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Thursday, June 28, 2007

me and mr.young

Everything is golden, and the saxophone melts into the hot, heavy air.

I sit beside my father on a concrete bench as the jazz band plays away. He taps his fingers, happy to be in his old neighborhood, full of Greek stores and restaurants, listening to his favorite music. I'm happy to be there with him.

When the band takes a break we go walking. We walk down streets lined with trees, where my dad shows me a house he used to live in. As I try and imagine my dad unlocking the front door in bellbottoms, a man comes out of his garden.

My dad and the owner of the house discuss past residents, and he is kind enough to show us his beautiful back yard. We ask for a good authentic Greek restaurant, and he recommends a small mama and pops kind of place down the road.

Soon we're sitting on a small back patio with plastic chairs, feasting on hummus, eggplant, calamari, grape leaves stuffed with rice and hot grilled pita. By the time our Greek salads arrive our stomachs are full and we order a strong Greek liqueur to help it all go down.

Bellies content, we wander the streets, pick through novels in a small bookstore, and re-visit our childhoods in a bright, multicolored candy store.

The days are as long as our conversations. My father can turn most things into an adventure, whether it's hunting down good food, great music, or taking me up to the top of the CN tower, where we listen to the hum of the city.

We leave the candy store with a bag full of goodies and walk down the sidewalk laughing. I tap dance in the subway. Caught between the child I used to be and the woman I've become, I am happy.

jazz man
sexy stilettos
my city
cn tower
fear of heights
blown over

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

take me out to the ball game

The ball flies into the sky, looks as if it could dissapear, then falls back into the field.

A bird flies overhead, an airplane makes its tracks in the sky, and the crowd cheers as the Blue Jays get another home run.

During the game my eyes are locked on the evening sky as much as they are on the game.

The stadium is glowing, and with my father sitting beside me, the speakers blasting music and the crowd chanting along, I feel like I'm in the right place.

I don't know the rules of baseball and couldn't care less. I live for the ambiance, drinks in plastic cups, fans in tacky jerseys, and people screaming on the big screen. I make more comments on the perkiness of the players buts then I do on the score, and smile through it all.

My dad is in town, and we celebrated his first night with a Blue Jays baseball game.

It was the perfect evening, and before it ended we walked down the street for some soul food and live music. And although I loved the game, nothing makes me happier than Southern comfort food and motown.

Buy me some cornbread and set the tone, and I won't care if I ever go home.

my father
in unison
first baseball game
father and daughter
toronto blue jays
sky dome

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

les mots d'amour

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
-Jimi Hendrix

love in paris
young friendship
old lovers
carla and i
mom and dad
helen and yvonne
alexi and i
still feeling it

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

wisdom for your knife and fork

In a world that prides itself on five minute meals and microwave dinners, it's easy to forget the beauty of real food.

When I cook for other people I like to work on presentation and technique, but when making food for myself I keep it as simple as possible. I like to use good produce and let the food do the work for me.

It's surprising how good food can taste when you let the natural flavours shine through. Steamed vegetables, if fresh, only need a dash of salt and pepper to taste great. A good salad with lots of fresh herbs can explode in your mouth with fresh lemon and a wisp of balsamic vinegar.

While living in France I learnt that the most simple dishes are the best. The secret is good ingredients. Some of my favourite dishes included carrotte rapées (grated carrots with oil, lemon and vinegar), salade nicoise (tuna salad with hard boiled egg, green beans, anchovies, capers and vinaigrette), and meat dishes that were cooked in one magical ingredient: butter.

When I eat simply my body thanks me. I don't crave junk food or pre-packaged satisfaction. My body thrives off all the vitamins I'm taking in, and I don't get sick as easily.

I have pounded my feet on treadmills in the past and filled up on protein bars and diet soda, but it seems there's an easier solution. These days I walk to the market or the grocery store, pick up some fresh ingredients, and give my body and food the attention it deserves.

The end result is a happier, healthier body, and a personal relationship with what I'm eating.

It's just some food for thought.

eat your greens
they clall me yellow mellow

"Eat food. Though in our current state of confusion, this is much easier said than done. So try this: Don't eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. ...There are a great many foodlike items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn't recognize as food (Go-Gurt? Breakfast-cereal bars? Nondairy creamer?); stay away from these."

— Michael Pollan, Unhappy Meals, New York Times Magazine, 1/28/07

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

love you more than sweet potato pie

My dad is a pretty special guy.

He does yoga every morning in the living room.

He works 12 hour days and still manages to look half his age.

He can barbecue anything to perfection and makes the best Caesar salad I’ve ever tasted.

He’s curious about everything, and will spend a day at a snail farm in France, just because, and rave about it afterwards.

He’s written a screenplay and is working on a mystery novel.

He has a perfect ear for music, and introduced me to the world of motown, jazz and blues at a young age.

He was nominated for an Academy Award but never boasts about it.

Even more, he’s helped raised three children who would all agree he’s pretty damn great.

Dad, I love you with every bone of my body. I am proud to be your daughter. You make me feel like I can achieve anything I dream of. I admire you in so many ways, and I want you to know I feel lucky to just to have you in my life.

I want to tell you as simply and honestly as I can: I love you.

A lot.

Happy father’s day.


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Thursday, June 14, 2007

a meeting with my mistress

While I could never work in an office building, my roommate does so with style.

Every morning she wakes up early, straps on her heels and her sophisticated smile, and rushes out the door.

She returns around 5 in the evening, as I’m running out the door in black pants and a blouse, apron and corkscrew in my bag, so that I can go bartend all night.

Our schedules cut down on our time together, something we both savor. So today I packed up a lunch, got on the subway, and made my way out of our neighborhood to the corporate world downtown.

Usually I spend my days in the park or at the beach, so being in the heat of the city, surrounded by suits and fast walking smokers felt unusual.

I felt out of place with my relaxed strut, flip flops and short skirt. I sat on the steps of my friend’s building listening to Pink Floyd, and watched the hustle and flow of people.

Eventually my friend joined me, and we feasted on fresh salads, tortilla chips and fruit on a private patio area. I marveled at the height of the buildings, danced around barefoot, and felt invigorated by the beauty of the day and my good company.

It was a nice break in routine for the both of us.

In the elevators I jokingly grabbed her bottom, because everyone looked so serious, only to find her boss was inches away.

I then left my lovely, flushed roomate at work, and dragged my dirty feet through the city and made my way home.

rise of power
the loveliest secretary
red as your cheeks
caught in your eyes
sidewalk stalker
office girl
where do i belong?
city girl
face on streetcar

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Monday, June 11, 2007

a life sweeter than sushi rice

homemade bento box

One day I came up with the brilliant idea of becoming a sushi chef.

It made perfect sense. I have always wanted to cook professionally, but I dislike the heavy heat and stress in regular kitchens. I enjoy making food that is delicate and beautifully presented. My favorite food is fish, I prefer rice over pasta, and I grew up with a passion for eating seaweed (my dad is from New Brunswick). To sum it up, sushi is my perfect food.

As I started to plan my bright future I was struck by another thought. I am white. I am blonde. I am female. I have never seen anyone with this profile behind a sushi counter. I’m against discrimination in any form, but even I would think twice about going to a sushi restaurant with a Canadian/Irish sushi chef.

But not all hope is lost. There are sushi academies in California that will teach anyone with the drive to learn. Not only that, but modern sushi restaurants are popping up everywhere, and who says a sassy young blonde can’t swing a knife at a giant sized piece of raw tuna?

At present, training as a sushi chef is in my pocket of dreams. It sits right next to my dreams of finishing my guide book in Paris, traveling through India and starting my own catering company. I live for my dreams. They’re what put that crazy look in my eyes and stop me from dragging my feet through each day.

And so while I dreamily strut through my last years of university, I’m going to keep rolling sushi in my kitchen, reading books on French culture in bed, wearing Indian bangles on my wrist and catering for crazy Russian parties.

Life isn't easy, but with the right ingredients and preparation, it can be delicious.

sushi at home

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

where the grass is green and the girls are pretty

I'm short for words to describe how summer makes me feel.

The heat of the sun and the long days remind me I am young, free, and meant to enjoy life as much as I can.

Yesterday we gathered in the park, feasted on homemade delicacies and basked our bodies under a heavy sunlight.

The dark days of winter are gone. We've gone from snow boots to flip flops, and everyone in Toronto is starting to smile again.

Summer's here, and it's ours.

picnic party
the feast
emily and I
still feeling it
it takes two

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

city heat

The days are hot, and I walk through this city in flip flops until my feet turn black.

At night I strap on an apron and feed people's need for cold white wine and shaken martinis.

I use my tips from bartending to go out for lunch and feed my need for beautiful food.

After work I spend most nights with my beau.

Lying in bed he asks, "Are you happy?"

"Most of the time," I answer.

He says he can tell that some days I just want to get up and run away. He reads me well.

As happy as I am I crave adventure and the thrill of the unknown.

I crave city streets I don't know, a different language on my tongue, and freedom from the confinements of everyday life.

But life is good, and I'll walk down these dirty sidewalks until my dreams becoem realities and take me elsewhere.

Travel awaits me this summer, school awaits me in the fall, and a life of uncertainties await me in my future.

All of that is enough to keep me going.

plastic blossoms