Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

Greetings from Canada


It snows (or flurries really) almost everyday.  On Sunday tiny round balls were mixed with rods of snow – I haven’t worked out where they fit on this snow guide:


U. Nakaya, Snow Crystals: Natural and Artificial (Harvard University Press, 1954).

Some make better snowballs than others.



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Today is another smog warning day in Toronto. Having never lived in a big city before, it is a pretty gross thing to have to get used to – it smells nasty, looks bad, and makes you cough and get wheezy. Luckily we are at the end of the smog season – it is the hot sun heating up the pollution and turning it to ozone. In winter there is just pollution – so whew… Seeing an orang- grey haze over the city brings home how real pollution is and how far there is to go to reduce greenhouse gases in a place like North America- and it makes the pamphlet we were handed by the Toronto Transit Commission while getting onto the subway even more ridiculous:

A decade of underfunding has created a financial crisis for the TTC and the City. While other world cities thrive, Toronto’s reserves are empty and it is struggling to pay for services. We can’t afford to invest in transit or other programmes.”

A pamphlet which installs a lot of confidence in the way that Toronto is addressing climate change and generally the management of the city. So far the ’empty reserves’ have resulted in a freeze on government employment, cuts to public library hours, and it looks like streetcar and buses are next. Surely there are better ways to deal with the problem than cut foundational public services?

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We’ve had thunderstorms yesterday and today, with lightning and rattling crashes. At three o’clock today the sky got so dark the street lamps came on.


Approaching storm 

It was very exciting. It made me think of my cosy bed, and this:

“when one is sad, it is lovely to lie in the warmth of one’s bed and there, with all effort and struggle at an end, even perhaps with one’s head under the blankets, surrender completely to wailing, like branches in the autumn wind” (Alain de Botton says Proust said this about his bed, which he made into his office because he liked it so much).

I’m not sad. I am happy. I was just thinking about the first part really. The good thing about still studying is that I can go and get into my bed during a thunderstorm. It is pretty much luxury really.

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Thirty degrees

When it is warm Boston is just the best place. Walking out of our apartment yesterday we were hugged by twenty-three degrees, no wind, and people all around smiling like the sun was shining for the first time in six months. Everything felt happy, and calm, and we took a picnic up to the water reservoir which was a mistake because there was no place to sit, just all the dogs and their owners and walking around and around, and us wanting to sit on some grass and eat brownies and read our books ‘n that.

 Three tiny yellow birds and a big butterfly landed on the still leafless trees (not for long!) before we left and that made the long walk worth it; that and the vegetarian steamed buns in the cafe on the way home. We lay in the park near our house instead, and families had picnics, and lots of people read books and lay in the sun. There is something about lying on the grass. I always imagine how far the earth goes down underneath me, and how we are spinning slowly through the day, and around the sun in space.


Today it is hotter, thirty point eight even. It is exciting. People look funny to me, suddenly slipping into summer clothes. A peek of summer, and better than I remember! I am inside, feeling a bit average about my work, and hoping it really will be finished in time, and good enough to be all over. At least it is technically nearly over, though it doesn’t feel like it. I am getting closer to knowing what sort of job I’d enjoy, which is an up side. So on, and back to work. I’ll look forward to an ice-cream if I make some progress and even if I don’t.

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April already

We’ve had a spring storm. Rain trumped snow and I was glad about that, especially seen as it meant birds came out and ate worms and tweeted. With the rain and the tweeting I had a ready-made soundtrack to my weekend.

rmonday.jpg rainymonday-6.jpgrainymonday.jpgrainymonday-8.jpgrmonday-1.jpgrainysunday.jpgrainymonday-7.jpgrainymonday-4.jpgrainysunday-7.jpg

Saturday and Sunday were quiet in a sage green kind of way, rather than the quiet of the white-grey variety. White-grey weekends would be illustrated with dirty pigeons, observing, window shopping, and quiet, quiet, silence.

This one was full; embroidered napkins, a shopping trip for birthday presents, radio, and conversations with friends from far-away. It also featured two-for-one Ben and Jerry’s Ice-cream (ew ‘phish food’ flavour is so over-rated: I didn’t see any fudge, or marshmallow, or chocolate cows which is kind of creepy anyway, who feeds fish cows? Creme Brulee however, was dreamy mmmm, little bits of burnt sugar-mmm. Lucky Mark likes to share), videos, a Vietnamese dinner, and lots and lots of rain.

On Sunday I finally got around to making these for some friends who were Civil Unioned long enough ago to make this present very late.


Well, I better get back to chopping and editing. I have a lot of work to fill up this week with, including some serious reducing and de-mystifying my last chapter. I can’t believe it is April 16th already.

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Even though it snowed a few days ago it is spring. I ‘sprung’ cleaned… spring cleaned last night and rearranged our house, finally getting rid of the wintry twiggy tree decorations for some spring ones.


Spring twigs

People don’t get a holiday for easter like in New Zealand, I think they try to make holidays fair and non-religious, but I am not sure if that is the reason really. So no hot crossed buns. They must be an English thing that didn’t survive the transplant, or maybe German as a German friend makes a special spiced bread at easter. We made some American style bread with cranberries and raisins and maple syrup glaze. MMMM


We put about 2 cups of warm water, two teaspoons of yeasties and two tablespoons of brown sugar in a bowl to rise. Then I added a cup or so of flour and lots of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and ‘pumpkin spice’, which is a mix of things; and then some cranberries and raisins. I folded it up till it was all sticky and left it for about ten minutes, then added the rest of the flour and got kneading. For a long time. Then it rose again for half an hour, then got made into little buns and left to rise up again. Then into the oven which got turned on once they were in, at about 200F, and then after ten minutes turned up to 300F. We glazed them with milk and lots of maple syrup about ten minutes before they came out. Wrapped them up in a wet tea towel to get soft instead of crunchy because crunchy is not so good, and then ate them up with hot chocolate in my new tiny op-shopped polka dot teacups and saucers. Only 50c each. What a deal.


Tiny tea-cups that make you sing: “hold me closer tiny dancer”

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I found this postcard in a shop on the way to Central Sq. It was made in Portland ME, around the time it cost one cent to send it anywhere in Canada, the USA, Cuba and Mexico, and two cents for anywhere else. I bought it to send to someone, but never did because I like it too much.


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