Thursday, August 27, 2009

Morning Run

I am in Vancouver, British Columbia...on the west coast of Canada for a workshop. This morning I woke up bright and early as I am still on east coast time (4 hours head!) and went for a run on the beach... this was the view!
I will finish my workshop tomorrow and then I am off to Victoria on Vancouver Island to visit my cousin that I have not seen in at least 8 years! I am excited to see her! I will post more on my adventures later...our break is almost over!

I hope you are all having a great week!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Yesterday was my 31st birthday and to celebrate Diego planned a nice big party for me! It wasn't a surprise party but nonetheless I was very happy with the idea!

So we invited about 40 people including kids. Although only half could make it we had GREAT time! We ate Mexican Carnitas (which means "little meat"), salsas, guacamole, frijoles charros (cowboys style beans) among other goodies that everyone brought! As usual we ate our fill an have a tonne is my mom in me coming out! ;)

Although, we told people not to bring gifts that just coming to the party was gift enough, I did receive some wonderful gifts!!
This wonderful bead set and instructional manual will set me up for making jewelry...which I wear a lot of...Diego thinks I was a crow in a past life! And a gift certificate from the GAP...the gift that keeps on giving! Not only do I get the surprise of opening it but to go shopping for a gift!!!
This soap dispenser was from Lisa and Andrew...they knew just what I needed to beautifully display my homemade liquid hand soap! Not to mention it is made in Canada and GLASS! Thanks!! :) The pottery in the photo was handmade by a very good friend and I am delighted to have a piece of her art in my kitchen! I will use it often!
Last but definitely not least was the gift Diego gave me. He bought me a gorgeous set of Labradorite (my new favorite stone!) jewelry (ring, earrings and a pendent)...the photo of the ring does NOT do the stone's beauty justice! Labradorite is a type of feldspar mineral in the plagioclase family that are a major constituent of the Earth's crust but this particular type of crystal is only found near Nain in Labrador, Canada.

The party lasted well into the night (3:30 am to be exact!) and we drank lots of tequila, laughed, told stories and played guitar. We were so happy that Hurricane Bill did not arrive as predicted at midnight! In anticipation for the hurricane, just before bed Diego and I raided the tomato plants for fear that we would lose them to the winds!
Now that the high winds and rain are almost over and our headaches are almost gone it will be time to get to the cleaning! Luckily, we had enough foresight and help from the troopers who stayed until the end to most of the cleaning last night!

Than you ALL for a wonderful birthday! It was the best b-day party in a long time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BBQ Pizza Care of Sherrie!!

So I tried Sherrie's BBQ pizza recipe and they were sure tasty!
The dough recipe made for four little pizzas but we found the crust to be too thick so next time we will make them a little thinner and likely get 5 out of the recipe. We had tons of variety. I wanted to make them all different and have on piece of each! Each one cuts nicely into 4 pieces so just enough for dinner and lunch for both of us!
The only thing they all had in common was my laziness...I didn't want to make sauce so I made them all "blanche", or with just a drizzle of olive oil and some salt. We tried a range of toppings, fresh herbs from the garden and cheeses. We both agreed that the one with the old cheddar and the other with Brie (second photo) were the best.

Highly recommended...definitely worth the extra effort to make the time I will make sauce! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Wonderful Sunny Day!

So, here I was thinking of working on my thesis chapter all weekend. It was supposed to rain and besides I NEED to get it DONE! However, I awoke Sunday morning to a beautiful sunny day that I just couldn't resist...I mean who could with an average of 5-6 days of rain a week since May!So I got up early and made Sherrie's (at Twenty-Two Pleasant) best bread ever (get recipe here) which need to cool off before what better way to let the bread cool than to go for a hike!!!
We went to Polly Cove, which is near Peggy's Cove, which for those of you not from NS is along the Atlantic Coast about 30 min drive Southwest of Halifax. It is quite a unique place. The landscape is called barrens. This is because it is really rocky with low lying shrubs in the areas where a very thin layer of soil has accumulated. There are a few trees but they are generally stunted due to the low amount of soil and large amounts of salt in the air from all the storms! The photo above is along the path in to the Cove.
This is the view of the Cove which is somewhat sheltered and had more trees. This was our view over our delicious lunch of hummus, pita, cheese and fruit. Check out the more exposed island on the right side of the photo...not a tree in sight.
This is the view of the very exposed peninsula we hiked to. The plants that do live there are quite interesting indeed. In the low lying areas where some soil accumulates it is quite boggy and nutrient poor so we have this carnivorous plant called the Pitcher Plant.
The leaves form a tube (redish) where water accumulates inside and the plant secretes digestive enzymes to make it a toxic mix for any unsuspecting insects that may happen to fall inside. How does it get insects inside you ask? Well some do just fly in for shelter BUT if you look closely at the green inner lip of the entrance there are fine downward pointing hairs (click on photo to enlarge and you will see this), so anything that lands on this part actually slips and falls in. This is how the plant supplements the nutrients it cannot get from the soil. Pretty cool eh?
It also happened that they were blooming and have really cool flowers!
The rocks were also covered in lichens. These are considered fungus but in reality are a mutually beneficial relationship between algae and fungus. The algae cell lives inside the fungus and photosynthesizes giving the fungus some of the sugars produced from harvesting sunlight in exchange for other essential elements and nutrients. The diversity of lichens is astounding...
The only bits of rock you see in this photo are the little pinkish bits, everything else (black, grey, different greens) is different species of lichens!

Once we finished our hike we headed back to town with a short stop at Chocolate lake (named so for the Chocolate factory that used to be on its shores) to take a refreshing dip. It was unusually hot at Polly Cove. Typically the South wind off the 12 degree Celcius water keeps the coast cool, but no breeze on that day!
We headed down to an outdoor concert and while listening to the music I noticed a huge fog bank just waiting to envelop us once the land got cool enough. So we headed down to the waterfront to get our ice cream before the chilly fog moved in....headed home and munched on some delicious bread while watching season 6 of The X-Files.

Have an excellent Friday! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Nice Visit.

Two weeks ago my parents drove from Ontario to visit for a few days. They came laden with things, some of which includes my baby photos and stuff for our numerous fish tanks. Needless to say we have been so busy that I just yesterday go around to putting it all away! Which was very satisfying since it was blacking part of our narrow hallway!
One of the things my mom brought for us was this beautiful hens and chicks basket. I absolutely love hens and chicks, they are so cute and their flowers so colourful and there is such a huge variety (as seen in the basket) that you can never get tired of them!
We had a lovely visit, we spent much of our time eating out, drinking wine and beer, chatting, and fixing the rust on my car (THANKS DAD!). We also went swimming in a little lake in the heart of Halifax called Chocolate Lake...not sure why since the water is so clear! On our last full day together we went to watch the Tall Ships parade in the Harbour. We got to see lots of beautiful Tall ships sailing around and had a lovely lunch int he park. The only day with real sunshine!
These were taken in the Parade in 2006...I forgot my camera this year!
I hope you are all having a great weekend! We have sunshine here, so I am off to enjoy it while it lasts! :)