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All In Hand

Postcard from Parry Sound

Miss Vicky Sat Aug 13, 2005

Hi all

Not much time to type - but greetings from Parry Sound! I've had a great first week here. Haven't done much but eat, sleep, drink, read, swim, walk, and throw sticks for Winston. Feels great. The family arrives today for the annual get-together. Which is good, because the CBC workers will be locked out starting Monday, and there goes my daily entertainment and lifeline to the world. What ever will I do????

Miss Vicky-less:Week One

The Webgeek Fri Aug 12, 2005

Hey all, it's the WebGeek here.
Have you ever looked for something in a place where you were sure you left it, not found it there, then started searching elsewhere; only to come back to that self-same place later on in your now desperate search to find that lost item right there where -- you swear --it wasn't previously? Do you remember the mixed rush of confusion, relief, bemusement ,and frustration that washed over you at the time? Well, multiply that feeling by a thousand, and that's the general milieu that I find myself in at the finishing school now that Miss Vicky has sauntered off to the family cottage for the month.

I swear, I can make an object -- any object -- go from "in hand" to "irrevocably misplaced" in the space of five seconds and a distracted look out the window. Either way, I must apologize for the lack of updates to the site this week. I've been too wrapped up in trying to re-connect with my bachelor survival skills and keeping up with work to post much. I had hoped that one of our guest bloggers (you know who you are) would have posted something by now. Oh well. As I'm now off to the cottage for the weekend too -- and our guest bloggers (*ahem*) seem to be AWOLfor the time being -- it may yet be a while till the next post too. Again, my apologies for this.

In the mean time, try meandering though our archives: or possibly visit the "Friends of Miss Vicky" listed on the side of the "Ringing Endorsements" section of this site. Alternately, you could check out what Ottawa has to offer in the "Dear Miss Vicky" section as well. We've hid all sorts of fun little links through out. Hopefully week two non-Vickyness will prove more active.

Guest Blog: Gulu Walk Ottawa recap.

Ottawa Gulu Walk Fri Aug 5, 2005

Every night, over 40,000 children living in rural northern Uganda walk into the town of Gulu and other urban centres to sleep in relative safety and to avoid abduction by rebels in an ongoing, often ignored 19-year civil war. These 'night commuters' walk from as far as 12km away and make the return trek home every single day. They are walking for their lives – this is their only defence against the brutalities faced by children captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Throughout the whole month of July 2005, two ordinary Canadians walked each night into downtown Toronto, slept an uncomfortable few hours and then walked home to their jobs and regular daily lives. The GuluWalk (www.guluwalk.com) took great strides to raising awareness - not only in Toronto but worldwide - about Uganda’s night commuters, and the need for a lasting peace in that country. It also raised funds to help the kids directly.

On Sunday, July 31st, Colleen Malone of PeaceVox and Tommy Gelbman hosted GuluWalk Ottawa in support of the GuluWalk initiative. Knowing that every day without peace is another day of risk for Ugandan children, PeaceVox hoped to send a message from Ottawa that peace can and must be achieved in Uganda, and show the kids that they are not walking alone.

GuluWalk Ottawa was attended by over 75 people, who walked 10 kilometres from the Westboro OC Transpo Station into downtown Ottawa, finishing on Parliament Hill. Decked out in bright orange GuluWalk gear, the walkers were an inspiring sight as they wound their way through Ottawa’s neighbourhoods. The youngest walker, 7-year old Beatrice, gave a valiant effort in spite of the blisters that appeared on her feet mid-way along the route. Everyone completed the walk in good spirits and strong form! The participants showed their commitment and support to the children who walk every night and morning to protect themselves from northern Uganda’s terrible war.

The walk also raised almost $700, which will go directly to programs providing food, shelter and support to northern Uganda’s night commuters. Those wishing to donate to this initiative can do so online at http://www.guluwalk.com/donate/?mnav=donate.

Although the GuluWalk in Toronto and Ottawa is over, the initiative continues. Further events are being planned for fall 2005 to continue to push for peace in Uganda. Visit www.guluwalk.com for more details. This excellent website also has a great deal of information about the conflict in northern Uganda.


In Seclusion

Miss Vicky Fri Aug 5, 2005

So today I'm heading up to Parry Sound to spend the next few weeks recuperating from a busy year, and resting up fo rthe fun ahead. It promises to be a busy fall - I've got two trips booked already for work, both within the first 2 weeks of September, there's an election coming up, our kitchen's going to be gutted and redone... oh, and there's that blogging thing. I promise I'll do my best to keep you all informed about what's happening in Kitchissippi, treat you to my usual rants about hot municipal and political topics, and throw the odd recipe in for good measure. And who knows, maybe the "Dear Miss Vicky" advice column will take off....

The cottage doesn't have a phone, much less internet access, so my blogging will be sporadic over the next few weeks. Parry Sound does have a fabulous internet cafe, so when I do get to town I may fire off the odd comment or two. In the meantime, I've asked a few folks to serve as guest bloggers. Some of you don't know it yet, but you'll be asked!

As a contract worker, the Webgeek doesn't get vacations (well, they're called "unemployment"), so he'll be posting regularly (in addition to his duties as caretaker for the Finishing School while I'm away). My Mother, known on this site as missvickysmother, will also make a few appearances. I've also asked the good folks who organized the Ottawa Gulu Walk to supply an entry. And there may be a few surprises. Suggestions, of course, are welcome!

If you're curious about this Parry Sound place that is my home-away-from-home, check out this discussion board. It's actually a neat service - good discussions about municipal issues, the state of the downtown, the opening of the Wal-Mart, and so on.


Miss Vicky Thu Aug 4, 2005

I don't know why, but I've enjoyed beets since I was a kid. I was the only one in the family who'd eat the beets my mother prepared (OK, so I boycotted boiled potatoes for a few years and stopped eating pork when I was 14, but what kid's eating habits are perfect?). I think it's a combination of aesthetics (you can't beet....I mean beat.... the colour), their tender texture when they're done just right, their sweet, buttery goodness.

We're in the midst of beet season here so I picked some up at the market (local beets, of course!). A recent visit with my TO friends Tom and Dan exposed me to a fantastic beet salad concept, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. They got the idea from a restaurant they'd visited in San Francisco, and whipped it up for us at the cottage in July.

It's a beet salad, can be served warm or cold. It's a simple combination: cooked beets, blue cheese and candied pecans. That's it. Yesterday I added some baby spinach as well (I do love my spinach), and I'll probably make it a regular addition.

Don't have a recipe. I kind of threw it together. Basically, you do this:

Cook beets (you can roast 'em, steam 'em, boil 'em.... or open up a can!).
Slice beets (I cut them into thin strips)
Place beets in bowl.

Candy pecans. I did this on the fly, with some butter and brown sugar, and it wasn't bad, but I think next time I'm going to actually follow a recipe. Found a couple of easy ones on the web, including this intriguing bourbon-addled recipe from the fine folks in Georgia.

Add pecans to bowl.

Crumble or cube blue cheese. Add to bowl. Stir. Throw in a handful of baby spinach. Stir some more, until cheese is semi-melted and evenly distributed.

Sounds like an odd combination of flavours, I know. But it is heavenly.

tonight: Samba in McCormick Park

Miss Vicky Wed Aug 3, 2005

Samba Ottawa is performing this evening in Hintonburg's McCormick Park - the little parklet behind the Ottawa West community services centre, between McCormick and Carruthers, off Armstrong. They're having a BBQ to raise money for a new play structure for the Parkdale Market Park. A worthy cause! Festivities start at 7.

Thinking Globally, Eating Locally

Miss Vicky Tue Aug 2, 2005

I first read about the 100 Mile Diet over on Treehugger and thought it was a pretty interesting concept.

Here's the deal: these two folks in BC are trying hard to limit their food intake to stuff grown and produced within 100 miles of where they live. You can read about some of their adventures here. Big stumbling blocks for them, apparently, are grains (wheat, rice, etc, a necessary staple) and sugar. Oh, and cost.

Not sure it's a challenge I want to take, but it has gotten me thinking about my eating and shopping habits. As much as I love the Parkdale Market, you need to make sure you're buying local, as a stunning amount of produce there is imported. It's a bit better now that we're in the midst of the growing season, but back in the spring pickings were pretty slim. We go to Sasloves, the butcher on Wellington West, for organic and hormone-free meat.... I guess we'll have to ask where it's from. Perhaps I'll report on this later.

Ottawa's Food Security Council has a Buy Local Food guide. There is an online version, but you can pick up a printed copy at a number of locations in the city, like Bridgehead or the Mountain Equipment Co-op. The guide includes information on local farmer's markets, but also on the farms themselves - location, hours, whether the stuff's organic, and so on. There's also a handy Harvest Chart, so you know what's fresh when. The only drawback - it covers this side of the river only. I can imagine there are plenty of places in the Outaouais as well. For example, Bryson Farms has a booth in the Parkdale Market (starting in August) and, if I recall correctly, has a delivery service as well.

You don't just get fresher, better-tasting food when you buy local. You're supporting the local economy. And you're helping reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use up in transporting food to Ottawa (according to the OFSC, the average meal travels up to 2400 km in order to reach your table!), not to mention the amount of packaging. Even if you're not up to the full 100 Mile Diet, making small chances to your shopping habits can really make a difference.



Miss Vicky Mon Aug 1, 2005

Well, everyone, I just spend a weekend at my phone-and-internet-less cottage, in blissful ignorance of local, national and world events.

I feel a bit better now. I'm sure the creative juices and snappy commentary will be flowing before you know it.

Don't forget: as of this week you can recycle your yoghurt and margarine containers again! Yippee!


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