Overheard in NY

If you are down and need to laugh a bit, check out Overheard in NY. I could read it all day… Here’s one from today’s batch of things overheard in NYC…

Hang On, Eggs Come from Animals?

Girl #1: Is egg dairy? Is that what they’re discussing?
Girl #2: Are they saying egg is meat?
Girl #1: I think it’s in the meat category.
Girl #2: Nooo.
Girl #1: I’m looking for a pyramid… Eggs are in the meat category, and it comes from an animal.
Girl #2: So does milk, though.
Girl #1: An egg can turn into a meat. Milk cannot.
Girl #2: Okay, I’m not discussing this anymore.

–44th & Broadway

Cheap Sex! Cupcakes! The Guillotine!

Lady: What are you all waiting for?
26th guy in line for iPhone: The new Harry Potter book.
27th guy in line: Shrek 4.
28th guy in line: Free crack. [Lady walks away.]

–AT&T store, Union Square

Especially Since They Had to Keep Pausing to Fight the Dinosaurs

Bimbette #1: … And the pyramids! It’s like, you know, a total miracle! They’re huge! How did they build them without modern day cranes and stuff?
Bimbette #2: Yeah, I know, it’s… mystical! And the same thing with Eiffel Tower. I went to Paris last year, and that thing is just so high! Really, how did they manage to build something like that without equipment?!

–Museum of Natural History





Busy day ahead

I’ve been so uninspired this past week. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m a bit stressed about the next phase of my program – you know, writing thesis, designing and teaching courses, presenting papers, writing articles… – and I’m a bit disappointed at myself. I feel I could be doing much more than I actually manage week in and week out. It’s the old I’m-such-a-fraud-when-will-they-find-out syndrome that affects 9 out 10 graduate students.  Poor Alan doesn’t know what to do. Plus, the fact that my scholarship has run out and I won’t have any more money until september doesn’t exactly cheer me up.

But today they have Pedestrian Sunday at Kensington Market and hopefully that will cheer me up. We’ll then go for dinner at a friend’s place near High Park and hopefully catch Shakespeare in the Park afterwards. Continue reading “Busy day ahead”

Little things that can make a difference

A few months ago, I discovered Kiva through the Wandering Woman’s blog. Based on the principles of microfinance, Kiva allows you to loan money to entrepreneurs in the developing world, helping them get out of poverty. I wrote about it here a little while ago. Earlier this week, WW wrote another really nice post about the institution, as well as her work as a volunteer translator for Kiva. Since I couldn’t put it in better words, here’s the plug from WW’s blog:

If you have the ability to translate from a language of the developing world to English, stop by the Kiva volunteer page to see if you can help out. The site lists Spanish, French, Khmer, Russian and Ukranian as the languages most needed at the moment. You’ll find non-translating volunteer opportunities posted, as well.

I led Ann to Kiva, and Alex, too, as I recall, and Laura, all by simply yapping here and pasting a banner in the sidebar. You’ll also find banners, email footers, links to Kiva groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and all kinds of neat ways you can help out just by spreading the word at the Kiva Get Involved

I promise you’ll be helping motivated, hard working people change their lives for the better. That’s a good thing, but I tell you, you’ll also taste this magic rush Ann and I share – this simple but rockin’ rush at knowing you stopped simply caring, and did something to make a tangible difference.

I’ll definitely stop by the Kiva site and see if I can help with translation work.

Montreal: Marché Jean-Talon

The market par excellence of the immigrant community of Montreal, Jean-Talon is known as one of the largest outdoors public markets of North America. Despite living in the suburbs, Alan and I would shop there every Saturday morning when we lived in Montreal. We just loved the atmosphere. The shopkeepers and merchants enthusiastically offering their ware in rapid French made us feel like we were in Europe. I love markets and try to visit them wherever I go. Markets are places full of energy, tradition, colour, enthusiasm… An experience that can’t be replicated at the local Loblaws or Carrefour. When we lived in Barcelona there were about four large grocery stores within two blocks from where we lived as well as a couple of fruit & vegetable shops. Yet, I preferred to walk 10-15 minutes to the Mercat de l’Abaceria Central in Gràcia to shop. People ask me if it was cheaper. I honestly don’t know. That was never the reason I shop in markets… but that’s another story. I just wanted to share Jean-Talon with you. We went there during our recent visit to Montreal and had a great time. It was berry season and all the stalls were packed with inexpensive Quebec strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. We had great crêpes for lunch at the creperie, watching the dashing French (from France) chef/owner coring and slicing apples. The seasonal fruits and vegetables were nice and tasty – most stands have chopped fruits & veggies for the patrons to try before they buy – and I felt that pang of longing that we, portuguese-speakers, call saudade…. Here are some pictures…


Speaking of food and markets, this left me salivating….

HP 7

The wait is finally over. I finished re-reading HP 6 a little after 1 AM, Saturday morning and after a few hours of sleep and a whole morning of pacing up and down the apartment, I finally received my copy of HP 7 around noon on Saturday. I read avidly all afternoon, stopping only for dinner and to go to a party on Saturday night. If the party hadn’t been for my good friend Dana, I don’t think I would have gone. I finished the book this morning and won’t make any comments on the grand finale so not to spoil it for anybody else out there. All I can say is that it was VERY good, a little different from the other books since Harry wasn’t at Hogwarts for most of the book, and the end left me craving for more… It’s hard to believe it’s over. I hope J. K. Rowling doesn’t stop writing about wizards & muggles…
There were a few good articles at the CBC website about the book…

A personal reflection on reading the Harry Potter series

 So long Harry

Saturday can’t come too soon!

HP 5Alan and I just came back from watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Of course there was a lot cut out from the original book – after all, you can’t fit 766 pages in 2 hours – but I think it conveyed the story effectively. It certainly got me all excited about the last book, due this saturday. I’m even foregoing our Kensington ritual this saturday to wait for the book… Now, that’s something I didn’t do even for my comprehensive exams!

On another note, I’m finally making some headway into organizing my research. Today I bought some folders and a couple boxes that work as filing cabinets and proceeded to organize the thousands of photocopies I brought back from Spain. Despite being quite large, the boxes were soon filled. I’ll have to buy another one tomorrow and some more folders (100 weren’t quite enough) but it looks like my carrel will be finally ready by the end of the week. I’m finally feeling productive!

HP 5

Wisdom gone!

The main reason for coming to Montreal this weekend was to see our dentist. I know it sounds crazy but yes, we kept our dentist even after moving to Toronto. Lucie is an amazing dentist and it isn’t a bit chore for us to come to Montreal every six months for a cleaning or a filling. After almost two years without going – because of our time in Spain – we braced ourselves for yesterday’s check up. She had good news and bad news for me. The bad news is that I had hard-to-reach cavities on my wisdom teeth (I still have the two top ones). The good news is that I don’t have to have them filled, she wants me to get them removed alltogether. Or maybe the bad news was that I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled out because they were decaying and sliding down, and the good news is that I have hardly any plaque after two years without a cleaning. Either way, she called the dental surgeon and manage to squeeze me into his schedule on the same day. Woohoo. That is said with a bit of sarcasm. My experience removing wisdom teeth was the worst possible and I wasn’t looking forward to this one. I knew it would be bad, both teeth were fully out and it would be a simple matter of freezing and pulling them out. No cuts, no stiches.

Luckily I had to visit Concordia University, my alma mater, to check out their new digs and have lunch with Shannon, my former undergraduate supervisor and now a good friend. She’s now chair of the department and took me around to visit their new offices since the department has been recently relocated. Lunch with her allowed me to forget the impending visit to the dental surgeon but alas, the time eventually came.

Lucie was right. It took longer to freeze than to pull the teeth. I was in and out in about 5 mins. But it wasn’t a very pleasant experience. Having a needle – two in fact! – stuck into the roof of my mouth was a feeling only surplanted by the traumatic sensation of having one’s tooth snapping out of it socket. Yuck.

The worse was yet to come. A friend of Norbert and Carole’s was coming for dinner and Norbert had some very nice sausages bbq’d for dinner. While everybody ate, I stared at my bowl of chocolate pudding. Theoretically, I was only supposed to eat soft, cold foods that night. But since I wasn’t in any pain, I reasoned I could eat some sausages if I chewed with my front teeth and swallowed quickly… I was a very bad girl. I also ate some cheese. Now, those were definitely on the soft food category. And some mashed straberries with cream. Oh, and copious amounts of white wine count as cold liquid, right?

Our departure to Toronto has been postponed to tomorrow… Other than the strange feeling of the gapping holes in my mouth, I feel fine…

How about you? How was your weekend?

Ah, Montreal…

We arrived on Thursday morning and have spent most of our time with our friends Norbert & Carole, with whom we are staying. Alan and I love staying with them; they are the kind of friends with whom you can spend weeks doing nothing but sitting around a table enjoying the best conversation. We’re never at a loss of things to talk about and often stay up until 2 in the morning just chatting.

We spent the last couple of days just hanging out in the West Island of Montreal (not actually a separate island but rather the west side of Montreal island). Thursday we went for a walk by the lake and a stroll through Pointe-Claire Village, one of our favourite spots on this side of the island. Friday we went for lunch at the village of St-Anne-de-Bellevue after spending all morning (a good 4 hours!) chatting around the breakfast table. At night we went to our good friend Jenn‘s house, where we met many of Alan’s best friends from his old swim team, people he has known for a good ten, twenty years and who embraced me into their circle when I first came to Canada ten years ago. Most of them visited us in Barcelona, and yesterday we celebrated the 10th anniversary of my first visit to Canada with much cava and laughter.

Today we are going downtown to one of our favourite spots in Montreal, the Marche Jean Talon, and later on we’ll meet with Norbert & Carole’s children and significant others to celebrate his birthday at a Lebanese restaurant. Yum, can’t wait!

Actually, that’s one of the things I miss the most about Montreal – the food. Like in France, in Montreal you can be sure to have the most amazing meals at every little hole in the wall. Norbert says it’s because the French have higher expectations and the clientele will define any service industry. I don’t know what it is, but the difference is noticeable. Toronto is an amazing city, very diverse, with cuisines from around the world, but I have never had a truly amazing meal there. The food can be good, often you have to pay more to have really good food, but it lacks that… I don’t know how to explain it… that je ne sais quoi that one finds here in Montreal…. Plus, one can get wine & beer at the grocery store here! Much more civilized…

I’ll post some pictures once we are back to Toronto next tuesday. I hope you are all having a good weekend!!

Dish of the week

Not too long ago, I wrote about how to dress up instant noodles to make it more nutritious and fit to serve to the guests. Since we are leaving tomorrow for Montreal, I decided to use whatever left-over vegetable I had and concoct another version of what I presented here before. This time I mixed red onions, garlic, ginger, green beans, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, green onions, celery, grated carrots, thinly-sliced new potatoes, some crab meat, a hefty dose of curcuma and a bit of cayenne pepper. The result was very tasty and certainly nutritious! I’m following the Japanese rule that a healthy diet should include at least 30 ingredients/day…


noodles 2