Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life Without Television

Now that I've been without TV for a bit, I'm feeling embarrassed that I kept it for so long. It wasn't always this way. I went for years and years without it, but after a period of time of the Mister working evenings I broke down and ordered cable to keep me company at night. The evening work has long since passed, but the habit stuck.

I tried to watch intelligently, choosing what I filled my eyes with as wisely as I could. I subscribed to specialty channels I thought might be better quality than others (although BBC Canada turned out to be an utter disappointment. Of all the great BBC productions out there, what's with the constant and repetitive real estate shows? I thought that's what HGTV was for.)

I tried to watch critically, challenging the messages advertisers kept driving home. Apparently I adopted the habit of my great grandmother Blanche... talking back out loud to the TV. (One of my charming quirks, I'm sure.) I was resolute that the urgency to buy would be railed at by me.

It's quite something in retrospect how much energy I put into steeling myself against the box. And now... it's gone... all that internal struggle just to get a little entertainment is over and it feels rather fantastic. I don't need to justify out loud to a screen why I won't buy things. I'm finding my own means of keeping myself entertained. I'm reading a lot more, listening to and playing music, sewing to my heart's content. And instead of talking to the TV, I'm having great conversations with the cats, the raccoons and the birds in the trees.

Some habits are harder to break than others!



P.S. Blogger... if you're out there listening, like the lovely Janet at The Gardener's Cottage, I am not able to leave comments on my favourite blogs and it's bothering me to no end. I'm not even able to leave comment on my blog! Very frustrating... because I like being conversational when people take the time to leave me a message. Please fix!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Culinary Traditions

I'm a little late on this post. Time has just gotten away from me lately. A slight shift in the weather and suddenly the garden is requiring attention, the home improvement projects are demanding completion and the bicycle is calling my name on a daily basis. Let me tell you about a couple of Sundays ago...

One thing I regret about my eating habits is that it makes it hard to indulge in some of the food of my husband's cultural background. I married an Italian with a momma and aunties who were wonderful cooks. It wasn't just general culinary skill with them, but an expression of a place and a time. They grew up on a farm near a coastal village and cooked the food of their region with the ingredients abundant to them.

Since my last visit to Italy I've made some adjustments to the things I eat... I gave up meat by choice and wheat by circumstance. My amazing husband, despite having no food issues of his own, has gone along with things without complaint. An Italian who will eat rice pasta for me? That is love!

I thought the fella deserved a Sunday dinner like the ones he grew up with, so I spent the day cooking modified Italian recipes, invited friends over and had a great time. I made pasta puttanesca, eggplant parmigiana and a big bowl of roasted peppers. I even whipped up a tiramisu made with gluten-free ladyfingers. Sadly, I missed getting a photo of it.

I strangely enjoy the challenge and creativity of cooking within limits. Give me a vegan friend or a lactose intolerant one to cook for, and I'm delighted! My own limitations have been actually quite enjoyable to create around. In fact, I enjoyed this dinner so much I think this will become a regular thing. I better learn to make polenta!



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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tweed Ride

Get ready for a photo-heavy post! The long awaited Tweed Ride Victoria took place this past weekend. Even with a last minute date switch from Saturday to Sunday due to an iffy forecast, people came out in droves. I heard it estimated that there were nearly 200 of us riding. Not bad at all for the first such event in our fair city!

Victorians made a great showing of it. I was so impressed with the thought and care people put into dressing for the occasion. I can be counted on to be a little over dressed for any occasion but this time I think I found my tribe. I so wish I had captured better photos. I'm not quite coordinated enough to ride and shoot well!

And it wasn't just the clothing... I've heard this said about other tweed rides and found it to be true. They seem to bring out a certain graciousness in people. It was so nice to ride along making conversation with some of the kindest people I've met anywhere.

I'm thrilled to learn there are plans in the works to hold another ride in the Autumn. I'm dreaming up outfits already!



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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Which the City Grows Up (and I Do Not)

I spent last weekend on the mainland, visiting with my two dear, dear, dear friends. It's shocking how the months pass and how people I used to see every week or so, are now visited every year or so. I love that we can pick up where we left off... that somehow in the fast-paced and changing world we are a constant, us three.

Our constancy is in sharp relief against the evolving city that is Vancouver. It is a place I once felt I knew all the ins and outs of. It was my playground, my teacher, my school. In my mind it remains quite frozen and yet to go back and visit... well, I feel as misplaced as the new girl on the first day of classes.

Vancouver of steel and glass, I once knew your bricks. I ruined heels on your cobblestones. I knew the street musicians and the places in which to slip into the after hours. I knew your docks, under-bridges and your unseemly secrets. I knew your kind strangers too. For all the wandering I did, I knew your safety.

Downtown sports a bright veneer of world-class, post-Olympic-ness. It's all so... developed. But outside the centre of the city you will still find some neighbourhoods fairly unchanged by the glare of 'urban planning'. The course of my young life can be charted in chapters, block by block on Main Street. I spent a happy afternoon here with my dearest two this past weekend, exploring shops and conjuring memories.

At Barefoot Contessa I found a long, flowing calico dress for summer. It's trimmed with tatted lace and looks vaguely prairie-like... much like the dresses I loved as a girl. I'm a true product of the 70s in that way... I went to kindergarten (in the same neighbourhood as the shop, actually) with a girl named Meadow. Oh how I coveted her Gunne Sax-like dresses!

Funny thing... these days I seem to be pursuing the things that would make my 5 year old self the happiest... my bike, my calico dress and time spent with my best-est friends.



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