Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Monday, June 26, 2006


Suffered a happy trainride with simple Swede who seemed simply annoyed by our company, killed some time burning cash in Stockholm and hopped a giant floating mall to Helsinki. While onboard we amazed micro-persons by setting a new record for the most number-of-times knocking the air hockey puck off the table and into oblivion. Tie-game with me learning my Finnish numbers before joining the feeding frenzy in the bottom of the boat and watching Ghana shock the Empire.

Gender segregation rules snuggled me in with 3 bunkmates including a Russian Engineer who practiced English on me into the wee hours reading DH Lawrence for accent improvement. We may stay with him in St. Petersberg.

I jumped off the boat and into the gene pool, M's boatstation doodled family tree leaking through my earholes clogging the drums. Cousins Harri and his wonderful wife, kids Adda, a memory whiz, Erri, pure energy, and Jakko, the latest winner of the cute award, what with his blueberry pie Joker smile.

They lent us a car and phone (landlines are extinct in Suomi, there are more saunas than people, more cell phones than saunas, and more lakes than cellphones) and we drove 5 hours northeast to the Russian border where we joined Aunt Liisa and Uncle Reijo at the cottage and received a Suomi tsunami tour of the facilities including lessons in emptying outhouses, firing the sauna, finding world cup football on the TV, and 2 girlbikes refurbished like jewels hidden underneath the keys to the garage, awaiting their riders salivating grease. Joy by any other name would still be a bicycle.

We'd alighted only hours ago and lready eaten our fill of sausages cucumbers tomatoes and potatoes, so what a thrill it was when Liisa served us a creamy unknown white delicious fish with Lapland golden beer.

"Are you fun?" Reijo asked me perplexingly.


We all laughed nervously and he tried again, "Are you funny?"

Fan was the word he sought, football fan to be precise and he soon provided me more examples of audibly close yet semantically different English words like ass and ash - one makes poo and the other covers it over in the outhouse. Reijo concluded that English is a very dirty language and said "fuck you" and "fack you" several times to emphasize. Liisa hugged me and called me 'son.' Hilarious people give us great hope when they make us and each other laugh after 2 million years of marriage.

But there was more: Uncle Lauri and Aunt Mirja and their daughter KIRsi and her hubby Jussi and kids Jona and Ville, who continued the Finnish lesson that Jakko had started holding up objects and naming them for me.

As if sauna wasn't ritualistic joy enough Lauri slaved 6 hours to create lunch, supper, and a very special occasion smoke-sauna, which has no chimney. The fire is out by the time you sit on black soot but the heat of the rocks rages on.

Jussi and Kirsi provided commentary on the oppression of Finnish tax rates that provided nothing but free school, good roads, and free health care (unlike the Swedes who pay a subsidized rate).

And finally, a day to ourselves. The right of all newly weds after they have fulfulled duties of 10 months of congratulatory jubilation among family, friends, housemates, coworkers, and more family.

Now she's off with Lauri and Mirja on a 4-day boat trip in the Land of Lakes. The scenery here is like the best parts of Ontario everywhere. But I chose to martyr myself at the cottage - somebody has to keep tabs on the world cup action, particularly Ghana's progress. Ah me, as Stephen Paige with wise young sage once said, "absence makes the heart grow fungus." And fungus, as you are no doubt well aware, is the bedrock of the love of all good environmentalists.

What has struck this mute illiterate foreighn scribe most is how very uncolonized it all is. There is a real Finnishness to Finland. NOT so many words that are English in disguise, not so many fastfood takeovers and knockoffs (lots of processed food in the grocery store but it's all processed Finnish foods, like Karelian pies). The culture is strong, vibrant, and distinct.

And my new family has indeed taken me as family, given me cars and built me bikes, bought and make me meals, sheltered, accomodated, translated, and taught me, gently, kindly, and bent so far backwards how can they still walk??
On a side note, the last news of Martin, via Sandi, is very good, he is even starting to walk again.

Also, congratulations to my friend Karen who finished third in the Toronto City Idle contest. Read all about it here.

Copenhagen to Suomi

"European birds, they flew wherever their hearts took them. Wherever they landed they found themselves masters." --Minke in Pram Toer's 'Footsteps'
Brad and Inez verbally responded to my last blog entry and an interesting conversation ensued. We complained mainly about people's propensity for complaint. The essential point needing to be made was that despite Danish immigration bullshit, Brad, Inez, Emile, Freja, have carved out a beautiful and joyeous existence in Copenhagen. They are not rich but they have enough and gaming is constant: sword fights+peekaboo+is-the-dog-home? and art is everwhere, multiple projects ongoing, books of great thickness and depth, kisses and cuddles and hugs. Our 5 days there were extra-ordinairy, truly far better than an ordinary 5 days for us. We agreed though that despite our good fortune, there are too many not-so-luckies, the poor hungry sick, the middle classed mired in obsession with greater riches or slogging in the cubicle maze ratrace, the rich lonely unloved overcompensating tyrants - all live in the psychological slums and who can really tell which are truly happy? Surely not me, but I know too many are not in this world, and that's why I will keep on complaining and critiquing because I know we can do far far better than this. But perhaps the mission on this journey is to find hope and beauty and positive examples to follow, not just for those privileged with access andor money andor education andor whiteskin. Examples anybody can use. It's really not that hard.

All this talk occurred to the tune of Emile's occasional cheers of 'Skule!' at which point we'd dutifully clink glasses and drain some latte.
I rode the cargo bike with Freja asleep inside as I got used to its sensitivity to bumps and slight tippiness. Despite my rookie mistakes not a single motorist, nor pedestrian, nor even other cyclis, once got mad at me or experienced explosive behaviour disorder. The Danes were pleasant and smiled at my wobbles with the same amused fascination Freja shows when I turn my half empty Tuborg into a wind instrament.

Not only that, but they have a citywide bike lending system that works like shopping carts in North America: insert coin, use, return to any equipped bikestand and get your coin back.

When I start my own city bicycles will be the only form of transportation. Copenhagen has inspired me. Also, there will be Frankfurter stands. Sweet pig hoof chicken beak cow bone sausage. The best part is you get a bun that canät even pretend to hold the meat, it is too small, and thus merely accoutrement.
Lund Sweden

Jonatan is the Swedish me BobbyD. L.Cohen lovin wants to be a writer but plays guitar and is going to Med school. He hopes to combine political savvy with medical science to help people get better health care.

Cecilia will soon be a certified Swedish speech therapist or pathologist depending on the continent.

They gave us a walking tour of Lund, a stunningly beautiful small city, my sweet Halifax's European cousin with more green. The ivey university is the townäs centrepiece and draws half its polulation.

Idling through the botanical gardens we gave them a quick lesson on Canadian race relations: the aboriginal people gave Europeans the right to live on their land but never surrendered ownership now administration+residential schools+bands, councils, First Nations, reservations, Indian status+Chretian's 'white paper'+underground railroad+Africville+immigration and muliculturalism v. melting pot-ism+refugee hearings+blah blah blah, barely touched the labour market history but how we did go on, I hope we didn't bore them.

Trainzipped, schooling Swedes in Euchre and Canadian slang along the way, up to Halmstad's less than pretty but wonderfully warm beach. Expecting Altantic temperatures I hollered "speed is of the essence" and bolted into the water like a Baywatch Boy on the tail of a hot blonde drowning tomale. About 150 metres out I realized 2 things: 1. I was halfway to Norway and still not past my knees and 2. the water was Gulfstream warm. I shallow dove.

As we waited for Jonatan's dad to pick us up, Cecilia explained that in Sweden, sexual liberty is fine, but exploitation of women is not. Sounds about right. In my new town, which I am naming Christopia, there will be no exploitation, but lots of sexual liberty. People will also jump off bridges into clean deep gently flowing rivers whenever possible. This is not common where Jonatan was raised.

Those raising him, aside from the tremendous Swedish countryside rolling hills, were Lawrence and Irien, a country doctor who never rambles and a municipal administrator who takes excellent care of everyone. And about a dozen sheep.

We spent a glorious day in this homestead, frollicking Scandinavian style, high on coffee, fresh air, and freedom.

Trying to explain the hidden beauty of Toronto's ethnic and geographic neighbourhoods is never easy because on the surface it is once big congealed dirty city. Staffan, half our Goteburg hosts, said it sounded segregated, which I suppose it is to some extent, but largely self-selectedly so and that's not inherently bad. He politely agreed.

His other half, Monica, took us on a Disney-boat tide through the local canal and harbour during hightide, ducking under cheeseslicer bridges to escape decapitation, yet still we lost our eyes to the great bright wonders of industrialization, especially the star wars ships-builders, milehigh on the horizon dwarfing cruiseships and skyscrapers, casting lego shadows to the horizon. They were stunning in size and form. More spectacular even than Sweden's most beautiful weather-cock.

"I could use a little more historical context," Miia told me and I had to agree despite the lack of coersion.

"I could use a little less Robin Leach," was my only conceivable retort. Our trilingual guide was clearly a graduate from his school of linguistics; even her German sounded like 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.'
Thinking yet again about hierarchy, hated hierarchy. That awkward feeling of being revered for no reason other than your position, title, status, or being expected to revere someone else for the same. Working doggedly for something only to have it snatched from you, misdirected, or crushed from above by someone uninvolved, unrelated, and uninformed of your work. Or being expected to make decisions about things for which you have no relation, love or direct involvement.

It is culturally determined, yet part of every human society, even those more civilized than civilization. The question then is not whether there is hierarchy, but how much and how extreme. Do I need to crawl across the floor to my superior's desk, or merely pretend to find her interesting before disregarding her ideas?

In Paris, Swedish Monica worked as an aupair for an American family. The Mr. worked for a large insurance firm, exchanged his body, mind, time, and maybe soul for this family's physical comfort. Mrs.' job was to organize the time of their 2 children, a 13 year old boy and 11 year old girl. To help in this task she had 4 staff: a maid, a tutor, a woman who did all the ironing, and Monica, who was mainly responsible for driving the kids around to their many extracurricular activities. With the hidnsight of 4 years Monica still seems perplexed by the experience, which helped her perfect her Enlish and French, saying "it was just so different from how I was raised." Her and the majority of the humanity through the ages.

Contrast that privilege to most of the world and it is obviously unfair. There are so many examples to choose from. My own grandmother comes to mind. She raised 8 kids by herself while working a job and doing her best to protect them from her husband, as I understand it.

I'm reading now the story of the first native Indonesian newspaper, established c. 1907 completely by native talent. The founder was Tirto Adi Suryo and this story is part of a fictional account of his life. Throughout the story he is repeatedly frustrated by self-described supporters of his work who chastize him for failing to pay sufficient attention to protocol and sufficient respect to his superious, including the Dutch colonial powers who rule his country. By the same token, they admonish him for wasting time addressing the needs of lowly servants whom they see as being with honour, as if honour is a scarce resource that if shared will run short. It reminds me of how modern day conservatives view social spending - there just isnät enough dignity and basic human rights to go around. Backdropping the story is a series of Dutch-initiated wars with island natives desparately fighting to keep their land and culture.

These things tear at me, and maybe that's why I'm so serious, so dissatisfied with this world. All our gods have given us lands and seas of plenty and all we can do is self-aggrandize, compete, manipulate, screw and force each other out of it so we can get ours, again and again.

Yet I don't see huymanity as hopeless, or innately flawed...maybe I'll tell you why later.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Beekeeping for a Better World

My friend Jenn has published a really cool article with Briarpatch. It's called Adventures in Urban Beekeeping: The sweet feats of the Toronto Beekeepers Cooperitave. Check it out. I command you.

Various pics: Froslida (Swedish Countryside), Lund (southern Sweden), Jonatan & Cecilia & family, and Danish sausage!

Details of the Apartment in Copenhagen

The Mrs Writes

Early morning and Chris sleeps. A latte and croissant keep me company.

Long conversations with friends about all manner of things - our lives, our histories, politics, culture, books. We move from one city to the next, take in the changing scenery on the train, and meeting folks all over.

If you've ever been to Europe, you know it just smells different. The train station in Copenhagen had that familiar smell of cigarettes, diesel, and stale urine. It strikes me with nostalgia. Ah yes, here we are. The butter here smells different, the laundry detergent smells different, the toilet paper smells different. The butter is richer, the laundry crisper, the toilet paper sweeter. In Scandinavia, there's so much wood in houses that there's a low level sweetness of wood which is beautifully complemented by coffee brewing. I've never smelled coffee as good as in Scandinavian homes. You could keep the intricate architecture, the people and the language, but if you lost the smell of these places, there's no way they would be the same. I keep being struck by this and know no better way to articulate it.

Spending time first with Brad, Inez, Emil and Freja, I feel immersed in aesthetics, in detail, in art. Food is art and creation, the bathroom is a gallery. The house is bejewelled with plastic multicoloured beads, black and white photos, and who you are feels innately creative. Their family is at the centre of their lives, love bounces off of them and you are included in their joy of one another. They are forever interested and interesting.

A couple of days with Jonatan and Cecilia and his parents and I feel like books build the walls of our lives. A deep integrity, a simple non-materialism, and the echoes of tradition and a culture that is quickly disappearing still resonates in them. I am honoured to be their friend. Together we walk around town, go swimming at the beach, play soccer, talk. We spend a night in the Swedish countryside with sheep, forests, and a luxuriating lunch outside under the sun and chestnut tree. The conversation brings us back and forth through hundreds of years of Swedish history, through wars, through Vikings and pre-Christianity. Jonatan and his family are the people who carry us all through the ages.

In Gothenburg, Monica meets us at the train station wearing her patented smile. Both Monica and her boyfriend Staffan are hilariously funny. We crack each other up and our jokes pass back and forth between us easily. Their apartment reminds me of Paris; high ceilings, detailed moulding, echoes as you walk from room to room. But they are not bourgeois. Monica, working on her PhD in engineering, is conducting tests on a single cylinder engine to try and find better renewable fuels. She goes to a conference in Japan and she is one of two women presenters from 300. It is Monica who is excited about World Cup soccer, a gender switch from what we've seen so far. She exudes generosity and Staffan is the same. We are welcome here too.

Maybe because our encounters with all of these are relatively intense, a few whirlwind days in close proximity with each, that their differences seem so stark. Yet I marvel how each of them is so warm, so welcoming, and so interesting. In each home we are guests at their table, welcomed to their home and into their lives. We are listened to, thanked for coming, and supported on our journey. I take much from them individually, but as a whole, I also get something that maybe none of them intended: a sincere appreciation of difference. How rich is the world indeed.

Today and tomorrow here and then to Stockholm and the boat to Finland. I feel we're heading home; to family and Finland. On the other side is a whole host of family and a lifetime of memories. I am also secretly longing for a slice of solitude and a sauna. Three months of sweating is just around the corner...

Much love to anyone and everyone, Miia

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pics from Denmark


June 12 - IT Begins [special note: we have photos to accompany this post but blogger's not havin' it.]

7:20 pm Toronto time/8:20 pm Halifax/ 1:20 am Copenhagen -- at Pearson Airport Toronto

On our way to the colonizer first: Denmark. Later the former colony: the "Gold Coast", Ghana, so named for an ancient king.

Sadness leaving Ma & Pa, especially when Ma says "I don't want it to be over." Sadness leaving pets too especially what with LG in a cantankerous crotchety mood and his claws equally angry - I hope he's not sick, he so rarely flashes sharp bones.

It's a day of airports and headsets, adjusting watches and brainclocks to new local times, petending it's 1 am though my stomach says supper.

It begins in a spin, in a blink it will end. All our reading can't prepare us, but it may give us the illusion of readiness, of control over god's country, we the alien invaders, the dirty foreigners.


"She told me about Sir John Hawkins, the Englishman who pioneered the slave trade between Africa and America, so that forty million Africans ended up dead or condemned to a life of slavery." --Minke in Pram Toer's 'Footsteps'

I've married into the Finnish mafia, which has an excellent benefits program that provides free beds, dj services, international accomodation in lakeside cottages with saunas, and access to travel agents. In addition the Finnish mafia is well networked to other ethnic mafias, including British Airways. Thus I find myself, bride by side, embarked upon a cutthroat cost transAtlantic flight for 2-3 months of linguistic and geographic seclusion and comtemplative thought.
June 13, 4:30 am, London England time

Watching 'Good Night and Good Luck'- getting hard to stay awake. It's a good movie.

I'd like to make a movie or write a bok, or maybe just a short story, about the women, or maybe just one woman, in these times, when men were men and tough and emotionless, dignified and brimming with integrity while their women served up the scotch neat neatly. It was a man's world then, which I guess is why all the stories reflecting back on that time are stories about men, sympathetic strong men defending and protecting the weak, including their sympathetic and supportive women. Yet I suspect in reality the women were also strong, not only supporting their men but guiding, influencing, inspiring them, and living extraordinairy lives in their own right.
9:20 am - Heathrow

Ah yes, Europrices: $7 for 2 lattes, fair trade organic.

The Times, newspaper of the year, tells me that bigoted idiots dominate radiowaves here too. And the same debate over Afganistan. With Cousin David and other soldiers in heart I wonder why all the talk of withdrawal after one soldier's death - what did they expect? Why don't they ever think of withdrawal when the other guys die? If we can't stomach the deaths of our kids we shouldn't send them to war, should we?

In other news, Senator Byrd of West Virginia is celebrating 48 years of institutionalized racism manifest, while PM Tony Blair backs London's Police Commish because apparently questioning the positions of anyone in authority is unconsionable for the PM of a Major World Power, at this time. This is why I don't read the fucking news anymore.
June 14, 11:20 pm, Copenhagen, city of bikes, beautiful babes, and babies. Remind me to google Denmark's populatino growth stats because I could swear there's a baby boom going on here. Maybe it's just my age.

We're shacked up with one of those beautiful Danes and Hubby Brad from Toronto and their two babies Emile, 5, and Freja, almost 1. Freja's main frustration is learning to crawl, but I ain't got the coordination to put my hands down without faceplanting.

Brad's main frustration is the xenophobia of the Danish government, which already sent him back to Canada once and would probably enjoy doing it again. "The Foreign Minister brags about reducing the immigration rate," he told us. "I know exactly how she did it, by increasing the bureaucracy, letting the wheels spin even slower. You go into the immigratino office now and the whole place smells like fear. My son is considered an immigrant even though he was born here."

Inez's friend Mes explained that the far-right government rules beacase of its alliance with a further-right party. "Have you seen that movie 'Dumb and Dumb-ar?"

But Copenhagen is beautiful. The sheer quantity of bikes is enought o make cranky anti-cyclist crackpots cringe back in Canada or even Londond England. The infrastructure is oh-so-simple-and-safe and any halfwit ever to visit Europe could be inspired, so why can't we North American gas-gulping lunatics get on board for the love of deep fried gravy?

What with the peachcream weather, Arian models roaming everywhere, and gourmet cheese sacrificing itself at our pituitary glands, we could easily be duped into thinking our mutual fate blessed by Amelia Airheart or Alphonse Dubois, who invented imitation fur, but we must maintain a false air of humility regardless of the worshipping masses laying home-made salad at our feet.

Memories of things left behind are the anti for my gloat: I miss the little things, namely Bosh and LG, or the big beans of longtime human friends. I think often of Martin and his motorcycle, and I hope he is as well as the dreamtime him who visited me in the near future. I think too, and even try to explain to anti-Danish government folks that immigrants are everywhere, of the ones who work and tow, muscle up other people's economies so they can maybe one day if they're really lucky get trickeld down on by the established ones above them.

As Mes put it "the longer I was away the more I realized everywhere is the same. In Bolivia there are corrupt people at the top who already have enough but are greedy for more. In Denmark, there are the same." What is different is that in Bolivia, his wife was given a luxurious house and generous salary, & he felt and was very privileged. As in "What a privilege to get to spend so much time focusing on my daughter."

But what treatment does a Bolivian get here? I ask this as a man with great privilege: educated, employed when necessary, now free and able to travel and visit friends, read. Write at leisure. I am so thankful for such freedom and privilege. And I am so aware that it is not afforded to everyone. Sometimes my colleagues of the left talk of privilege with spiked tongues. I think privilege is something that should be shared, not forsaken.
June 15, 8:10 pm, Copenhagen

The concept of exclusive communities bothers me less than concepts of exclusive nations or even exclusive organizations. Maybe that's because I believe more strongly in communities and their rights than I do in nations or organizations and their respective rights.

Today we visited the exclusive community of Christiana, which after being abandoned by the Danish military in the early 70s was taken over by hippies who struggled politically and won ageainst a confused municipal government for a high degree of political and economic autonomy. For decades they had a beautiful thing, according to Brad, but have recently become mired in individualist conflict over petty things like property boundaries and profits from their lucrative hashish market.

Christiana is an exclusive, economically self-sufficient community. Money comes in from retail, restaurants, and hash. Outsiders can work there but to live there you must be recommended by a resident to fill an open spot. To sell drugs there, you need to live there. A 19-year-old outsider violated this rule and some local dealers beat him to death, even though violence is not tolerated in Christiana. Even in community, self-serving exclusion can be your downfall.

As a visitor I enjoyed the place. Sucked down a reasonably priced (for Copenhagen) vegetarian organic pasta couscous salad and brown rice, strolled around and drank latte from a real glass on the lawn. There is definite appeal to the idea of living in an economically self-sufficient community, and Christiana is resplendent in natural beauty - a gorgeous rolling river and greenspace everywhere, ancient brick and mortar buildings, no motorized vehicles except for deliveries. It would be a shame if the local government succeeds in its plans to "normalize" it. The recent murder has providd just the impexcuse needed to crack down on these rebel freaks and cash in on some primeass real estate.

The ride back was the best part of my day. I sat in the cargo part of Brad's bike and fed Freja a banana in tiny pieces while doing my best to keep her little hat on her head. Pity the baby who hates the sun and her hat with equal venom. But boy did we bond.

Later Emile won my heart forever by telling me that I was THE COOLEST builder of Lego in the entire world. Last night I made him a 'Millegio Falcon.' Brad ceded his former title to me with just a touch of muttered jealousy, then promtly demonstrated just who the wrold's coolest sword fighter is, lest his son forget too soon.

-Risto (Finnish for Chris)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Quick Updates

Latest word on Martin comes via my friend Jess: he is in great spirits and doing well, very optimistic and already started physio. He told Jess to tell me to stop feeling guilty. Done.

More visits with friends (mine and M's) and a great lobster feast with my grandparents last night. The cats took great interest in the giant black insects in the tub. Okay, eating lobster also makes me feel guilty. But they taste soooo damn good, poor things.

Not a lot to report yet otherwise, but because we leave for Denmark on Monday this may be our last chance to blog for a bit. So, I'll leave you with a few random pics from the past few years; thanks for the memories yáll:

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dear Martin

My friend Sandi didn't want to rain on our parade, but she needed to, we needed to know that things were not okay with Martin and his motorcycle. She advised that I call Martin's ex-girlfriend now friend Debbie, which I did at just past midnight Toronto time. What she told me was a shocker: Martin somehow fell or got knocked off his motorcycle while driving on the Gartner on an overpass over the 427. He fell 50 feet, landed on his back on the median, bounced into the ditch, and, miraculously, survived. Apparently when the cops arrived they couldn't find him so they started shouting for him; he sat up and waved! [He doesn't remember any of this.]

We're relieved that he is alive; he's too good to lose. I've known him for about 4 years, since he first volunteered for me when I worked at Greenest City. He is a passionate environmentalist who "walks the walk." He is also kind and committed to his friends, loves animals and the band Tool, and has an artistic soul. I've always had a tonne of respect for the man and recently Miia and I have become closer with him as friends. Like us, he had a ticket out of Canada for June 12 and planned to wander the globe for a while, recharge after years of hard work on environmental projects that are too numerous to list here. He had just quit his job in preparation for that trip. Maybe because he felt an affinity to our own trip, or maybe because it's just the kind of sweetheart he is, Martin was at all our goodbye celebrations, even karaoke, and helped us move, and came out to the airport to see us off.

Debbie was kind enough to give us all the details that she has about the accident itself and Martin's current state. He is in intensive care with many broken bones and other internal damage, but amazingly no spinal damage. He is in good spirits and able to joke and laugh. He is expected to fully recover, but it will take a long time, and he is in a lot of pain. Debbie is visiting him every day.

It's hard for us to hear this news here in NS and be unable to visit or do anything really to help out. We're sending a care package for whatever it's worth. I guess what he needs most now is time to heal, and good friends to let him know they are with him. Even we are with him, if only in spirit.

I can't help but feel a little guilt about this trip. Tonight, after a great dinner with some friends at Halifax's Wooden Monkey restaurant (local organic food), then a visit to Miia's old friend, when we arrived at the house I got out of the car and raised my arms into the NS rain and felt free and rejuvenated. That's what Martin was supposed to get too. And I feel guilt about the other people I've left behind, both friends and colleagues who I know saw me as an inside ally in the environmental field - one of the few open doors available to them.

But I know that, theoretically at least, I should be able to do what is best for me, make the most of the opportunities I have as long as I'm not hurting anyone else, which I do my damndest to avoid.

Anyway, I have digressed. The point is that we are thinking about Martin, wishing him the speediest possible recovery, and hoping that great adventures still await him. In the meantime we will take him with us in our thoughts as we embark upon our own trip.

--MC Slim Slo Risto Matka Benjibopper Chris Suokojamin

Monday, June 05, 2006

Eating Well

Most know that I'm not a big recipe girl, but thought to share these with you. These are some of the fabulous things Chris and I have made while in Nova Scotia.

Friday Dinner:
BBQ Trout, Roast Potatoes, White Wine Sauce, Garlic Fiddleheads, and Cucumber Salad

(Recipes Serve 4 (at least!)

BBQ Trout
4 Fresh small trout
4 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 Lemons - one chopped into chunks, the other thinly sliced
Fresh sprigs of rosemary
Fresh sprigs of thyme
Olive oil and Salt

1-Salt the inside of the trout.
2-Stuff with garlic, lemon chunks, rosemary and thyme till bursting with yummy goodness.
3-Cut four large pieces of aluminum foil. Pour olive oil on the shiny side and generously sprinkle with salt. Lay trout in the middle. Put lemon slices all along the length of the fish. Roll up in the tin foil. Repeat for each of the fish.
4-BBQ on medium-high until fish flesh is flaky, about 20 minutes.

Roast potatoes
Lots of fresh new potatoes (I average about 2 medium potatoes per person.)
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
4 Cloves peeled garlic, chopped into chunks
Olive oil
Hot pepper flakes (optional)

1-Cut potatoes lengthwise into quarters.
2-Toss potatoes and the remainder of the ingredients together in a large bowl until the taters are well covered.
3- Bake covered at 350F until done i.e. a fork cuts through nicely but the whole thing doesn't disintegrate.

White wine sauce
1/2 cup of white flour
Butter or margarine (the more the yummier; the less the healthier)
3 cups Milk
A mini pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup dry white wine

1-In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring constantly. Cook a little.
2- Add the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon.
3- Add the salt, nutmeg and sage.
4- Let cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens, making sure to stir along the bottom of the pan sincece it tends to burn easily.
5- Add the white wine. Taste. Want more? Add more. Drink a glass of white wine.

Garlic Fiddleheads
Lots of fresh fiddleheads
4 chopped cloves of garlic
Butter (yeah!)

1-Steam fiddleheads in a covered saucepan with steamer or strainer.
2- Toss in garlic, butter and salt when just about cooked and still hot.
3- That's it.

Cucumber Salad
1 whole English Cucumber
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
(or alternatively, store bought Italian dressing in lieu of the oil, vinegar and salt)

1- Dice the cucumber.
2- Toss with the lemon juice and dressing ingredients.
3- Hooray! It's that easy!

Saturday Lunch: Squash and Ginger Soup
1 Acorn squash
1 Large sweet potato
2 Carrots
2 Potatoes
2 Apples
2 Celery stalks
1 Onion
3 Garlic cloves
2 inches of fresh Ginger root
Olive oil
2 tablespoons Peanut butter
Curry powder
Cayenne pepper
Fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of sugar

1- Quarter the squash, remove seeds, and bake covered at 350F until the flesh of the squash is completely tender. Let cool.
2- While the squash is cooking, peel and chop the yam, carrots, potatoes, ginger, garlic, onion. Peel and remove the cores of the apples. Chop the celery.
3- In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Once hot but not smoking, add the ginger, garlic, onion and celery. Cook for a little while.
4- Add the yam, carrots and onions. Cook. Add a bit of water and cover.
5- Add the apple, peanunt butter, sugar, thyme.
6- Scoop out the squash flesh and add to the pot. Add more water.
7- Add curry (lots) and some cayenne and salt to taste.
8- Cook all the ingredients together until soft.
9 - Puree the soup in batches until creamy, adding water as your blender needs. Put pureed soup into a different container than the ingredients you're taking from (I've tried to skip this step in the past but it never makes things easier).
10 - That's it! Freezes well and makes good lunches.