Pics from the SNiG launch in Toronto!

May 20, 2009
OK, I promise I’ll stop droning on about my book — but not quite yet! Maybe by September. Yeah. Anyway, for those who are not yet sick of all this retched self-promotion, take a look at some of the photos from my recent book launch at the Libra Lounge in Toronto. It was a complete success, almost to the point of being disturbing — everyone from ex-boyfriends and high school teachers to former lifeguard colleagues and journalism school classmates showed up, and I only had about 30 seconds with each of them before I had to move on to the next. A friend of mine warned that this is what weddings are like, but with more politics involved. Yeesh. Anyway, here you go:
Grass Pots

My mum made these centrepieces as a nod to the cover design (and no, those are NOT my legs on the book cover)

My high-school English teacher Ms. Carrier, alongside my mum and sister

My high-school English teacher Ms. Carrier, alongside my mum and sister

I had to make a quick speech...

I had to make a quick speech... (that's Meghan on the far left)

... and sign some books

... and sign some books

It was PACKED in there! I didn't move, eat or drink for two hours (then again, I kind of didn't move, eat or drink for my whole challenge. either)

It was PACKED in there! I didn't move, eat or drink for two hours (then again, I kind of didn't move, eat or drink for my whole challenge, either)

One of the best surprises of the evening: My aunt came in from Hong Kong for a visit (I only briefly admonished her for the carbon cost of that). My dad is there on the left, too.

One of the best surprises of the evening: My aunt came in from Hong Kong for a visit (I only briefly admonished her for the carbon cost of that). My dad is there on the left, too.

That’s it! A big thanks to my amazing publicity team at Wiley, especially Erin and Caroline, for making the night such a success. In the mean time, I’ll be at Paragraphe Books in Montreal, on McGill College Avenue, this coming Monday, May 25th, at 3 p.m. — so if you’re in Montreal, drop by! I’ll also be coming down to New York around July 15th to be on a panel called Greening Gotham (more info to come) and am always in Toronto for all your signing/interviewing needs!

All right, enough blathering about myself for now. Carry on!

A green map quest (Day 355)…

February 18, 2008


I just discovered this wicked green map of Toronto, which not only unfolds to show you all the parks, ravines and bike paths in the city, but also lists every green-minded hotel, eco-friendly dry cleaner, vegetarian restaurant, community garden, farmer’s market and even all the different recycling organizations in town. It’s an amazing resource, perfect for anyone who wants to explore the city in as green a way as possible.

Turns out, it was created by this company called Green Map — they’ve done other great work, too, like the super-stylish Stockholm Green Map, a Beijing Green Map (perhaps with a list of not-so-smoggy areas?), and my personal favourite, a Compost Map of Manhattan.

You can even poke around and meet the mapmakers in your city, or become one yourself.

So as today’s change, I’m going to try to green my tours — of Toronto, when people visit me, but also of other cities when I visit them. Because while organized eco-tourism is all fine and dandy, sometimes it’s nice to just go off on your own, map in hand, and figure stuff out for yourself.

Um, actually, he WON’T be having the Chilean sea bass, THANKS (Day 328)…

January 22, 2008

ian at moma

This is one of my bestest friends, Ian. He works in policy for the provincial government’s e-health program, likes ironic meditation and isn’t too bad in the kitchen. We’ve known each other for 15 years, so there’s no need for politesse when we hang out together — it’s all bluntness, all the time.

Some of you may remember my recent jaunt to New York — well, Ian came with me on that trip, and it was probably the first time he’s seen my green lifestyle up close. He made fun of my myrrh-based mouthwash, put up with my grumbling about how ugly bangs get without proper blow drying and indulged in my fanatical shopping sprees at every local design store in Brooklyn (I, in turn, put up with him checking his luggage).

Anyway, while we were in Greenwich, we went to this amazing restaurant called Sushi Samba. There was so much to choose from on the menu and we were on a roll — every bite was followed by simultaneous looks at one another of, “Oh my god, are you tasting what I’m tasting? Because I’m tasting something between heaven and ambrosia.”

But in the midst of our ordering frenzy, I heard the waiter suggest the Chilean sea bass, then heard Ian agree to this, and just couldn’t let it happen. I interrupted, explained why this was not cool (it’s practically endangered, to say the least), and he agreed to order something else.

Yes, we were eating lots of other fish, and I didn’t have my SeaChoice list of which ones were good, bad or mediocre in terms of sustainability, but for whatever reason I got my back up about the sea bass (technically called a Patagonia toothfish, which sounds far less appetizing, no?).

This is something that happens a lot in my life now: People around me do something bad for the environment, and I have to decide whether to point it out or let it slide. Part of me doesn’t want to impose my judgment on others, but another part wants to create a gentle ripple effect and spread my newfound green knowledge. I mean, on the one hand, speaking out for Mother Nature is an integral part of being an environmentalist, but on the other hand, self-righteous hippies are annoying.

Ian said afterwards that he thought I handled the situation appropriately — I didn’t create a fuss, I didn’t lecture him about anything else he was ordering, I simply stated my case for why a certain dish on the menu upset me, let him make the final decision and that was that.

In the long run, I think such things will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis. If the person next to me drops a Styrofoam container of leftover factory-farm meat on the sidewalk, you bet I’m going to say something. But if someone standing in front of me at the coffee shop doesn’t have a reusable thermos like I do, I might not.

However, that’s the long run. For now, I’m letting everyone know about all the things I’ve learned doing this challenge. Getting other people to be green in ways I can’t was one change, but this is about didactics — teaching, sharing and initiating dialogue whenever possible, whether it’s with a friend at a sushi restaurant or a colleague at the cafeteria.

I feel so used. But I like it! (Day 305)…

December 30, 2007

Pyrex bowls

Well, I’m back from New York, and of course it was fantastic — I walked from Chelsea to Greenwich to SoHo to the Lower East Side to NoHo to Union Square and back again; I laughed until I felt queasy at the Upright Citizens Brigade; I broke my no-corn rule and indulged in not one but four cupcakes from Magnolia and had one of the best meals of my life at Sushi Samba (where I also intercepted my friend’s attempt to order Chilean Sea Bass, thank god!); I fell in love with Brooklyn, but not so much with the Metro ride down there; I had two celebrity spottings — Kevin Spacey and Joshua Jackson — the former looking somewhat pallid, the latter looking mighty fine; and then, just before heading home, I met up with Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man, for a late breakfast, which turned out to be only partially eco-friendly (in a flustered state, I ordered a bagel and cream cheese without first asking if the cream cheese was organic… though I felt somewhat less guilty upon noticing the sliced bananas on Colin’s oatmeal, which were obviously not so local).

It was great to meet my fellow green blogger; we chatted about everything from getting the eco blues to the lack of sustainable running shoes to how fridgeless living is remarkably easy. And weirdly, in the span of an hour, two people asked if we were brother and sister (apparently we look alike?).

But I’m getting off topic here — the change for today has nothing to do with New York, it has to do with things like Pyrex mixing bowls, tin coffee canisters and wood-handled ice cream scoopers. I got all of these recently for Christmas, from my mother and a family friend, who had them sitting around unused and thought I might want them.

I certainly did, being someone who likes to cook and loves all things retro, and it led to my new commitment: to only buy used kitchenware. Though part of me does get excited by modern inventions like the Magic Bullet (which my friend just bought), most kitchen tools and appliances have been around for ages and are just as effective.

As well, I feel like cooking with materials like glass and cast iron is much safer than using things like plastic and Teflon. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some yams and pepper squash from last week’s CSA delivery that are getting mighty squishy and need to be turned into soup pronto!

Photo of pink Pyrex bowls courtesy of the Flickr user with the cutest name ever: teensy muffins