Big Bird

My spice cabinet, belonged to my mother, crafted by some unknown Quebecois craftsperson in the 70s.

The next few days are gonna be filled with guitaring, so last night I roasted up a small chicken to tide us over the rock moosik. The plan is to chop up some chicken to toss into my fave kimichi soup recipe as well as to make a nice stock with the carcass. With these delicious foodie dreams in mind, we trotted down to the Atwater Market yesterday, found a modest 3lb grain fed bird and brought her home.

I loosely followed a roast chicken recipe that I’ve been using for years, based on one in the Eat Well/Stay Well cookbook (it’s surprisingly awesome for Reader’s Digest!), which contains a recipe where you remove the skin before eating to reduce the fat content. I ignore that final step. What I did was sprinkle the cavity with salt and rosemary and then threw in lots of unpeeled garlic cloves. This time I also added some lemon quarters after reading this post over on a new fave food blog Popcorn Plays. I took her suggestion to dust the skin with smoked paprika (How do I love thee? Let me taste all the ways…) and then slipped some more salt, rosemary and thyme under the skin and over the breast and legs. Sounds super sexy, non? The original recipe calls for that kinky rubdown to make up for the removal of the skin. I think that it’s worth doing even when keeping the skin in order to double the awesome. I roasted the bird on top of a bed of local fingerling potatoes, carrots, celery and onions; 30 minutes breast side down and then 30 minutes or so breast side up. I only bothered to baste the breast side of the bird. I did not bother with making gravy.

Photos of carrots and baster by Mike, the other photos are my own.

Dreaming of: starting seeds again this spring. It’s been a few years, I’m thinking indeterminate cherry tomatoes that can easily be handed over to a neighbor when we go traveling. I’m fantasizing about overflowing nasturtium pots also. Too soon for these fantasies? Probably! Must order seed catalogues by January though.

Loving: Terrariums.

Can’t wait for: my apple cider to be ready. Should be good by mid December, we thinks!

Listening to: CBC radio, checking out Kurt Vile (you like?). Looking forward to the new PJ Harvey record, too. Check out this video of her performing the tune ‘Let England Shake‘ on TV.

Watching: This super cute video posted by Tessa over on her blog. Enjoy!


Video Diary 1: Veil Gazing

Click to watch video.

I’ve started creating a year’s worth of weekly videos as part of the 52 Pick-Up video project created by Dayna McLeod. Nightwood was involved with this project previously and I have decided to forge ahead on my own to keep myself in touch with making moving images regularly. I think these short videos could eventually be edited together in a longer project or might even work as studies for Super 8 and 16mm films. It’s also quite fun to be part of such a neat and eclectic group of artists.


Here are some notes from the 52 Pick-Up website:

  • 52 Pick-Up is a series of videos made by anyone who is up for the challenge of making one video a week for 52 weeks straight.
  • 52 Pick-Up is a video production challenge. Equivalent to drawing a sketch-a day or writing a page-a-day, it’s an exercise in endurance to get the juices flowing with a quick deadline that can be used as an excuse for both brilliance and failure. 52 Pick-Up is meant to stimulate and challenge, excite and ignite viewers and participants alike about video, different ways of working, diverse points of view, and having bragging rights and the goods to go with having made one video a week for an entire year.
  • It’s like a Master Cleanse for Video Makers.
  • More here!

Home is Riderville

Resting: the Ontario tour is over and I’m now back at home with the cats and Mike, making elaborate snacks: an avocado with balsalmic vinegar + cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and cracked pepper + a Gala Macintosh apple with cheddar cheese + crackers with smoked oysters with lemon juice squeezed over ’em. Tea is on the brew!

Photo by Mike

Today is the CFL Grey Cup…match? Game! Yes, game, and the two teams who’re battling for glory (rematch!) are the Montreal Alouettes and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Last year the Alouettes won due to the Riders having an extra player on the field…It is a widely accepted truth that the Riders deserved the cup last year, despite this error. The Riders have nutty fans and the team is a publicly owned franchise and something like half of the CFLs merchandise revenue is generated by Riders fans. Saskatchewan takes their game very seriously! Our apartment bleeds green as Mike is from Regina and everyone from “back home” has got the fever today so I’m wearing my best. Suggested viewing: youtube the two different Riders songs, Green is the Colour and Rider Pride

Some girls get diamonds, others Riders Centennial memorabilia.

"Canada's rowdiest sports fans: #1. Saskatchewan Roughriders " (MSN Sports)

In other news, I can’t get enough of food blogs! Especially when they blend in a bit of style and culture such as this blog DARLING I SAID // DARLING I SAID. We’re giving her ‘soup for evey meal’ a try for breakfast tomorrow.


On our supply run today, I dropped into the Verdun friperie and picked up an animal print sweater (very clingy and warm) as well as a floaty white lace dress…can’t seem to get enough of them! I’ll never have too many lacy, white frocks to froth around in. They pick up stage lights quite nicely, to boot.


Final thoughts: I hope our American friends had a lovely Thanksgiving. I also hope for all this North Korea stuff to work out as peacefully as possible. I’m looking forward to writing songs this week with Erin as well as Channukah celebrations on the weekend, and then Christmas festivities after that! I have a large, multi-part family, given and chosen, and we have many traditions that start pretty much right away!

A xo

Stuff I Like Today

Good Monday,

Let’s start the week off slow and well, shall we? The past seven days have been at times heavy and busy as well as fun and fabulous. Today I’d like to explore love, sexiness and happiness. Here are a few things I’m digging today.

Annie Sprinkle and partner Elizabeth Stephens are on Year 6 of their Love Art Lab. When I inteviewed Annie a few years ago for Audio Smut and Lickety Split, she invited Mike and I to her Year 2 "Orange Wedding". Wish I had been able to go!

My main man Nic Cage was in my dream last night. There were zombies too, but they weren't so bad, more like pesky mosquitos than Certain Death.

Check out Mr. Cage’s next flick Drive Angry 3D, plus more about this favorite guilty pleasure of mine. My apologies to Erin and Lara.

Missed the For The Sake of Songs Patsy Cline tribute show last night at Cagibi! Been singing this tune in my kitchen this morning. Love Patsy so much!

This is very important in our house: The CBC Holiday TV Guide is up! Check it out so that you don't miss Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Elf.

Had an excellent time at the Head & hands 40th Anniversary Gala on Saturday night. Lake of Stew (pictured) and Socalled were great fun! Also had blast swanning around The Rialto in pin-up hair and black leather with Erin in a 1940s dress on one arm and Mike on the other. More photos soon!

Here’s the hair tutorial I based my ‘do on…it did not take three minutes, as advertised:

Currently cooking up The NY Times recipe for 'Chickpeas in Star Anise and Data Masala' today. Smells delicious!

Looking forward to touring this week! Posts may be slow/non-existent this week, as a result. Hope to see you at the show! (Photo by Amber Dawkins for Guttersnipe)


Wednesday was my grandmother’s memorial service. Her name was Genevieve Gibbons and she was a talented lady who brought up six girls (including my my mom, the second eldest) on her own. She was an excellent cook, a self-taught painter, seamstress, community volunteer and craftswoman (she used to knit dresses for my Barbies when I was little). She always had a beautiful garden and she loved cats, country music and children. She will be missed.

A few weeks ago, when my grandmother took a turn for the worse, I had begun to read a beautiful novel given to my band by Nightwood Editions called When I was Young and in My Prime by Alayna Munce about a young woman reflecting upon her own life by observing the lives of her grandparents. The book is a beautiful mix of poetry and fiction with poignant, sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes profound observations about love and what’s important in life. I was unable to start reading it again until Wednesday night. Now I’ve finished it, which is always a bit lovely and sad in of itself- finishing a book you’ve been enjoying.

  • “Love? Though we all know the world is distended and threadbare with too many wearings and mendings and bleachings and though lately the moral of each day’s story seems to come back to how impossible it is to know another person and though I could very easily be deluding myself, I think maybe just maybe I might be feeling the shape of it rising in me lately like a kind of groundwater ever-so-slowly by fractions and increments towards places I hadn’t expected to feel it.” An excerpt.
  • Here’s a clip of Alayna Munce reading a poem about a sculpture work by Giuseppe Penone in the AGO.

I’ve been doing some writing on account of the events of this week and the inspiration this book has given me. I find myself most compelled to write right when I mean to go to bed, just past the point of exhaustion, maybe when I have less control over which thoughts I’d like to invite in and observe. At least I can sleep in most days now!

Psychedelic granny in the countryside!

Giveaway: come get some cool stuff!

Hey folks,

A week or so ago, I mentioned that my former place of work, Head & Hands, is celebrating their 40th anniversary with a gala at The Rialto this Saturday. Righteous! There will be excellent performers: SocalledLake of Stew, and the Matthew Daher Jazz trio and the event also features a very special silent auctionlive photo booth, and light refreshments.

Help me raise funds to celebrate 4 decades of grassroots action and social change that has always been non-judgmental, harm reductive, sex positive, queer positive and empowering for Montreal youth and families!!! Tickets are a sliding scale from $40, $60, $80, $100, $120, $140, $160, $200, $400 each.

Here’s the thing: I have three tickets left to sell and so I’ve decided to design my first giveaway here on this blog! Each person who buys a ticket from me will receive a special package containing Lickety Split issues #5 + 6 + 7 as well as Nightwood’s Carta Marina LP (vinyl includes a digital download card). Leave a comment with your contact info or e-mail me directly to reserve a ticket and get this package complete with a thank you note and some ribbon. If you buy a ticket for $80 or more, I’ll throw in a loaf of fresh whole wheat soda bread and a mix CD made expressly for you! The deadline is this Friday Nov. 19th at 10am.

Please pass on to your friends! Thanks!

Getting Physical

1920s basketball team via Garconniere

As I approach my 29th birthday, I’ve realized that the promises I make to myself in my literally weaker moments (trying to carry my amp into a venue, grind apples for juice, beat Mike in a race to the video store) won’t be made good unless I get moving now! Moving as in exercise. Ew, the word feels yucky in my mouth! However I have many lovely friends who bike/run/dance/group sport regularly in their lives. I’m happy for them, but those activities are not really my speed, at least not right now. Like a few of my other friends, I’m a closed-door-and-curtains-get-out-of-my-studio type person when it comes to getting fit. With this in mind, I’ve started a hunt for not-lame fitness DVDs.

Iggy Pop's wiry bod in the 70s: exercise built or drug addled? Perhaps both. via learntoread

My main objective is to get my heart healthy, so to get my cardio up. The Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation recommends 30-60 minutes a day of activity a day, most days of the week. My other objective is to keep this initiative freefreefree, so no joining gyms and the like. I realize that for many folks that having a membership to the YMCA or a workout buddy keeps them motivated, so I don’t want to polk holes in that reality- this is really about making a routine happen that makes sense for my lifestyle. So I started my research into workout DVDs, hoping agaianst hope that there were non-lame options available out there (meaning: no cheesy techno music, image-focused goals, oiled up instructors, non-hetero-normative). The only option I found that fit this criteria was a Sweet Moves DVD I’d read about in the back of Bust Magazine years ago. It’s a silly, sex-positive take on working out complete with a porno soundtrack. Check it:

While I appreciate the chutzpah, I’d rather not pop that in each and every morning, so I turned to Montreal’s Grande Bibliotheque. After furtively flipping through the DVD racks, the least offensive option I came up with was Cardio for Beginners with Petra Kolber (I also took home a cheerleading DVD sponsored by Paula Abdul but the instructor seemed so nervous that I wanted to offer her some active listening). The DVD ain’t hip but it does the job with options to choose 10 or 20 minute cardio workouts, options for “Dance” or “Athletic” routines plus a five minute stretch exercise, all which you can program before getting started.

She's actually not that scary on video.

So I now do this thing before noon each day- I’m totally feeling good about it. I’ve tried turning the sound off of this DVD to make it more palatable (yes there is dance music going on) but I really do appreciate the instructions she gives (even the hilarious “I would high five you through the screen if I could!”). However, if anyone has an other recommendations for DVDs, or feels like making an “indie” workout video with me in a few months, that would be awesome: please leave your ideas in the comments section. Best of luck to you (and me!)

Here’s a fun vid sent to me from my bud Astria:

Homemade Apple Hooch

via smut-to-go

This past Friday my bud Vaughn and I went over to our friend Tony’s place to learn how to make hard apple cider. The experience definitely ranks as one of the highlights of this year for me! Tony is a multi-skilled dude who also makes custom bikes (tall bikes, etc), bread ovens and can balance a budget like nobody’s business in one of his lives as a bookkeeper. Cool, you know? Check out his upcoming build-your-own-custom-bike workshop. Tony has an old apple press and all the gear we needed in his NDG basement.

Tony on his "grill bike" with an attached tall bike in tow for transport home after a BBQ. Nuts.

Once we determined that we three wanted to make some apple-y hooch, Tony estimated that we’d need about 275lbs of apples which is about 68 bags of bargain-priced Quebec apples (24 cents a pound) which would mean that the three of us will walk away with approximately 22 litres of hard apple cider each (and apple juice) when all is said and done. Suh-weet! “We’re gonna get crunked” as one of us noted.

Apple pile!

OK, I won’t be able to describe the entire process here (or at least not accurately!) so the basic steps were: clean gear, clean apples, grind apples, squeeze apple pulp, filter apple juice, bottle apple juice, add yeast, cap bottles, clean gear. I didn’t capture all of those steps with my camera! It took about five hours or so. Not counting our two hour lunch break where we had pizza and two near death experiences. (We took some time to help out with the construction of a second floor balcony and the ladders/materials kept slipping and falling. So neighbours were called, more muscle and energy was thus mustered and everything ended well!)

Tony picked up this medieval-looking apples press up off the side of the road (put there by a nice gent) and it was FREE! Even the cost of the wood part of the press ended up gratuit. Yessss.

Handmade apple grinder. The apple guts fall into a pillowcase-lined bucket below. Pillowcases of guts are then stacked and squeezed in the press.

The juice starts off dark and opaque...

...After the sediment settles and the juice is poured off/fermented/etc it sorta looks like this in the bottle. Yay!

Here’s a wee video from the day. Some elements you don’t get from all of this media are: the incredibly delicious and lovely scent of apples, the taste of the apples, the physicality of pressing down on the apples as they’re ground, the weight of the iron parts and bar of the press itself, the beautiful glass bottles that hold the fermenting juice (called carboys), the tiredness and the fastidious disinfecting and subsequent clean-up.

And then we jammed.

My notebook is a living mess of lines

Crossing stuff off of my to-do list feels pretty good.

Crochet lessons, learn to make apple cider, tailor sweaters for winter, pull together a recording set-up, finish rolls of Super 8 from summer, visit buds I haven’t seen in a while, get family photos up on the walls, balance budget, pick up library materials to improve French, a bunch of other stuff, and then some other stuff .

Still much to do!

Put insulation up on the windows, finish a bunch of gifts that are way over due, reorganize studio, finish Built By Wendy dress, organize filing, a bunch of other stuff, and then some other stuff.

Extra: some yummy looking recipes from the New York Times…I suppose I could’ve found them on-line rather than hastily scribbling them down in my notebook at the library. Silly! Here they are:

Grilled Coconut Kale

Chickpeas in Star Anise and Date Masala

"The Cheat: The Greens Party" (The New York Times)