Category Archives: At Home

Signs of Spring at the Wilson’s

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Buds on the trees and a different coloured poppy everyday. It’s true. I planted. I bought some $2.00 plants at home depot, dug a few holes, carefully opened the roots, plopped them in the holes and ta-da. Then it rained, and instead of being grumpy, I thought about how convenient it was to have a built in watering system.  These days, however, the city is unabashedly sunny. The orange of this particular poppy can be seen all the way down the block. I am pretty sure my neighbours are jealous of my obviously advanced horticultural skills. Even the neighbour with her own gardening blog. OK, not quite.

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Another sign of spring? Popsicles.

Favourite green places in Vancouver

Earth day…like as opposed to Seceratary’s Day or Mother’s Day? I have to admit, I am not the biggest fan of  “days.” Holidays are one thing but random days that hardly anybody knows about until it’s all over CNN as you sit there with your morning coffee feeling like crap because it’s not fair trade just seems a little easy. Especially for a topic like the earth, which is of paramount importance every day (and indicative in every choice you make from that second latte in the to-go cup at the coffee stand to the time you get in your car and drive yourself home). I could go on, but I won’t. All I know for sure (to steal a line from Oprah, who is curiously silent on subject of green) is that I have started making shifts in my day-to-day life that not only make me worthy of an Earth day button but actually feel very right. Looking to see where my produce was grown (Chile? too far! BC? I’ll take it!).  Buying organic pillows so that my husband can sleep through the night without severe allergies. The simple act of bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.  I like all of it. I know there is so much more my family can do and we are definitely growing in that direction – not just for one day, but one day at a time.

M Smart Designhttp://www.m-smartdesign.com/ Not only is this store dedicated to carrying organic products, but the owner is passionately knowledgable about everything she sells. Watch for this stores’ upcoming move from Park Royal to the edge of the newly fashioned design row on Beatty Street (also home to Chambar and Provide). Re-opens May 31st at 163 W.Hastings St.

Trout Lake Farmer’s Market http://www.eatlocal.org/markets.html      All I can say is – is it May yet???? If you’re not in the East end, click through to find a farmer’s market near your neighbourhood, though by July, I don;t think there is a more festive or busy market than the one at Trout Lake.

Little Nest http://www.littlenest.ca  Though this place is best known for its “parent friendly” atmosphere, do not be scared away if you’re looking for somewhere to read the paper over organic fare. The free-range eggs are pumpkin organge and the organic multigrain bread is always fresh. Fair trade coffee makes it all go down nicely (friendly little visitors or not!). 1716 Charles Street on Commercial Drive

Be happy. Be Green.

Jen

How to Mac a Chick Pea

Hope you all had a nice weekend! Ever since Friday, when Ash and I served homemade Coq au Vin to our wonderful friends, I have been on a recipe rampage. Tonight I’m making Chana Punjabi with the spice kit my mother bought Ash from Vij’s Rangoli. I found the recipe on the blog,  The Wednesday Chef, who writes: “I have been rendered mute by a chick pea.” What a great sell.

Also, I read this post recently on the blog of food writer, Dorie Greenspan. Very Champagne Wednesdays, don’t you think? This weekend, for the first time in so long, we pulled our little grey, wicker loveseat out to our front patio to enjoy the spring weather with home-fried pot stickers and edamame. The sun, much like a good bottle, should never be saved. We find Stella Artois in our fridge hard to save as well.

MacBook
MacBook

Lastly, much excitement in our home about the recent purchase of one of these babies! I am hoping it means big things to come for Champagne Wednesdays and a few other projects we have in the works. That’s one of the things I love most about life with Ash – we have so many great ideas together, the best of which happened one year ago this week. 

Why yes, I do want to live in a tree house.

Specifically, this treehouse, perched on the rocks of Passage Island.  This amazing place is just a 5 minute water-taxi from Fisherman’s Cove, West Vancouver.  It’s listed  for $399,000 – why does that seem like such a deal?

100% self-sufficient…solar panels….generators… views to kill for…

How good would a latte and a book be in this very spot?

Grey clouds have dropped like a gauze over the city today. It’s reading weather.  I am a chapter into Anne Michaels‘ newest book, The Winter Vault. It’s only the second novel she’s ever written – her first being the famed story of Jakob Beer in Fugitive Pieces (oh how I loved Michaela). Most interesting so far has been the history surrounding the St. Lawerence River and the construction of the seaway as it swallowed whole towns. If you don’t like aching, poetic language, this is probably not the book for you.  I just happen to love what tortures others.

Thought: homes should be designed to inspire reading. What does that mean? Full of places that invite you to linger.  

Admission: I watched Marley and Me last night and cried like a baby. If you don’t have a dog, you might not get it.

Bon Weekend!

Noted in the margins

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Perfect spot for blog strategizing with beer: Post Restaurant & Lounge, Seattle.

Patricia Gray, I am so glad you are from Vancouver. I am also glad you told me about these.  Spring picnics anyone?

And this snippet, from the poem Marginalia by Billy Collins and found on the blog Wide Open Spaces. It made laugh heartedly:

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written “Man vs. Nature”
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

Good Husband – check.

Climbing on Santorini 

I am one of those lucky women who can say they married well. Very well.  Look how he saved me from falling over this steep and unruly cliff. 

Ok, maybe he didn’t save my life, but he made my life. Even better.

Today’s proof: a smorgasaboard of muffins delivered to my office (in-person) from Fratelli Bakery – the centre of all things good, Italian and buttery on Commercial Drive.

Thank you, love.

J

Being Jennifer

Jennifer Bradford

As I clumsily move forward into the skin of a new last name, I am reminded of the formative powers of my first one. 

From the Jen11 show:

More than a million of us were dubbed Jennifer within the span of just fifteen years. From a place of relative obscurity, the name grew on a wave of sudden and unprecedented popularity. We’re starting to learn that the effects of this phenomenon were not entirely trivial. Now as an adult, Jennifer has become targeted as the highly sought after demographic of Generation X. In the business press, we are actually known as The Jennifer Demographic or Jen-eration and are told that “focus should be almost entirely onJennifer right now as habits of all other segments pale in comparison to hers.”

Most of us have some desire to feel unique, as though we have some authentic expression that is exclusively our own. So when the culture spins out the next trend based on you and your name, it is difficult to make sense of what is genuine. Maybe one truth that my Jen-eration makes visible is the simple reminder that we act collectively, often without even knowing it. Done with the right spirit, this can sometimes be the only way to act.

Strawberry fields forever

I’ve been reading a lovely book titled “Cultivating Delight” by Diane Ackerman for the past week or so.  It’s the kind of book you wade through with your pants tucked into your boots. A wild, hairy field of fact and latin names and rich descriptions you must pick over once or twice before ingesting.  It’s far less depressing than Revolutionary Road, which should NOT be read in the winter and especially not if you traverse any bridges on your drive home. No, this book makes you notice life. The best part of my read has taken place when the book is closed, examining the yards of the houses I pass on my walks home, taking note of the varying degrees of whimsy and neglect. And despite the cold (which broke the first green fuses of the daffodils in our courtyard), signs of new growth are abundant. Despite whatever monotomy the 9 to 5 might bring, there is a current of life surging benath it, a contstant factory of change that can be just as satisfying as any drama one can cook up.

I picked you these phrases to enjoy:

“There is an ecology to every life, and each family a garden, where sensitive family members grow in varying degrees of harmony.”

“There is nothing like wide thoughts in a small garden.”

“Unfortuantely the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t include all those wonderful words in other languages for which we have no English equivalent, words we desperately need, such as Tierra del Fuegan mamiblapinatapei, which means two people ‘looking into each other’s eyes, each hoping that the other will initiate what both want to do but neither chooses to commence’…Or the Russian word ostranenie, which is when an artist makes the familiar seem strange, so that it can be seen freshly. Or aware, the Japanese word for the special poignancy one feels while  enjoying ephemeral beauty. Or the Indonesian phrase bolopis kuntil baris, which summons extra strength for carrying heavy objects….”

PS: Last night’s Champagne Wednesday was marked by a visit from the flooring man (we had a mini flood) and a bottle of Blonde De Noirs. It’s the one with Marilyn Monroe oozing hints of strawberryhigh-notes and toasted scandal on the front label. Let me say this loud and clear: YUM, YUM, YUM, MORE PLEASE.  As this particular bottle was a gift from the Sambrooks, we had a harder time than usual opening it. At least three or four times it came out of the fridge and then went right back in as we wagered: did we deserve this bottle? On a Wednesday? With frozen Costco french onion soup and tator tots? Thankfully, we came to our senses and then “pop” went the evening. The rest is all happy birthday, Mr. Husband from there.

PS: photo via Design Sponge

New to you

Between budget restraints and being a bit under-the-weather, Ash and I haven’t had much champagne to report of lately.  Not that I’m complaining. It would just be nice to have a little bubble-powered story to tell you.  Sometimes when I’m too sleepy or distracted to think of new things to say, I roam around trying to find nice pictures to show you.  I found this one hereWork hard and be nice to people. Simple, right?

Life itself is feeling pleasantly simple these days. Our cash rolled into glass jars labelled “groceries”. My nephew’s little knock on the back door. The amoires sold on craigslist. Dinner plans with parents. Sunday walks on Seaview trail. Lime cordial in our gin and tonics.

It’s snowing tonight, just a little. Like a deliberately scarce shake of salt upon the city.