Did you say Under-represented Kitchen???

I did indeed!

And I am not kidding!  In earlier posts, I have talked about my ‘kitchen’ in the bachelor/studio that I rent here in VanGroovy (Vancouver) and basically the only thing missing is an stove and oven and a sink in which to wash my dishes. I have to wash them in the bathroom sink which is kinda gross but it is what it is, right?  At least I have one or two things with which to rustle up some tidbits to eat!! And it isn’t really that gross to share the shower with a rogue lettuce leaf!!!

Lately I have been thinking alot about our various eating choices such as paleo, raw, no carb, low carb, low protei, all protein etc, etc. Since being in Vancouver and in my under-represented kitchen I have considered whether I should give some of them a go. Particularly paleo. I think that the paleo way of eating has heaps going for it and people I know who have taken it on board are changed quite drastically. Better moods, weight loss, just general increased sense of well-being!  Fabulous!  I guess what holds me back is the cutting out of all dairy and of course, sugary stuff!  I love cheese, sour cream, milk and Cheerios (although Cheerios are pretty good right out of the box) and of course, ICE CREAM!!!  Can I do it!!!??? Should I give it 30 days?  I think I might!  I think that this way of eating would suit the fact that while I have a fridge, it is a bar fridge with an eensy, weensy freezer that doesn’t really work and is therefore incapable of holding more than a package of frozen dumplings!  When you live on veg and fruit and meat, you can buy all that daily. 

Quitting sugar! Hmmmm, this is a tricky one, right?  I love sweet things but have certainly cut down alot since living here. I don’t eat anywhere near the amount that I used to and I am pretty sure it is making a difference. But it is scary to give it up altogether and I am a wee but hesitant to take that leap!  Have any of you done it?  I would love to hear all about it.

I would also love to hear from people who have gone paleo. Tell me how you feel, what you eat and maybe you can pass on some recipes to me. I would love that.

Watch this space. Give me a week or so and I will let you know whether I took the leap and how it is going.

Lots of Love

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Six Months and Counting!

Afternoon All

It is a foggy, gray and rainy day here in Vantown but at least I am not suffering through 24 below and ice storms. Even the deep South has had snow overnight! Crazy!

On the 25th I celebrated 6 months in my new town. I called it my Vanniversary! Cute, huh? For anyone that has relocated to a new town, state, province or country, I think reaching 6 month mark is something of a milestone. It is a time when you know things have reached a wee bit of a settled state (hopefully!) and things will continue to become more and more familiar and comfortable and you should start feeling at home! A couple of weekends ago I was struck down by the worst bout of homesickness I have felt since moving here. It was crippling and while I hate to sound all dramatic about it, it was horrible to go through. However, a great insight came out of it and that was simply how important it is for us as humans, to have a Comfort Zone. I just never gave it much thought other than to try regularly to step outside it as we are encouraged to do and also, I just assumed that I was in one albeit a new one. Well, I got to thinking and realised that actually my comfort zone was a wee bit of a Work in Progress. Who knew, right?

Because I was worried I was on the brink of some decline from which I may never emerged, I googled ‘homesick’ and happened across an article highlighting the fact that when we move we lose our anchor points and therefore yearn deeply for what we left. We then need to find new anchor points which then need to remain stable so that we can begin to feel the connection to our new place. I found that really interesting and it has helped me alot to settle. My biggest anchor point has been my daughter who lives in Florida right now. It has been hard adjusting to her not being around but I got through that and am so excited that she will be moving up here in August. For a little bit, anyhow. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Spring is close at hand!!! That is a wonderful thing and it is getting lighter earlier and later and I can smell it in the air. Speaking of air, Vancouver has amazing, clean air and it always smells fresh which is just brilliant. No smog anywhere, ever!!!!!

As you all know, I have a kitchen ‘area’, not to be confused with having an actual kitchen and I am supposed to be experimenting and then writing about it. Well, I have not really experimented much at but promise that I am working on it! In the meantime, I am keen to hear from anyone who is a keen user of the Crockpot and to tell me what your most fave thing is to cook in it. Mine has been used for soup mostly and a few weeks ago I made an amazing Ham and Pea soup. It was fabulicious!!! So, get back to me with what you cook in yours.

If you are a Hellman’s or Best Foods Mayo person, both are good but this homemade baby is DELCIOUS and soooo easy:
If you’ve struggled to make mayonnaise using the drip method, this recipe demystifies mayo once and for all – just whizz it up and it emulsifies in seconds. You will need a wand mixer and a narrow jug.

http://www.annabel-langbein.com/recipes/speedy-mayo/440

Get making this mayo and share your Crockpot Creations with me.

Loads of love,

Cinnamon

Age is just a number, right? Hmmmmmm!

Well, after nearly five months of looking I got a fulltime, permanent job!!!!! I was approached about it after a very successful temp placement with the parent company. It made me feel really good to be offered something based on a good impression I had made. It is a sales and admin role and is going really well with a wee bit of potential to develop. The money is not fab but I can pay my rent and eat and have a bit of fun so what more can a girl ask – at this point anyway. Vancouver is both notorious and infamous for it’s low hourly pay and generally we suck it up.

I guess the big eye-opener during the job hunt was being forced to realise that women over 40 (35 in some sectors) struggle deeply to get satisfying, well-paid work. We struggle to get any work!! I am now 52 and prior to coming here felt great about my self. I never felt my age, looked my age or had to battle with employment issues because of it. As time went on here, I started becoming very self-conscious, felt old, ugly and unemployable. My boss was looking for someone older who had lived life a bit and didn’t feel a need to rush off to be with a new boyf in Toronto. The older workforce is largely ignored here and this is in part, due to it being a city of young employers and recruiters. Don’t get me started on recruiters……!!!!! Anyhoo, because it is a draw for start-up geeks, is sleek, cool and trendy, a female in her late 30’s and on is not always seen as being of benefit to an employer. This is a shame because Vancouver women of all ages are stylie, groomed, smart and gorgeous. We have so much to offer in terms of knowledge, skill and life experience and while this is not recognised now, it will be. I will bet on it.  I am changed by the job hunt but am determined to get back to feeling good about myself again.

Sundays are the worst day of the week for me and the day that I feel the most homesick and question what the hell I have done by moving here. I thought about it alot to day and had an ‘ah ha’ moment when I realised that rather than missing New Zealand, there is something missing in me and I keep looking externally to find what that is. My friends and family here are all in cute little couples and I am spending way too much time by myself. My social life is uneventful and I don’t get out and do alot so that needs to be fixed. Vancouver has loads to do and I plan to get amongst it. My good friend said that she misses having a comfort zone. We are always being encouraged to get outside our comfort zones, but when you start a new life somewhere you become very keen to develop one. It gives you a familiarity and security that is really crucial to feeling at home. Things still feel strange for me and while I feel at home I don’t feel that ahhhhhhhh feeling yet. It will happen over time. I have only been here 5 months.

Getting back to the single thing……a bit over it really. One of my goals for 2014 is to open my heart up to meeting someone. I am often hesitant to ask my couple friends if I can hang out with them (my insecurity about it rather than them not wanting to). Also, I have been happily single for a long time now and while in the phase of feeling totally unattractive to the opposite sex, am more open to the idea of meeting someone than I have been so that is progress.

So 2014 has alot for me to go after and I plan to hug it hard.

Lots of love,
Cinnamon
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Horse, are you flogged yet?

Yeah, are ya? I am loving living in Vancouver, I really am. I live on the North Shore (North and West Van, I chose North) and look out my backyard to Grouse Mountain every day. Frickin awesome!!!! Better than the Southern Alps – almost!

The flogged, dead horse to which I refer is the ‘Great Vancouver Job Market’. Now, unlike the wonderful Vancouver Christmas Market downtown on West Georgia, thisvain’t a great market to sell or buy your goods. It is kinda ugly and can suck all the positive energy out of you a bit like the negative friend we all have had.

People say, ‘but Sue, you are Canadian-born so no problem.’ Shit, I wish!!!! All comes down to how much ‘Canadian experience’ you have which is a hard thing to get if you can’t find a Canadian job. The economy is still not fab and there aren’t alot of jobs and you are likely to be one of 200 or more up for ANY job you go for.

I became a teacher in ’09 and before that was largely admin, study and raising my kid. Since being here I have nannied, cleaned and worked as a temp. Perm jobs are a bit like winning Lotto. You just have to buy a ticket each week and ONE day you will win, or get a perm job.  I have been here 4 months and thank god, the temping is picking up slowly but surely.

To date I have applied for jobs in retail, hospo, nannying and other kinds of child care, deli jobs, supermarket jobs, volunteer stuff and well, I can’t rememember what else.

Right now I have $20 to my name. That will pay for the right hand corner of my bathroom in my basement suite for January’s rent!

But I keep flogging the horse – let’s call him Jasper – cos I know that everything will be okay. It has to be, right? I didn’t give up everything in New Zealand to come here and give up. Jasper would hate that. He loves a good flogging.

Yeah, I cry and throw things at Jasper but I love it here and am staying no matter what.

Besides, who would flog Jasper.

Love
Cinnamon
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Vancouver…..you sexy beast!

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Okay, so I made it here. One suitcase. No job. SCARED TO DEATH!!!! Have been here 4 months and by crikey, it has been more up and down than a toilet seat at a mixed party. Crazy hard to get a permanent job and right now it is a matter of getting enough temp work to cover the rent each month.

I have hated on it SO bad at times then I go for a walk and OMG, she sure is a beautiful town. I have cried and screamed and wondered what the f***  I was doing leaving New Zealand, my cats, my friends – in other words, my comfort zone – and trying to be clever and brave and courageous!

Well, guess what!!! I am all those things and about as tenacious as a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe. I just ain’t givin’ up and the Universe is being a darling and plonking signs up in my face everyday.

This is the best thing I have done for me………watch this space!

Lots of Love
Cinnamon

If Plan A fails, you still have 25 letters of the alphabet left!

That old adage what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger was certainly put to the test late last week.

The family that I was going to nanny for dropped the bombshell that they no longer want to employ a nanny. 7 weeks out, it felt like the world had stopped mid-spin.

Picked my jaw up off the floor, cried most of the day then quickly got to work on Plan B. Was put in touch with a kiwi girl who runs a nanny agency in Vancouver, have had a phone interview and am already being put forward for a job. Cinnamon ain’t down and out long.

I am so tickled to be moving to Vancouver. Beyond beautiful, laid back and best of all, my cousins live there. I just have a feeling that something FABULICIOUS awaits the Cinnamon Girl.

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I am not adding any recipe to this post but did find this wee quote rather delicious.

Be the cupcakes that you all are.

Lots of love
Cinnamon