could afford to employ her full-time. A less painful solution could be the personal laser hair removal system for just $500. Costco sells them. (of course they do). It only has to be used every 2-3 weeks so, conceivably, it could be split about 10 ways and passed around to make it much more affordable. Honestly, it would become my new hobby as they say it takes about 8 treatments spread into 2-4 week increments.

And, jumping back to running, I haven't updated in a while. A few weeks ago I set a personal best on an early morning run: 29 minutes for 5km. It felt glorious. Potential setback in the making though after yesterday's development of a sore heel. It seems to hurt only with walking and not running so I'm hoping that I can keep up the (lax) regimen I've been on. I've taken to wearing the fivefingers around town to promote walking on the front part of my foot, away from my tender heel. I'm still supporting the weird-looking shoes.

*I subscribe to the view that hair on women is meant to be removed. I realize that this isn't the most enlightened view or the one most free of male oppression but I am wholly indoctrinated and truly believe in the evils of the hair follicle anywhere other than a few select areas.