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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Comfort Foods

This week was a time of comfort foods for mom and I. We were blessed with a gift of moose meat. Today I cooked some up and this is what we had for dinner.

It was so good that mom kept saying "this is so good", and when she finished, she said she couldn't eat another bite. I didn't bother with any starch accompaniment. We simply had baby greens, radishes and sticks of English cucumber. Mom doesn't like salad greens chopped into pieces so that is why the salad greens look as they do. But they are good no matter which way you eat them! I also stir fried some slices of red pepper with mushrooms and stalks of celery. This mixture is what is obscuring the meat somewhat in my photos.

The moose meat has been cut into slices off a slab, pounded and dipped into flour on both sides before frying in hot oil. One must use enough oil so as not to dry out the moose meat which is very lean. Read more about the moose meat here.

Earlier this week, I made pan fried bannock. I've blogged before about oven baked bannock. See here and here. For the pan friend version, you omit the oil/shortening from the recipe. Once you form your rounds or pieces of bannock to be cooked, you heat some oil and fry the bread, turning it over once it has browned. Once cooked on both sides, you lay it on strips of paper towel to blot out the excess grease. Eat. It is especially good with butter and jam.

Here is a picture of what the fried bannock should look like.

Just as I was finishing this blog, mom's daily aide came for the night service. Lo and behold she brought some minced buffalo meat. See a photo of a buffalo here. Wow, we are so blessed.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Aboriginal People's Heritage reflected in Winter Olympics 2010

I am very proud of the Vancouver Olympic Opening Ceremony which incorporated so much of the First Nations and Aboriginal culture into the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I didn't mention it in my post last night about the Opening Ceremonies but Aboriginal presence and participation was one of the highlights of the show for me.

The First Nations of the traditional territories on which the games are being held were recognized as heads of state and seated directly behind the Canadian Prime Minister and the Governor General. Four totem poles were raised from the centre of the stadium, and greetings were given to the crowd (and the world) in the languages of the four host First Nations (Squamish Nation, Musqueam Indian Band, Lil'wat First Nation, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nation), as well as English and French. The arms of the totems were raised in a traditional gesture of greeting to welcome the athletes and the world. The Aboriginal peoples later formed a welcome circle to prepare for the forthcoming Parade of the Nations and danced traditional welcoming dances as the athletes entered the stadium. In addition to the representation and welcome by the four host First Nations, there were representatives of the 52 tribal groups of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, the First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis.




[Photo credits: Canoe.ca]


[Photo credit: gymnasticscoaching.com]

This year's Olympic medals are stunningly beautiful and so unique. They reflect the First Nations heritage of Canada, and in particular, British Columbia, the host province for this year's winter Olympics.

It took a team of people two years to make this year's medals. It was a collaborative effort between Canadian Aboriginal designer/artist, Corinne Hunt, internationally renowned industrial designer, Omer Arbel, the Royal Canadian Mint, Teck Resources Limited, and VANOC’s in-house design team.

The medals are made from master artworks created by Corrine Hunt, a Vancouver, BC-based artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage. Hunt chose the orca as the motif for the Olympic medals. Each medal is hand-cropped and no two are alike so each Olympic medal athlete will have a treasured and unique creation.


(Orca panels)
The orca, designed across four panels in the style of a traditional West Coast First Nations bentwood box, is often associated with the attributes of strength, dignity and teamwork.
The first of Canada's medals is a silver medal won by Jennifer Heil, from Spruce Grove, Alberta, for mogul skiing. Congratulations Jennifer! You make us Canadians proud.


In closing let me link you with the video to the full Opening Ceremonies.
I could not embed it so I've linked it here.

http://www.ctvolympics.ca/video/collections/collectionid=40427/index.html

I decided to put this up after my dear blogger friend, Laura from Paris asked for suggestions. If you look at the bottom of the video screen you will see a long bar divided into several parts. The main portion of the Aboriginal participation is included in the first bar. You can also go to the link for more Olympic coverage.

Birds, Thrifting & Catalina Chicken

It has been a very busy week of cleaning, shopping, laundry, care giving, and cooking. I also had an important meeting while here in Kamloops & I must escort my elderly relative to the doctor's office on Thursday so my trip home has been delayed by a week and a half.

My mom has been looking for a new doctor for well over a year as there is a terrible shortage of doctors, especially those willing to take new patients. So when we got the call from a doctor's office where mom has been on a waiting list for several months we jumped at the opportunity to see the doctor as soon as possible.

The winter here is still dull and since I go out every other day or so, it isn't much fun to snap photos. I did however enjoy capturing some photos of bare trees. The sun was out bright and early this morning for the first time in over a week so. The brilliance of the sun made me realize that it won't be long before this city enjoys the beautiful Spring weather they always get. It won't be long before the trees in the photos below are wearing leaves.


One thing I love about the bare trees is you get to see the bird's nests and they always make a wonderful picture don't you think?

I had a treat today as the birds in the tree below were singing so loudly. I later realized that they were happily feeding at a bird feeder and most of the birds were not visible to me. I did manage to capture one or two in a photo. Can you spot one?

While I was out and about I went thrifting and was quite pleased with my finds. One of the things I purchased was a lovely needlepoint cushion. I was so delighted with it though upon closer inspection, I see that the needlepoint is factory done. I only paid $1.99 Canadian and so I think it was a good buy.

I also purchased a nice bohemian bag for sauntering down the street with in the summer when I don't want to carry a larger bag. I also bought a beautiful plum coloured chenille scarf. The bag was a $1.99 and the scarf was 99 cents.

I decided to treat my mom to a new dish today. It is called Catalina Chicken and it only requires 4 ingredients (chicken, cranberry sauce, onion soup mix and catalina salad dressing). The chicken was delicious. I must thank Katy my new blogging friend and you can find her recipe here. Mom and I enjoyed the dish a lot!


After dinner, I watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games 2010 in Vancouver. I was deeply saddened to hear that the young Georgian athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili, died while training on the luge run. I was touched that he was not forgotten in the comments made by Olympic officials and participated in the minute of silence in this young man's honour. If there is any comfort at all for his family, it is that this young man died living out his dream and he was so happy to be at the Olympics. His hard work and dedication were not in vain. May he be an inspiration to all who challenge themselves over the coming two weeks of Olympic sport.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Images of Kamloops

I am visiting in the Interior of British Columbia this week in a town called Kamloops. It is about 4.5 hours drive from my home to here.

The weather and scenery in winter is rather dull. It has been foggy all week but today the sun came through. As you can see there is very little snow here. Kamloops doesn't get much snow in winter these days but this year has been very mild both here and at home in Vancouver.

I hope you enjoy these few pictures. Perhaps you can see that the geography is quite dry and this is a semi-arid area with some desert scenery and temperatures in summer. It can be quite lovely on a nice day and the area is a wonderful area for those that love ranching or the great outdoors.





Thursday, February 4, 2010

Come with Me for a Spell, Relax & Enjoy the Sun in Mount Pleasant

Like many people who are having their winter, I am missing our beautiful Spring and Summer. I made this slideshow with music last Spring and want to share it with you now as part of my series on living in Vancouver.

This little slideshow is of the neighbourhood known as Mount Pleasant or South Main (SoMa). This neighbourhood once known as a working class neighbourhood has undergone gentrification since the early 1990s. It is one of the up and coming neighbourhoods in the city. It is home to many first time buyers & young urban professionals. On a given weekend when one is out shopping and running errands you will more than likely bump into one of the local media personalities who live in the neighbourhood.

This area got it's local flavour and colour from a former stream. In the late 1800s, early 1900s, the area was known as Brewery Creek due to the number of breweries that set up in the area as a result of the nearby stream. Vancouver's City Hall is also located in the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood.

Enjoy the tour!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

City Architecture

This post is part of a new series on posts about my city, the City of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. This particular post is intended to show you some of the city's varied architecture. It is not a post on describing the architecture as I am no architect or student of architecture. I simply like looking at different structures and buildings and I'm using the building as a jump off point to tell you a little more about my city. I hope you enjoy the little tour. In future and as weather improves, I hope to show you a lot more of our city's natural wonders so do drop by often.

Last week, I posted about the neighbourhood of Gastown. At the west side of Gastown is the Harbour Centre which houses the Vancouver Lookout. As the name suggests, here you can look out over the city and take in the 360 degree view. I haven't been to the Lookout for many years but when I first moved to the city it was one of the first places I went and the view was simply spectacular though the sky line has now changed considerably. The tower below the Lookout is home to 28 floors of business offices and to the satellite location of the Simon Fraser University whose main campus in located in Burnaby, BC. The Vancouver Lookout was opened in 1977 by the Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to walk on the moon.

To get to the Lookout, you will enter a glass encased elevator which will whisk you to the top in record time. So don't blink! Your entry fee is good for the entire day so you can leave to go and shop in Gastown next door, have a meal and return. You can also sit in the Lookout lounge and enjoy a refreshment.

The Harbour Centre and Vancouver Lookout is located just steps to the west of Gastown. See photo below and read all about it in my post here.

The Harbour Centre Lookout is also located right in front of the main station for the sky train which is the hub for the City's Light Rapid Transit. The Waterfront station is the connection point for the West Coast express (commuter train to points east), the Sea Bus (city transport over the water to the North Shore), and the 3 different sky train lines which take you to many different points in the city and to the outlying municipalities. You can read more about the schedules for each of these transportation options here.


Burrard Station is the last sky train stop before you get to the Waterfront and make connections to points elsewhere. Alternatively it is the first stop after you leave Waterfront sky train travelling to points east. Burrard Station is also a bus connection hub. Many of the buildings you see behind the station are at least 50 years old and seem to be in what I refer to as the "blah" style.

The building below is St. Paul's Hospital and is located in downtown Vancouver. It was established in 1892 by the Sisters of Providence though the sisters no longer run the hospital. This is where my cousin's daughter has been staying all week recovering from major heart surgery.


Burrard Inn, formerly Bosman's Inn, is a smallish hotel with 71 rooms and suites and has recently undergone renovations. It is the only hotel I am aware of which is in the downtown core and has reasonable rates. The rooms are $65. (Canadian) for double room from September-May and goes up to $99. Canadian from May-September. This is a favourite place for my relatives to stay when they have to come to the city for medical reasons since it is across from the St. Paul's hospital. These rooms and many others in the city are completely sold out for the Winter Olympics which will begin very soon.

Vancouver Hotel (below) is now part of the Fairmont group hotels. If my memory serves me correctly, it used to be part of the Canadian National group Hotels but hasn't been for some time. In recent years this hotel it has completed an extensive 65 million dollar renovation. The results are stunning. You can see some of the beauty in these photos here. Don't you just love the roof of this building? In olden days, you could go to a club at the top of the hotel and listen to jazz.

The next three photos show the relatively new Sheraton Wall Centre. One of the buildings is called One Wall Center and is the second highest building in the city. Designed by Busby, Perkins and Will, it won an award in 2001, its year of completion for the Best Skyscraper. apparently, it has something called a tuned water damping system at the top of the building to counter act the swaying of the building.
The first two photos above were taken last week and the photo below was taken last summer. The sky scraper is quite aesthetically pleasing in a long view, don't you think?


The building below is St. Andrew's Wesley United Church. This is one of the United Churches that recognizes and embraces the gay and lesbian community. They also have a number of broad based programs to invite the community in to their sanctuary. One of them is Jazz Vespers every Sunday afternoon. I simply love the carved stone in the building and the archways of the windows and doorways.


That is the tour for today. There is so much more to share but we will need to do it in stages. Some days I may have themes as in today where I showed you numerous structures. Other days, it may be about one specific site or a natural scene of beauty. I hope you will join me again soon.

African Music & Happenings