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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

all the leaves are brown

My vintage leather boots slap the pavement as I walk through the deserted streets of Kensington.

It's night, the air is warm, and the leaves scattered through the streets tell me that it's a time of change.

After dealing with my rejection, I did three interviews, and was offered all three jobs. The clouds in my sky lifted to reveal brighter days ahead.

I continue walking through Little Italy, staring into restaurants full of young people eating and laughing and swirling martinis. I call an old friend who he tells me that the job I ended up getting rejected for wasn't worth having anyways. She worked for the store and claimed the managers never live up to their standards. We make plans for the weekend and I hang up with a grin.

It seems that some things are meant to happen. And no matter what, it seems my life is always filled with beautiful people, close friends I really care about, good conversations and new opportunities.

So I have a job. I celebrated with my friend at a small Korean restaurant near her house. She was stressed out, but quickly relaxed in the quaint atmosphere. We feasted on lettuce wraps, spicy tofu, ginger martinis and beautiful pan chan side dishes. They played soul music, we talked about our younger days, our troubles these days, and both left happy and laughing.

The pages of my calendar are quickly filling with new engagements. I have a lot to be excited about in these fall months, and it won't be long until I celebrate my 21st birthday, and another year of surviving life with grace and style.

As the leaves turn, so do the days, and I feel thankful that my life continues to move forward.

bike on spadina

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

cheaper than chopsticks

Eating cheaply doesn't have to equal to eating badly.

To eat beautifully on a budget, all it takes is a little creativity.

This week my focus has been affordable Asian food. Because, as much as I love going out for sushi, even the cheaper restaurants leave my wallet empty and my palate wanting more.

The following dishes were made in the comfort of my own kitchen. They were all packed with vitamins, and have kept me healthy while everyone around me seems to have a cold.

As well as being delicious and nutritious, they didn’t bust my budget (and as you know, I’m still on the job hunt).

miso tofu noodles with baby eggplant
Miso Eggplant Tofu Noodles:

One pack of tofu noodles* (2.99)
One tbsp of white miso paste (3.99 for tub of around 30 servings)
Baby eggplants (1.89 for a bundle)
One tbsp Chopped ginger
One green onion
Soya sauce
One tsp Rice vinegar

1. Drain noodles, then heat in a pot with fresh ginger, miso paste and rice vinegar
2. Steam chopped baby eggplants, saving two to cut into large halves
3. Take steamed large halves, drench in miso, then fry in a hot skillet with oil
4. Add eggplant to noodles, along with some chopped green onion, and enjoy!

spicy korean noodles
Spicy Korean Noodles with Tuna

(Extremely easy for tired, hungry student)

One pack of tofu noodles* (2.99)
Half a large tin of spicy chili tuna (two for 2.99)
Handful of chopped red pepper
Handful of chopped green onion
One tbsp Chopped ginger
Drizzle of hot chili paste
One tsp Rice vinegar
Dash of Worcester sauce

1. Drain noodles, throw in hot pot
2. Add spicy chili tuna (packed with great sauce)
3. Add in all other ingredients
4. Enjoy, and slurp up sauce

vegetarian sushi
Vegetarian Maki Sushi

Nori seaweed paper
Sushi rice
Two tbsp rice Vinegar
One tbsp sugar
Half a mango
Half a cucumber
Half a red, orange, and yellow pepper
Finely chopped ginger
Soya sauce
Pickled ginger

1. Strain sushi rice until clear
2. Cook rice as directed, adding rice vinegar and sugar afterwards in a separate bowl
3. Lay out seaweed paper on bamboo rolling mat (toast paper above hot element for extra taste)
4. Spread out rice on paper as flat as possible, leaving an inch of paper without rice (top of paper)
5. Align finely chopped ingredients an inch from bottom
6. Roll tightly
7. Wet knife before slicing separate sushi pieces
8. Enjoy with tons of wasabi, pickled ginger, soya sauce and a fresh green salad!

*Tofu noodles can be found in clear plastic pouches in the refrigerated section of Japanese and Korean grocery stores. Any type of noodle can be substituted for these dishes.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

nobody's going to break my stride

I find it hard to sell myself.

In the past couple of weeks I had three interviews for a store I was convinced I was made for.

After three positive interviews I walked with my head held high. I had my life together. They liked me. The future looked bright. After my third interview, I was told they would call the next night if I got the job.

Around the time of my second interview I also stopped into an acting/modeling agency. I sat in a chair while a woman talked a mile a minute about what was required. I was measured. She told me I had to be outgoing with a good personality and I nodded. I was dead in my seat, silenced by the strength in her voice. Silenced by the fact that I have no real passion to act or model, but want to master auditions to prepare for a career in broadcast.

I was told they only take a limited amount of people. If anyone in the agency looked like me I wouldn’t make it. She said she would call me the week after.

Neither company called me back.

I called the clothing store, where the woman explained they don’t call you back if you don’t get the job.

I put the figment of champagne away.

I sunk into my chair. My breath felt stifled. My mind raced. What had I said wrong? Did I talk too fast? Do I come off phony? Was I too honest when asked about my weaknesses (I said I was a lush)?

And the main thought running through my head: why does nobody want me?

I walked it off and came back to my senses.

It’s time I learn to handle rejection if I plan on surviving a day in this world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s important. And what if my mistakes, my faults, the good days, bad days, great food and moments of true happiness are what really matter?

What if instead of being set on the final destination, I enjoy the journey there?

I handled two rejections and I plan on handling a lot more.

Not everyone can like me. If they did, I’d probably be a very boring person.

I still have a lot to learn, but I’m taking notes.

spadina streetcar

"Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves liked locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." - Rilke

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

this time around

I'm back in Toronto.

Back at school, studying broadcast, trying to keep up with the daily news.

Back on the city sidewalks, head racing, legs moving quickly, only stopping so I can hold doors open for strangers.

Back in my lover's arms, holding onto what we have, not ready to let go of him as quickly as I have been with others.

Back on the job hunt, no longer at the restaurant, where I could never catch my breath.

Back at yoga, stretching my legs, removing years of tension and strengthening my body.

I'm getting older and I want to do things right. I want to make the right choices, learn from my mistakes, and to grow in the right direction.

I want fewer friends and stronger relationships. Less quantity and more quality.

It's taken time, but I have the right frame of mind this time around.


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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

stuck in the middle with you

I was home for a breath before we hit the road again.

There was one night kiss my lover, one night at my grandparent's in Port Hope, where I got to spend time with my brother (more handsome and mature than ever), and then my mom and I were in my grandfather's Cadillac driving to Vermont for my cousin's wedding in style.

After four hours of driving we cheered as we crossed the border and drove our way into New York State. We drove through farm country before a light in the car started flashing: BATTERY LOW. Shit. We kept driving. BATTERY LOW. STABILITY REDUCED.

We needed a garage quickly but all we could see were farms, fields and a few cows here and there.

And then "STOP! Garage!" My mother pulled a quick u-turn into a garage along the road.

That's when we met Sue and Lee.

Lee, a gentle looking mechanic, lifted up our hood and told us our alternator wasn't working. We shrugged. He told us it would take a while to fix. We sighed. We explained about the wedding, and before we knew it he was calling the closest car rental shop and sorting out our problems.

Sue and Lee saved us. They also opened up to us. We soon knew all about Sue's struggle with leukemia, Lee's strength throughout it all, about their pets, friends and family.

Starving, I took off down the road to a broke down looking deli. I stepped into another world, with dusty shelves piled with canned goods, sunglasses so old you couldn't see through them, and a humble kitchen at the front. I asked the woman for a tuna sub, and she looked at me with big eyes and asked if I'd like "all the fixins." I, of course, said yes.

Around an hour later we were back on the road in a rental car. Driving along, I looked at my mom and smiled, "Is it wrong that I'm having fun?"

The drive was beautiful. The sun was setting, in a field I saw a young girl reach for her fathers hand beside a tractor, overalls hanging to dry on clotheslines, and families selling corn by the road.

Eventually we made it to Vermont, heavy headed, at Betsy's quaint bed and breakfast, where we fell asleep on fluffy floral pillows and slept through the night.

In the morning Betsy made us eggs, oatmeal, bread pudding, and everything our hungry stomachs could wish for. When the sun lit up the quaint streets of Montpelier, we explored the town, its bookstores, and I spent all my money at the farmers market on luscious local produce.

The next night we made our way up a dirt road to see my cousin married on his bride's family horse ranch. My cousin Ayah from California sat like a 50's pin-up girl in the white plastic chairs, horses stood behind us wearing blue bow ties, and wildflowers lined the path to the arch where my cousin would be wed.

My eyes turned to water when the bride walked down a hill in the distance, white dress flowing, her father and my cousin's angelic daughter side by side.

They exchanged vows, my cousin cried, we wiped a few tears ourselves, and then we headed down to the horse ranch for a beautiful potluck dinner and dancing.

It was another adventure. I learnt to never be disappointed, to trust in the good of people, to love and laugh in every situation.

My mother and I get a lot out of life, and we give back as well. We drove hours to support my cousin, who wanted a few close family members to match his bride's large number family and friends. We came for him, to celebrate love and his new found happiness.

And on the way home, we stopped off at Sue and Lee's garage, dropped off a box of Vermont chocolates, and thanked them once more.

Because of two kind strangers we made it to the wedding, and because two people fell in love, I got to experience Vermont first hand on a horse ranch. Life is full of the unexpected, and I think that's what keeps me going.

car trouble
the garage that saved us
zip your fly
road side fries
pease farm
ayah and yvonne
you may kiss the bride
mom and me
table settings
mom talks to newlyweds
cafe stop
pump it