Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Year of Yes – Rachel’s version

I began 2011 with an attitude of determination. My usual, but maybe squared.
I decided I was going after every reasonable idea and opportunity that came my way. And as these things so often go, the universe has lobbed so many soft pitches my way, I’ve been swinging ever since.
I was teaching one day a week and writing a few freelance articles last winter when I saw a notice that Statistics Canada was hiring people to work during the census period in the spring. I applied. I got a call asking me to go for a test, so I showed up and while I waited for the test to begin, one of the other applicants suggested Elections Canada as another temporary gig. So after the Stat Can exam, I went home and signed on to elections.ca. Got another call.
I worked as a poll clerk during the federal election in early May and was fascinated to see the process from a different point of view, to chat even for brief moments with so many people who were excited to be voting for the first time or the 20th time.
A week later, I started a temporary stint with Statistics Canada. I loved the team, loved the downtown location, and loved the work.
A couple of days after that full-time job ended in late August, I spotted an ad for a position at the University of Victoria. The new Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation was looking for a half-time coordinator, someone who is all about sustainability and education and writing. My résumé practically wrote itself.
I started working on September 7.
My first journalism class was on September 12. And the second (did I mention I was asked to teach a second course this term?) started September 14.
And in Friday’s mail came a notice that I’m to report for jury duty next week.
I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next – because, you know, I’m going to have to say yes!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What's new

I got a new job!
I'm teaching even more!
I celebrated both – and the advent of September – with a daytrip to magical Carmanah Valley!
Fodder and I are both holding our own in the healthy-weight department – and in fact he's still raising the bar for his fitness level!

And that's enough exclamation marks for now.

I'll post more details of the exciting new stuff later, but today I'll introduce you to a couple of the fascinating people and places I encountered this year:

LaConner, Washington is the site of the annual Tulip Pedal bike ride – and a whole lot more.

Alisa Smith is the co-founder of the 100-Mile Diet, but she's about more than just food.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A gardener's dream…or is it nightmare?

Some people call it the wonder green.
The Saint calls it “not again.”
Kale grows fast and thick and in all seasons. Here on the wet coast, the purple variety is also used as wintertime ornamental foliage in window boxes and patio planters.
It’s nutritious, packing into a single cup 350% of an adult’s daily Vitamin A requirement, 90% of our Vitamin C needs, and 10% of our fibre.
It can be cooked any number of ways – steamed, sautéed, braised, layered in a casserole, pureed in a smoothie, dehydrated into chips that my cousin Tea swears are as good as Miss Vickie’s. Very young kale is lovely in salads.
I could go on.
But.
You knew there was a but coming, didn’t you?
The down side of kale is that it is so very prolific. Prodigious. Productive.
It sprouts fast and grows faster.
I’m still harvesting the first crop I planted very late this spring and the second is past the salad stage and heading for outright maturity. The third crop (what was I thinking?) is already two inches high.
I like kale. The Saint, witty comments notwithstanding, eats what’s put in front of him. Fodder had enough after the first bunch of the summer. My neighbours avert their eyes and pick up speed when they walk past our house.
You know why.
Kale is the new zucchini.