Tuesday, December 30, 2008

bittersweet night part II

almost two months later, i'm facing another bittersweet night. tomorrow night is elmo's last night with us before he goes on trial adoption for the second time.

knowing how hard it was the first time, i know it's going to be even harder this time. especially since elmo has lived with us for 3 months now.

sadly, with most of our efforts invested in trying to train elmo, duke has taken a back seat and regressed. we're having more howling bouts and he's become sensitive to dogs on the street again.

and although it is so fun to watch them play fetch and howl their hearts out, walking with two scent hounds can be quite the challenge! my eagle eyes can't always spot the mouldy pieces of rye bread or discarded chicken bones.... or dismembered bird wings.

elmo deserves a family that can give 100% effort into training him, not only for his separation anxiety but also for all the small day to day things as well.

this time, i think we've found the right family.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

happy howlidays!

happy howlidays!

happy howlidays and a happy new year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the best truffles ever

why don't we just push that sad post down a bit.

these are the best truffles i have tasted in my whole entire life. the packaging matches the product perfectly!

thank you ms. bee :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

what's wrong with me?


i don't know what my problem is these days. i'm just feeling super blue, unproductive, disorganized and on top of all that short tempered. and i hate the fact that i'm feeling this way!
  • my christmas cards are just going out
  • my online portfolio is sorely out of date
  • i still have some christmas shopping to do
  • i haven't started on my marketing project that i want to send out in january
  • i get mad at my poor dogs when they start pulling and 'hunting' on our walks
  • i'm annoyed with my messy, messy desk and cluttered living room but don't do anything about it
  • all the news about the economy pisses me off
perhaps the renovations, dust, banging and drilling is getting to me. or maybe it's the holidays...or maybe i just need a vacation! whatever it is, i just want these gross feelings to stop.

photo: bougainvillea from andre, trying to cheer me up

Friday, December 12, 2008

the suzuki diaries

wind farm 01

just wanted to share a link to a great mini-site for a nature of things episode of a trip to europe that david suzuki and his daughter sarika made this summer: the suzuki diaries.

it has a great travelogue of their trip written by sarika, videos of the episode and suggestions on how we can incorporate some of the wonderful environmentally sustainable things that people in denmark, germany (the most environmentally friendly country in the world), france and spain are doing.

a recap of things i found inspiring:

  • germany has already met their sustainable energy targets for 2010, harvesting energy from the sun and wind

  • germany's sustainable energy sector is the fastest growing industry in the country, employing more than 200,000 (300,000?) people

  • 36% of copenhagen commuters ride to work (the city wants to increase that to 50%). watch the online video, the images of all the cyclists in the city is truly amazing (and very chic).

  • new buildings in spain must have photovoltaic technology and solar hot water heating systems

canadians really need to step up and start changing the way we live. we are seeing the effects of global warming right here, in our own country yet we aren't making any drastic changes stop it.

and this includes me too. one of my new year's resolutions has to include some type of environmental action item.

Monday, December 8, 2008

on a walk with elmo

a patient companion

this walk seems like a memory from a long time ago now. this weekend we had the 2nd snow fall of this season, which was beautiful, but the windchill just made it too cold!! today we experienced -20 with the windchill. sometimes the gusts of wind were so cold that it would quite literally take our breath away.

in house project news, the basement looks fab with new laminate that andre installed last weekend. we picked up our tiles for the basement bathroom and main floor kitchen . and while andre demolished the kitchen floor tiles, i painted the wall and bits of the ceiling of the basement. photos coming soon!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

is this cool or what?

... or am i just a nerd?

an online symphony! i would totally try out, if i had a piano here!

Friday, November 28, 2008

poladroid and other camera treats


a while back i thought i scored when i purchased a used polaroid camera (along with me la-camera) at a garage sale. then a couple of weeks ago i came across another garage sale where there was a huge stack of the coveted polaroid 600 film.

sadly, the polaroid camera was a dud and now i have 10 boxes of the expired 600 film. but who needs the not-in-production 600 film, when you can create poladroids.

like real polaroids the poladroid program takes a while to turn your regular photos into "poladroids", you can shake your "poladroid" and like a package of 600 film, you can only create 10 shots. plus you are left with no plastic and metal waste! make your own at poladroid.net!

i also purchased a set of close up filters, since i can't afford a macro lens ... yet. it's been fun experimenting with them, though!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

net neutrality compromised

stevestonhwy 2003

as i always seem to mention i am an internet junkie. so it is with sadness that i share that the crtc is allowing internet service providers (specifically bell in this case) to 'manage' or shape internet traffic by slowing down access to sites they don't approve of.

for those of you who don't know, the CRTC has been approached by the canadian association of internet providers’ (CAIP) to stop ISPs from 'managing' traffic, or throttling traffic. meaning the CAIP wants to keep the internet neutral. currently for the most part, we have free reign over the internet, being able to surf anything we want and for the most part post and comment on any website we wish.

providers like bell (and it seems like other ISPs in the states), however, are already managing traffic to peer 2 peer sites and video sharing sites. (check here for more info on a real canadian net access throttling case.)

what bothers me the most about traffic shaping is the control that ISPs have over free information that has created a lot of great communities, fostered innovation in sharing of both intellectual and physical things and most importantly free speech.

if you feel strongly about this, you can make your voice heard! you can sign some online petitions here and here.

i'm also going to contact my MP to try to garner more attention to keep our internet neutral.

Monday, November 17, 2008



i bought this lomo lc-a wanna-be craptastic plastic camera at a garage sale a while ago and finally put in a roll of 100ISO 35 mm film (inspired by b's lomo photos). the funny thing about this camera is that there is no focussing ring or knobs! and it's so badly made that the film advance wheel barely turns. when trying to get to the next frame, i have to press with so much force that my thumb ends up hurting!

hope the photos will be interesting, or at least flickr worthy!

on another note, elmo is back with us. his trial adoptive parents returned him to us in three days, saying one thing during our interview with them and but saying the complete opposite when trying to convince themselves that they were doing elmo a favour by returning him. going into the details will just enrage me again. the whole situation was shocking to say the least.

in the end, after all we've found out about them, i'm glad that he's not with them anymore. elmo deserves much better parents.

i think andre sums it up nicely here.

to somewhat restore my faith in humanity, i'm going to listen to a collection of this american life favourites, which I discovered listening to kcrw.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

bittersweet night

a very handsome beagle


tonight is elmo's last night with us before he leaves to go on his trial adoption tomorrow.

i'm so happy that he will be going to a home where he will be loved and where the new parents did a lot of research on beagles. but i'm also very sad that i won't be able to cuddle with him while i'm reading on the couch, or watch him wrestle or snuggle with duke. i know it's selfish, but i was so happy when the agency decided that the best applicant for elmo's new home was a couple that lives close by. hopefully we'll be able to see him at the parks from time to time.

bye elmo. you will always have a special place in our hearts, especially since you were the first dog we fostered.

sorry for pushing your new post down b


i never got around to posting these photos, from nearly a year ago -- a surprise holiday that D planned to the south coast of spain.

things i remember:
  • food poisoning the night before we left london, resulting in stomach troubles over several days and not being able to enjoy tapas or wine
  • gorgeous warm sunny weather in malaga in the middle of november. orange trees line the streets, as common as maple trees in canada. D reaching up and picking an orange as we walked through a park
  • the unbelievable alhambra. finding the most quiet and peaceful corners devoid of tourists. freezing cold as the palace sits on a mountain (well, hill) and we were dressed for malaga beach weather. everyone else was in fleece
  • the shops always closed (when do people work?)
  • the hot chocolate aisle in the supermarket, when finally we got there while it was open
  • the adorable nara exhibition at the centro de arte contemporaneo
  • the pablo picasso museum (he was born in malaga), all stone and courtyards
  • the campers sleeping through midday on the grass where the river would normally run during rainy season
  • all the wedding dress shops in old town
  • families out with their kids and babies late on friday nights (the kids are happy to be out late after having an afternoon siesta!)

hopefully i'll get my nyc / TO pics up with a bit more speed....!

the alhambra in grenada


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

fall nyc - part II

my poached pear waffle up close

the most delicious brunch at clinton street bakery. average wait time for a table: 1 hour.

cute and chic all at once, we enjoyed yummy french style breakfast and pastries from bouchon bakery from their cafe side. unfortunately our drinks came in paper cups - sorry earth!

pork steamed buns at momofuku

.. and of course a quick stop at dean and deluca.

this time around i barely did any shopping (aside from a little treat at tiffany's for myself). as b and i lamented that shopping is now boring in all major cities, we noted that it is because of globalization that the expansion of stores and brands has made most retail outlets homogenized.

more photos from nyc are here. ... and hopefully b will have her lomo photos developed soon. she took a lot more outdoor new york shots.

Monday, October 27, 2008

fall nyc - part I

b's view

the prodigiously amazing driver

the view from I80 and the other highways down to new york were so amazingly gorgeous. these photos just don't capture the perfect fall day we had. the air was crisp in that fresh autumn way and the sky had the most delightful cumulus and cirrus clouds.

because i have narcoleptic tendancies i couldn't stay awake for the whole road trip, but the moments that i was awake were glorious. in b.c., forests are comprised mainly of evergreens so you would never see a whole hill or mountain of orange and red.

we were lucky enough to have jeremy volunteer his car for the trip down and also be our dedicated driver for the whole 12 hours we were on the road (which included a breakfast break and a 2.5 shopping break at woodbury commons, which was underwhelming but the beautiful orange mountain behind the outlet more than made up for the lack of nice deals). i'm still amazed at how this man could stay awake and drive for that long.

next up, nyc part II = fooooooooood

on a monthly (if not weekly basis) i scan craigslist for things on my dream list. these are things that i can't justify purchasing or have no room for, but i do quick searches for the off chance that someone is selling those items for super cheap.

today i punched in 'white piano' (one day i'll have a white grand à la john lennon, but in the meantime i can daydream) and found this delusional post from a person who wants to live rent free. good luck, lady!

Monday, October 20, 2008

quick update!

looking at the manhattan bridge

the bestest brunch ever


what with foster beagles (we had a 3rd dog staying with us 2 weekends ago). i didn't have a chance to report that the aozora team was reunited for a short while. we took a roadtrip down from toronto to the big apple too!

more updates coming soon!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

elmo the foster beagle

sniff sniff


cross posted to baying beagle

an overcrowded shelter in ohio asked for help with 14 of their dogs that were to be put down. the grassroots rescue organization that we adopted duke from, barlee's angels rescue network, made a plea for help on their website and through facebook (see it's not all that evil).

with duke adjusting very well to his new neighbourhood and home, andre and i decided to take the plunge and apply to foster one of the two beagles that were listed as urgent. we were lucky enough to be approved to foster elmo.

sure elmo is still probably scared and learning to adjust to his new life (he was found as a stray), but so far he is far less anxious than duke was when duke started his new 'urban' life with us.

things i love about elmo:
  • he is still very much a puppy and looks at things in wonder
  • his sudden bursts and happy jumps during our walks
  • he is clingy, but that makes him sweet and snuggly
  • he gives kisses
  • for a 1 or 1.5 year old, he's super laid back
  • he's very much a beagle, nose to the ground, a serious investigative sniffer

i get so furious, frustrated and sad to think that someone gave elmo up. if barlee's didn't work hard to find foster families, elmo and the other 14 dogs would have died last week. in fact, due to the pit bull ban in ontario, one dog was put down b/c she couldn't be brought into the barlee's program.

sad. sad. sad.

... but i have to look forward. elmo is going to be the first of many beagles that we would like to foster. and the thought of bringing love to future beagle parents helps counter the negative, sad feelings.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

we've moved

we've moved

i had this image sketched out for a while now, meaning to create some change of address announcement cards. well, we've only been here for 2 months so it's not that late!

i also realized that this fits in nicely with this week's illustration friday topic, 'packed'.

this turtle is all packed and ready to move!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

コスモス (cosmos)


cosmos = コスモス

i love. love. love. cosmos. they are simple, but so pretty. they also bloom nicely into the beginning of fall as well. i love walking around with duke and just taking all the cosmos flowers in. can't wait to grow some of my own.

happy end of september - it just flew by, didn't it?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

totally violated

the aftermath

totally violated

in the span of about 17 hours, between duke's 1am pee break and after his evening walk i came home to find my sunflower heads missing and empty sunflower seeds at the scene of the crime!

some creature had a feast and then proceeded to steal both heads full of sunflower seeds from my backyard. i wouldn't be so upset if i wasn't planning on planting all of the seeds at the abandoned school yard that duke and i play at. grrrr. i feel so violated.

speaking of feeling violated, stephen harper is on track to being voted as prime minister again and if he wins a majority government i'll feel like i've been violated by my fellow canadians (although according this article, harper runs his minority government like a majority).

how can a person who attends more galas than 'ordinary working people' himself, use 'rich gala(s) all subsidized by taxpayers' as a reason for cutting arts funding? meanwhile, isn't he using taxpayers' money to sue the liberals?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


fall is in the air! the mornings have a definite chill now and the sun is setting earlier.

sadly the colder weather (and actually air conditioning as well) makes my wrists, especially the right one, achey. with all the computery stuff i do, i'm surprised i don't have full on carpal tunnel, but hopefully by keeping my wrists warm with my new wrist worms and doing wrist exercises, i won't have to deal with any sharp pains of advanced carpal tunnel.

my wristwarmers were handmade and sent here from sweden by my blog crush sandra juto, author of smosch.com.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

hold my hand on take-off

today is my four-year anniversary of arriving in london. i love this photo as somehow it brings together my past with my present. we are sitting on the pebble beach of brighton in the summer. C, my old chum from high school, has come to the u.k. on business, but is free for the weekend. she plays battery-operated toy drums found at a second-hand shop -- i'm not sure if P -- our brighton host -- is enjoying the melody! and lovely D watches on...

things i still have from four years ago:
  • my mobile / cell phone
  • some conservative work clothes -- i don't know why, but i've always hung onto these boring blouses and smart trousers, thinking one day i might have to go back to an office job that won't allow jeans.
  • my lomo (although it did need to go to the hospital once for some minor surgery)
  • my ibook
  • my passport (with all the various u.k. visas since my first arrival)
  • hyedie's card that she illustrated for me, with "good luck bianca!", still pinned to my bulletin board
  • amy's mixed cd's she used to make for me -- i still listen to them, though on my ipod now

i looked up a post i wrote a few days after landing in london -- my first time in the u.k., and without a job, friends or family (and curiously and unexpectedly now, after four years, i'm still here, and am lucky to have all three). it was written under the same title as this post today (an aimee mann lyric):

i feel extraordinary admiration for those who have moved "cold" to a new place -- any new place, within canada, or beyond. the more i do things associated with home -- messaging, blogging, listening to music -- the more i miss it. i feel like an addict who suddenly had their booze or cigarettes or favourite binge food taken away -- but i know that if i can make it through the first month, i can make it through the rest of the year, and beyond.

the willingness of strangers to lend me a hand amazes me, and the support from you at home gives me courage.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

a summer walk with duke


stargazer lily and duke

taken on a summer walk with duke in the evening.

when i saw a stargazer lily so close to the ground, i thought it would make such a nice photo to have duke sit next to it. the minute i pulled the camera out he started to howl! i think it's pretty obvious what he was trying say....he can be so impatient sometimes.