Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Official!!!

I can actually let the cat out of the bag now!! I have known since last Thursday that I GOT the teaching job at DAL!!! I wanted to wait until I got the letter in my hands before announcing it to the world and I got the letter today. I have already written my acceptance letter and will hand deliver it tomorrow! I will start my new job on Tuesday August 4th (the 3rd is a Holiday in Halifax). So to celebrate I decided to make one of my fav. super calorie loaded dinners! Not good for the waistline but good for the soul! It is really easy and dates back to the days when I barely knew how to cook (at least 6 years now!).

Potato and Onion Perogies with Fried Maple Bacon and Onions (oh yeah gotta love maple bacon!)


1 package of frozen potato and onion perogies (around 30 perogies - here I use no name brand but you can use whatever brand/flavour you want)
1 medium onion coarsely chopped
300 - 500 g of maple bacon (or regular bacon but be sure to drizle a little real maple syrup on it, the sweetness is wonderful)

Coarsely chop bacon and onion and fry together until golden brown. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add frozen perogies.
Once they are floating in the water they are ready to be added to your golden bacon mix. I definitely fry the whole lot at once in the bacon grease (not for the faint of heart!).
Once the perogies have been browned they are ready for your plate. Garnish with grated extra old white cheddar and sour cream and enjoy!!!
I used to eat this at least once every two weeks (how did I stay thin?) because it is easy and delicious but now it is relegated to once a year! I guess it could be a side dish if you only eat a couple...this lot will actually make dinner for us tonight and lunch for tomorrow. I cannot see myself eating 15 in one sitting...or can I! :)

I hope you are all having a great day!!!! I definitely am!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Update and a New Friend!

The interview went well yesterday. Thank you all for your kind wishes!

I was pretty exhausted when it was all over. It was 45 mins of questions and I felt good leaving the interview but you always think back about things that you should have said. Luckily, there weren't too many of those. I think overall I did ok for my first interview of this sort. Even if I don't get the position, it was great experience to know more or less what to expect next time. Anyhow, now there is more waiting... I should know sometime next week!

On to our newst addition to our plant collection!!
It is a 35 year old cactus (anyone know what kind?). It is 75 cm (or 30") tall and 45 cm (or 18") in diameter! It is so heavy that it took BOTH Diego and I to carry it up to our apartment. We covered it in a blanket to minimize the number of spines we got in our bodies! However, we were still picking many out of our hands with tweezers after re-potting it!

So where did I get said cactus you ask?? For FREE off Kijiji. This lovely lady was advertising it as a piece of Nova Scotian History! She was moving her father to a new location and they couldn't keep the cactus and wanted to find a suitable home where it would be appreciated and well cared for! So being the plant lover that I am I couldn't resist. So I sent her an email with a link to my blog and I think with all the photos of my plants and gardens she decided I was the one!!! :)

So here is the story. The cactus grew from a piece of Joseph Howe's Granddaughter's cactus. For those of you who are not up on Nova Scotian History. Joseph Howe was the premier of Nova Scotia from 1860-1863 and fought against the Canadian Confederation from 1866-1868. After failing to persuade the British government to repeal the confederation he became part of the Federal Cabinet under Sir John A. MacDonald. In 1873, he was appointed Lieutenent Governor of Nova Scotia but died after only 3 weeks in office (for more info click here).
Now back the the granddaughter...she lived near what is now Penhorn Mall in Dartmouth. The government expropriated her house to build the highway. Having to move, she decided to donate her cactus to the museum. The sister of the lady who gave me that cactus worked at said museum and took a cutting of the plant 35 years ago and now here it is, quite a lot larger chez moi! I think it is pretty cool! Diego is not a fan of cactuses given that he lived in an area where they are THE plant (desertic area on the west coast of Mexico) and has been pricked many times in his life, but given the history of this one, has welcomed it into our home!

So we dicided that given its history and sheer girth, we need to name it...any suggestions?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

30 minutes and counting!!

I have my interview in half an hour. I am super nervous but totally excited all at once!!!

Time to go practice my 10 min talk one last time....

I will catch up with you all very soon! :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Delicious Sunny Lunch (with a side of rant)!

Friday was one of the first days that we had sun here in Halifax!! We have been almost an entire month of rain, cloudy skies and fog. I really like the cool weather, my fish tanks and most of our gardens especially appreciated it, but our petunias did not.

So to celebrate Friday's Sun, I made myself a delicious lunch to enjoy on our patio. Here is what I made.Can you see the cherries in the salad?? It was delicious!!So if you are wondering what is all in my lunch... The lettuce is this beautiful purple romaine that I got in my organic food box this week. I just added some cherries (quartered), pecans and unripened goat cheese. For the dressing I sprinkled on a little salt, drizzled some olive oil and Fig Balsamic vinaigrette (President's Choice). Simple and delicious. The wine was Banrock Station Unwooded Chardonnay.

Up until this point everything was perfect! I had just found out that some repairs to my car would only cost $200 rather than the $2000 the dealership originally estimated (always get a second opinion!) so I was ready to bask in the long awaited sunshine when the neighbour started up his lawnmower!!!!!!
So here comes the rant! I just have to say lawnmowers are the bane of my existence. This is the BIGGEST reason I do not like living in a city. At any point during the day, every day of the week you can hear the wh+ine of a lawnmower or weed whacker and there is always a chorus when we are about to sit down to eat. I wrote my Maters thesis at home 4 summers ago and even during the day there was always the sound of lawnmowers...I think people secretly came home on their breaks to mow their lawns!!!

I often think we should have a lawnmowing bylaw, where people have allotted times during the week where they can cut their grass so that MOST of the time you are FREE of having to listen to these sounds. Everyone complains about the parties the students in the neighbourhood have BUT they have them like once every couple of weeks, nothing compared to the drone of the lawn tools!!!

I think the by-law is a good idea but really, why do we even have to have lawns??? Many people in the neighbourhood have turned their front and backyards into low maintenance perennial gardens. They flower, look beautiful and there is no need to have a gas powered noise maker to trim it back. Plus is adds diversity to the landscape, which is WAY more interesting to look at. It provides pollen for the bees and homes and food for a variety of animals and insects. It really is just WONDERDUL!!
Alternatively, let the grass grow!
This is what we are doing while we are slowly converting out minuscule lawns into perennial gardens. The grass is filled with clover and other native flowers and ground covers that are great food and habitat for so many organisms and are massacred when you keep it so short. Plus, Kentucky blue grass (the typical lawn species) needs so much water and fertilizer, which wastes so much water and pollutes our coastal ecosystems with excess nutrients from the fertilizers leading to all kind of problems. For example, algal blooms that lead to decreased oxygen in the water that can kill fish and really make the water stink like rotten eggs!!! This can lead to things like the "dead zone" at the mouth of the Mississipi river.
The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone: blue is oxygen rich and red is oxygen starved.
This area is so starved of oxygen that NOTHING can live there. Granted this dead zone if from intensive large scale agriculture BUT any fertilizer contributes to the problem (think about the number of lawns out there!!!). Check out this link to NASA and this other link for more information about the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone and dead zones in general. The impacts of nutrients in coastal ecosystems is what I study and we are dumping so many nutrients that we are changing the food webs and jeopardizing the ability of these ecosystems to store carbon (bad for climate change), cycle nutrients and provide habitat for organisms of commercial and non-commercial value. This is all VERY bad news for US, not just THEM.

So I say down with lawns (and lawnmowers, associated greenhouse gases and impacts of fertilizers...I haven't even mentioned pesticides...but I won't go there today)!!!

As I sit here and reflect on my post I realize this might offend those who love their lawns and I am sorry for that, I hope you will forgive me! I would love to hear about your thoughts on lawns, what they mean to you and why you love, hate or are indifferent about them.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I want to say THANK YOU to all of you for your kind words and support during this exciting time!! I also wanted to share a surprise that I discovered yesterday... I haven't been to my office in at least a week...maybe more...due to the application and house drama...but look what I found when I went into work yesterday!!
My Very First Pay-it-forward item! So what is inside the gorgeous packaging you ask...
A beautiful handmade pottery plant plate and fish charm! Thanks Teresa!!! I don't know how you knew that the only plant that didn't have a plate has this exact colour on it and is the right size!!! How Perfect!! The charm is the sweetest and I am excited to find it a suitable chain! :) I promise all of you on my list to start getting to mine very soon...

Also, remember my veggie garden? This is what it looked like two weeks ago...look at it now!
Everything it growing like crazy!! We will son have some swiss chard and cherry tomatoes to harvest!! I love the tomatoes in salad or just right off the plant...growing your own food is so rewarding!

Thanks Again!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Life lately and a wonderful Canada Day!

Life has been really busy and very exciting lately. On Tuesday I submitted my application for a teaching position at Dalhousie University!!! The position is for an instructor for a second year Ecology lab, which is right up my alley!!! If I get the job, I think there is also some potential to mold into my dream job! Not only do I love teaching, but I love working in the Biology Department. The people are awesome and it really is the people you are surrounded with that determine your quality of life! Also, Diego and I LOVE Halifax, the city itslef and the people, it is a great place to be and raise a family, we really want to STAY!! So all in all, I am really excited about this position, it gets us on the right path...I will find out by the end of the month and keep you all posted!!!
Here I am with the students from my Intertidal Ecology and Diversity class this passed May!

We are also talking to our landlord about buying the house we are living in!!!!!! Our house is located right near the University (walking to work is so important!!) and in a very sought after neighbourhood so the houses are pretty expensive. The only way we could even contemplate living in this area is by having an income property where we can use the rent from one flat to help pay the mortgage...which is exactly what our house is...plus we live in the smaller flat so we would make quite a bit more on the rent for the main floor flat... We are kind of waiting to see if I get the job before really commiting to anything. Luckily, we have a wonderful landlord that really likes us and wants us to buy it, so he is willing to wait.

Last but definitely not least!!! We celebrated Canada Day with some new friends!!! We had EcoYogini and her fiance over for dinner last night! We ate great food, drank copious amounts of wine, missed the Halifax Fireworks but cheered to Canada over a sipping tequila!!! We had a lot of fun getting to know each other and I see a great friendship blooming! Thanks guys for a great evening and Diego and I are already looking forward to our next date! ;)

Wishing you all happiness today and everyday!!!