This morning I decided to visit a Unitarian church in Toronto. I grew up going to a UU church in Cincinnati, and I attribute much of my intellect to being brought up in an open minded tradition. I thought it might be a good place to meet some kind, thoughtful people.
The old joke that Unitarianism is "church lite" (half the ceremony, none of the guilt) came to mind during the sermon. The young, articulate, female minister discussed how many UU people are uncomfortable with the word God and other traditional religious language, while others simply choose to let it represent something other than the (sometimes repressive) "traditional" meanings. She even joked about getting rid of the word church and calling it a club.
One of the hymns chosen had the word God in it, and the minister said most congregations generally avoid singing those. I'm glad they chose to include it today, because one phrase from the hymn became a mantra for me today, which pulled me through a very emotionally lonely weekend:
WISE BEYOND DESPAIR
I'm not sure if I'll go back (I like a LOT more music in a church service) but I'm grateful I attended today.
My friend Dawn is an amazing juggler and specializes in contact juggling, which involves rolling the ball around on one's body, moving around the ball while it appears to be still, and other tricks. I've seen her grow and develop her art over the last 6 or 7 years and what she can do came from many many many hours of practice.
She's pretty angry about commercials for the Fushigi ball, which are currently airing on television. It shows people contact juggling an acrylic ball with a metal centre and makes it appear as if the ball has magical qualities which allow anyone to do these tricks instantly.
The commercial is ridiculous (cheese-tarded might be a better term) and reminds me of the Happy Fun Ball from 1990's Saturday Night Live.
Here's her cute and funny video responding to the thing:
Hopefully this will end up being good publicity for her.
Blowing bubbles has become a symbol of what happened at the G20 Protests in Toronto...
Hundreds of protesters expected to blow bubbles at Toronto rally
"Digital Journal reported on Friday that a woman was arrested shortly after she began to blow bubbles at two police officers. One of officers threatened to arrest of her if any of the bubbles hit him because it was an act of assault. The officer has been dubbed: Officer Bubbles."
“During the G20, the police acted in a way that directly contradicts how we believe a lawful society should behave. Many protesters and innocent bystanders were unjustly arrested and detained for up to 36 hours, some without even the right to have access to a lawyer or a phone call.”
Today after work I decided to explore the Taylor Creek Ravine, one of several deep ravines in Toronto. These areas are undeveloped for flood prevention reasons and some of them can be quite wild.
I took a side path and ended up a bit lost. I was unwilling to bushwhack up the side of the ravine into some rich person's yard, so I kept searching for a trail. Eventually (2 hours later) I found my way back up to the top, where I got on a bus which took me to the subway towards home.
I enjoyed the hike and took several photos. It really seemed as if one particular dragonfly were posing for me! Click on the image below to see more pictures!
Last night for a potluck I made a chocolate cherry cake out of cooked quinoa with no flour whatsoever. The recipe is adapted from a recipe I found online that is credited below.
It turned out gorgeous (the picture below is the one I made, taken by my photographer friend veggiefrog.)
I'm excited about using quinoa this way for baking, and will be attempting some muffins and/or cupcakes in the future.
There might also be a possibility for making it vegan (perhaps with coconut milk & oil) but I'm partial to real (organic!) butter and eggs.
2/3 cup white or golden quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 cups white or cane sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh cherries
Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool.
Melt the butter and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round or square cake pans, or one springform pan. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
Pit cherries by cutting each in half and removing the seed. Set aside.
Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and the butter and continue to blend until smooth.
Combine sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add the contents of the blender and mix well.
If using two pans, divide the batter evenly between them. Bake on the centre rack for 20 minutes, then carefully top with cherry halves. Bake for another 20 to 35 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan before serving.