OHASSTA 2018

By , November 15, 2018 8:56 pm

Amazing conference. Insightful presenters. Old acquaintances and friendships renewed.

Why History? panel.

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2018_OHASSTA_Resources

Skating 2018-19 – The Women

By , November 11, 2018 3:43 pm

The other day one of my students asked what I do for fun. I was in a grumpy mood so I said I didn’t have any hobbies. That’s not true – I am a figure skating fan. In the absence of riding horses, I am spending more time watching skating.

Figure skating fans never know what to expect in the year following an Olympics. Especially in Canada with the retirements (or breaks) of so many super stars, we weren’t sure what would happen.

It turns out that this season is spectacular so far, especially in the women’s field. I liked Japan’s 20-year old Satoko Miyahara last year, but this year I love her! Her speed and interpretation are incredible. I cannot say how much I love her free program tango. She carries the tango interpretation all the way through the interesting mashup of Vivaldi’s winter. Though her jumps aren’t stellar in their height, they are getting better and her landing edge is strong and fast.

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Satoko Miyahra  in 2016, from  https://goldenskate.com/2016/02/satoko-miyahara-2/

And then there is the spectacular freshness of 16 year old Rika Kiahara, also from Japan, who took the crown at the recent NHK competition in Japan with two beautiful triple axels in her free program. And what a skater she is – she glides effortlessly across the ice, maintaining her interesting storm-themed choreography throughout.

Rika Kihira

Rika Kiyahara at the recent 2018 NHK competition, from https://goldenskate.com/2018/11/kihira-captures-gold-at-nhk-trophy-after-two-triple-axels/

When you have watched the Japanese women skate, glide and emote, there is no comparison with the three leading Russians. While Alina Zagitova, last year’s Olympic champion, still has the energy and the jumps, she is an annoying skater to watch – so hunched over, in my opinion. Last year’s Olympic silver medalist , Evgenia Medvedeva, now training in Toronto (at my old place, the Cricket Club), is disappointing so far but I think it will be a long-term transition for her if she can stay committed to the change plan. And then there’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva with her sass and triple axel. She’s just not my cup of tea but I appreciate the spring in her jumps and her athleticism.

What of the Canadians? I think if Kaetlyn Osmond were to return to competition she’d be right in there. She is a fantastic artist and athlete. Having seen her skate in person multiple times at Stars on Ice I can see that her talent is deep and genuine. But I totally understand how she’d want to take time off. Kaetlyn’s brone medal skate at the Olympics was nothing short of inspiring. I screamed by head off in joy! Gabby Daleman, who is off on a mental-health break, has the athletic goods to compete but doesn’t seem to have the consistency. There really isn’t anyone else in the top tier.

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Kaetlyn Osmond at the 2018 Olympics where she won the bronze medal, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaetlyn_Osmond

Though it would be nice if Canadian women’s skating had more depth, there’s more than enough international talent to keep the fans happy.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

By , October 8, 2018 10:00 am

I forgot to take pictures of the food and the guests. Instead, I did a little photo shoot with the centrepiece characters my mom brought, and Richard, of course.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Getting Better?

By , August 24, 2018 7:59 pm

As I mentioned previously, food photography is not as easy at it looks. I have bought some props and learned some techniques. Here are a few side by sides to show that I’m improving, I think. There is still a long way to go but at least it’s a delicious journey.

First attempt at potato salad did not work out because of the red bowl.

Though this version of potato salad is not exactly the same, it is definitely more photogenic in a white bowl on a dark background.

 

This was my first attempt at both cooking and photographing tofu with garlic scapes. Again, red in the background causes a problem.

This was my second attempt at the recipe and I captured it in the pan. I think it looks pretty nice.

This is still the second attempt but I changed up the bowl and captured the steam coming off the dish.

 

Here’s a black bean burger that doesn’t look great, in my opinion, in this set up.

Though this is less realistic it is more artful. It was taken a few minutes before the burger shot.

 

 

I love taking pictures of ingredients on their own. This basket of peaches is over-posed.

This shot from a seller at Cabbagetown Farmers Market is more natural.

Fun with garlic scapes.

Bowen Island

By , August 16, 2018 8:02 pm

After we left Vancouver Island by ferry from Nanaimo, we headed over to Horseshoe Bay. There we exited the ferry, drove a few stops on the highway, turned around at the U-turn exit, and headed back to Horseshoe Bay to get onto the ferry for Bowen Island. My cousin Emilie, her husband Link and their son Sam were excellent hosts, as always.

Bowen is a spectacularly beautiful place, especially the view from our B&B. Em and Link took us on a hike to see an amazing piece of public art halfway up a mountain: the mastodon by Guthrie Gloag. We had a short but amazing trip to Bowen.

Food Photos

By , August 12, 2018 12:22 pm

I’m learning how to take photos of food. It is not easy. Here are some of my favourite concoctions from the last two weeks.

The Last of Vancouver Island

By , August 6, 2018 3:24 pm

It seems so long ago – a whole week in BC where it was nearly as hot as here, minus the humidity and it never rained. We had an amazing week. Here are the last few pictures from  Vancouver Island.

 

The Vegan Who Can’t (or Won’t)

By , August 5, 2018 11:02 am

I have been organizing my bookmarks on my laptop, which means I have been procrastinating: avoiding school work I need to get ready and blog writers I need to search out for the fall issue of Rapport.

I checked out a bunch of vegan blogs thinking they’d give me lots of ideas. They have, of course. I’m not culinarily creative so I rely on other people to catalyze my thought process. However, I find very few vegan recipes I can use “as is”. That’s because I have a list of things I can’t or won’t eat (in addition to the basic things vegans don’t eat). My poor mother!

  • chocolate or cocoa
  • nuts and seeds (except for peanuts and peanut butter)
  • beans and lentils in large amounts
  • tempeh
  • nutritional yeast
  • pre-made vegan mayo or butter
  • fake cheese/vegan cheese
  • pickles
  • deep fried food
  • fake bacon and veggie dogs
  • any kind of “milk” (with the exception of vegan ice cream)
  • most desserts (with the above-mentioned exception of vegan ice cream and sorbets/gelatoes)

Practically a staple in our house.

I hope you can see my problem. Yes, it is self-imposed due to stomach problems and personal dislikes (or super likes, as in the case of chocolate). But it’s my reality. Again, my poor mother!

I wondered what my title would be if I were to start a vegan blog. That’s how I came up with “The Vegan Who Can’t”. Sounds bad. Sounds bathroom-related.

Maybe this fixation on a vegan blog is just summer boredom. Or maybe it’s just to keep my mind occupied so I don’t think about all the bad things that have happened lately (the barn burning down, Danforth shootings, Bailey’s death).

Sometimes my fixations turn into real things; I did learn to play guitar in this obsessive way. And anyone who does macro photography knows it only works (not to say mine does) if you’re obsessive. Yesterday, I went out around the golden hour and took macro photos down by the shore of the lake. Only a few worked out despite the time it took to set up the tripod and get down on the ground to be at eye-level with the “greens”.

Tangled garden twirly is minuscule in real life.

Other times, fixations don’t work out for me. After going to one of those group painting sessions, I bought a small set of acrylic paints and some starter canvases. I tooled around for a few weeks and even created a little kit that would make it easy for me to set up and clean up. But nothing came of it, mostly owing to my very uncreative mind. I love colours but I don’t know what to do with them.

I have even been practicing taking food photos. Val definitely sees this as a fixation. I told him it won’t last once school starts; who wants to see photos of a frozen meal fresh out of the microwave?

Panzanella

Maybe I’m just temporarily challenged by the “if they can do it, I can do it” of looking at so many blogs. I already have a blog – why not do it? Maybe the fear is that it would just become one more project started and not finished. Probably the fear is that my life is just not that interesting. I’m not complaining: I have a great life for me.

At any rate, if I do decide to blog about my version of veganism, I’ll wait until I’m finished with Rapport. My history blog – as I call it – is taking up too much of my time during the school year so I am sadly but smartly (I think) quitting as editor as of mid-November.

For now, I will just go along with whatever happens. It is summer, after all.

At the lookout near our house after my 43 km ride day.

 

 

 

 

Anakin the Hawk

By , August 3, 2018 6:56 pm

On our way from Victoria to Nanaimo we had a planned stop at Pacific Northwest Raptors.

We had an interactive flying demonstration from a kestrel, a hawk, a falcon, an eagle, a turkey vulture, and an owl. The human, Selena, was very informative. After, we went on a hawk-walk with Anakin the Harris’ hawk.

We really needed a telephoto lens but we did the best we could. It was an excellent learning opportunity and a fun close-up with an amazing animal.

Goodbye, Little Bailey

By , August 2, 2018 9:12 am

Our third cat, little Bailey, has come to the end of the line. He was struggling to eat and was losing weight fast so we thought the best thing we could do for him was put him out of his misery.

So little.

It’s really hard to describe Bailey, a rather reclusive cat. He came to us about five years ago, hanging out on our deck until we let him in. We had seen him before in the front and back of our house, calling him “Brown Tabby.” He was a big guy back then. He was shy then, too, disappearing out of sight quickly. That’s why it was such a surprise when he parked himself on the deck in plain view.

Bailey fit in with our two other cats fine by ignoring them for the most part. He kept to himself, spending the first two years here under the buffet in the dining room. Gradually he branched out to the dining room table itself and even the loft. But his favourite place was our bed where he would come for snuggles almost every night. This was entirely out of character for him because he would actually back away from us if we approached him. But the bed was safe, for some reason. He loved his chin rubs and he loved to rub his sore mouth up against my hand. This held true for the cottage as well, where he would leave his abode – the corner of the cupboard – only to hop on the bed.

Bailey was quiet and did no harm. Once Richard arrived a year and a half ago, he had to defend himself against the youngster’s relentless chasing. I’m sure that heightened his stress levels. Yet they would sleep close to each other in the loft, sometimes even on opposite sides of the bench, separated by a pillow.

I will miss Bailey and will keep him in my memories forever as my special cat.

 

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