A Community of Heart Breakers…

Yes, it’s been a long while since I last wrote. I sat down a few times to do this, but there was never enough time to bang out some worthy words.  Finally the time has come!

You wouldn’t think a whole community could break your heart… but it’s true.

When I started this blog, it was in conjunction with my little vegan chocolate business. Now, 2.5 years since my first post, 4 years since I started the business, there is no chocolate business.

My business was special to me in this context because it was something for me to hang on to when my heart was ripped to threads so long ago.

I wanted to start the first vegan fair trade chocolate company in Canada. I did! And I was one of the few in whole of North America as well. I had a wicked design concept that no chocolatier could touch in this country and my recipes were even better. Aside from a strange reveiw on a webpage, everyone who ate them raved about my treats.

I was obsessed about using packaging that was environmental so I actually designed a box and had it cut from 100% recycled board here in Toronto. Standard and cheap truffle boxes are virgin fibre. It’s ridiculous. I also found recyclable sticker stock and compostable bags. It was a tough and frustrating slough dealing with the packaging. But I didn’t want to be just any chocolatier. I really wanted to business to reflect my values.

Problem was, it didn’t seem like customers with values actually wanted to use their money in conjunction with their values.

I went in with a heads up from two great Toronto vegans who had started vegan businesses. Shoes and accessories. Both now long gone. Toronto is the largest city in all of Canada. Their stores were right beside each other in accessible Kensington Market. Why didn’t their businesses succeed?

After a year of spending too much rent in an eco shop that had labour issues I built a kitchen in the basement of the new vegan grocery store Panacea. It was a natural partnership and I still thank Ken and Pam for allowing me to do that and pay the smallest amount of rent any food business could ever hope to spend.

Throughout the years, where we were a mere 2 minute walk from a busy subway stop, both Panacea and my chocolate business struggled. There were ups and downs (“Hey! I got my products into Vegan Essentials!”, “Shit they’ve increased the price of chocolate again.”) But in the end, at the beginning of 2012, Panacea had to close, and I had to close along with them. When the cheap community minded kitchens charge $25 an hour – you know you’re little food business is destined to fail without a huge cash infusion. Not that it might not have happened otherwise. 2 of 3 wholesalers stopped communication and 2 others who had been interested where also quiet. One of these, a vegan online food distro, ended up closing up a few months after me.

Panacea and I both tired to team up with others to stop the inevitable. I was seeing a business coach for 1.5 years (actually I saw 3!). Something should have clicked, something great should have happened with people who were doing similar things.

What went wrong? Honestly in my case the only thing I could be accused of not doing was becoming a vegan superstar. It seems in this day and age of multiple ways of communication and sending tendrils into millions of households, if you are a private quiet shy person – forget it. If you can’t prove daily you are a witty knowledgeable guru your community forgets you exist. I wrote two cookbooks. The first one came out originally in 2003 – it was one of the first vegan dessert cookbooks to come out. I have my email address on all my books. Do people write? No. Do people know the books exists? Not too many. (Certainly no help from the publishers there. But that’s another story) Would I love people to email me and tell me how the recipes turned out? You bet!

Anyway, my point is that I made damn good chocolate. I thought for sure my business would do well because I had such a niche. I was the ONLY vegan chocolatier in Canada for some time (My friend Stacey continues to produce great raw truffles and chocolate – Live On Chocolate) In the summer I came out with interesting soy and coconut free ice creem flavours. I even tried reaching out to non vegans who had allergy issues. I had painfully little media coverage despite all this.

So you can blame my failed business on lack of marketing savvy – but I counter with the fact that these treats should have sold themselves…

So here I am at the end of 2012, having spent a year trying to figure out how to continue to make my awesome creations without going into debt, no partnerships working out, looking at a list of possible future careers. Dental technician? Horticulturalist? Technical Writer? They all make me laugh at their absurdity. Not absurd careers by any stretch, but absurd for a born vegan chocolatier 🙂

The month before my business closed I actually made a profit. My partner was talking up my chocolates at work and through this my business ended in the black, due to supportive meat eaters. Ironic, but proof my sweets were scrumptious and had potential.

I want to of course thank every single person who supported my businesses and books. Especially those of you who got me new customers by word of mouth. Thank you to everyone who signed up for my newsletter and that read this blog. Thank you to those who ate my chocolate and weren’t even vegan. Thank you to those who gave constructive criticism.  Huge thanks to people who gave their time for free or very little.  I wish I could have cloned you all!

If you’re interested in what I’m up to next that has to do with veganism send a message to this yahoo.com email address and ask to be put on the list: whitebearchocolate

Running through all my posts in the past few years I have to apologize for all the music that has been taken off line. I was relying on Youtube to provide me with these awesome songs that have to do with broken hearts. About half are no longer there. One link has strangely become a video of of 90’s hardcore boys pulling a scam on Jerry Springer. Funny for sure, but not what I had in mind music wise! Also I included Jackie Wilson’s Lonely Teardrops twice. OOPS! But you have to admit that song is terribly AWESOME!

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #24 While everyone is celebrating their “in love-ness” why don’t you just go ahead and celebrate your broken heartedness? A few Februarys ago I made a broken heart truffle for Valentine’s day.  It was a Boston Creem chocolate truffle – probably the first ever made. It had Bavarian creem flavoured ganache, a piece of vanilla cake and was enrobed in dark chocolate. Ingenious if I do say so myself! You gotta just let it out sometimes, just like this post. “My heart was broken and someone is to blame!” You’ll feel so much better, you’ll be able to not take yourself too seriously – which is super important when you have a broken heart! If you can emit even the faintest smile about your broken heart you are on the way to recovery. Soon the pain will be gone and you will be able to make a complicated vegan dessert from Lickin’ the Beaters 2 without messing up! 🙂

Broken Heart Song #24 I never really got this guy. What’s with the purple glasses? Why is his voice so high? Why does he look like my dad without a beard? But this is quite the heartbreak song!

Advertisements

November 13, 2012. dessert, Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Time to Mend

Well it’s a new year.

2010 was a really rough year for me. I had previously thought that 2009 was sucky. 2010 was most likely the worst year of my life. But there was a shining star, amidst the dark night clouds.

And no it wasn’t my cookbook! My second cookbook came out in December. That was literally 5 plus years of aggravation for me. So no, that was not the bright shining star that illuminated the dark corners of my life!

Truth comes out – I fell in love in July. Yes. That was a long time ago. Now trust me, I wasn’t just flippantly writing these blogs with some sick pleasure. It’s not hard to dig up feelings of loneliness and heartbroken-ness even when you are in a wonderful relationship. Sometimes these feelings are just right under the surface. So I was retreating to these crummy (yet sometimes positive!) places in order to keep the blog going.

What happened to me –  totally unexpected and out of the blue, a total miracle, can happen to you too. But the last thing you wanted me to do was write about how happy I was 😉

Pain and despair are always right around the corner…

But so is happiness. You just have to have a keen eye sometimes. It doesn’t always come the way you figure it will.

Anyhow, despite feeling so different when I first started this blog, my heart still hasn’t healed. So I’m still with ya all… but sometimes you gotta shake yourself and take that leap to a better place if you are so lucky to have it offered to you.  Mending is hard when you are taking a magnifying glass to all the cracks.

So I’ve decided that my posts will be dwindling quite a bit. Not quite dead I guess, but perhaps it might be worth your while to subscribe if you are interested in reading the next one in a timely manner!

I want to give my new partner the whole heart, even if there’s still some dents and chips that make me want to hide bits of it.

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #23: It will be hard for you to notice a good thing when it comes your way. You will remember past traumas and hurtful moments. You’ve probably built a brick wall to keep you from being in those situations again. Well, listen to a person who’s been there – you’ve got to throw yourself in. You’ ve just got to do it. Don’t let yourself become so afraid that you get cold. There’s warmth around the corner. Embrace it when it comes your way!

Broken Heart Song #23

Thanks for reading peoples! I hope your broken heart is mending and I hope you are getting some awesome vegan food into your belly 🙂

January 29, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Oh my I’ve been busy…

I’ve been busy, and not thinking too much about broken hearts. Sorry about that! 😉

I started a draft but was waiting to get home to get the pictures… that was almost a month ago.

I keep forgetting that I can just blog away, without having the standard format of pictures, recipes, tips and songs. It’s kind of like when I don’t write emails to my penpals. It just seems SO WRONG. (I am such a virgo!)

As you wait, suck a mint and take a look at Vegan Mo Fo – Vegan month of food (it’s November). There’ll be nearly 400 bloggers blogging everyday about the thing you can’t stop thinking about – cruelty free yumminess! It’s insiane

I’ll be having a give away. I just need my buddy Kelly to show me how to do such a thing. My quick grasp of technology dwindled by 2005 😛

If you are a blogger, blogging about vegan-ness – why not sign up for Vegan Mo Fo??

October 22, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

And then there was light…

The longest darkest tunnels have an exit. There is always an end that heads back out into daylight. Spring WILL follow Winter (unless Global Warming changes all that!) and you WILL smile again.

It’s Burger Time!

More raw food for you. This one is again from Raw: The Uncook Book. Listen, Juliano is a weird guy. The pics in the book are sometimes down right hilarious, and the quantities and serving amounts are almost always frustratingly wrong. (Take the carrot cake. Serves 2? No it MAKES TWO CAKES!) But despite this his recipes really rock. If you know how to cook you will know where the mistakes are and can adjust.

(Cheese) Burger #1

Blend the nuts etc. Yes it looks like ALPO.

Form Patties and put on Dehydrator Sheet

This is my dehydrator. Yes it's Excaliber. You really must be a spend thrift if your eyes go wide. It's only $100! Stay away from the bars for a month and you'll have enough to get one too! Sheesh!

1 cup walnuts, soaked

1 cup almonds, soaked

1 cup portobello mushrooms, chopped

1/2 c grated carrot

1 tb miso

1/4 c minced onion

2 tsp salt

1 tsp corriander, ground

1 tsp chili powder

2/3 c water or veg juice (I used beet)

Form 11 patties and dehydrate for 8 hours at 90 degrees F.

I topped mine with rice cheese and ate on a gluten free bun with tomato and a bit of avocado. I made some kale chips a few days before (the BEST way to eat kale I kid you not!) And some nice soul gave me a butter tart whose buddies were heading towards Sadie’s Diner for tastin’. It was a damn good butter tart I must say!

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #13: One day you will settle down for a good nights rest and it will suddenly occur to you “Oh! I didn’t think of my heart breaker at all today”

Broken Heart Song #13

July 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . entree, raw, Uncategorized. 4 comments.

A Bigger Kind of Heart Breaking

The State can break your heart too…

I’m not talking about YOUR state – like Oregon. I’m talking about the tight weave of government/police/military/corporations that exist everywhere.

In fact, when is The State NOT breaking your heart? That may be  the question.

When we heard the G20 was coming to Toronto we first thought “WHY?” Why put such a thing right in the center of the largest city in Canada? A group of wealthy countries meeting to talk about the economy and how to make sure they keep their fingers in the pie. Nothing else. They don’t even have TIME to talk about anything else because they come for TWO DAYS! So our environment, our health,  ability to find affordable housing, the institutionalized abuse of animals, the entrenched racism/sexism/homophobia in our societies… all this is never touched upon. They argued over how much to cut budgets. Then they go back home and nothing changes.

So the city put up fences that covered blocks. People living in the area had to get special passes to get in and out of their own apartments or places of work. 20,000 cops showed up (four times more than the last summit meeting in Phili). These cops had tazers, guns, tear gas, pepper spray, water and sound cannons. The use of the sound cannon had to go through a court to enable it to be used!

Regular people were already in a tizzy over the militarization of the city even before the atrocities started happening.

A whole week of people’s summits and marches took place even before the delegates met. 20,000 people marched at the big rally on Saturday June 26. Thousands of people marched for Aboriginal rights, women’s rights, environmental standards, stronger health care, immigrants rights etc etc every day of the week.

If you’ve seen or read mainstream media coverage they use the words “violent”, “riot”, “clashes”. I want to tell you in the strongest way possible in writing that this was simply NOT THE CASE!

Out of the thousands and thousands of people that took part in all the demos and workshops for an entire week the only thing that happened to “make us look bad” was about 60 people smashed some windows and spray painted mostly big corporate chain stores. (There was some damage done to indie stores and I definitely don’t condone this.) (There were also a few cop cars damaged. But please question how in the world this could have happened with 20,000 cops in the area…)

That was it. No demonstrators fighting with cops (“clashes”), no people fighting cops, themselves, burning, trashing, looting (“riot”). NO VIOLENCE.

And what did we get in return for the rest of our 98% calm, but spirited, protesting? 1000 people arrested, hundreds having even nothing to do with the protests. Hundreds beaten, abused, denied water and food and toilets, mocked, slurred, left out in the cold rain for 5 hours, locked up in cages with no charge from 12 – 30 hours, wallets and clothing and press cameras taken away and not returned, shoes not returned…

NEVER BEING TOLD WHAT AND WHY THIS IS HAPPENING TO THEM.

It is an OUTRAGE!

And the mayor says the police acted well. And the premier says there will not be an investigation (he doesn’t want to be bothered).

My city wanted to try and win some global brownie points by hosting this. My city is afraid of their citizens and felt the need to bring in strong arms. It is the nature of capitalism to be afraid of regular people expressing their opinion – they might rise up!
And then they twist in the knife as they implied we are over reacting about the violence we experienced at the hands of the cops. Yes, that TTC guy who was just on his way to work, who got jumped and beaten and then when his supervisor came to vouch for him he was STILL arrested – he was over reacting. When a guy with a baby in an apartment who just happened to share a house with some young activists was held at gun point – he was over reacting. When a small group of singing activists were suddenly attacked for no reason and shot at – that was over reacting. When a journalist was told she better be good or she’d get raped – she was over reacting.

My city broke my heart last weekend. My city hurt me so bad I wanted to hurt them back. I saw what they did with my own two eyes, I experienced disrespect and downright violent acts directed towards me. Yeah they were from people dressed all in black – but they weren’t the famed Black Bloc!

It was a really intense week that didn’t end on the Sunday. We had marches and gatherings for the next week. It will continue as we fight to have inquiries and we get together our class action civil liberties lawsuit. We will make them pay! We don’t have to use their violence, we don’t even have to smash their property (although some folks will choose to show their anger this way.) We will fight with our words and fists clenched in the air, we will do creative civil disobedience to get their attention. We will take care of the 1000 people who got arrested and the other thousands who have been traumatized. We will not let them get away with this!

It is unbelievable that I kept going and participating for as long as I did. Generally I only have enough energy to really get me through half a day. But a week before everything started I decided to give VEGA a try. It’s a complete food powder that you add to juice, water, or smoothie. I tried the Whole Food Smoothie Infusion. It’s a green powder that is gritty – even in a smoothie.

available at Panacea in Toronto!

I knew I wouldn’t be getting too much food into my system as I biked round and round and marched here and there, so I thought it would be good to get the Vega that I could add to fruit and almond milk. It has a definite “green” taste, but it is mostly hidden with the addition of the fruit. The grittiness isn’t too bad (lots say they can’t tell) – and I am able to get this stuff down every day.

Anyway, I highly recommend the stuff. It’s a little pricey but it seems to last quite a while… and if it can add a few hours of productivity to my day – I’m all for that!

Here are some photos that you might not have seen because mainstream media was focusing so much on the black bloc:

https://i1.wp.com/www.blogto.com/upload/2010/06/20100627---G20-friday-lead.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/remnantradio.org/Mirror/www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20Government/Police%20State/storm-troopers-close-up.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/www.digitaljournal.com/img/1/8/1/6/4/9/i/7/1/1/o/DSC02598.JPG

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #12: Don’t let your heart breaker get away with it! Make sure you tell them how much they have hurt you. Who knows, they may be stupid enough that they don’t even know! It’ll make you fell better and it’ll make them think about their actions.

Broken Heart Song #12

July 4, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Good Place to Get Some Thinking Done

Cities can break your heart too… not just beings. Ties to places can be so fragile. People, jobs  – they take you from one place to another. You can move around constantly looking for the perfect home. You may never find it.

Two towns have broke my heart. Town A was a refuge from a bad break up. I crossed the border in 1998 and the guard hauled me in to ask a lot of questions – including “You are visiting someone you met on the internet!?” (We had actually met through MaximimRocknRoll, but I wasn’t going to say “classified section in a punk rock fanzine”!) Now I’m sure you’re thinking, in this day and age of dating online, that I  was going to this town because of a boy… but I wasn’t. Or more like it wasn’t for romantic reasons. Although I did fall for the town itself.

Town A was a shockingly small place for my big city roots, where people would walk into your house unannounced. Where punk rock wasn’t quite like the punk rock I knew from the big city. It was a super month. I think it was my best summer ever. Trouble began for me when I didn’t recognize it as being a one night stand. I kept wanting to have a relationship with Town A. I wanted to know how everyone was and what everyone was doing and what was going on with the movie theatres and health food stores. To its credit, Town A didn’t dump me all at once. It happened it stages. We even got together again for a brief period where I was trying to relive that one amazing summer and IT wanted our relationship to grow and become more complex.  11 years is a long time to hold on to something that wants to get away from you…

Eventually it changed so much I no longer considered it my second home. I think it was grateful. “Whew!” it said, “Glad she’s finally out of our hair!” But I am still scared…

Town B was like a colourful holiday brochure that ends up being a poor country that REALLY doesn’t want you and your rich flabby ass there…  Town B broke my heart because I just couldn’t fit in.

Oh the city itself was great – fruit trees everywhere, different bodies of water, culture to entice even the most bored soul, free health clinics… But the inhabitants were so busy being hipsters they didn’t know when to be warm and open. They tried really hard to forget there was an outside word, or that there was a world in the same town just outside their little bubble.

I lived my sad little lonely existence in the town that didn’t know my name and didn’t give two shits when I left.  Who patted my head and said “Oh sure you’re one of us” while turning to a friend and rolling its eyes.

I sometimes dream about going back into its arms… but only if I were to have my own tiny army of friends for support and barrier jumping.

Traveling around, sometimes you get a hankering for a cupcake. But my word! How DO you carry a cupcake with you? I usually avoid products made in China (virtually everything you buy at malls and department stores), because it’s 90% sure there is slave labour involved, but I couldn’t resist this:

Cupcake Carrier!

This cupcake carrier is carrying a Lavender Chocolate cupcake from Sweets from the Earth (Have I mentioned that they make the BEST CHEEZECAKE ever? And yes I’ve had Portland and Eugene vegan cheesecakes!)

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #11:  Get a haircut. No I’m not calling you a dirty long haired hippy – merely suggesting that a haircut and make you feel like a new person and as a new person you will get over your broken heart faster and easier. You are a superstar and everyone will smile and nod as you pass, thinking “Yep. That person has got it together!”

Broken Heart Song #11


June 17, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . dessert, snax, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Teary Eyes and Dirty Hair

My grandmother, on my father’s side, died around 1990. The key to that last sentence “around”. I can’t even remember what year it was. I have this uncanny ability to sweep unpleasantness away in the blink of an eye. I would dream about her every now and then but it wasn’t until many years later that I looked at an early picture of her and realized I looked almost exactly like her – even down to the round spectacles. I don’t think I ever really fully came to terms with the fact that she’s gone. I started having more vivid dreams of her in the past few years, and being really sad and even a little angry.

About a week before I was dumped my friend Ashli died. She was much too young, it was an accident, and I’m angry. I didn’t get to go to the memorial because I was away. I wonder if that would have got me on track with dealing with her death. I dunno.

I found out today that an acquaintance of about 16 years died the other day. He wasn’t actually a” friend”, but he was a person I sort of saw “grow up”, and he too was much too young. He was handsome and sweet and a really smart organizer. I don’t even know how to deal with the fact that I totally respected all his work and art yet hadn’t seen even him in about 6 years. How do you mourn a person like that?

My physical reaction time is pretty quick… my emotional reaction time is really really slow…

If I’m only now starting to have trickles of real mourning for my grandmother come through, what does that mean for my emotions around Ashli and Will? And will I forever be scarred because I can’t get through my emotions around my ex?

The peas are still getting bigger in the garden. I haven’t grown vegetables since 1994. I thought it was a crap shoot that anything would grow but so far I have 4″ pea plants and the sunflowers are starting to push through.

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #7: Someone done die on you!? How could they do that to you?! Didn’t they know you needed them? Didn’t they know they couldn’t be replaced!? I am joking… but partly it’s true right? You have these feelings of anger and helplessness. Well, unfortunately it’s not going to end! As you get older more and more people around you are going to die. And there’s nothing you can do about it. But you can try to figure yourself out so it doesn’t crush you each time. Do something different, learn something about yourself so you don’t end up a teary dirty lump on your bed. Or just listen to some crushing D-Beat to get out all your anger:

Broken Heart Song #7 (upon searching for this, I found out the lead singer died in 2007. Geezus… it’s just not my year…)

May 25, 2010. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

incase of confusion… read this.

Being new to blogging, I wasn’t really sure how I should go about starting and adding posts. For the record, my heart was broken Feb 20, 2010.  I thought I would keep things “real” by putting dates on my posts closer to when I would have liked to have started the blog. As you know if you’re suffering from a broken heart, it’s hard to get motivated to do things when you’re in a slump. So I put older dates on these posts. But today I decided that it was probably a little confusing, and I might never “catch up” to the present correct date – so I changed the dates again.

I assume this post won’t have much meaning in the next coming months but I thought I’d write it anyway!

🙂

I make these!

May 4, 2010. Uncategorized. 5 comments.