A Toronto vegan blabs on about crafting, food, and her life in general.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

I am a mean kitty mom.

Life as an indoor cat can't be too exciting. In my old apartment, we had squirrels who would scale the side of the building and hang out on the balconies - there was even a raccoon once. On the TWENTY-NINTH floor. The kitties loved all the animals who would stop by on their daily journeys and it added some excitement to their day. But the new apartment doesn't have the sort of walls that allows critters to climb up. Every so often I'll put out birdseed to attract pigeons and doves, but I worry about how feeding birds during the winter disrupts their natural instinct to fly south in the search of food and warmer weather.

Pekoe, as a tortishell cat, is naturally aggressive. I have to scold
her on a daily basis as she attacks Tetley, who is much more gentle
and timid. I figure that being cooped up in a 1-bedroom apartment all day,
with very little going on outside the windows, doesn't help.

So I harnessed her up and took her outside.

I had to wear a light coloured shirt
since I knew she would shed all over me.

It was very windy outside so there were some bags blowing around,
very loudly. Pekoe was scared and stayed on my lap. She's not used to
wind and kept her eyes closed a lot.

Her ears were flattened for most of the outting as well.

Next trip outside will be in the next couple of days.


The Good Food Festival was pretty, um, good today. The boy and I went with Claire and we met up with my mom and sister. There weren't as many vegan/veggie products as in past years, but we still managed to secure tonnes of samples and buy a few well-priced items. The afternoon was spent sampling tofutti cuties (coffee flavoured. I got 2!), soymilk, salsas, indian foods, ice cream (by the boy and Claire and Steph. Mom can't do dairy), pita, hummus, spreads, juices, breads...

My purchases:

We picked up this great-smelling, loose jasmine tea, 3 for $20. We got 2 bags of the jasmine and Claire got 1 bag of orange ginger tea. The tea came in this cute bag, which Claire graciously allowed us to keep. She knows I would have whined if I didn't get it anyway, smart girl.

I have been using these purees more often lately. I feel like such a cheat, but they are so handy when I don't feel like peeling and chopping fresh garlic. Plus they are all perfect for adding to my yoga soup (which I eat at least twice a week). And they were only $1.50 each.

Unbleached parchment paper has been my saviour over the past year. I had never used it before and now I use it all the time. We just ran out, so I was happy to pick these up at 2 for $5.

This is my messy, but well-stocked freezer. The bread that we bought today has to be frozen since we don't eat it fast enough: Pita Break Pita - 3 for $5 (they're usually up to $3 each in the store) and Stonemill 11-grain bread for only $1.
  • Not in plain sight is the package of vegetable dumplings ($2.50) and free coffee packets that were in our entrance package.
  • In plain sight, the already-purchased box of Lick's burgers, Yves veggie dogs, Tofurky slices, Smartlife veggie sausage, edamame, Amy's cheeseless pizza, perogies, white sushi rice, bag of coffee beans on top of a container of frozen berries... and a bottle of voddie, only about 1/6 full.

Not photographed: bag of baby spinach and lolla rossa, and a bag of fresh cilantro, both only $1 each. The 3 lb bags of potatoes were selling 2 for $1, so the boy and I split with Claire - which means we got the potatoes for only 50 cents. Also 1 package of Pete's Tofu Peach Mango soft tofu, which the guy gave me free of charge after I asked if they had coupons to give away - he said no but that I could have a package! yay!

The best part of having a more limited-option diet at one of these things is that I do not feel gross and full like the others did. I am actually looking forward to dinner! Hmm.. now if I can be creative and figure out how to make something with everything I picked up... maybe a potato-garlic-spinach patty on pita? Somehow I think the boy will say a big fat NO to that :)

Now I'm off to take Pekoe outside on her harness. Tetley will have nothing to do with anything outside this apartment, so it'll just be me and Pekes... and a camera. Photos may follow...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I have returned, unscathed!

Today was a lot of fun. After a slow start this morning, we headed out on our bikes around 1:30. We decided to ride along the Don Valley bike trails and I brought my camera in hopes of taking shots of the Toronto Brick Works, which didn't happen. But, we did get up close to the Don Valley Elevated Wetlands, which I was always curious about. They look like huge planters made out of elephant bodies.

The official website about these strange installments says:
"A wetlands environment was created within plastic structures. Waste plastic is used as a soil substitute to filter water and sustain plant and tree growth. Certain vegetation, such as that commonly found in wetland areas, has a natural ability to remove pollutants from the environment -- a process known as phytoremediation. A selection of such plants, shrubs and trees are growing in the sculptural planters."


After the Wetlands, we continued north up the trail. Now, I'm not gonna lie. I had to walk my bike up hills. Ain't no way my under-exercised legs could peddle me up. I walked up, while the boy would bike up, then back down, then back up again. Show off :)

Overall, we were out for about 2 hours. My body got oxygenated. I learned the hows and why of shifting gears. The boy and I bonded. He discovered he could "bunny hop". And we came home to have some Yoga Soup.

Tonight? American History X is on Rogers-on-demand. And maybe a wee bit more wine.

Tomorrow? The Good Food Festival. Yeah, baby.

Friday, April 28, 2006

my fourth post of the night:

The boy and I are going biking tomorrow. Please - wish me no broken bones! I hope to bring my camera to get some shots.

I haven't been on my bike for 3 or 4 years. Yipes.

Also on the menu for this Friday evening: wine and tax returns for 2004 AND 2005. I'm a lucky girl!

eta: I'm getting a return for both years! Hoo-ray!

on the TV:

Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HOOO!

you know it.

Bead heaven

I went shopping for bead supplies after work today.

I went because I needed silver jump rings.

I came out with so much more.

I bought silver rings, dark rings, mid-tone rings, all large and small,
several chains, black beads, some really pretty cloisonn├ę beads,
pink and pink & red beads, some really pretty indian-looking green beads, wire.
Oh my.

Oh, and a samosa and a berry smoothie from Fresh.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

You look like a monkey, and you act like one too!

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday and today
the boy, Claire and I drove out to give the sister her gift
- a new computer from the 3 of us, our mom
and Steph's brother and future sister-in-law.
The vegan cupcakes I baked
(recipe from Dreena Burton's The Everyday Vegan)
turned out well - but I already knew that since I stole 3 yesterday.
That is chocolate peanut butter icing, by the way.

As she opened her present, I think I had her convinced
that we just used an IBM box for her gift.

PJ had to check out who this "intel" joker was
who was supposedly inside the box.
She figures she scared them away.

Make-your-own pizzas for lunch! My vegan pizza is on the bottom left:
tomato sauce, spinach, fresh basil, red onions,
artichokes, garlic, peppers, mushrooms and fake cheese.

I present to you: The Cupcake!

Claire calculates the caloric and fat content of the cupcake...

David calculates how many cupcakes he can eat,
based on the amount of M&Ms he just devoured...

Mom's just happy that she can now view the digital photos
from our Mexico trip 2 years ago on "Steph's" new computer!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Monkey loves the earth, too.

I suppose I should be a good little earth-lovin' girl and talk about something Earth Day-ish. But, in reality, I am spending the day hiding from the rain and dampness and making cupcakes for my sister's birthday celebration tomorrow. In my defense, I appreciate the earth every day in my choices to cut down on my own water consumption, waste production, and product use. I feel I have made a huge difference in my environmental-friendliness in the past year and a half, so I can rationalize not specifically celebrating Earth Day.

Can you tell I feel a wee bit guilty? Now on to my real post:

Over this past Christmas holiday, the boy and I took a trip to Italy, leaving on December 27 and coming home on January 6. Our trip started out in Rome for 5 days, during which we popped down to Pompeii on New Year's Eve Day, and we left for Florence on New Year's Day, where we spent the rest of the trip. We had originally tossed around the idea of hopping over to Pisa (we realised that the only thing there to see was a leaning tower that doesn't lean as much anymore) and Venice ("ooh, there's a canal! ... and ... there's another canal...") but, with our tight timeframe and so much to do in Florence, we decided to stay there for the remainder.

We spent so much time walking and visiting places, and drinking wine. I knit a couple of headbands (I finally answered your question, Michelle!) with my plastic airplane-approved needles as well as a pretty sad kerchief. At least it helped me pass time on the plane and the train. Varied vegan food was a bit scarce in Rome, where I mostly ate pizza crust with sauce only. In Florence, however, Spaghetti Carritiera (a spicy sauce with tomatoes and parsley) was common. And delicious.

And now:

~~ Monkey Does Italia! ~~

It is stupid o'clock in the morning
at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where we had a stopover.
Monkey says "Hallo en feestelijk inhalen!"
Of course, he wasn't the one getting felt up by the customs officer*.

It is a very rainy day,
and Monkey is having trouble finding Colosseo.

Silly, Monkey. It's right behind you.

In Pompeii, Monkey is a little afraid of a volcanic eruption,
but all worries subside when he catches a chance glimpse of
the Olympic Torch** passing through the city!

Monkey poses for a photo before heading into
the Basilica di Santa Croce in Firenze
- that's Florence to most of you... Monkey is a travel snob -
to see the tomb of that guy who painted that ceiling.

/slide show

* I was the one who had my boobs grabbed by the customs officer. We found out, on our way home, that body checks had been suspended because a woman complained that she was inappropriately frisked.

** We really did see the torch go by as we ate our lunch in a small cafe outside the ruins!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blog address change

I'm going to change my address and blog name. I wasn't really thinking things through when I set everything up in the beginning, and now I have a name and address that really have no meaning. "Chaifae" is basically just a blend of "chai" (tea, which I love) and "fae" (another term for "faery.") Big whoop, right?

I have the new address secured, I just wanted to give a heads up. But first, before I do anything, does anyone how this will affect my blogging? Basically, what I am going to do is:

1. delete the blog/address I have secured
2. change the address of *this* blog to the new one
3. set up a new blog with my old address that directs people to the new address

Sounds simple and straight-forward to me, but does anyone see any sort of problem that I'm not seeing? I know anyone who is subscribed/bookmarked to me will have to update their links, but I will give ample warning before the switch happens.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

6 + 1 things

I've been tagged.

The lovely Jen has tagged me with a "6 unusual or little known things about myself" meme. Specifically, she has asked about why I call my boy "the boy." Here goes.

1. I'll start off by borrowing the theme of one of Jen's things. I, too, grew up as an only child. My mom and father divorced when I was about a year old and I didn't see him again until I was 19 years old. The whole misconception of only-children being spoiled brats was so not true in my case, though I did wish for other siblings. When I was 19, my mom blessed me with my first sibling (that I knew about at the time,) who became the love of my life. A few years later, I discovered I had a brother, via my father, who was only a few years younger than me. I also found out about even younger children my father had fathered who are now about 11 and 8, I think.

I find it such a strange notion that I had longed for siblings my entire growing-up life, and now, as an adult, I have 4 half-sibs and 2 step-sibs.

2. I get very obsessive with new things: Music, hobbies, food. Right now, I can't stop listening to the same bands or reading blogs.

3. In grade 8, when we had to start choosing our high school courses for the next year, I did not want to go to the local high school. I can't fully explain it, but it felt so common to me... I wanted to go somewhere more interesting.

After a presentation by the regional School of the Arts, I furiously began to draw so that I could apply to this school, which was in the next city and would require taking a school bus to and from. I had always enjoyed drawing, but it was never something I had considered myself good at.

However, all my hard work paid off - I auditioned for a spot in their Visual Arts program and was accepted. The day I found out is one of my proudest moments. Looking back, I think I was a very mediocre fine art student - my creativity level ranged from average to below average, and my technical ability was just "okay." Although I'm pretty damn good at drawing nekkid people. It was the only class I consistently got above 90% in.

But, despite my lackings, I had the desire. I would look at a painting or photograph and get lost in the beauty. I still have that desire burning in me. As a designer, I would classify myself as pretty good... but I want to be great.

4. I am painfully shy. Not as much as I used to be, but it can still be a hinderance.

5. At age 25, I started experiencing seizures. More specifically, I was having Simple Partial Seizures which would sometimes become secondarily generalised. This means I would get a weird deja vu sensation (more like "I have dreamed this before, several times") and feel a rise in my tummy like when you ride a roller coaster, and sometimes the seizure would take over my entire brain and cause me to lose consciousness.

I didn't see a doctor about them (I thought that maybe I was having psychic visions. seriously. I'm dumb.) until I had a strange grand mal seizure 6 months later, during which my then-5-year-old-sister found me seizing and my mom ended up calling 911 because I was unconscious.

Anyway, long story less long, I was put on medication and have had numerous tests: EEGs, MRIs, a CT scan. Everything came back "normal." Apparently, in 75% of epilepsy patients, tests show no indication of why they seize. I have since stopped taking the meds and have been seizure-free for about 5 years - also unexplained. This doesn't change the fact that my driver's license has been annoyingly affected and I've been forced to go through graduated licensing. grr.

6. Now for the boy.

Before we started dating, I was married to a woman. Not legally. We could have been, but I have strong opinions of marriage. She and I were together for about 6 and a half years and have remained friends after the separation (Hi, if you're reading this...).

It took me a while to get used to the idea of dating a man and, for the longest time, I called myself "a lesbian with a boyfriend." And then we called him a lesbian for a while. As time went on, I realised what the truth was... I had a boyfriend. Calling him "the boy" is something I do in real life, too. I needed a way to help shift my thinking from what it had been for years. I needed to refer to "the boy" to remind and differentiate. Now, it's a term of endearment - likewise, he calls me "girl."

Also, if you met him, you'd see that he is about 75% boy, 25% man. Definitely an "I don't wanna grow up" kinda guy. Which is perfect, because I'm an "I don't wanna grow up" kinda girl.

His name is David.


7. I watched a lot of TV as a kid. My favourites, off the top of my head: Sesame Street, Electric Company, Animaniacs (okay - I wasn't kid when this was on), Fraggle Rock, Muppet Show, Schoolhouse Rock, Dukes of Hazzard, Welcome Back Kotter, Donahue... *sigh* to have that much time to kill again...


Since the rules tell me to pass along the tag, I am picking:


The rules actually say to choose 6 people, but the other 3 choices have already been tagged.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Vegan Knitting

Article on vegan knitting right here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I have a problem.

I am disorganized.

VERY disorganized.

And I am a struggling-to-recover pack-rat.

I have a lot of stuff and I don't know what to do with it or where to put it. My storage locker is completely full of boxes and Rubbermaid bins and can fit no more. My small 1 bedroom apartment has limited closet space, and is overflowing with my possessions. I envy those people who have family members with attics and basements where they can store things they do not need but keep for sentimental reasons - old school work, old clothes, books, etc.

The most upsetting part is that since I moved into my apartment last year, I have cleansed myself of many useless items... but I still have too much.

When the boy moved in with me in December, he brought very little with him, and I feel all this guilt for subjecting him to my neverending clutter. Our bedroom has a corner that is piled with boxes filled with miscellany that I need to ruthlessly empty and get rid of. I feel embarrassment that the apartment is cramped and we haven't taken the time to put up pictures or photos. Instead, most of my pictures are in a box on the floor of my living room.

If I could afford it, I would pay someone to come into my home, purge my belongings and organize the rest. But, this weekend, I will start my own purge my damn self. Starting with the games and other crap in my front hall closet.

This post will serve as the proverbial kick in the ass that I need. Encouragement is welcome.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats HO!

The boy has obtained copies of Thundercats and is watching an episode as I type. Anyone else remember watching the show in the mornings before school? Here, it came on right after Carebears. Ugh.

This weekend was so super productive! Claire came over on Saturday to bead (and to visit the cats.) We beaded, ate yummy hummus, and drank chai tea. The work paid off as we ended the get-together with some beautiful work.

I call this one "Citrus Drop."
It is a pendant only, and I plan to partner it up
with a length of ribbon instead of chain.

I've been eyeing these beads for a little while now, and I finally bought them last week. I think they are gorgeous - I love the colours and the flower graphic.

Pendant, to be paired with a ribbon

I'm keeping this one!

This afternoon, we (Claire, Sheena, her nephew Liam, my sister and a friend Marcelle) went to Claire's aunt's home for some afternoon crafting. Aunt Norma, is the Craft Queen. I kid you not. She has an entire apartment full of supplies - mainly for scrapbooking and card-making. I'm not a scrapbooker, so while everyone else worked on their pages, I beaded some more.

Scrapbooking in progress

Superman necklace before...
(mmm... Vanilla Animal Cookies...)

... and after.
(not seen:
Vanilla Animal Cookies in tummy.)

Rosie just watched.

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Friday, April 7, 2006

Lace be done.

Wow - I can't believe how quickly this knit! After I got the hang of the whole "knit, don't drop stitch, yo, purl, don't drop stitch, yo, knit, don't drop stitch, yo, purl" thing, it went fairly quickly. I did mess up around the 10th row because I forgot to bring the instructions with me that day... so I just made them up :D Now, if only I had somewhere to wear it....

Knitting Ninja

The needles for the Spiderweb capelet are quite large - both thick and long. When I pack my backpack in the mornings, my breakfast and lunch* containers are packed first, then my purple Knowknits.com knitting pouch sits on top. Since the needles are so huge, they poke out of the top of my bag. This morning, the boy looked at me on the streetcar, hugging my SnB Nation book, messy high pigtails, long straight skirt and jacket, and told me I looked like a Knitting Ninja.

I'm gonna draw me a picture of a Knitting Ninja one day.

* breakfast usually consists of some sort of cereal (bran buds recently, but can also be uncooked oatmeal) topped with frozen mixed berries, almonds and, sometimes, wheat germ. Today, lunch is a small bowl of brown rice, kidney beans and a mexican-spiced tomato sauce, plus a container filled with lettuces, some prepackaged broccoli coleslaw (sans dressing) and some broccoli sprouts. There's also a small jar of sundried tomato dressing.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Damn. Lace be hard.

The Spiderweb capelet was started yesterday and I've gotten this far. I know I've messed up in quite a few places, but I'm counting on the screw ups to not be noticeable once I'm all done. Though, I do think I've done fairly well for someone who has never done a drop-stitch or yarn-over before.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

April showers make me knit flowers

The colouring is awful in these webcam photos - but I've finished my long black and red scarf. I just need to tidy the loose ends. I've spent my past few commuting trips learning to make black, red and cream coloured flowers, and here they are!

Next up: Spiderweb Capelet from Stitch'n'Bitch Nation. The instructions call for [non-vegan] mohair, but I'm going to try it with cotton. It won't be as soft and delicate, but I think it'll turn out interestingly. Oh, and I'm using RED yarn :roll eyes:

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Blue Cotton Sky

The sky this morning was so beautiful, I had to take a photo. This is the south-west view of the city from my balcony - you can barely see the CN Tower peeking out from behind the main cluster. I am fortunate enough to live just across the valley from the city, so my view is a combination of cityscape and treescape.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Weekend by numbers

1. Stephanie arriving on Friday night. We ordered pizza and started our "24" season 4 blitz. Five episodes in one evening was enough for all three of us.

2. Saturday brunch at Maggie's. Thanks to Carla for suggesting this place, which ended up being way different than what I expected. The service wasn't fabulous and it took at least 20 minutes for us to get any attention from one of the servers, BUT the food was excellent. I had the potato frittatas, which were pretty much just potato pancakes... but damn tasty.

3. Shopping for a cute pink shrug for Steph to wear over her grad dress. This took about 4 hours and browsing in numerous shops from Queen & Bathurst to Yonge & Dundas. Afterwards, we went to Urban Outfitters where I bought her one incredible Lorax t-shirt. This was one of her bedtime story regulars, so buying her the shirt was a huge sentimental gesture. I left wishing they also had shirts for Horton Hears a Who and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

4. 4 Sore feet. We walked so much that Saturday night was spent on the couch with more "24" - 5 more episodes.

5. My iMac Photobooth photos. We experimented with the 16 different filters and effects that come with the Photobooth program and webcam on my new computer. I have not made such weird laughing sounds in such a long time.

6. Fast-forwarding the clocks 1 hour ahead, making for 2 sleepy girls. I also had hair issues so we were almost late meeting Claire for the One of a Kind Show.

7. Meeting my first person from internet-land! Krissy was selling her incredibly fun Rat Girl Goodies, which totally match her personality. She was adorable, full of energy and very, very sweet. Steph had to go back to the booth afterwards because she couldn't stop thinking about the Cupcake pendant necklace. She had to buy it!

8. Beading Inspiration. The show inspired Claire and me to make more necklaces. So we went to Golden Beads on Queen St to buy more supplies.

9. Mega salads at Fresh. And Steph ate a tofu sandwich for the first time... and liked it!

10. Watching the countless number of members of Broken Social Scene accept the award for #1 Best Alternative Album at the Junos. Yay!