Friday, 28 May 2010

morning walks.

I was walking to work this morning. I love walking to work. It means that my morning hasn't been rushed. It often means that I've gotten to eat breakfast sitting down. It means that I spend 40 minutes just thinking about my day, life, the weather, the weekend, the flowers, friends, family, music, the podcast I might be listening to... And it affords no end of opportunities to overhear conversations, those walking conversations that you only catch snippits of. Most often these conversations involve children - fully using their outdoor voices.

This morning I passed a father walking his three school-aged children, and the dog, presumably on the way to school. The older brother, aged 11ish, was teasing his younger sister, aged 9ish, about the boy she liked. And her insistence about how much she did NOT like this boy, only served to prove that indeed, she did think said boy was pretty great. Dad got in on the fun and her protestations became even louder. I could only smile, remembering my first crush, probably around her age, and being simultaneously intrigued and vaguely distrustful of that weird thing called "boy."  I hope this young girl's crush is as good-natured as my first one was. I hope she also learns to continue to be cautiously intrigued and slightly distrustful of that thing called boy - it's a helpful first reaction as you age and can easily lose your heart to just a crush. That being said, when you're really lucky, those crushes, sometimes, turn into something pretty special.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


I spent the better part of most of my university summers working with plants. I kind of fell into it at first. I needed something to bridge the gap between school and summer camp. Someone in my dorm suggested garden centres, and so the next time I was in the fertile land of Southwestern Ontario, I made my way to Bekendam Greenhouses. While I may have 'fallen' into the green land, looking back, it's pretty clear that I was led to the hoop houses and flats and flats of pansies and marigolds and geraniums and alysum.

Oh the alysum, hoop house 9 always smelled so amazing. A sea of white and purple and pinkish-purple. I loved that hoop house, until of course the end of the season when your scrambling along precariously placed boards, over 8 inches of standing, mucky water, and it smells to high heaven, but not like it did in the early days when the plants were just growing. It was amongst these flowers that I met one of the greatest girls. And I met my match for talking. We became fast friends and could, I kid you not, talk for the entire day, 12 hours worth of talking. We talked about everything - boys and flowers and politics and books and Jesus. We talked a lot about Jesus. H famously asked a customer, one night as the sun was setting and we were working late, if the customer believed in the headship principle. This woman look at us like we were completely mad, I believe that the owner might have reprimanded us for bugging the customers. But we worked hard while we talked about Jesus, so we couldn't really get in trouble. Never mind that the owners were devout Christians, so much so that we never worked on Sunday, so they really couldn't get too upset about us Evangelising, however roundabout it may have been!

But there, amongst the flowers, with rickety carts piled high with wholesale orders, we worked out our theology. We challenged each other, and we fought. We looked at each other disbelieving as one said something that seemed preposterous. And sometimes it was. And sometimes one of us probably helped to shape the other, bending her a little more to the way of Christ, and a little less to her own nature. (strong though each of ours may be!) I am blessed to call her friend.

I planted geraniums and violas this weekend, and some osterosprumum - also known as African Daisy - and I thought of my times in the greenhouse. And I was grateful for being led to summers in overheated, humid, plastic enclosures, because apparently, I can grow a decent garden all these years later, and those seeds that were planted deep in us while chatting and laughing, they fell on fertile soil and a harvest has been produced beyond either of our wildest dreams.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Free stuff = Happiness.

Who doesn't love the free? I love all kinds of free. Political freedom, religious freedom, the freedom to be you and me...

But if I'm honest, I love free stuff. Particularly when it's useful.

Today has been about the free. It started with breakfast on the balcony. I realise that the free factor might be lacking, but it was a gorgeous day and it got me excited! Plus, there is a 'free.' There's the demolition that's happening on the Estate across the street. Free entertainment. Now, I realise that I am a 26 year-old girl, living in a pretty exciting city, but I tell you, I'm almost as excited by the demolition project across the street as a 5 year-old boy. It's fascinating. It's also brought much hilarity to our lives, particularly the debate about people living in the flats as they were being demolished...(they weren't).

The free continued when I donned a new - free - shirt! My favourite of favourites gave me a shirt she insisted 'didn't look good on her.' That's doubtful, but I'm not arguing with the free.

Out the door and on the street, I remember that Giraffe, a restaurant chain in the UK, gives away, wait for it....FREE coffee. Now. We. Are. Talking. I mean, two of the best things in the world: coffee+free=awesome walk to work!

And the free continued when I took my old bottles into Kiehl's. Where they exchange old bottles for sample size bottles of product! I know. Genius! So, my skin should be pampered this week with Creme de Corps...

Happiness, it appears, can occasionally come in form of stuff - particularly when it's free!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I heart Jamie Oliver.

I have a deep love for all things Jamie Oliver. In reality I have a deep appreciation for anything that includes quality food, this probably explains my deep and abiding love for Mr. Oliver. A few months ago I had some good friends over for dinner and in an effort to have an 'interactive dinner party' (I hear these are all the rage right now...) I decided on pizzas. But in a homemade kind of way. Well let's just say that my love for Jamie deepened that night. We created what G declared to the 'the best pizza he had ever had in his entire life.' It's a bold statement, but I think it might just be accurate. And so, ever since I've tried to keep some dough and sauce in the freezer for the nights when you want a home-cooked meal, but have not the energy to create everything from scratch right then and there. Last night was such a night.

So let's talk about this dough. It's soft and silky, it rolls out beautifully, it crisps up exactly as a pizza base should. In a word, it's divine. The tomato sauce is out of this world, requires a bit of effort, but is oh so worth it and really, the effort is the easy kind, where you push steaming chunks of tomato through a sieve, creating some of the smoothest, deepest red, perfectly seasoned sauce you've ever had. I'm not exaggerating here. I promise.

And here we are after:

Tonight's dinner, if you so choose can be brought to you by Mr. Oliver also...

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Mary, Mary, quite contrary...

I have a list. A pretty long one. A list of everything I want to do in my life. The list includes predictable items like get married, have kids, travel. It also includes a list of things I'd like to learn how to do - row, for example, or things like sewing and photography both of which I've recently taken up. The list hits on the super-serious, such as growing with God, and loving earnestly. But it also includes things that I know *how* to do, and keep on my list of things to do and learn because, well, I want to remember to do them always, always. These are things that centre me, knitting, praying, running, and gardening. Actually, I've written 'grow an enormous and sustaining garden.'

We live on the third floor of an apartment building, not exactly a backyard or garden with endless space to fill with plants and flowers and trees. But it's a start. And this weekend heralded the beginning of the outdoor season! The little seedlings that were carefully planted and watered and loved on the windowsills for the past month were planted out. We're out of the woods for frost and the sun is a-shining on the balcony, so things have been set out and plants are a-growing! 

So how does this Mary's garden grow? With salad leaves and tomatoes and courgettes (zucchini for you North Americans) and lavender and french beans. I'm adding peppers soon. It's a good lesson in economizing space and being inventive and making do with what you've got. It might not be enormous and (fully) sustaining, but I absolutely cannot wait for the first fruits (make that the first vegetables, unless we want to get into the fruit/vegetable debate regarding the tomatoes) of the season!!!!

Posted by Picasa