Monday, March 29, 2010

soooo good

one of my favourite things about coming home to canada (besides seeing my family and friends) is all the great vegan food here (not that melbourne doesn't have a lot of really good stuff but there's just different stuff up here and it's fun to have while i'm here).
right now i'm enjoying a coffee with vanilla flavoured so nice soy milk. the only reason i even bought this milk was because i can't seem to find soy milk under 2L (and i only really wanted it for coffee). it's pretty amazing (and there were several flavours too). it's kinda like liquid so good ice cream but just a little less sweet (but still very sweet for soy milk). i'm gonna make a smoothie with it and some strawberries and banana this afternoon.
i got some so delicious soy ice cream with coconut milk. also very good and coconut-y.
another favourite up here is tofurkey dogs. best vegan sausages ever! i wish we could get these in australia.
last time we were here we got some earth balance vegan cheese- nacho cheese flavour-- because it was on sale. it was so good i had to go for that flavour again. it makes great quesadillas, crackers (triscuits are my favourite here) and cheese and burritos.
when i'm in vancouver before i leave i'm gonna go check out the new-ish vegan shop that opened up not long before we were here last time (we never got around to checking it out last time). i'm pretty sure they carry vegan jerky (i'll be stocking up for the trip home and maybe zac will be lucky enough that there's a piece or 2 left for him when i get home).

Sunday, March 28, 2010


after trying to figure out a vegan friendly/omni friendly place for dinner last nite we ended up at the mint (a recommendation of the people renting out my mom's basement suite). my brother had been meaning to go there for a few years but hadn't done it yet. it was sooooo good!!! i started off with a crème de cacao cocktail (kind of dessert-y but i really wanted it). as an entree (or appetizer as they call them here because entree is the main which makes no sense at all, especially for a country that has french as one of it's national languages) we got some peanuts seasoned with lime, chili cilantro (coriander) and one other spice (that none of us can remember-- i will be going back to look at the menu on the door so i can hopefully recreate the amazingness of the dish). everyone was really impressed with their main courses. my brother's partner and i both got a sticky rice dish with tofu (that was baked or fried amazingly), veggies and an amazing peanut sauce. on top of the tofu they had covered them with crushed up peanuts seasoned like our appitizer. all the dishes looked amazing as well as tasted amazing (and of course none of us had a camera). the place is open til late too and i think it becomes more of a cocktail bar/lounge as the nite goes on.
it was a great find cuz it's somewhere zac and i would have never thought to go any time the 2 of us are around here but they had a couple dishes that looked vegan friendly (and the waitress was helpful in making sure my dish was definitely vegan when i ordered) and they had lots of fun cocktails (and lots of mint flavoured ones which i guess would be why they went with the name "the mint").
it's on douglas street (next to the dollar store near the corner of pandora) in downtown victoria.


i made it to victoria after a long but ok trip (i think i spent about 30 hours in transit between melbourne and victoria and went something like 34 hours without sleep). unfortunately my bag didn't make the final flight from LA to vancouver (i was happy at least i made it though since i'm sure there were several people behind me at the security lines that didn't make connecting flights). at least my bag wasn't lost (the guy who eventually delivered my bag said his was once lost for over a week!). they notified me and 3 others on arrival in vancouver that our bags hadn't made the flight and they would be coming up in a few hours. i was heading to victoria right away so my bag was flown to victoria the next morning and then delivered to the door that afternoon. fortunately i always carry at least my tooth brush, deodorant and underwear in my carry on and my mom had some brand new fuzzy pjs for me to sleep in.
the reason my bag didn't make the vancouver flight was the computer systems in LA. i'm travelling as an australian (my canadian passport expired 9 days before i left) so i had to do the whole bio-whatever scans (electronic fingerprints and photos) in the usa. the system kept overloading and freezing up with the huge numbers they had to deal with so it was taking ages to get each person thru. if i had been travelling on a canadian passport i wouldn't have had to do the fingerprint/photo thing so i would have just had my passport checked and gone through (and then i would have got my bag and moved it to it's new spot earlier and it would have been transfered to the other terminal in time for the flight)
the flights were good (other than the very bland food but at least they did a good job of knowing what to serve vegans it just tasted like nothing for the most part). my long haul one had the seat back tv screens with probably 40 or so movies to choose from (everything from new releases still in theatres in australia to classics to independent ones) and tons of tv shows (kept me entertained for 14 hours-- i can't really sleep on planes, especially when my brain thinks its day time).

encouraging the opposite

i'm assuming they mean coverage before and after the hour otherwise it wouldn't be right:
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Sunday, March 21, 2010


102: that's how many days melbourne has had in a row that are 20C or higher (every day since something like dec. 9) and so far it looks will continue for at least another week or more (hopefully a few weeks--with some rainfall as well--i like temperatures over 20C).
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

picky bitch

wombat has gotten picky in her "old" age (4). since christmas she hasn't just wolfed down her food like she always has (we just assumed that because she got so much people food and meat while we were away over christmas she had come to expect it and plain dog food just wasn't good enough any more). she also got picky about just dog food and rice (we often give her plain rice and occasionally bits of our left overs in her meals). the past couple weeks we've had to get really excited about her food to make her eat. sometimes she wants us to sit there and just hand it too her. she also wouldn't eat in the kitchen unless we were there with her (it wasn't even ok if we were just sitting in the lounge room and she knew weren't going anywhere). we thought maybe she was over her veganpet dog food so we bought her some regular dog food. she still didn't care for it (unless we handed each piece to her). we bought canned food. she liked that. (she also likes a "satay" sauce of peanut butter and warm water mixed but it's probably not really healthy to have peanut butter that much-- she already gets a little in her kong most days). she started refusing to eat out of her bowl. she'd eat from my hand, on the floor (which worked out well the night i spilled a 5L tub filled with dry food all over the kitchen) and off our plates:

(i wish i didn't have the flash setting too high on the above photo-- it was still set from the last time i used it, during a wedding reception the week before)

we had her bowl on the lounge room floor. she ate a couple pieces, then stopped. i hand fed her a bit but i got bored (it takes a long time to feed a large dog her entire meal one piece at a time). i put a bit on the floor but that kinda makes a wet mess. i poured it from her bowl to a plate and she ate (she did this on 2 separate occasions!). why won't she eat from her bowl???? (i have tried soaking and cleaning her bowl in case there was some weird smell or something that was throwing her off. it didn't work.)
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portabello burgers

i was craving these burgers last week (we haven't had them in a long while). i actually turned down going out for dinner with co-workers to come home and make these (although if i'd known they were going to the moroccan soup bar i would have gone with them, i thought they were just going to the local pub). i marinate the mushrooms using this recipe (although there are lots of similar ones on the internet) and grill them under the grill in the oven. the marinade makes HEAPS so i've got a jar in the fridge with enough left to do at least 2 more mushrooms. i put lettuce and tomatoes on these burgers. onion would be good to but my stomach doesn't like it unless i cook it to death and i usually can't be bothered to do that when i make these.
now i'm craving moroccan soup bar (and of course my co-workers have planned a dinner there the day after i go to canada next week). i think i may be convincing zac that we need a dinner out in the next couple days.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

canadian hockey pride

(probably best viewed on you tube cuz i don't know how to make the player fit here without making it small)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


autumn has been weird. it's been hot and humid, it's been cool and wet. we've had a LOT of rain. We didn't even realize how bad the storm was on saturday until the next morning when we saw these photos and videos in the age. we were at a wedding. after the ceremony we went out to take photos and it was just hot and humid. the wedding party went off for more photos while we all went into a covered area (and an air conditioned room). we could see VERY dark clouds coming. jay was on lea's iphone looking at the rain radar (a band of red was coming thru melbourne) and saying that the news site he looked at said one of the worst storms was coming thru. the rain came. we stood in the air conditioned reception room and watched as it made a water feature against a window while it fell. we didn't really notice any hail. some family had gone off during the afternoon tea and when the came back they said there was some pretty big hail and the rain was bad. we didn't think much of it. when we were coming home, lites were out on the other side of the creek (street lites and homes) and we just thought that was kind of weird. after looking at the photos of the rain and hail now it all makes sense (there were also strong winds). it was kinda crazy how much rain we still got over the next couple days. i'm sure we have to have beaten some kind of record for melbourne for rain so far in march. the garden is loving it (my pile of laundry waiting for a dry day to be washed, is not).

Thursday, March 04, 2010

no idea

wombat has no idea of how big and tough a dog she actually is (i like that about her). three times in the past month we've had the same situation happen to us on our afternoon walk that shows what a wuss she is. one of the streets we often walk up has a small pomeranian dog at one house. the dog is often in the back yard and goes CRAZY (possessed sort of crazy) barking, growling, running and spinning around the yard when we walk up the road (on the opposite side of the road from his house because it stresses wombat so much). the family also owns the house on the opposite side and occasionally (3 times this past month) the dog is tied to a peg at the front of this house. as soon as the dog realizes i have wombat with me (usually before he can even see wombat-- i think he must hear her lead jingling or something) he starts doing his possessed, crazy barking and spinning. at this point i tug wombat's lead to let her know we're going to cross to the opposite side of the road. if wombat was an aggressive dog, this would be an issue (i would end up dragging her or trying to carry her). poor wombat is absolutely terrified of this little crazy dog (and most small dogs). as soon as she sees i'm going across the road she's ahead of me, desperately clawing at the road trying to muscle her way forward as far away from the little crazy one as she can get. unfortunately the dog's owner doesn't seem to understand that she needs to keep her crazy dog away from my muzzled beast. two of the 3 times (today was the first time this hasn't happened) she has come out and told her dog he's a bad boy. then while i'm trying to calm wombat by having her sit for a minute, she unties her dog and brings him across the road to put him back in his usual yard as a punishment for barking at us. the problem is that we're usually just in front of the back gate to the dog's usual home so wombat now sees little crazy one coming after her from behind and gets really stressed again. i end up running wombat forward to the end of the block (she's not a fun dog to run with, she has no idea of pacing herself or staying with us--especially when she's stressed) and then showing her that little crazy dog is not coming after her while i sit and calm her again. she's usually pully for the rest of the walk after this happens.
i'm glad she doesn't think she's tougher than other dogs but it'd be good if she realized small dogs aren't really a threat.
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a little bit special

this is from a billboard near our house. every time i see it, it makes me smile (for the past few years any time i've heard an ad that says matt damon's name, i always have to say "matt damon" in a "lesser-than-average-intelligence" voice).
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i think my brain has fully adjusted to driving/riding on the left side of the road. the other nite i had a dream i was riding my bike up a very familiar hill near my mom's house (the house i grew up in) in canada. in the dream i was riding (and the cars were driving) on the left. weird.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

a weekend of good music and canadian stuff

last weekend started on thursday nite (i had an rdo on friday) with the weakerthans. they aren't only one of both mine and zac's favourite bands but they're also canadian (and they also happened to be the band that zac and i went to see the first time we ever hung out together before we were even friends). the gig was really good. they're one of those bands that if you like them, it doesn't really matter what songs they play at their gig-- it will be good. friday morning i went down to docklands to james squire (who were nice enough to open 2 hours early for the 4 of us who showed up for the game) to watch the canadian women's hockey team beat the americans. unfortunately i couldn't make it to the big party at james squire on saturday afternoon to watch the mens team win the semi-final that took them on to the gold medal game. sunday we briefly went to the sydney rd street party (after a "goodbye tart'n'round" lunch) before heading down to the national gallery to see henry wagons and beaches (we were too tired to stay around for ned collette and zac won tickets to see him next week at rrr anyway). monday morning my co-workers were very kind in swapping around shifts and covering me so i could be down at james squire (again) at 7am to watch canada's men win gold. soooo worth getting up at 5:30am to see!! my back is sore from being tensed up for most of the game. i wish i'd remembered my camera. it was sooooo cool having that many canadians (i'd say at least a couple hundred, maybe more) packed into the pub in the early morning all in red and white cheering on team canada (and the poor 4 or 5 americans who obviously chose the wrong venue to watch the game at). great way to finish a fun weekend.