the rest of world food day-week was a whirlwind!

so much so, that a week later, i was caught up in writing proposals and attending meetings. it’s one week after and i’m still getting caught up. isn’t it amazing how, after every awesome event you attend, ergo all the amazing individuals met at the events, there’s much to think about and do? 

i think that i left off at wednesday, october 17th. the rest of the week went like this:

on thursday, i was a ball of excited nerves. it was the 50th anniversary of the Ontario Human Rights Commission code and they hosted a celebration and dialogue. i was honoured to have been asked to be on a panel to discuss the future of human rights with fellow panelists: Aiden Johnson, Lali Mohamed and Mark Campbell, all “activists” in the areas of social justice, racial and LGBTQ equity, arts and culture. i fit in there, like i always do, in the gaps and covering as an umbrella…

i haven’t chosen my words or style too carefully in this post. it’s a struggle for me to just write. just. trying not to try is a challenge for me. i’m hoping that at some point here, i’ll be able to articulate myself, as my good friend puts it, “ness, uncensored ness is best with one glass of wine down, another in her grip.” he teases as he’s seen me struggle simultaneously as i unintentionally over-think my audience and intentionally try to be unintentional and then get caught up in a “politically correct” mess of saying not quite what’s on my mind.

so, i used quotation marks above with “activist” because i meant half-heartedly or rather to draw attention to it here. 

ugh, i’m thinking this post is a mess and also, ‘stop thinking!’

activist. huh. the following day – that’d be friday – i was interviewed for a book that will come out in about 2 years, probably out of UofT press. the interview was conducted by a post-doc fellow, with funding from a professor with whom i am acquainted to her work. whatever. the points are… the first relevant point is that i was recommended as a “female activist in the food movement”. yeh, most of us are female or gay males. i mentioned that in my interview. but “activist?!” the word is spoken by me – in my head and when aloud – as though italicized. i’m not sure about this label. (and then i’m annoyed that i’m over-thinking again). 

i will leave it at that because i’m rambling and getting the urge to write a new post about “activists” and then interrupt myself with the story about an potential investor for one of my food ventures (the BIGGIE) who noted we might as well date, as long as i stopped this hippie shit and always, always had my nails done. female activist, food movement, nails…

expectedly, i had questions for the interviewer.. rhetorical perhaps. no, i don’t really think so. just framing. it goes: i wonder if it’s the combo of helping and food that makes the “food movement” so overwhelmingly filled with women. what if it was helping dilapidated cars be upcycled for the environment.. and throwing in [scoping] teaching and paying street youth to do it? would the [scoping again] sector be so woman-heavy? my bet is the funders, executive directors, directors, spokes people would be dudes and the ladies would be doing the doing… 

saturday and sunday i wrote a cool proposal… but took too long. must find (multiple) voices faster-faster orally and in text formats!

that’s it. nighty night.


3 x 3 = values

February 15, 2011

was cleaning the bathroom while listening to CBC this afternoon. guest was a lifecoach based in Ottawa and offered a simplified version of getting to the career that’s you.

have you thought about that? insofar as our work defines us, does your job do a good job of explaining you? totally other topic.

without further adieu, and in my own words, this is what she had to offer:

how to figure out your values:

a) what do you do for play at work? or what could you just keep on doing without feeling the toil-side of that which may be considered “work”. what’s fun? other what doesn’t leave you drained and gives you energy to keep going?

– say you’re a program coordinator at a non-profit organization and your job involves (wow, where do i begin?!) recruiting and training volunteers, developing and designing the project materials, public-speaking, setting up events, researching the latest best practices, writing articles or proposals, monitoring and evaluation, etc. at the end of the week, what might you have no problem taking “away” and fiddling with in your own time? maybe you like tinkering with the decorative features of brochures, or perhaps you like talking to people and getting them interested in your “cause”. pick 3 things.

b) who are 3 people you admire? could be anyone, whether you know her/him personally or not. why or what about those people puts them on a pedestal?

– lemme pick:

my dad because he works so hard and is able to set aside/step over petty bitching to get things done because: a) he loves his family and b) there’s little that he feels that he can change.

my best friend/business partner because she is able to ignore/rationalize her belief system because – for her – it’s the best route to: a) acquire greater financial success and b) make change, from within.

my other best friend because she is ignorant/oblivious to issues that may cause her grief, because: a) she is focused on personal happiness and b) there’s little she can do about it.

this exercise leaves me in a tough spot. i’ll have to come back to it.

c) what did you do for fun as a kid?

– well. given that i had to grow up quick, and that the things i really enjoyed were taken away from me, or were perhaps swayed by praise, i also need to think this one out too.

umm… i liked reading, arts and crafts, and cooking. i still do.

now what? well you’re supposed to go through your list and circle common words. like i said, i have to come back to this, and will soonish.


remembering past selves

August 8, 2010

i’m a bit behind. turning 30 this month, i haven’t been out of school too long, haven’t tried to be in a long relationship since i tried to get out of a bad one, and keep working on other peoples problems… and getting hurt.
i used to be more care-free. the photos from frames i’d been saving for the last 6-7 years are evidence.
the last few days i’ve been contemplating (more) school, international travel and work, and finding my own cave to hide away in…

i thought that i would begin a new blog today. the one you’re reading has been around and back again, with disorder as a theme and infrequent posts, often representing (or reflecting) my musings as a professional full-time graduate student and samplings of careers ranging from… well, actually, i don’t write as often as i should. there have been many. many many!

the new blog would have chronicled my efforts to streamline, and as far as blogs go, i figured it would be a theme i could stick to. plot: the evolution of a non-nerd.

i’ve been imagining starting anew. but i thought it might be premature to be stake my claim at a new life. it’s only a few days before i will know whether or not i will matriculate into a doctoral program. or rather, when i get “that letter” that tells me that the academy (and thus my mother) thinks i’m good enough.

i can’t deny that i want to know and it means a great deal to me too. but i’m quite realistically pessimistic about my chances to gain admission in the one and only school that i applied to, and even in my wildest dreams, i’m unsure about whether or not i would got in.

always with my hands in several pots, that means i have begun preparing for another life – outside academia. really. no looking back, no university-community research gigs for insecure and insensitive, asshole, non-paying principle investigators (dude. i just said, i’m trying to start anew. browse my blog to piece together who is the witch). it’s time to make something of myself.

that’s how far i got. so, you see, i really am at the very beginning phase of thinking of a non-academic me.

today, i picked up the 2010 version of “What Color is Your Parachute?”. once upon an undergrad job, i was a career advisor. i encountered phd students days from defending, in tears, asking little ol’ me what they should do with their lives?! i kept on. now, for the first time, i’ll read one of these career books for real.
I’ll let you know how it goes…

i have heard numerous stories about abuse of employees that have been reasoned and/or withstood due to the state of economy. unpaid wages for regular and overtime hours worked, unrecognized contributions, and other abuse from employers.
i’ve experienced this recently too.
how about you? what can be done?

knock knock.
– who’s there?
nevermind who it is, you didn’t care anyway. i want my culture back.
– from me?
from you, you: pill-pushing chinese language translator; purporter of orientalist media; “ney-ho-ma konnichiwa sanju!” pick-up loser guys, and the girls who see through and still go for this shit; essentializing ethnicity-card players; diners of the exotic at only a discounted rate; tolerating “citizens” of the model minority; othering others

Once in a while, I miss Chicago.

I left Chicago one week after my ex-boyfriend told me, “I love you, but not enough to move to Toronto with you. And that, to me, means I don’t love you the right way.” Days before, you could not have separated us (he asked me if I judged him when he picked the stems off vine-ripened tomatoes before bagging them). It was too easy for us to be that way and moving was just the hurdle to flag the inevitable. We broke-up that day, and I departed alone with orders from the U.S. Border Control to do so by the end of the month.

Those last days packing and preparing to leave were torturous. My half empty apartment and everything about Chicago represented our relationship – did I just accept and leave? Of course. If this was tough enough, then that was enough of us. I chalked it up to a ‘bad fit’. Nevertheless, I cried a lot. It was the first and only time I lost my appetite for food. I needed to grieve more, but had to get across the border first. Arriving in Toronto, I told myself that there was nothing left for me in Chicago and it was only a reflection of our good times together.

For months, I had nightmares and the ringer for long distance calls made my heart race. It wasn’t a secret; I thought about us all the time. The radio annoyingly announced Chicago’s weather, hockey results, baseball scores, and of course, Obama’s race. And then there was also the matter of finishing my thesis, based on ethnographic study in Chicago.

I returned to Chicago to graduate, and even spent some time with the Ex. I considered telling him (but didn’t) that this trip was to ensure for myself that I wanted neither he nor Chicago in my life. I was wrong, then right, wrong again, and I’m now only 97% over us and that’s ok. He was the romance of my youth (we sped on bikes down Magnificent Mile through the rain, jumped into Lake Michigan fully clothed, made ketchup from scratch). It was too sweet, I’d gorged myself full of every beautifully in-love moment. Actually, just before his revelation, I was on a diet to prep for more feasting in Toronto. (By the way, I am noticing the food-conflict analogy running through this post, as I’m sure that you have.)

On the other hand, Chicago – before and after him – bored me. It was everything I saw on TV. Once I’d become accustomed to seeing outlandish stereotypes in real-life, I felt that I understood Chicago. I was jaded once again and told him so. He said, “those things you liked about Chicago with me are still here, as they’ve always been in you.”

He was right, though I’m not sure about our friendship.

This is my list of things I miss about Chicago:

  • Bike-friendliness, and especially the lake side bike path in the early morning
  • Seminary Co-op and Gerstein Library at UChicago
  • Race reversals in Hyde Park
  • Intelligentsia coffee and garbage cookies, as they are served at both Istria Cafes
  • Abundant and less-expensive cheese choices and alcohol… and cigarettes
  • Multi-grain demi-baguettes at Medici and sunflowered bread from Red Hen
  • Brownstones (and architecture, in general)
  • Blommer’s aroma at the oddest times
  • Outlandish and gawdy stereotypical characters and neighbourhoods