Please sir, can I have sum’more?

I’m only on page 14 and already, Gopnik’s got me simultaneously pondering life’s intricacies (a dangerous and fruitless road for me to go down) and craving food that I don’t have.

Adam Gopnik is a writer. A very successful writer, whose words have graced the pages of the New Yorker and others. To me, Gopnik’s talent lies in his ability to make the seemingly banal sparkle. Case in point: his last book was on winter. Just, winter. The one I’m reading is about food (thus the cravings). I mean, if someone came to me and said, I’d like to write 300 pages on winter I would dismiss it as too open, too unfocused, too intangible. And frankly, too well-so-what? But Gopnik – and forgive my fawning – just seems to pull it off.

But back to the main meal on today’s plate. There are a lot of people who, if told I was reading a book devoted to romanticizing food and its significance, would respond with any combination of: Why am I not surprised; Well duh it’s Sabrina; bemused head shaking.

Still, not to wax poetic but I really do feel like food is a powerful, binding agent. And strangely, it’s become a big part of my identity. I wouldn’t call myself a foodie per se; I have neither the patience nor ardor to be vegan or ultra-local, and if it’s going to save me a few bucks then yeah, I’ll choose the non-organic carrots on the discount shelf. But I enjoy a good experimental lets-see-what-we-can-make-with-what-we’ve-got session in the kitchen. Whether you’re gathered around a familiar family dinner table or meeting new european hostel friends, sharing food creates immediate if fleeting kinship (like alcohol, without the fuzzy feeling between your temples).

This is why if I offer food, I hope the other person doesn’t decline on account of politesse. I wouldn’t were the roles reversed. It has just crossed my mind that I would have made a fabulous Italian mother.

Anyway, I am no Adam Gopnik. As such I will not try to write as extensively as he did on the simple (or perhaps not so simple) subject of food. Besides, I’m hungry.

ps: as a side note, I highly recommend my journo-friend’s food blog, which never fails to make me salivate with envy.

Note: I actually read this book and wrote this post in the summer, but just found it now and figured why not post.

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Sauntering around Sudbury

This gallery contains 22 photos.

I hadn’t been in the house longer than three minutes when I asked if I could move in the next day. Gary, the kind older gent who owns the house, must not have heard me or else was too startled … Continue reading

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Tapping into girlish frivolities

As is the case with most mysterious and beautifully complex things, girls are surrounded in myth. Some of which are fanciful – such as the popular speculation that we go to the bathroom in groups to access a hidden underground metropolis – and others glimmer more with a hint of truth. For instance: throughout the course of today, my visiting cousin Cierra and I painted our nails, ate cookie dough, and fed our vanity (and my desire to practice portraiture) by having a photo-shoot. Here’s to stereotypes! (For the record, we don’t always act like this; Cierra is almost done her neuroscience undergrad and I play in the mud often as possible.)

Anyway, here’s the product of our afternoon’s frivolities.


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Groggy morning musings

Sometimes I don’t wake up in Canadian Tire parking lots, nested in the ratty cab of a pick-up truck. Other times I do. This morning was one of the latter.

I had just dropped my parents off at the airport at 3:30am and was driving the truck back to its home in Balderson – however, after missing the turnoff that should be rote for me, I decided that maybe I’d better pull over and take a nap. First opportunity was the expansive CT parking lot in Carleton Place.

Let me tell you – there are few more rousing alarm clocks than a very loud and very close horn blast because you accidentally fall asleep with your head against the steering wheel.

Anyway, once I had woken up and driven the last half hour to the family farm, I started to think: by now my parents should be high above my head, flying about 5,500km away to a country that will keep them for the next year or so. I’m hopeful and excited for their pending adventures, but also – just now – a bit anxious too.

This will mean no more 2am emergency talk-me-downs with Mom, no more lunches with Dad. They won’t be around to help me move to Sudbury next month, or do triathlons with me. This is not to say we’ll never talk – we plan to have weekly skype check-ins; but it will be harder to raid their fridge when they’re on another continent. Still, mostly I’m excited for them. At the moment they have no lodging planned and will start looking upon touchdown. If you want to keep up to date, you can visit the blog that my mom just started: The Flip Side of Fifty.

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Video of the Half-Ironman

As promised, here’s a little video I made about our race weekend. It was my first time using this video software, but I hope you like it!

ps: I’ve made the video unlisted, so you can only access it through the link here (as in, it won’t show up on searches in youtube)

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When hospitalization starts to look good

If someone would be so kind, could they please batter my kneecaps with a baseball bat? A few hearty Babe Ruth-inspired thwacks oughta do it. You see, it’s not that I don’t want to do the Half-Ironman in two(ish) weeks – I do – but as July 8th draws closer, it’s hard not to get nervous and a little incapacitation would be mighty convenient.

What if during the swim I get caught up in the tangle of limbs and don’t make the time cut? What if the other cyclists laugh at my ol’ trusty? What if I collapse in some desolate gutter and am discovered three days later half gnawed by Rhode Island dingos?

My dad keeps telling me these things won’t happen (the geographically displaced dingos being particularly unlikely), and that I should be proud of myself regardless of what happens.

According to the internet, Babe Ruth himself once said: “Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.”

While I definitely could have trained more/better (a series of out-of-town science conferences and troubling pains in my right foot a few months back put a damper in things for awhile) I’ve done each of the individual distances at least once and I don’t want to make excuses for myself.

In fact, barring flat tires or savage dogs, there’s no reason for me to think I can’t do it. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be happy once it’s done. (I’m sure everyone else will be relieved as well – if only so I stop whimpering about this thing that I voluntarily signed up for.)

Anyway, that’s whats on my mind this Wednesday. If I remember, I’ll bring a video camera to the race and do a little before-and-after interview with my parents and me so you can all laugh as I lose my shit.

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Popularizing the Poles

As a fledgling writer, you’ve got to find nuggets of happiness where you can, and cling to them. This past week at the IPY conference in Montreal, the nuggets to which I clung came in the form of business cards. Remember pogs? These cards have become my pogs, and I have been hoarding them with as much pious zeal.

In the absence of Pulitzer prizes, wealth, or the confidence that can cost years to acquire, that piece of paper becomes a little rectangle of power. If you wanted to, you could pick up the phone and call this oh-so-impressive individual (you probably won’t) and effortlessly convince him or her to hire you (they probably won’t.) It represents a possibility.

But an influx of business cards to my collection was only one of the awesome factors at the polar conference. It also marked the beginning of my blogging for Canadian Geographic!

For my first entry, I looked at the research that enthusiastic McGill postgrad Sara Statham presented, about how climate change is affecting the impoverished neighbourhoods in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Read about it here:

As a sidenote, I would ask that if you are going to leave a comment, please do it on the CanGeo blog, as opposed to this blog. (Then hopefully the editors will think me a much better writer than I actually am.)

For more information on Statham’s research, you can take a look at her website.

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