April 29, 2013

Saying goodbye to a house

Omi's garden

My family enjoyed one last traditional breakfast at the house in North Saanich and said goodbye. After at least 15 years in the family, the house first owned by my late grandmother has been sold. I felt at odds with reality — we’ll come back here in the summer and eat breakfast in the dining room and lunch in the yard, right? I had trouble believing that this meal we gathered for in this room, with the round, dark wood table with the blue fabric-backed chairs and tiffany lamp overhead, smelling a certain way and most definitely feeling a certain way, would be our last. I was more in tune with that feeling than ever.

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January 23, 2011

7 simple ways to reduce bathroom waste

bathroom shelf

My bathroom shelf: Toothpaste, coconut oil, shea butter, oregano oil, floss and deodorant

Let’s face it: women use more products than men, and we have a recurring, generally very wasteful (but otherwise healthy) function that they don’t have. But this doesn’t mean we need to create more garbage than these low-maintenance dudes. If you live in Metro Vancouver, you’ve seen the ads, you’ve seen the news. We create a lot of garbage, and we can’t throw it on Cache Creek forever. Our rubbish has to go somewhere, so it’s time to try harder to avoid creating it in the first place. (It’s reduce, reuse, recycle, remember.) But you’re a girl, and you have needs. Now what?


1. Get an “eco positive period with the Diva Cup and a combination of smart panties and reusable cloth liners and pads. The fabrics are organic cotton and the Diva Cup merely collects your flow, so you can avoid nasty things like toxic shock syndrome and yeast infections. Other benefits? No smelly waste, no crinkly noises from plastic pads, no discomfort, and no worries about running out. Yes, it can be discreet, super fun, and still feel sexy. It will simply make your life easier, save you money and time in the long run, and reduce your footprint on the planet big time. If you’re still not convinced, read their testimonials and their tips. Lunapads is based in Vancouver. Hint: sign up for their newsletter and grab the Green Zebra coupon book to save some dough.

Rocky Mountain soap2. Happy soap! If you’re not into making your own, skip the shrinkwrap, the toxins and the plastic pumps with Rocky Mountain Soap Company‘s earth-friendly bar soap, wrapped in just a strip of paper. (Mountain Sky is another option.) They also sell a shaving* soap bar. I know you think you need foam to shave, but I dare you to try this stuff for a month and see the difference. I used to use bar soap that wasn’t even meant for shaving, then tried a foam cream in an aerosol can (what was I thinking?!). Rocky Mountain wins hands down. Their Vancouver store is on Granville & 15th, and they sell unscented soap too.

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December 28, 2008

Have a Happy New Year!

Tree image in a leaf
December 7, 2008

Paper snowflakes

Paper snowflakes
October 31, 2008

All Hallows Eve


It’s that time of year again, and just our luck — it’s on a Friday! That might explain why it seems crazier than years past. I am back at the old haunt, but didn’t decorate it for the first time… save a few candles in the kitchen as we kept all of the lights off! Hey it’s good for the planet. I was feeling unmotivated to carve a jack-o-lantern and had a battered one to deal with, so I thought, why don’t I make it a piece of art and that way I’ll enjoy it. And it was TOUGH. I need to invest in some pumpkin carving tools.


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August 11, 2008

Silence and noise

How do two weeks go by so fast?

So much to do, so much time, for a change

Avoiding most of it in favour of sleeping, reading and

6 hours a week of Dexter episodes

My god, when it’s not on the TV screen it doesn’t feel like it’s TV

6 hours in a weekend of transit riding

I forced myself to take a break, stay home, catch up, rest, revitalize, restore

And caught up on Dexter episodes missed the previous nights

Fed by Darkly Dreaming Dexter, its parent which

so inspires more writing, more creativity with its intricate words but somehow

when I want to do any of it, there’s something else to be done…

like going to bed. Or not waking up sleeping children downstairs

(as is the case with the piano).

Feeling ambitious but lazy, motivated but tired

Energized by long bike rides, sexy design and a potential purchase

that had to wait because dinner would be better than sitting on a bus.

Two weeks’ absence feels like less when I write snippets in between,

pieces that are waiting for completion as I contemplate them further

and think of things to add.

Ahh — I have one.

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July 21, 2008

The Urge to Purge / A History of Drawing

Portrait of a woman

Before writing this post it occurred to me that I may not have the kind of readership that would be interested in a post like this. I’m of course aware that blog readership evolves on a mutual network, but I realised that almost all the blogs I read are on sustainability, climate change, transportation, and green lifestyles. So it became apparent, when I still had the desire to write about it, that I just love to write! While a month’s absence from blogging doesn’t appear to correlate, I think I just needed the equation time + something to get excited about = passion –> creativity. Well, it must have hit a backlog because now I have a couple on a waitlist here waiting to be written! (While I think of it, I should mention that Monday lunch blog posts fizzled in the last few weeks because I haven’t been working.) In this post I anticipate some of you will find issues and feelings to which you can relate. If you’ve grown up, moved out, and even moved back in, you’ll understand!

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July 20, 2008

Bunches and bunches of berries

Red currants

My family — mainly my oldest niece and I — have been enjoying the edible gifts borne by our favourite local park and other nearby forests. This summer’s crop has been especially fruitful and we’re expecting a ridiculous bumper crop of blackberries soon(!!!). I go crazy for salmonberries and introduced the avid 7-year-old berry-picker to the fine art of picking: get a grabby stick, dress the part, and get into the shrubbery! The two of us went on a little adventure, avoiding mud and trampling on dry brush, then hiking up the hill to safe ground when turning back to return across a log and over a creekbed seemed like a more difficult option.

If we’d had more time and more adults we could have probably matched the huge amount my friend and I picked last year. We missed out on picking at Green Timbers this year and I can only imagine how many berries must have been there. At any rate, over a few trips to the local parks here we yielded a significant amount for desserts and snacks, which the family enjoyed. Early in the season my cousin and his Korean girlfriend were here. She hadn’t tasted salmonberries before and the two of us went nuts!

Salmonberries in milk

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July 17, 2008

Topsy-Turvy or, I’m Not Dead

Trees silhouetted

In case you’d been wondering, I didn’t die, fall ill or otherwise lose the ability to post to my blog. The desire, somewhat… but moreover I was too busy doing and thinking other things to even remember to post, and when I did I didn’t feel up to it or there was something of higher priority. (I had my New Entry page open, blank, for 12 days.) So why have I been so quiet? Long story short (long story is hopefully coming later but don’t hold your breath), I moved back to North Vancouver from my co-abode in Surrey. That was almost a month ago (my how time flies when one is busy!) and my new-old bedroom is still a mess so it’s been my priority over many things. Everybody here (my middle sister and her family moved back in two days before I did) has been in purge mode and digging through my old stuff I left behind has been eventful and interesting. The cause for the move back home I don’t wish to discuss in detail — so please don’t ask — but is simply that the two of us aren’t together anymore. Nothing simple about that but it’s a straightforward reason. More specifically I guess I could say I moved back home because living solo in Metro Vancouver is incredibly expensive if not unaffordable. So I’m here waiting out the housing heat wave and am trying to be optimistic about it.

On Monday I had a little adventure I’d like to share with you. It needed the above introduction to fully make sense of the context, but it’s kind of like the 8th story in a series because there is much to say for the previous weeks. We’ll start here for now.

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February 9, 2008

Green at heart: feeling good starts with doing good

Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine look good and feel good, too.

Who knew saving the planet could be so self-serving.

I’ve been thinking lately about how good I feel when I’m using or eating something that’s healthy for me and/or the planet. Now, “good” is a very broad term, but in this context it encompasses feelings of excitement, reward, self-satisfaction, accomplishment and wellness. (In other words, opposite of the dental pain and regret I’m feeling after having eaten a naughty piece of Toblerone. Glad it was the last one.)

I think it’s important to emphasize the personal benefits of doing good for the earth, and oneself. There are, in fact, many opportunities and I’m always looking for more.

When do I feel good?

I feel good when…

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