Wednesday 27 May 2009

The Litterless Lunch and Food Fit for a...

King? Queen? Sultan? A hungry kid and her mom.

Today is Wednesday, which means we have lunch at Sultan's after swimming lessons at the community centre. We are fortunate to have an amazing network of community centres in Toronto which provide an astonishing array of classes for large and small for very little money. We are also fortunate to have people like Tamara and Samer who provide the yummiest falafel ever, not to mention homemade lentil soup, vegetables with garlic sauce, and other delectable handmade Jordanian food (vegan and gluten-free not even on purpose!)'s only 8:45 in the morning and yet I crave already.....that's Tamara walking away in the picture below, protesting the picture :-)

Safiya has been taking classes at this particular community centre for a couple of years, so it is a ritual and delight to walk in at lunchtime. She orders "the usual" and has started being in charge of the money, and we chat with Tamara and Samer and watch Danforth Avenue life pass by, usually playing "I Spy" as we eat.

That white sauce on the vegetables is the garlic sauce. It's basically just garlic and oil blended together. Soooooo good.

This Wednesday ritual has also provided me with an opportunity to practice and perfect the litterless lunch. We try to eat mostly at home, but it would be foolish to pass up good Toronto food and the opportunity to support our small restauranteurs, so I always carry our water bottle and cutlery roll with us. And now, I've added a couple of tiffins (got them here, but I'm sure there are many places to get them) and, on Wednesdays, a lug-a-mug (Tamara makes Safiya a special sweet black tea with fresh mint that we savour on the way home). At Sultan's they gladly fill up the tiffens instead of the foam one-use dishes that are offered, as do most restaurants if you ask nicely and just emphasize that you're weird that way :-) Or, even better, with a smile say that you're trying out the first "R"; the reduce one. Most of the time no explanation is necessary, which is great.

The tiffins took a while to take, as with any new habit, but they're perfect for picnics, which we will be doing a lot more of as the weather gets warmer, and, also important, leftovers from restaurants, even ones that are sit-down with china (apparently if you have kids, you have left-overs :-) I don't know the energy input required to make these, but they're light, unbreakable, I can pass them down to Safiya, and they're better by leaps and bounds than recycling, which also requires high energy input and doesn't always happen as it's supposed to. Sometimes the recycling thing seems to me to be just a salve on the eco-conscious, kind of like buying indulgences were to the church in the Middle Ages.

So, if you're in Toronto, say hi to Tamara and Samer at Sultan's, which is at the north-east corner of Main Street and Danforth Avenue. And bring your tiffin :-)

Monday 25 May 2009

Mending Mondays: Evolution of a Patch

Remember the yelling hole in the pair of cords that I was working on patching? Well, two weeks ago I finished it, with little ado but a lot of satisfaction. So, using the tutorial that I posted worked fantasticly (is that a word?), although when it states "most pants have extra fabric that you can steal from to make a patch to match" (maybe that's another tutorial I'm thinking of - I vetted a lot of patching tutorials, you know :-) this is not true of factory made pants made by say, G*P (that's a swear word around here). They are stingy! I had to steal that little extra front pocket that I only ever use for tampons, and since these are destined for a guy friend, I doubt he'll miss it....

Here's that hole:

1. Inside reinforcing patch (just used a scrap of mine) to prevent further tearing, pinned, seen from the wrong side (the inside of the pants):

2. Seen from the right side:

3. I basted it on the right side so that I could see where I was going, and knew to stay on the inside of the pins:

4. Basted patch, seen from the wrong side:

5. I zigzagged around the edges of the patch:

6. Seen here from the right side of the pants:

7. And then, on the right side of the pants, zigzagged the edges of the hole (I know, this is getting really ugly):

8. So, the inside reinforcing patch is done. Now, made a matching patch from that little pocket and sewed it on the outside. Now, ideally, you'd have enough fabric to turn in the edges better and be picky about whether the patch itself was already a little worn, but whatever:

Ta-da! Considering that he said not to be to picky 'cause they're just hanging around pants, but they're his favourite, I say "not bad!" and pat myself on the back.

It's a crazy number of pictures for such a little thing, but I went a step further than the other tutorial by adding an outside patch as well. I think it's a really effective, thorough way of repairing clothes, and I fully intend to keep doing it this way. Also, I have to teach Safiya how to do this, 'cause she's just taken a pair of scissors to her newest jeans that she got from Granny. When I asked her about it, she said, "That's o.k.! We can just patch them!" Ha!

Thursday 21 May 2009

In Which a Young-ish Woman's Brain and Body Start Arguing

I found this awesome pillowcase on Mother's Day. It made me laugh out loud in the thrift shop. Seriously? Ahhh, 1976 (it says so on the pillowcase).

I need pillowcases like this to remind me of everything. Could you imagine? I mean, if you sat and embroidered or silk-screened "email your cousin" or "pick up soymilk" on a pillowcase, you would remember, right?

It's been a month, almost. For a while there I was falling asleep with Safiya at 9pm, which does wonders for tiredness (kind of) but nothing for blogging. And then it got into the guilt loop of if-i-take-a-look-at-the-blog-it-will-remind-me-that-i've-neglected-it. And then life got a bit crazy, and there were obligations and duties just like there aways is, and grabbing moments while I could became very important. It's odd that although this place is a retreat for me in many ways, to someone on the other side, the majority of my life and joys and fears and worries and work are in the background. It's like I've put a really pretty flower-shaped-crafty tatoo on my arm that becomes a focus, an identity, but there's the whole rest of my body that is covered up.

And I feel that writing only about the tatoo is becoming limiting.

This may go somewhere, it may not. For once, I'm not promising anything...