Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ode To The Lemon by Pablo Neruda

Untitled, originally uploaded by veggy.

Ode To The Lemon by Pablo Neruda
From blossoms
by the moonlight,
from an
aroma of exasperated
steeped in fragrance,
drifted from the lemon tree,
and from its plantarium
lemons descended to the earth.

Tender yield!
The coasts,
the markets glowed
with light, with
unrefined gold;
we opened
two halves
of a miracle,
congealed acid
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
born of the cool, fresh
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.

sliced a small
in the lemon,
the concealed apse, opened,
revealed acid stained glass,
oozed topaz,
cool architecture.

So, when you hold
the hemisphere
of a cut lemon
above your plate,
you spill
a universe of gold,
yellow goblet
of miracles,
a fragrant nipple
of the earth's breast,
a ray of light that was made fruit,
the minute fire of a planet.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Vancouver development vs. Art

Pink clouds, originally uploaded by veggy.
You can not be in Vancouver and not talk about how freaking expensive it is, and how much property costs. I have been a renter, and a home owner that has benefited from this 'boom', and I have felt really weird about it. I have started to figure out what is going on here though, and went to a Big Mouth talk last night on the topic of Art and Real Estate paneled by some amazing local architects, developers, business owners, and artists.

The conclusion that I see is that it comes back to the city. The city need development and and developers come in and market themselves in a way that is attractive to the locals with cool images and links to all the places you can eat and drink in the area but in actual fact what the building is doing is driving out the very people that make that area indeed 'cool'. Artists most of the time can't afford to live in fancy new places, that in turn cause an increase and demand in the area that turn the run down places to jack up their rent as well and the spiral starts.

The city supposedly has a committee that oversees who gets to build where but what we have seen in Vancouver is that everyone is building the same stuff. Cheaper and cheaper glass boxes, which one day will need to be torn down because there is no effort made into making something that will last. Anyone with an eye for design or quality can see right through these projects and know what the majority of them are 'crap'.
The market is taken up by investors and realtors (don't even get me started on realtors! A system that allows these very easily trained people to become the richest people in our city is one of questionable ethics and positioning) purchasing new builds and then selling them at a profit, making a quick buck, something our government has deemed non taxable profit. Who wouldn't take advantage of this? Most other rich people in Canada (or government employees) take their off shore instead, but why bother when you can buy a condo and do it for free above board!

When the city agrees to put up a condo they do also take a percentage of the profits to use it towards new schools, parks etc, which supposedly they are falling behind on. All these new condos have gone up and I have not heard of any new schools?  Also what is being forgotten is a reinvestment into the arts. What makes any and every amazing city in the world, world class is the arts. Art is what keeps us on the pulse of the vibrance and energy you can feel in a city. A city like Portland has implemented a mandatory arts tax, and our city should be looking into this is well. But how does this help keep artists living and working in the area that they want to live and work in?
Subsidized housing, Co-ops, renting were all brought up, but it still won't be enough. Developers need to work with the artists to bring in real interaction not just marketed bull. The city right now offers four live/work in or subsided housing situations for four year patterns. This number needs to be increased to 40, or 400! Maybe take part of that inflated realtor fees and put it towards an live/work program. Imagine a program that housed and nurtured artists in our community? How much that would change our landscape of our city. The restrictions and bureaucracy of our representative and there inability to act upon anything because of outdated red tape policies need to be thrown out. Archaic rules that give people jobs to jump through hoops could be replaced by just making decisions and actually doing things. Keeping city workers in jobs to shuffle things from A to B instead of really making change is something that needs to happen or else we are going to end up a city that isn't progressive on the world scale. If we can learn anything from Europe and the countries in bankruptcy is that creating work based on old rules and not having outside monitoring of what is actually going on in these offices, and the constant increase of there own wages will eventually bankrupt us as well. Our system needs an overhaul, not just on a city level. So where do we start?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Wild rose cleanse done!

Well the last few days were pretty easy but I did end up cheating by drinking one small beer and had a tortilla, and both times my stomach hated me.
I celebrated today by eating a delicious gluten free muffin from my favorite new cafe called Cafe for Contemporary Art, and black chai tea. I thought I would feel more satisfied by choosing these options but they have actually lost there power of me.
The idea of eating something that is heavy and that would satisfy me, wasn't there. I just kind of feel heavy and malnourished. We'll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 9 of the Wild rose cleanse

Well I am definitely feeling more energetic. I started the day with steel cut oats and what I thought was to much cinnamon but it was actually much better.
I did cheat today knowingly though. I had a burrito, with a wheat tortilla. It made me feel like crap. My stomach got upset and bloated, I couldn't concentrate on what I was doing anymore either. Does this mean I have a wheat intolerance? That could explain months of eating white bread and having a bloated upset stomach. I guess it seems quite clear now but I was hoping that wasn't the case.
I enjoyed a coffee with almond milk. I drank tons of water. I feel really thirsty the last few days. I am loving green tea again for the first time in awhile, mainly because I rather drink black tea.
I came home and made veggies & tofu sauteed in coconut oil, cumin, almond butter, salt and chilis. Coconut milk was added at the end. Topped with Chia seeds. Served on a bed of bulgar. I would usually add a tablespoon of maple syrup and raisins to this but it seemed sweet even without it and I will skip that addition from now. Now that I think of it I didn't have any sugar cravings today, which might just be a miracle! 3 more days to go.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 6-7 of the Wild rose cleanse

Good morning from Bowen Island!, originally uploaded by veggy.

Good morning from Bowen Island! I have been at my parents place for the last two nights which has left me hovering around their fridge. My mom keeps asking me what I am staring at. I am basically reading labels to see if I can eat anything.
I feel pretty done with this cleanse. I have run out of ideas, even though I have used up most of their container of Bragg. Bragg just might pull me through the next 5 days. My mom thinks that goat cheese, dried cranberries, and vinegar should be on the cleanse and that they are good for me.
I went for a nice walk yesterday to the golf course and back. My energy levels are feeling up, and I am pretty sure I have lost some weight, how could you not! I feel lighter overall and will try and keep up the discipline. I made chia pudding yesterday with almond milk, but it really doesn't taste that exciting without a bit of maple syrup. I am definitely trying to find something sweet to eat but strawberries are my only refuge, oh and popcorn.
5 days to go!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day 6 of the Wild rose cleanse

Today I didn't wake up hungry but forced myself to eat oatmeal with strawberries, hemp seeds, and almond milk. I wanted to eat before I got to yoga class. Yoga was really nice, and gentle and a perfect start to the day. I came home famished though and ate a ton of popcorn while I baked a potato and boiled two eggs. While this was happening I had a conversation with my friend and how eggs are chicken abortions. This basically ruined my appetite for my eggs and I threw them out because I couldn't do it. This has happened to me before, and it's a fine line for me and eggs. It is easier if someone else prepares them usually, but when I start thinking about things to much I just can't eat it. This is partly why I don't eat meat (next to the environmental and love of all living things).
I ended up at my parents place this evening and snacked on more popcorn. My mom made a dinner of salmon and salad, which was really nice. I rarely eat fish but west coast salmon that my mom makes is pretty hard to say no too. Being at my parents has brought about my cravings for cheese since there fridge is stocked full of it. It is not been apart of my cravings at all. Todays cravings consisted of a big heavy breakfast. Weekends are a brunch fixture for me. I am officially half way done and am running out creativity. I finally got the Wild rose cleanse cookbook and learned that I should not been eating the loaf I made with the flour so I have donated it to my parents sadly. This week I am going to make a lentil loaf and a stew and hopefully make it till Friday!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 5 of the Wild rose cleanse

Quinoa pasta with avocado sauce, originally uploaded by veggy.

Today I am feeling much better in terms of cravings. Maybe because I hate a whole bag of strawberries!
Breakfast I had some my leftover pumpkin loaf, I snacked on an apple with almond butter. I went out for Soup of black bean and vegetables and had to say no to sour cream and bread that came with it. The strawberries have been amazing but they cost me $8! and they aren't even organic. I know I live in a northern climate where these fruits don't grow. Dinner I cooked up some Quinoa pasta I found in the Whole foods bulk section. I made a avocado sauce with garlic, onion, half a tomato, and olive oil. It hit the spot. Feeling pretty content. It has been raining non stop here and I haven't felt motivated to get soaked outside for a walk sadly. I am feeling pretty normal today. It is the weekend though and it is tough to even consider going out. I am missing my black teas a bit. One week to go!

Day 4 of the Wild rose cleanse

Moroccan breakfast, originally uploaded by veggy.

A lot of people ask my why I am doing a cleanse. I noticed most of my friends that do cleanses used it as a quick diet technique (which we all know doesn't work). I have spent the last year living in Europe, and six months of that time the only breakfast option available was white bread and butter, or in some countries a crepe or croissant. When I returned back to the UK addicted to white bread, my stomach was bloated and I was exhausted. I told myself when I got home to Vancouver I would do a cleanse to remove these sugars and whatever else I have been carrying around from my diet. So there you go. Of course losing some weight would be great but the feeling of removing toxins from my body/gut is the ideal goal.
Breakfast today was a smoothie of spinach, pear, and strawberries. Lunch I met my step dad at Whole foods and ate a few items from the buffet including a nice lentil sweet potato stew, kale, and some tofu.
I had a coffee with almond milk, after a day off from it I realize that I can take it or leave it, but still cave when I am in a cafe.
I snacked on guacamole and corn chips.
And after much research and desperation I bought some brown rice flour, purreed pumpkin, carob chips to make a loaf which I sort of ate for dinner. I was out till late and came home hungry and snacked on sweet peas and hummus before sleeping like a rock. 8 days to go!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 3 of the Wild rose cleanse

Cinnamon oatmeal breakfast, originally uploaded by veggy.

Well Day 3 is over and I have to say the cravings were quite bad today for sugar and fat. 
Breakfast consisted of oatmeal with cinnamon, sliced apple, hemp seeds, and hazelnuts.. really could use the maple syrup.. but only 9 more days to go! I went for an hour and half moderate hike which was tough but felt good in the end. A girl on the trail had broken her ankle and I had to wait with her till the North Vancouver fire men could rescue her and carry her off the trail. Just another day in the North shore mountains. Ate a plum right after the hike. I came home famished and made a 2 egg scramble loaded with vegetables (onions, peppers, tomato, spinach). This didn't seem to be enough so I ate a few cups of popcorn. 
I was exhausted and had a nap which isn't like me, but it felt like I needed it. I woke up hungry and had 1/2 an apple with almond butter. For dinner I baked a potato and ate it with some homemade guacamole with tomato, onion, garlic, and olive oil.  
I skipped the coffee today, and drank lots of herbal tea. My stomach has been really sore, I could really use a belly massage.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 2 of the Wild rose cleanse

Soaking almonds, originally uploaded by veggy.

Today has been totally fine.
Breakfast of oatmeal with cinnamon, strawberries. A hard boiled egg before lunch. Lunch was corn tortillas with black beans, tofu, and coleslaw, fresh salsa. I had another coffee with almond milk, still don't know why this is on the cleanse. Snacked on a plum. Dinner I made brown rice with steamed veggies (broccoli, peppers, onions, garlic) and topped it was some soaked almonds and tahini sauce.
My stomach was a little upset after lunch but nothing crazy.
I am still craving muffins or treats but fighting the good fight! haha.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 1 wild rose cleanse detox

Day 1 wild rose cleanse lunch, originally uploaded by veggy.

So I am finally doing it. It has only taken me about 10 years to actually convince myself that it may be a good idea to do this cleanse. I have always lacked the discipline but after spending the last 6 months in western Europe where the only thing I could eat for breakfast was white bread I figured it was time. The last week I have cut back on dairy, I didn't buy any cheese but was eating my daily yoghurt which I finished before I started this cleanse. I stocked up on veggies to snack on, hummus, almond butter, almonds, salads and the fruits that I am allowed to eat (berries, apples, and pears).
I took the drops and the the pills and didn't feel anything for a few hours but have felt like my head is being crushed all day. I had a breakfast smoothie of spinach, strawberries and apple this morning, lunch was a bake potato stuffed with garlic, salt and pepper, and I used hummus to dip it in. Snacked on sweet peas and sliced red peppers. I went out for a coffee and had almond milk with it.. that felt like a treat. I really wanted to have a muffin but fought the battle on that one (for now!). I crashed early though and had dinner at 5pm of brown rice, spinach, hazelnuts, avocado, cucumber, with light dressings and seasoning. I just had a plum for dessert. This feels pretty healthy. I have already had to turn down two invites to go for drinks, even though I rarely drink but that is ok. I did some hula hooping and yoga for fitness and I felt ok. 11 more days to go!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What I will miss about London

day off in Hyde park, originally uploaded by veggy.
Early closing pubs
Hamstead Heath, Victoria Park, Hyde Park
Zombies on the tube
So much ART! and appreciation of Art.
Amazing cafes (mainly owned by Aussies&Kiwis)
Southbank & Barbican & The Tate
The different hoods
Cycling on the Canals
Drinking outside and it's not a crime
V&A cafe
Cheap flights to everywhere! (almost)
So many people having layover here

Ok you get the point. I will miss this place and I will most likely be back soon. ox

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Best of London Coffee

Monmouth coffee, originally uploaded by veggy.

 In no particular order, here are my faves of the year..
Monmouth Coffee
Grind Coffee Bar
Climpson and sons
The Counter Cafe
The Pavilion Cafe
Food Lab
Look Mum No hands!
Workshop Coffee

Saturday, January 12, 2013

this is not the place

upload, originally uploaded by veggy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

To be a Moroccan

morrocanlady, originally uploaded by veggy.
In'shallah or god willing is thrown around more then amount of sugar that is added to the mint tea in Morocco. It was only up till a few days ago that I realized why I wasn't sleeping well, because they actually add macha green tea to their mint tea, shipped directly from China.. where else! Overdosed on caffeine.

Traveling in Morocco is like traveling back in time. The horse and buggy are still popular modes of transport even within the cities, and I don't think they will go out of style either as they are effective, and non polluting, compared to the thousands of scooters that rip in around the medina of Marrakech.
Traveling in Morocco has not been easy as women, or cheap. It actually has been more expensive then both Spain and Portugal, and this is staying in low budget riads and hostels and eating vegetarian food. There are prices for tourists and prices for locals, and if anyone is going to make some money it is the Moroccan. The women here tend to do all the backbreaking work, mind their children and husband. While the men sip tea and try to hustle tourists once in awhile and are often considered lazy by the modern arab women. To be an arab man in a arab world. What a different place to grow up where men learn as children that women (including their moms,sisters, aunts, friends) are second class citizens, dogs, or even prostitutes when this could be farther from the truth. The Koran is full of contradictions (as are most religious doctrines), but it often says to honor your wife and your female children, and if you are lucky enough to have three female children you will go to heaven..guaranteed!

If the women of Morocco went on strike boy would the men be screwed. As a tourist this makes it almost impossible to even engage in conversation with men even out of friendship or curiosity over their culture because the assumption is that you are a prostitute, and supposedly there is a market for gigalos in the beach towns which really doesn't help any ridiculous stigmas because I am sure many men use prostitutes. One of my hosts told me that they had to open a brothel in his town in order to decrease the amounts of rapes that were happening in his village, and he said it seems to be working. It obviously is a deep rooted problem, and most men's first experiences are with each other, which doesn't seem to be frowned upon. So the experience here becomes about keeping your head down and ignoring the mostly inappropriate and sometimes humorous comments by young children to senior citizens that come from just going out for a walk .
You have to be on guard all the time sadly. A Moroccan won't steal from your pocket (they will gladly take your items if you drop it though), but they will lie through their teeth to get you to buy something that is almost all the time not genuine materials at prices that you could easily scoff at. I had a juice seller try and take 30 durham extra (3$ euros) and wouldn't give me my change and held up a whole different sign with different prices on it even though every single person in the square has the exact same prices. I had to yell at him to get my money back. Who likes yelling for anything, but he was hoping I would just give up and walk away. Not very zen I know, but its the principal, and its not right, and I am will not be taken advantage of.

Bargaining is part of the 'game' which is tough when you don't know where to start and people have been swindled into buying all sort of 'stuff', mainly rugs. The markets in Morocco here are full of 'stuff' or I would like to call crap. Even the many kind hosts I have stayed with think it's insane how much tourist items there are here overflowing at every corner. It is really hard to get a decent price and most items can be found cheaper at home and are probably better quality.

One nice thing was that Morocco seems to be a family destination with many people traveling with children of all ages. This isn't something that I would have imagined but why not I say, even though if they were looking for a bargain it isn't going to happen. Riads (Morrocan designed home with the open courtyard and terrace that keeps the heat out) range in price and often work well with families. They tend to be taken over by Europeans and managed by Morrocans. All our experiences with our hosts have been lovely. Most of the time they would meet us out of taxi and escort us to the Riad, sometimes they would drive us 10+km out of the Todra Gorge (from Auberge de Festival = amazing place), and most of the time they gave us the best and most honest advice which is a contrast what you find outside the Riad in the streets where people want 2 Euros for pointing the way back to the square.

As a women who loves to travel and loves to intermingle with other cultures, Morroco is a tough one, and is sadly not my favorite place even though in my last 24 hours I am feeling slightly nostalgic. I like to travel to places where at least you can make friends and not be considered a prostitute. Life is to short to be on guard that much, and it has really made me grateful for my home. I have always wanted to come to Morocco and I am glad I got to see it but my experience isn't something that should push you away from traveling here, but the reality of it was much less romantic and more emotionally challenging then I envisioned.

Everyone I have met when I told them from Vancouver would almost automatically say "Oh I love Vancouver", and I would ask "Oh have you been?" Most people would say yes, but many would say No, but I really want to go, I hear it is beautiful. I have never in my life had so many people tell me how much they love Vancouver (they don't know about the overpriced condo market ;)). In Vancouver you have fresh air, space, cleanliness, efficiency, and people that care, and some really nice people. I didn't realize how respected Canadians were till I went on this trip (and I have been all over the world). It makes me proud that we are so nice, and I look forward to the easiness that comes with being home in a few weeks.
Much love from Africa. xo