Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What is Dirty Blister Infection?

I have a hole in my foot. I am not sure if I got around to mentioning the blister a super cute pair of shoes from Le Chateau happened to drill into my heel? Since I haven't been interrupted by a florist delivering me your sympathies I will assume not....

The blister isn't THAT large. Well, perhaps the size of a quarter? How about the size of a dried apricot procured at Strictly Bulk on Bloor and Ossington? Anyhow, blistered my ankle be. I covered it almost immediately (which may be my problem), but noticed that by Sunday night it was warm, red and signing its own rendition of some really great Broadway tunes (okay - as an aside, there is the CRAZIEST woman on Jeopardy right now!!)

I decided that rather than have my foot swell itself right out of my Birkenstock or deny me one more afternoon without my cyclefit class (I admit to having cycled on Sunday when I should have taken a day of reprieve) I would head over to the Christie and Bloor Walk In Clinic. I was ready to wait an hour (or four), but I was actually the only patient and was seen within five minutes. After a quick (and totally unneeded) groping by the Dr, I was treated with BOTH a cream and an oral antibiotic (so Roger, I think you were wrong, this thing COULD kill me).

I am quite sure that this expensive duo is NOT vegan, but I have to say that my moral fibre is not willing to do a full investigation at this point - I want my leg. Is that terrible? Is that bending to the unavailability of vegan first-aid/antibiotic formulas?

The shoes that I thought I had gotten a fantastic vegan steal on ($29.99) seem to have now cost me around 80 bucks once you work in the cost of the medicine, the bandages and the now unwearable shoes.....but hey! at least I got felt up by the doctor! Excellent.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

PlowPeople - Vegan Style

The plowman's platter has always held sway with my tummy - not for the cheese, meat or bread so much as for the aesthetic of little food chunks so sweetly compartmentalized on your plate. I also really dig the idea of its tradition. Vegan's aren't likely to find options to their liking in the plowman's platter: at least not in most conventional eateries, but when has this limitation stopped me from satisfying my own foodie desires?

With a beautiful day making it impossible to spend even a meal time of one hour suffocating between four walls, we found our way into the heart of St. James' Church (the corner of Church and King). Prior to making our way over to the church we spent about 45 minutes exploring the offerings of St. Lawrence vendors. It was when we spied the giant roasted-garlic-stuffed olives and the sundried tomoatoes that we knew our lunch was going to be of the sampling variety.
We eventually settled on the aforementioned olives, and tomatoes, but added to this some artichoke hearts, blueberries, cherries and a lovely little apple. I must admit that to this lunch there was also a string of intensly hot 'pepperoni' (which of course I passed on).

With our food and forks in hand we made our way over to an inviting bench and spent two hours admiring the dresses of mother's of the bride and making plans for an upcoming trip to Montreal. The lunch was a perfect little compliment to the bites and bits of conversation shared in the church's garden, so eloquently called: God's Garden.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Monastic Rice Pudding Party

While penning (or keying rather) this post I am enjoying the second podcast in the Medieval Studies Series - which is researched, written and read by some fellow who has the most excellent medieval-my-real-name-is-Beuwolf kind of voice. It is excellent. A great friend to the delightful desert I managed to portage all the way home from the Carrot Common.

The Carrot Common, which use to be known more simply as "The Big Carrot" has gone (in my opinion) from being a homey, authentic-like healthy/organic/Earth-minded shop to a scrubby version of Whole Foods. Gone are the dreadlocks, gone are the millet crusted cookies, and welcomed are the gentrified yuppie-puppies who are scanning through my bulk raisins wearing their LL Bean Hemp shirt with their eyes plastered with a fake smile that shines through their 240 dollar Alfred Sung specs. I know this is a cynical review. I know. I am just finding myself frustrated with the commercialization of a lifestyle that I think is important and essential to the world we are destroying. Organic, wellness, health, yoga, digestive enzymes - all of these things have become buzz words that sit next to latte, apple, lulu lemon and Volkswagen. Being well, being vegan, 'going' organic has all become precious and elevated. I want the healthiest and most organic to be available to everyone or none. Damn it.

Health and wellness should not be a pop label. Rather, more like a Gregorian chat - deep and pervasive and lasting and, in a most monastic way, available to the lay, to the most indigent to the most feeble.

Let's get on this.

After my rant:
Let me say that the Carrot's own brand of vegan rice pudding is quite good. Although, personally, I would have gone without the maple syrup and apple juice. I might just have to try this weekend and see what I can whip up for myself.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I can't make them. I have a couple that need tending, and like my back garden, I am full of intentions and plans and exciting little crops of goodness; the weeds and erratic nature of the environment is weighing down hope for clear path making.

I had an interesting experience happen to me on the way to yoga on Sunday night. It was one of those moments where you aren't quite sure how to act, and you are afraid that your gut feeling might be misplaced or just down right Conservative.

I had taken my mac to the shop and actually had it fixed FOR FREE, by a wonderfully quiet and knowledgeable man at PCUSED (a great little shop on Bathurst and Dupont), and decided to go straight to yoga following the rebirth of my laptop. Good idea - get there a bit early, maybe do some more cardio (because the two hours in the morning wasn't enough). However, good intentions...blah know the idiom. Taste of Little Italy was robbing me of a quick path down College and I had to trudge (and it did, given the heat and hoards of people, feel like trudging) my way down about 10 blocks before getting to the YMCA locker room. But! I still had a few moments to spare before yoga. Rather than jumping on the elliptical, I ran across the street for a soy milk - Starbucks...why do you charge me 3 50 for warm soya milk - and Lyndsay...why do you pay for it? Anyhow, as I reached for the door I was cut off by a man who I had seen in the coffee shop on numerous occasions - yelling, screaming and causing general raucous. It was clear that he had mental illness of some variety. No problem. However, on this hot Sunday afternoon, the fellow stepped in front of me and blocked my entrance to my soya milk. I tried to dodge around him, no luck. I asked him to move, no luck - he kept staring at me accusingly. I think I was invading his sanctuary. Fair enough. But I wanted a drink. I asked him a couple more times to move, in a fairly pleasant manner, and than....than he lashed out and tried to punch me! Whoah. Not expecting that. I got a little nervous, backed off and waited for him to head off. Afterwards I went inside and spoke to the manager who informed me that they were trying to get him off their property but were having difficulty.

My thoughts are this: If he had hit me - he would have been in a lot of trouble. If I had been someone else and he had hit me, he might have put himself in danger. Shouldn't he be removed from the streets because he is a danger to himself and to others? But this is the ugly blurry line that I can't decide is making me a big asshole or not........When is someone a danger? When does it become an issue of social responsibility? Does everyone have the right to freedom even if it means that they are potentially setting themselves up for harm? And if they do not have the capacity to understand that potential who gets to decide this, and than of course the larger answer - who is given the responsibility to police this?
Of course there are obvious cases that need little moral or ethical stomach knots in order to come to a clear answer - if someone is in a state of mental understanding whereby they feel it acceptable to punch, kick, bite, try to have sex etc, every single person who comes their way. That doesn't give me as much mental trauma to come up with the thought that they need intensive and special treatment. But, what if, it is just the odd attack of the yoga soy seeking girl at the local coffee shop? BUT - what if that yoga girl did not have her chakra's lined up and was a tough cookie who hit back and knocked any offending fist slinging person out? What then? The initial fist slinger is putting themselves in the way of peril and yet they are either not aware or not caring....what do we do??? Hmmmm.....I just will have to go and try and fight my way to some more soya milk to come up with an answer.

Sharing that didn't help me in my road to decision making, but it did waste some time. Good.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Another Look: Four Years Later

I trekked back to Hamilton in the back of my parent's speeding sedan. With riotous tales of early morning robberies as my auditory accompaniment I watched the world of Hamilton whip by. Four years ago I left it behind, even when we returned it wasn't with the same intention, even when we hadn't actually left I was out the door. Sometime around Locke and Stanley, but definitely by the time I started stealing the mini-van for trips to the back of your warehouse. I was already gone.
After a brief stop at the Rockingham Hotel (now affectionately known as "the scene of the crime") we made our way down to Il Fiasco to celebrate a number of family happinesses - Emily and her acceptance into Trinity One, Mom's promotion, Father's Day, Anne Marie's Birthday, Matthew's 90, and my new job. I selected Il Fiasco tonight for a couple of reasons.

1) I am all about self-deprecation and I had some of my WORST dates ever in this now expanded eatery (read: Spinach in teeth)
2) I absolutely hate the owner and was looking for a fight
3) I wanted to check out their new dinner menu
4) I wanted/needed to go back to the scene of my own crime.

Emily and I hit Goodness Me, while mom and Rick grabbed our reservation (though, upon walking in at 7 pm, we realized that when dining on a deserted island one hardly needs to make reservations). Goodness Me was a bit disapointing, although I did grab some organic nanners and 2 for 5 rice milks.

The waiter appeared to have done a few lines of coke in the back room before making his way to our table. His discomfort was tangible at first, but, after what I assume was a few more tokes off the prep table, he loosened right up.

The menu hadn't changed much in the four years since I had started (for a brief period of about 6 months) haunting this bistro 'ish' hole in the wall - which now that they have dug further into the back of the building and without the assistance of any additional windows, one could very well confuse the back tables with a grotto of sorts. They chef/owner was still clinging to the pasta/pizza/seafood fare, adding dishes rather than categories to the offerings.

Having forgone my FAVOURITE HAMILTON yummy house for this I was sad to see that they had resisted my vegan needs and had yet to have even ONE item on the menu that didn't include at least one of the following: meat, cheese, milk or cream. Sorry, so sorry - the organic greens salad with the same blueberry dressing (although the dressing is less satisfying than it was 4 years ago) seems to pass as vegan.

I listened to my family, watched them enjoy their butternut squash stuffed ravilio, pad thai and baked brie and realized that tonight wasn't about the food, or the atmosphere created by a pair of self-important 'let's make west-hamilton special' boobs. Nope - this was about spending time with my family and being a part of something really amazing.

My pizza (special ordered - sans feta and plus onions) was alright...and everyone seemed to really dig the food - although the rice dish was too spicy for mom, and Anne Marie looked like she needed a medic to cool her down when she finished her Pad Thai.

I love my family and I love all of our stories.
Here's to families that can pull it together and still love each other at the end of it all.
Tofu to that!

I dedicate the next recipe to a certain little baby 'a'. Momma Mercat will have to make it for you, but I think you would really 'dig' it (get it angelique, dig it! hah)

A's Raisins and Nanners

1 organic banana (sliced into banana coins as the fancy tv chefs say)
1/2 package of soft tofu
2 tablespoons of vanilla
1 tablespoon of cocoa
2 tablespoons of organic oats
a handful of raisins

Throw the vanilla, tofu, banana and cocoa into a bowl and fire up your hand blender.
When everything is nice and smooth ladle into a serving dish and through your oats and raisins right on top. Enjoy! Yum.