New post

Well, here I am again. I did not mean to be absent for so long, but alas, I was. I hope that I’ll be able to keep more regular posts for a while.

My new-found inspiration for writing this blog came from a book called “the happiness project” by Gretchen Rubin. Some of you may have heard of it before; I was introduced by a member of a creative writing group at the library that I went to last Saturday. The book chronicles the year in the life  of the author as this mom of 2 delves into the idea of “happiness” and, more to the point, how she can live her life in a way that allows her to be happier. Okay, so the whole idea might sound a bit “gimmicky”, but I am finding it to be on the whole, an encouraging, enjoyable read. Check it out! (she also is on Facebook) If you are looking to read a book that encourages you to get off your butt and do some things around the house, and perhaps change your habits, this is a good one.(well it did that for me anyhow)

The creative writing group and the book club that I joined at the library will hopefully get me to write, read and experience things that I otherwise would not. In other words, challenge me and stuff like that! I currently have considerably more free time right now, so it will be more of a challenge to write later. So far the book club has gotten me reading; I’ve now read 216 pages of the 245pg novel “The Forgotten Garden“, by Kate Morton, which I am quite enjoying. A girl, found on a dock in 1913, raised by the people who found her; a girl told that she is not who she is; a woman searching for her past and a woman tracing back her grandmother’s search…all combined to make an interesting tale.  If I could, I would love to write stories one day, and I believe that regularly meeting with like-minded people will greatly assist that goal.

In other news….well, in December, I went on holiday with my bf Francis and we could say that we saw 5 english speaking countries in less than 3 weeks. Those being, Canada, USA, South Africa, Mauritius, and England. Quite a trip, quite the experience! Jam-packed full of fun events, commuting, minor stresses and great food. More on this another time…dun da dunn!

Lately, I’ve been hibernating from the chilly Canadian weather indoors, though its been more often than not warmer than typical winters here. Poor dog (oh yes, the house is now occupied by German Shepherd. Completely, from your nose to your toes, its there. Dog. Hair.) ..poor dog has not been walked nearly as I’d planned before he came to the apartment. Oh well… On the other hand, I did get and follow through with the inspiration of ice skating. I saw people skating and really had the urge to skate so I went on good ‘ol Kijiji, and found myself a pair, then went to the local park where they’d flooded a patch for skating. Well, I knew I wasn’t THAT good of a skater, but I’d forgotten just how little I knew. Result: falling on my knees several times. Ouch! Knee is blue for now, but it was totally worth it because I love the gliding feeling of being on the ice. Speaking of gliding…I’ve been more or less learning salsa dancing in the past few months. I say on and off, because it certainly has not been consistent, however I have learned quite a bit. Here is a link to a vid of one of the places I danced in Capetown…. The guy is John Morrison, owner of Que Pasa and a great teacher. I had one private lesson from him and I felt like I learned a lot in that short time.

Well, I think this will end my first post in a long time. More to come! (Soon!)

Peace, Liz

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Craft fair, travelers and more on the house.

Well, this blog is due if not overdue, but I fear it will be a bit shorter than I would like it as it is getting late, and I won’t have much time to complete it. So…on to the interesting things.  My week has been quite full, if not overly exciting. There are a few highlights that I’ll share with everyone on here. Since my last blog post, (which was just posted tonight, but was written at least a week before) I have hosted a traveler from the Netherlands, gotten a visit from my Aunt and family, went to a U2 concert, and this weekend, went to a craft fair in the park just around the corner from me where my Aunt had a booth and hosted her for the nights while the craft fair was on. I have also managed to get a bit of house organization done…but not that much. Today, I got pretty much everything out of the sunroom, moved my papasan chair and set up my laptop at a little desk. Now, I think I’ll be spending a fair amount of time here as it is quite nice. It is surrounded by windows, most of which are open, subjecting my not objecting self to the fresh breeze and light patter of raindrops drifting in. I’ll enjoy the papasan chair to curl up in with a novel; a couple days ago I picked up “The Seeker”. a fictitious story of a young woman in Civil war era US who ends up joining the Shakers for a while.. The novel held some interest for me; I like historical fiction, and I liked the characters in this book.

Today, at the craft show, I got a pair of flip flops that are made African style, using recycled tires and leather, with beads for decoration. At only 15 dollars, I got a pair as they nicely happened to fit me. I had been looking at these sandals by Sole Rebels. Not quite the same style, but similar in that they are handmade using recycled tires. I like this idea. Plus, they seem very comfortable, and the lady assured me that they stand up to much use by women in Africa who walk long distances. This lady had come from Kenya to study accounting in New Brunswick, and her husband was the artisan who made the sandals and also the jewelry she was selling.

I also got a chance to sport fly-tied earrings made by my cousin who was also selling his wares along side my aunt. 

Wedding, bike trips, food, and house decorating

Wow, as usual it has been a long time since I have blogged any.  I hope to be doing this more regularly from now on(doesn’t everyone say that at least once?) and perhaps set a day aside that I post something, say Sunday evenings.  The reason for nor blogging more is not a lack of time, desire or topics…it is usually because I end up sidetracked and more often than not wasting my time somewhere like facebook.
I will just give a quick recap of what has been my summer up till now. I don’t mean for this blog to be simply a public diary, but sometimes a little background info as to what is going on in the blogger’s life is interesting as well.

In June, my room mate got married, so a lot of my extra time had something to do with that. It was really fun; I planned a little bridal shower at a local historical house for her. This was my first time planning any sort of event whatsoever, so I was pretty pleased that it all came together. I did leave inviting people a bit last minute, so not every one came, but still a decent amount. I did a bit helping to get the reception site for the wedding decorated. I thought lupins would make a good showy flower as they were in bloom and plentiful at the time. I was in the wedding as a bridesmaid too, so that was exciting and also new for me. It was a beautiful wedding; the bride released swallowtail butterflies in the park during the photoshoot which made for some cute photos with the bride and butterflies on her dress. It was a coolish day, so they had no desire to fly away right away.

In July, my room mate was preparing to move into her new house with her new husband, so the house was in a somewhat messy state most of the time. I took a couple weekends to go away. The first weekend in July I went to visit my parents and my aunt had a BBQ for everyone which was nice. The next weekend, I packed up my bike and went down to Hopewell cape for some camping. It took me about 4 hours to get to the camp site, me taking my time and stopping a couple times on the way.  That was a very nice weekend; I met a couple nice couples at the campground. One of them gave me extra blankets, which were gladly received as it was a cool wet weekend. The second couple were from Tasmania. I had a nice long talk with them about various topics during which I discovered that the man used to live beside my Granddad in Westbank B.C. ..small world eh?  I got to see the Hopewell flowerpot rocks, which I had not seen, even though I’ve been living in N.B. for 15 years. The next weekend I didn’t do any overnight trips, but I biked to Parlee beach in Shediac  which took me almost 2 hours each way.

This past weekend was mainly filled with helping my room mate move in to her new house. I now have  a spacious 2 bedroom apartment to myself for the time being, until I decide to get a room mate. I will probable be blogging quite a bit about decorating in the near future. I hope to have it looking mostly the way I want it by September.  I will post lots of before, during and after photos. Here, you can see the living room during the move and now how I quickly arranged everything yesterday. At least I have one peaceful room in the house, even if the others are chaotic at the moment! 🙂  I would like to make one of the rooms into an artsy type room where I can put up artwork, pictures of things and quotes of things that inspire me. This room could be used for dance, exercise, crafts etc.  The front sunroom I hope to make a cosy reading nook with plants and chairs and some art. This is what my room mate and I were planning on doing with the room a year ago, but because of various things, never really happened.  I also hope to paint the bathroom at some point. As you can see HERE, right now it is white on top with this rusty orange bottom. I like the color, but I feel that it would look better with a color change. I was thinking a light sandy brown on the bottom and a light green on the top part. Does anyone have any ideas?

I haven’t been cooking as much as i would like to, but here: are some dishes that I have made in the past month or so.  The first image is a pasta salad I made with some veggies and  imitation crab; it was actually pretty good, though I did add a bit too much onion. The second is a salad I had with sautéed sausage and mushrooms, I believe..   I just finished making a chocolate cake, but I won’t post any photos, because it wasn’t the greatest. I was in too much of a hurry ( I don’t have patience when it comes to waiting for cakes to cool!) so the cake fell apart a bit as I was taking it out of the pan. I cut it in two and put a layer of fresh strawberries and banana in the middle and then iced the outside with chocolate icing..we will see how it tastes tonight at bible study. Everyone continues to love the weekly cookies I make. Every batch is different; I never really know what I am going to end up with. I throw things together that I think would taste good together. Some batches turn out better than others, but they always seem to get eaten either way!

Well, thats it for now, but I’ll keep posting on how the re-decoration is going.

Peace and blessings to all!

~Liz

Sushi

Ok, so this post was supposed to be posted before the last one. I thought I had, but I guess I had only gotten as far as uploading pictures…….

Well, a couple weeks ago I decided to attempt making sushi. For the record, I could count on one hand the few times I’ve eaten sushi. The first time I tried it was at the market a couple years ago. Then I had it a couple months ago from a sushi place downtown..and just a couple days ago for my birthday.  But my sushi making came before that, so it doesn’t even count in this case… In any case, my exposure to sushi has been very limited. I think I only found out what it was a couple years ago, and I’ve never actually tried anything with raw fish …  This time, I made a simple vegetarian version.

Sushi is actually a very broad term, including many different variations on sticky rice with other ingredient(s). There are many different names for the varieties, but what I made was just the western “California style” roll. I made some ” Uramaki”  style, which means the nori is on the inside of the rice roll, surrounding the veggies, and some the traditional way, with the nori on the outside.

First, I gathered ingredients…I bought nori sheets, avocado and rice from my work. I took several shortcuts..I didn’t use actual sticky rice; I just used short grain white rice and made it moister than normal. I didn’t have a sushi mat either; I made do with a bamboo placemat with saran wrap on top.

My sushi..ok, so they arent professional, but I thought they turned out pretty good considering it was my first attempt at making sushi 🙂

They were really simple to make. I toasted the nori over the element on the stove (being careful not to touch the element) for a few seconds until it turned green.  I made the rice by adding a bit of vinegar and sugar after the rice was cooked. Then I spread a thin layer of rice on top of the sheet, leaving 2 inches at the bottom and one inch at the top uncovered. I then placed a line of julienned avocado, carrot and cucumber (the carrot and cucumber was steamed for a minute or two first) down the middle. Carefully, I rolled everything up. It wasn’t hard actually. The roll was sealed by wetting the remaining inch of nori and sticking it down.  This completed the roll; and the only thing left was  to cut it. Each roll makes 6 pieces, and so beginning in the middle, it was cut using a knife dipped in water and vinegar. Then each piece was cut into thirds.

My first couple rolls of sushi, displayed in the steamer I used for the veggies.

Ta-da! My first attempt at sushi was finished!

One usually eats this sushi with wasabi sauce, soya sauce and pickled ginger. I only had tamari to eat with it, but it was still delicious…   They tasted almost as good as the other sushi I’ve had, but I think i put too much rice; the rolls were a bit too fat. I now know that you are supposed to eat each piece in one bite (with chopsticks).

New growth all around

Hello!

Well, it has been a while since my first post. I’m not sure how much of a topic I should have before I post, so I wait and wait for the right time. Not to mention motivation…with me this is something that only comes in bursts; I either have it or I don’t.  I wish I could spread it out more evenly!
Not much has been happening lately.  I am still in my same routine of working, sleeping and minor tasks such as cooking and doing dished (no matter how much is cooked or whose been around, there always seems to be plenty of those), reading and going for the occasional bike ride or walk.

I love walking and being outdoors, though mostly my outdoor time consists of my 5 minute to and from work. As I was walking home today for lunch break, I enjoyed the church-bells announcing the noon hour. I live in a predominately French Catholic city, so there are churches on every corner. They are rather loud, and for the people who live close they must be somewhat irritating at times, but I rather like them. It makes me feel a bit as though I’m in a medieval town, where the church bell chimes to announce the hours and services. (Yes, I’m a fan of most things medieval- ok, so not chamber pots, death carts and the like {briing out your dead!!}).  The bells  were loud, stirring and spoke to me of life and activity.

Well, in other news, I may be getting the whole apartment to myself soon. Right now I live with one adult and one toddler; a month ago it was 2 adults and one toddler. By June or so I (hope) I will have the whole house to myself to decorate and use as my fancy takes me. I am excited about the prospect, and enjoying imagining what each room could be used for.  I want one room to be mainly open; I imagine putting music on and dancing when no one is around. It could also be used for yoga or other exercises. I want the sun porch room to have plants, books, a comfy chair to curl up in with said books, and my desk and computer would go in there as well. A nice, cosy place to be in alone. It does get cold in the winter time, so i don’t know how that would go…  Oh, and the kitchen, living room and bathroom would stay about the same I think; with new furniture though of course. I’m not sure what I would use the dining room for (that is currently converted into the toddler’s bedroom)..perhaps a dining room? Original, I know 🙂 I hope that I will be able to actually keep the house up, that it won’t become too much for me to take care of in addition to work and my French course.  Ah, yes: my French course! I decided (for the 586th time…) that I REALLY want to learn French, and this time I took the step to enroll in a beginning French course. Its 2 nights a week for 2 hours each night. It begins this Monday, and I am really anticipating it.  Since I live in aforementioned predominately French city, I find it frustrating not to be able to converse with customers in their language of preference. I’m tiring of answering “Parle tu Francais?” with “No, sorry…”.  Most people are extremely accommodating and quickly switch to English, but there are a few who really aren’t comfortable speaking English.  I’m a bit envious of those who are bilingual. Why not learn another language? Not only is it stimulating to the brain to learn something new, but French is spoken in many regions of the world, including parts of Europe and Asia….

With that I think I will conclude this post by saying “bonsoir!” and leaving to finish somethings before bed. 🙂

Hello world!

Bonjour mes amis!

This will not be anything particularly intellectual, informative or witty. I’m simply writing to encourage myself to write. I hope to post a variety of topics-from a good recipe or something interesting I learned lately to how I feel at the time. I am looking forward to my journey of discovery; both self and otherwise. I’m also looking forward to sharing it with you, my fellow readers. If you are reading this, I thank you for taking your important time to read what I have to say. I hope you won’t leave feeling you’ve wasted your time, though if you do, you can’t say you weren’t warned. 🙂