Harmless (The Story of Us)

November 29, 2011

Check us out at the Vegan Prom. Tara's on the bottom left, I'm of course the weirdo in the top right, and we're joined by Alissa in the back and Susan in the front.

I guess I might as well announce about my latest culinary endeavor. It’s called Harmless Innovations, and I’ve started it with my friend Tara-Lee Gardiner.

Conveniently enough, Tara and I live basically on the same street (they are different streets, but they are only a couple of feet apart for some strange reason). We met through our mutual involvement with STOP UBC Animal Research, got to know each other better through working together on the Animal Voices Radio Show on 102.7fm Co-Op Radio, and solidified things over the summer with antics like staying up until 7am and getting kicked off of a rooftop and out of a pool in California.

We also danced the night away recently at the inaugural Vegan Prom (pictured above) here in Vancouver at the Wise Hall on November 5th.

I can’t remember now exactly how it happened, but sometime between the prom and the following Sunday or so Tara and I determined that we both wanted to start hosting a Secret Supper Club. Obviously we decided to join forces (that was a no brainer – oh wait…I mean, two heads are better than one. Right? That must be it).

Within the week we were sipping (soy) hot chocolate in Starbucks after singing Christmas carols as we skipped from the car and up to the counter (Walkin’ In a Winter Wonderland, to be exact), watching one of the first snowfalls of the season through the foggy windows and plotting our next move. Just kidding – but only about the skipping. The rest is all a true story.

We were trying to think of names, but weren’t coming up with anything that quite fit our idea to host Secret Suppers, attend bake sales, put on our own events (like movie screenings, parties, dinner dances, and other stuff we’re not ready to publicize just yet), as well as cater others’ events, and make jewelery and native arts like the beautiful dream catchers Tara has already produced. We were trying to think of something that was animal friendly to stand for BS in No BS, but the best I could come up with – which I’m aware was terrible – was No Boob Suckers.

Then Tara asked something along the lines of, “What’s another way to say ‘Less harm’?” We both pondered for a minute in deep thought before Tara took a bathroom break, and I continued to fumble around inside my messy head wading through all my thoughts. And that’s when it hit me: Harmless. Duh. I knew Tara would love it (since she basically suggested it).

By the end of the night we had a growing list of plans, a website ready to be purchased (which happened the next day), and had decided on Harmless Innovations as our name (since the website for Harmless Productions was taken, and Innovations sounded more like what we’re going for than Productions, anyway).

That was November 17th, and in the week and a bit since then, we’ve gotten a secret invite-only Facebook group up and running, as well as our general Facebook page with a bio, a Twitter account (HarmlessVan), and we’ve already had a table at a craft fair selling vegan baked goods and vegan dream catchers.

Tara made Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chocolate Mousse, and I made Peanut Butter Cookies, Pumpkin Banana Loaf, and three (!) Pumpkin “Cheesecakes” (one of which I ended up eating myself – whoops!).

We’re also going to be at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre (1607 E. Hastings) this coming Saturday (December 3rd) from 10am to 5pm selling more (vegan, of course!) baked goods, the aforementioned dream catchers, and jewelery.

I’m not sure what Tara has in mind for this weekend, but I’m planning on baking bags of Mini Donuts, Christmas Fudge, and Mini Apple Crisps. With the extra time to advertise all this week (versus the 6 or so hours’ notice I gave people by making the Facebook event at about 3am last Saturday morning), it’s already looking to be a good turn out.

Please feel free to like us on Facebook, and do let us know if you’d like to be added to the Secret Supper Club.



November 28, 2011

I’ve been awaiting my own perfection
But I’ve been seeking the wrong directions
It’s time to relinquish these controls
Forgo all that holds
Me back from all I am
And could be.

(November 3rd, 2010)

Too Night

November 27, 2011

Too tired to dream tonight
I’ll just slip into a place
Not touched by any lights

(August 25, 2009)


November 25, 2011

If I were an old typewriter
What stories would I have to tell
Would they be of heaven
Or would they be of hell

(June 15, 2010)

The following was supposed to be a political profile assignment for my Journalism Research class, but I don’t think it quite follows the guidelines set out (as we were supposed to start with an annecdote and tell a story throughout), so I’m going to have to re-tool it in a minute here to better reflect the given criteria. Regardless, I’m rather proud of it as it is, and feel like it could be a news story at the moment if I knew what to do with it (such as how and who to pitch it to).

Adriane Carr has a lot to live up to as the first Green Party candidate elected to Vancouver City Council.

Speaking by phone from her campaign office in Vancouver, Adriane said she has been caught up in a swarm of media interviews since her election on Nov. 19, and doesn’t have any definitive plans once sworn in.

“I like to raise things when I think I have the best chance of success,” was her reasoning.

That said, Carr conceded she has a list of about 25 promises to fulfill within the next year that she committed herself to during her campaign.

The win is a hometown victory for the 59-year-old co-founder of the BC Green Party, the first Green Party in all of North America.

Adriane joked that the “Eighth time is the charm,” for her, as she had previously lost 7 election attempts at various levels of government.

This was the first time Carr had run for city council, and she said that she heard that a lot of people were saying, “This is her hometown, this is her city” as reason for her to win in the lead-up to the election, not to mention she wrote her Urban Geography Masters thesis on Vancouver.

“This is significant for non-profits like ours because she easily bridges the gap between grassroots organizations like ours to the political arena, which can be difficult,” Lesley Fox, Executive Director of Fur-Bearer Defenders said of Carr’s historic win in an interview on Monday.

Carr echoed those sentiments, noting that her previous roles with various environmental organizations and advocating for effective housing strategies have afforded her an intimate understanding of what it’s like to bring issues to politicians, and added that experiences such as hers with “groups that are active . . . makes you stronger in political office.”

“I think she’s going to be fantastic. People are really going to notice a difference . . . she’s very energetic,” Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May said of Adriane by phone from Ottawa, adding, “Even those who didn’t want her on council will appreciate that she’s there” and the way that Greens work collaboratively with everyone, which isn’t always the case in politics.

May said she has known Carr for upwards of 20 years, and that they were first introduced when Elizabeth was working with Adriane’s husband George Paul at the Western Canada Wilderness Committee in the 1980s, where Carr herself worked full-time from 1989 to 2000 on international conservation campaigns, most notably Clayoquot Sound.
Before moving to their current residence near Stanley Park, Carr and her husband raised their two children in the passive solar home they built on the Sunshine Coast. Kallie is now a Vancouver-based author and editor of children’s books, and Terren “TJ” has a degree in psychology from the University of Victoria and now works with developmentally disabled young adults.

Carr said that she will be stepping down as Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada, as she was working 70-80 hours a week, which she intends to now apply to her role as councillor, and that, “I plan to put my hand out to everyone on council” to work collaboratively for Vancouverites.

Wild Flowers

November 14, 2011

He picked me wild flowers –
who told him the secret to my heart?
We can while away the hours
Waxing philisophical like art.

(7:50pm Monday, September 15, 2008)

Everytime I Fall

November 14, 2011

This is how I feel everytime I fall
Scrapin’ my knees,
Gettin’ caught on it all
Poundin’ in my heart, takin’ me home
So this is what it’s like when you’re never alone

You’re pulling me under with all your might
Please keep me safe and I’ll hold on tight

Show me no mercy as you love me full
Everything you say is just so powerful
There’s beauty in your words
And I love them, too
I could spend days
Listenin’ to you

You’re a fresh breath on a brisk spring eve
Spouting thoughts I ne’er could concieve
Whistle me a tune, sing me to sleep
Just please promise me, you’ll never leave

Your beautiful symphonies
Wrap me up in soliloquies
You surprise me with your harmonies
Kiss me with your melodies

Keep me from sleep
With all this loving energy
It’s all so earth-changing
I toss out any complaining,
Happy instead simply to take part
Singing songs written from the heart.

(This is a song I wrote in April 2010 about how deeply in love I fell with the Wailin’ Jennys’ beautiful music that night)