Archive for September, 2009

Annual weekend of canning

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

beautiful downtown Sardis

I’ve just finished a weekend of epic canning and garden harvesting and my back and hamstrings are sore. Preparations for this weekend began last week with a trip out to Chilliwack to find giant cabbages where the above photos were taken.

The annual cabbage rolls and canning weekend lets me spend some quality time with my mom. My sister’s not very interested in most cooking stuff, so if it’s not jam that we’re making, she doesn’t take part all that much. She spent most of the day in bed sick.

Some years my dad has helped. Sometimes he helps a little too much and the time-honed recipe gets screwed around with because he’s thrown the contents of the fridge in with it leading to such unpleasant events as the Hungarian pepper incident of ’07. Due to the fact that we have no cupboards, there’s really no room for anyone so two people tripping over eachother was more than enough. He banished himself from the kitchen.

This was the first year that we’ve used the giant two quart jars for canning. Someone apparently picked them up a couple years ago because they were on sale. They were so huge that while I was filling them up with beets I felt like I was canning for the apocalypse.

I’m probably permanently relegating myself to spinsterdom by saying that one of my favourite things to do is cook and talk to people. It’s not super sexy but I look forward to having an entire weekend to spend cooking stuff that I will be eating all winter. There’s something about that that I find very satisfying.

My mom and I like to make up business plans as we’re working. Thinking through that stuff is far more fun than actually implementing it.

I’ve been toying with the idea of urban farming as a self-employed summer job. There’s a demand for that kind of stuff, and through sheer force of trial and error I have begun to get good at growing some things.

The idea’s not so crazy if you consider how abysmal I am at landing a summer job early in the summer and how poorly even the good ones pay. If I could keep myself motivated and ensure that some revenue was coming in regularly I think I would enjoy being self-employed.

Gardening’s another one of those really satisfying things. You get what you put into it. I like that.

back route to Chilliwack

Shouldn’t have gone for the whip.

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Deer Lake

Today has been a magical day in which somehow I’ve ended up with extra time to kill at every turn. Either that or maybe the fact that I no longer spend five hours per day commuting is finally starting to sink in.

I got to Waterfront early and had some time to kill so I decided to pick up a coffee from Starbucks. I have nearly three years worth of giftcards in my wallet but I find that for whatever reason the chain and I never seem to cross paths. You would think they’re ubiquitous, but apparently not.

The only time in my habitual travels that I seemed to have the opportunity to visit a Starbucks regularly was during my sustainable community development classes, and you don’t really want to be seen there with multinational franchise coffee in hand.

But I needed a pick-me-up this morning, and I had my commuter mug stashed in my bag so I got a pumpkin spice latte.

All went well until I tried to pop the lid onto the mug, turning the damn thing into a volcano of whipped cream. I slurped at it awkwardly so that it wouldn’t overflow. I repeated this process a couple of times, my ass hanging out in the foot traffic until the lid finally fit on.

I’m feeling a little ambivalent about my Monday class. The readings are interesting but the class itself isn’t quite… academicky enough for me. I don’t think I would have taken it if my dental insurance situation didn’t dictate the number of credits I need this semester for coverage.

In spite of that, I had a really good day. I finished it off at Deer Lake Park because why not? and when was the last time I went there just to wander around and not do something dance-related at Shadbolt? I can’t even remember. That’s how long.


Thursday, September 17th, 2009


I’ve been using my new location to catch up with a bunch of people that I haven’t seen in a long time. One such person is Kathy. Now that I’ve moved, we’re practically neighbours and I hadn’t seen her new apartment yet.

The move has completely transformed the cat. “I’m beginning to think I took the wrong one with me,” she said.

Apartment life has turned the cat into a tub. She’s gained at least six pounds and sprawled awkwardly out on the floor amid a scattering of unused toys.

Uncharacteristically the cat snuggled up between us on the couch and was (gasp!) friendly. She basked in the attention she was getting as clouds of hair wafted off her. She mewed.

The only time the cat has previously made any noise whatsoever was in the six weeks before the Seattle earthquake. “She’s really starting to creep me out,” Kathy said.

The cat fixed me with a blank stare. “Where did the aliens take you?” I asked her, but she didn’t answer. She stalked over to the window to watch traffic.

Those things that people do

Monday, September 14th, 2009


This is one of my roommates. She likes to get into my stuff but I don’t really mind.

On Saturday I was at a baby shower for a friend. Like weddings and other rite-of-passage events, baby showers are events that society uses to remind me that I am probably from another planet. If I’m not awkward, then I just don’t really know or understand what’s going on as people go through a series of rituals and traditions that are totally foreign to me.

And at no time is this more obvious then when the mother in law initiates the practice of making the mom-to-be wear a wrapping paper hat. The whole time the thing was being made I couldn’t really figure out why people were giggling in eager expectation. This is funny, why? Sometimes it doesn’t really matter why. You should just go along with it. It’s just another one of those things that people in your culture do.

Lucky for me there were a lot of people there, enough that it was okay that the small group of people I actually knew gravitated to our own place where we could hang out without spending a lot of awkward time interacting with second aunts of people we didn’t know.

The hosts had put a lot of effort into decorating and the food was pretty decent so overall it was enjoyable. I was glad to see that a lot of people were very generous and the mom-to-be got a lot of gifts that will hopefully help out a lot.

Sunday we saw All’s Well that Ends Well at Bard on the Beach. I enjoyed it but someone really needs to get Helena a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You.

New semester

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


If I’m not mistaken, this is the 17th or 18th semester of my undergraduate degree. If you’ve done the math and have come to the conclusion that that’s a long time to take for a bachelor’s degree, you’d be correct. I was going to graduate last year but some things got in the way.

The class I was in today was about communication to mitigate disasters. Our lecture today was about how everything is out to get you: natural disasters, weather events, hazardous materials accidents, diseases and epidemics, war, conflict and terrorism.

The scary thing is that reported weather related disasters have doubled since 1996 and insurance losses have been exponential. Yay for climate change.

Before class I went for veggie lunch with Abby. She’s been holed up in Maple Ridge all summer and now she’s excited to be back at school. I think school has lost a little bit of its lustre for me. I don’t really want to leave but it’s not really very exciting. It’s just something that I do, and will very predictably do well.

I feel like I’m on a different plane from everyone in my classes. For all my involvement in clubs and organizations, I don’t really feel like I know a lot of people there. A lot of the people I have met have moved on to somewhere else, and being naturally reserved I don’t really meet a lot of people. I’m okay with that, mostly.

For a while there SFU’s database had me stuck in that category where they assume that you have one foot out the door, or at least they think you should. I got all the emails about graduation and academic advising and the great registration dates.

Now something’s changed. Either it’s that I’ve finally clawed my gpa back up from the great brain mush that was 2006 or they’ve looked at me and decided that I’m not leaving so I may as well stay. Suddenly they’re inviting me to all sorts of grad school recruitment and scholarship stuff. I’m still on the fence as to what I want to study and where, but that’s the direction I’m headed, and maybe they can persuade me to make up my mind. We’ll see.

Waiting for school to start

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009


Well, nonstop excitement in my new neighbourhood. A gas station caught fire and two times this week there have been police parked across the street. Two cars, one of them a ghost car.

Then when I went to bring in the recycling that the city wouldn’t take because we’d apparently put it out wrong, the neighbour’s dog tried to bite my leg off.

Sounds horrible, eh? Well it hasn’t all been bedlam. Actually things are pretty good right now.

My roommate’s cat is from Quebec. I’m trying to teach her some English so that she’ll be bilingual. I’m not sure if it’s working yet. She makes a lot of noise but I don’t think she’ll ever lose the cat accent.

She seems to have developed a fascination with attacking my hair. She’s doing it right now, in fact. She’s been declawed so she isn’t doing a lot of damage. Mostly she’s just whacking me in the butt.

I’ve spent the day running lots of little errands, but because I live so much closer to everything I feel like I’ve squeezed twice the amount of stuff I’d normally do into one day and somehow have free time at the end.

Loose ends

Saturday, September 5th, 2009


I’m still moving. I’ve finally got all the big stuff moved, which is great because today the heavens opened up and it poured. No more strapping stuff to the top of the car like they do in that IKEA commercial.

I’ve spent the evening packing stuff into boxes and duffel bags. It’s actually been kind of relaxing because it’s nice to spend the evening in one place.

Today was the last day of my summer work term so I’m free until Wednesday. I’m not sure if I’ll actually fit anything interesting in during that time. I have too many little errands that have piled up.

Maybe I can finally catch up on some sleep.



Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009


I have to say that moving with just a car while you’re working full time and don’t get home until the evening is not exactly the most efficient way to move.

It would help if the car had a trunk, but since we were tail ended a month ago, we haven’t been able to get it open.

Not that that would matter all that much. I’d still probably drag my ass packing stuff up and being indecisive about what I want to take or in what order even if I had a big truck or movers. Of all the things I suck at, moving pretty much tops the list. Luckily I’m not under any serious time constraint. I figure I’m not really going to have most of my stuff there until Sunday.

I have some pretty awesome roommates who shampooed the carpet in my room today while I was away. I need to bring them cookies or something.