Archive for May, 2014

May 25, 2014

Celebrating 26

Crazy faces

The past two weekends were celebrations of life. On the weekend of May 10th I went home and celebrated Mothers day and the birthday that I share with Mom and Sis. I stayed over at Jen and Chris’s place on Friday night, which resulted in the crazy sister picture above. We had a lovely family gathering on the Saturday evening and it was the first time we had seen Al in a while because of her long jaunt to Australia for work. I can hardly believe it but my parents bought me a used DSLR camera for my birthday! I am super excited to jump into the basics of photography with the portrait lens that came with the camera, and before the summer is out I’ll probably get a lens that will allow me to take landscape shots. You’ll be seeing more photos from me from now on! On Sunday Jen, Chris, Kish, and I went on a nice hike in Short Hills. Jen took photos and created two lovely collages from the hike.

Big kissesSitting chillingHike collage  Woods

The following weekend I celebrated my birthday with church and school friends. On Friday evening the Devos’ hosted a birthday BBQ. Leah, Bethany, Caitlin, Tiffany, Kyle and Hannah, Curtis and Kira, and Brent and Cathy were all there and we had a lovely evening of food and conversation. On Saturday Vikkie, Ali, and I drove up to Elora Gorge for a hike. I had always wanted to go there and so there couldn’t have been a better day to make the trek! The day was beautiful. Vikkie prepared an AMAZING picnic lunch that we ate at the lookout. It consisted of a delicious quiche and a fruit tart. Unfortunately I had a cold for the entirety of the weekend and am thankful my friends stuck by me to celebrate anyways! The photos of Elora Gorge are compliments of Vikkie.


So excited



Elora Gorge

Vikkie is super talented and she made me beautiful earrings for my birthday. They were to replace the ones I lost at Christmas when little Grady got into my toiletry case and sucked them down to pulp because he thought they were candy. They sure are sparkly and shiny so who could blame him? I will try my best to take better care with these ones! This photograph is taken by yours truly! :D

Paper earings



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May 9, 2014

winter TO spring

The winter term has just finished up and spring term has begun. I enjoy this time because it is a chance to recharge, set new goals, and it is also a break from the regular schedule of classes. Because I had more free time, I made it to Toronto for two consecutive weekends to meet with friends and do various activities. You can tell it is spring when Toronto starts waking up with events of all kinds! May is also quite a birthday month and so there are many moments to celebrate being alive!

Two weekends ago I had opportunities to attend Pulp Paper Art Party, a launch for the sixth publication of Scapegoat, and the Gladstone GrowOp exhibition. You may remember that I went to Pulp Paper and Grow Op last year. I didn’t make it to Pulp Paper this time because I couldn’t find a place to stay on Friday night and also needed to finish up one last paper. I headed to Toronto on Saturday evening and met up with Farimah at Strada241, a great Italian restaurant on Spadina, for dinner. Afterwards we walked the backstreets southwest of Spadina and Dundas to find Unpack studio where the opening was happening. The book launch was for two different publications: Scapegoat 06 and Architecture in the Anthropocene. It was a lot of fun to meet new people and also see a few familiar faces. I stayed at Farimah’s place that night in Thornhill and woke up early the next day to give myself the hour it would take on transit to get to church. After church a group of us were gathering to get lunch, and then the Mugg’s offered to host us at their place. We had a fabulous lunch of salad and sausages and good fellowship. When we headed our separate ways, I decided to drop by the Gladstone Hotel to catch the last half hour of the Grow Op exhibition. Since there were only five minutes left by the time I got there, they let me in for free! I don’t have any photos of this weekend because I’m still without a camera, but here are pictures of my favourite Grow Op pieces: The first is called Crusher Run, triple mix and bark nuggets, a beautiful framing of layers of earth, and the second is Catharsis by Marie Pierre Daigle. I think the second one was part of a different collection on the third floor that was more related to textiles.

Next on the itinerary was to head to Parkdale to a bar called The Pharmacy to meet two girls from U of T who did their graduate theses in the DRC. They partnered with their research to propose a design for a vocational school in Nyalebbe in the Ituri province. It is located several hundred kilometers north of where I will be working in Beni. It was really great to hear about their experience. They created a studio called Reach Architecture in the process of doing this project and hope to build the school when they have gathered enough funding. I was lucky to have a place to stay with Jen from church for the night because it would have been very late to head home on the Greyhound that night. I left mid-morning instead back to Cambridge and ended a very wonderful weekend. I’m pretty sure I just recovered for most of that day!

The following weekend was slated to be just as full and exciting. On the Friday night I went to a party in the Loft that was made up of a lot of architecture alums who are working in Toronto but also a few others who came in from Cambridge. It was also a night of musical talent. We heard some amazing drumming, spoken word, and combinations of ukelele, guitar, and violin! It was fantastic! It only inspires me to play guitar even more and to hopefully write my own music and learn the violin some day. I stayed at the Logans that night and count myself fortunate to have a place where I could arrive late and let myself in quietly. The next morning I was surprised with a treat of a waffle breakfast because several of their friends from Grace had come to help Mike move some big boulders in the front yard. Then on a wim I joined a car that was headed to Guelph to check out Rob Hengeveld’s exhibition opening. I had most of the day to kill anyways so what was an hour drive to Guelph and then back? Rob is an artist from my church who does pieces that question the relationship between technology and nature. I really enjoyed his pieces. He had a sculpted hilly lawn that was being constantly mowed by a programmed milling machine. He also had a fairly large working roller coaster that had a mechanical wolf chasing a mechanical rabbit. My favourite was a fabricated elevator that almost looked convincing in a wall at the gallery, but instead of taking you to another floor, it brought you to level “P” for “paradise”. When the doors open you step out into a room that is transformed into a fabricated natural environment. The room is filled with different mechanical elements simulating nature such as mechanical tweeting birds and moving floating ducks on water. Once you are on the other side you can see that the elevator was completely constructed and that it simply pulls away from the original door, rotates, and then pulls up to a platform on the other side. I thought it was a great experiential piece that told an interesting story.

The next completely different part of my day was to return to Toronto and head to Yorkville to meet Vikkie, Rachel, and several of her friends at Babaluu for dinner and Salsa dancing to celebrate Vikkie’s birthday. Oh… not before I hung out at a very busy Timmie’s for two hours to kill time and transformed myself in their grungy bathroom by changing into my nice dress and putting on makeup! Now that’s typical nomad style! I’m glad I dressed up because Babaluu was very classy (at least for the dinner portion). We all ordered tapas to share and the food was delicious! At nine-thirty there was a teacher who began to teach some latin dance steps; there were too many people though and so I don’t think anyone learned much. I must say I had a better dance experience at the Plaza Flamingo when it was open and the Lula Lounge, two other Salsa clubs in Toronto. It was way too full in the place to even dance properly. Overall though it was still a nice evening to spend with some great people. I stayed with the Ellens that night which worked out because I was to join their Grace Gathering breakfast the next morning. We woke up pretty early and made delicious breakfast sandwiches and were joined by Rosy and the Muggs. Then we all headed to church together. After church I headed with the Wills to join the axe throwing party to celebrate Leah and Benissa’s birthday. I actually didn’t know Benissa until that day but I am glad I met her! The party was at BATL, the Backyard Axe Throwing League located at the Docks. I already knew there was such a thing because there was a small axe throwing club in the building where I worked for Philip Beesley in the Junction Triangle. It was way more fun and less scary than I thought it would be. That doesn’t mean that I was any good, but I did manage to sink several into the wood somewhere close to the center of the target. All of us got a chance to practice for a while, and then they arranged a round robin tournament. The action of throwing the axe is a similar motion to soccer throw-ins. My abs were sore for several days after! Whenever there was a tie, it would have to be broken by the competitors throwing the full sized axe. Those of us who never experienced a tie got to try throwing it at the very end. I managed to get it into the target even though it was dangling slightly. I would definitely do axe-throwing again! It’s a much more fun (though more expensive) party activity than bowling! That about sums up my two crazy Toronto transition weekends.

throwing axes

retrieving axesroar!

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May 2, 2014

Introducing Some Awesome Tools

This is a post that I intend to grow as I come across useful tools for my research. Here are a few that I’ve discovered so far:


This is a website that teaches how to code. It currently offers beginner lessons in HTML/CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, PHP, Python, and Ruby. I decided to try it out and found it to be very comprehensive; the lessons are interactive, and it sets up milestones and saves your progress.


This is an Introduction to Computer Science course that Harvard University offers online. It is free and offers video lectures and support. You can either choose to just watch the videos and do only some of the projects, or else you can complete all of the course tasks and final project in order to get a certificate that says you completed the course (pass/fail).

This is a website that provides an “Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies.” It offers a great list of tools, article/book references, and much much more! I haven’t even brushed the surface of the content that this forum has compiled together.


For my research I will be using and contributing to OpenStreetMap (OSM), an online map that is contributed to and used by people all over the world. The data from OpenStreetMap is open source and can therefore be appropriated and used by anyone for free. LearnOSM is a website that brings you through step by step how to contribute and use the data and maps from OSM.

Geojournalism Handbook

This website has a collection of excellent tutorials that describe various tools related to participatory mapping. It covers a whole variety of topics including balloon mapping, using Open Street Map and related tools, using Frontline or Ushahidi software for SMS reporting, and creating a simple animation.

May 1, 2014

Before the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea;
A great High Priest, whose Name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while with God He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb!
My perfect, spotless Righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.

One with Himself, I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God.


Charitie Bancroft and Vikki Cook, Sovereign Grace Worship