Unsolicited Product Endorsement: Vegan Food, courtesy of Veganomicon.

I'm all for trying new things, and I'm also constantly on the lookout for new cookbooks to keep me interested in cooking and all things kitchen-related. This usually works, though some work better than others.

Last December, I purchased a copy of Veganomicon. I bought it based on Amazon reviews (five stars, across the board), and because I was looking for more vegetable-based entrées. I ordered it through a local bookstore and it arrived a week later, hot off the press. Apparently, the vegan crowd was all over it once it was released and it's been tough to get your paws on ever since...though I think it's now been printed again and you can probably find it easily. Kurt was a bit standoffish at first...he had no love for the Veganomicon. But I decided to dive right into it and try and wow him with vegan goodness. And all I can say is...

I have never been more impressed with the results of my cooking. One recipe in particular, chickpea cutlets, has become a staple in our weekly diet and I have it memorized. The cutlets, made out of crushed chickpeas, breadcrumbs and vital wheat gluten (sorry H, though I'm sure the recipe could be modified), are super easy to make, and are one of Kurt's new favorite things. Mine too. Topped with a bit of local habanero jam - or anything, really - they are a fantastic new face for the space on your plate formerly inhabited by meat. Other faves are the samosa-stuffed baked potatoes and the corn, edamame and sesame salad. I am in love.

Highly, highly, highly recommended. It's huge (reminds me of my grade 8 science text book, actually), full of tips and extra info about different ingredients, and it's really fun to read. The author is a genius and I'm currently tracking down her previous two cookbooks, Vegan With a Venegeance and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Yummmmmmm.

Bad, bad blogger.

I'm so delinquent. I blame the nasty cold and even nastier allergies I've been dealing with, all of which are on the mend, thanks to some lovely prescriptions which I now rely on heavily. I hate that. Though, this is apparently the worst time of year for allergies here, so at least I know it's not going to go any further downhill than my pink eye. Which isn't actually pink eye, but looks just enough like pink eye to make my co-workers walk around me with worried expressions and wash their hands obsessively. At least the prescriptions took care of that awkwardness.

While the early stages of wedding planning have begun to consume an inordinate number of my hours, I'm determined to keep myself cool, calm and composed. That being said, I'm already dealing with a bit of internal craziness over the booking of our venue. I think we've narrowed our search down to three locations, all of which would work with our (very loose) vision of the day, but none of which I want to jinx by mentioning...yet. Something about the fact that I'm here means that people take me less seriously and are less likely to get back to me, which is seriously annoying. I know it's because they can not physically lure me into their venue and pepper me with all of the amazingness and magic they encompass. I've actually filtered out one specific place for that reason only...it would have been perfect in every way, but their response time was crap and I just can't deal with chasing people down from here. My whole wedding budget would be consumed in long-distance charges. Anyways, the three finalists are all amazing for different reasons, and do what we need them to do. We want something unique, all-encompassing, God-less and well-situated, including a back-up plan and a great view. Is that too much to ask? IS IT??? No, I think not. Come on, Victoria. I sent half of my United Way donation to you last year, which means that one more homeless person has glasses...or something like that. Throw me a bone here.

Anyhoo...yes, what I was saying about being cool, calm and composed? Riiiight. I so am. Once this is nailed down, the rest will just fall into place. I know a big part of my problem also has to do with me being totally impatient, so I think some yoga is in the cards for me this weekend.

This week went by surprisingly fast. This time, I'm happy for time moving quickly. Mostly because I want to get to March 1st, which is when we are officially restarting our "regime". I haven't laced up my running shoes once since we got back (though I did a lot of running while we were away, and I DID have a nasty cold as an excuse), and I'm anxious to get going again. This week of sleeping in, missing breakfast and feeling too lazy and/or sick to cook has done a number on both of us. We're both very...blah. Anyways, Saturday it is. Running, new recipes, more sleep, clean the house. By the end of the weekend, we'll feel so "together" it will be ridiculous. At least, that's the plan...


Not over or underwhelmed...just whelmed.

So, along with my rock, I also brought back some sort of bug with me from our trip, and I'm going to just go ahead and blame the bratty kid behind me on the plane because he kicked the back of my chair for 3 hours straight (his lovely parents failed to notice this) and because I'm sure I heard him sneeze at least once. I went to bed last night with the all-telling tickle in the back of the throat and woke up this morning with a full-on head cold. Can't complain though...it's the first one I've had since last spring, so I'm pretty impressed that my immune system cooperated with me for as long as it did AND that this didn't hit while I was actually in Mexico.

Unfortunately, I really did feel too crappy to take advantage of a day at home and spend it leafing through my brand new pile of untouched wedding magazines, and had to resort to reruns of One Tree Hill, which I haven't been sold on. Yet.

Getting back into the routine hasn't been as easy as usual. I guess the oncoming cold explains my total lack of motivation to get our groceries organized and hit the road for morning runs this week. I don't feel too badly, because I exceeded all expectations and logged about 30 km of running with my Dad in Mexico last week, so I feel OK about missing a few now. If I tried to run this morning, as I had scheduled, I probably would have died. Or at the very least, been really, really tired.

So, the word has officially been spread. I had these great plans to phone and/or email everyone individually when we got back, but then, once everyone with close personal interests in this occasion had been informed (such as our respective backup boyfriends and girlfriends, of course), I decided to save myself the time and just do it Facebook-style. How very 2008 of me. It worked...the word is out AND I got to share the photos of how it happened, so really...it worked out well.

I've always wondered what this time feels like, and now I know. I'm sure that I'm feeling every feeling and thinking every thought that every other bride does right after they get engaged. Being unable to celebrate in person is a bit different, but we'll just do that when we're visiting in the summer. Still, I'm already getting all sorts of questions about where and when the big day will be, so the wheels have been put in motion. I don't mind...I've been so touched by the messages we've received and by just how many people are excited for us. Thinking about the 'wheres' and 'whens' is all part of the fun.

However, our geographic realities do make this whole process a bit trickier. Not only do we live here, in possibly the most inconvenient place anyone could ever live (save a few spots in, say, the African desert or northen Finland), but our friends and family are totally scattered. It would be lovely if we grew up in the same town and had all of our friends and family available to celebrate with us without travelling...but we didn't, and they're not. It would be lovely if I could start hunting for the perfect dress with my Mom right away...but I can't. It would be lovely if I could think of the perfect spot to get married and be able to go and see it without relying on internet photos...but that's not an option either. My saving grace(s) are my friends. I have a slew of been-there-done-thats who not only pulled off amazing weddings, but who managed to keep their heads on throughout the planning. I strive to maintain my cool. No bridezilla here. I think that our timeline gives me enough time to get everything done without freaking out...but I guess we'll see.

I can't believe how many decisions go into planning a wedding. I had always thought that Kurt and I would have a barefoot beach wedding in Mexico, with a couple of margaritas and a mariachi band, but as it turns out, having friends and family there is more important to us now than when we came up with that original plan, so it's looking like we'll probably have a real, actual wedding.

Yikes. OK...NOW I'm overwhelmed.

Home again, home again.

I'm back. I have to admit, it's a lot easier to come back to this home than to our previous one, mostly because we arrived to weather nice enough to enjoy a casual salad on an outdoor patio on our way home from the airport.

We had such a great trip. Like last year, the weather was perfect, the hotel was awesome (and so super cheap), and we explored some different parts of the area. Plenty of photos to come on F-book soon...perhaps some here as well. They have lots of blog-worthy moments among them.

But perhaps none so blog-worthy as one particular moment, exactly a week ago this very minute, in fact.

We had headed out to try to get to a beach we'd stumbled across last year, almost by accident. A huge stretch of deserted white sand, crashing waves, and a pod of whales playing in the surf. It even had mist. It was the most perfect spot and we were only sorry to not have found it sooner so we could have planned a day around relaxing in the sand, away from the Del Boca Vista crowd who had invaded our hotel with their retarded questions ("You take Canadian money here, right?") and their prosthetic hips. Gorgeous. Anyways, back to the beach. We really wanted to go back to take more pictures, but had heard through the Mexican grapevine (which speaks really fast, but I can understand most of it) that the Government had purchased the entire beach and surrounding area and scheduled it for development starting immediately.

The tiny socialist inside of me finds this devastating.

Regardless, Mom, Dad, Kurt and I headed off to see how far we could get down the crappy beach road (about 4 km of pot-hole filled red dusty dirt) before getting stopped by a Mexican with a machine gun, which is pretty standard. We got to the point where the beach was in view, but yes...a machine-gun armed Mexican told us we couldn't take the car any further, but we were welcome to walk down to the beach. We did, and thankfully found the beach untouched so far, minus a fence and the little thatched beach palapas (shelters) that were there last year. Dad headed off to birdwatch in the crocodile-infested marsh, Mom found a spot in the sand to sit and "play with her new camera", and Kurt suggested that we walk down the beach.

Can you smell where this is going? Because I couldn't.

It was hot already, even though it was a bit overcast, and just like last year, our footprints were the only ones along the sand. And, like last year, there was a salty mist over the beach and a pod of whales playing way out in the water. It was so, so beautiful. And it got even more beautiful when my favorite guy got down on one knee in the sand (which turned into two, because it's hard to kneel in sand), took a little box out of his pocket, and asked me to marry him. I didn't even look at the ring (seriously) because I was crying harder than I did at the end of "The Notebook", but I did say yes. Obviously.

I had thought awhile back that this was perhaps a possibility on this trip, but talked myself out of it when I realized that having complete control of our bank accounts AND doing all of the packing would have made it impossible for him to sneak a ring in. Plus, as usual, his natural casualness and total lack of that scared deer look that most of us have when about to do something somewhat nerve-wracking meant that I was positive by the time we got on the plane to go to Mexico that I had been totally wrong about it all and purposely put it out of my head for the trip, thankfully, so I was totally shocked when he put the ring on my finger.

However, it is a well known fact that Kurt is actually smarter than I am and knows me much better than I thought. He bought the ring before we even moved here, way back in the fall, and had it shipped to my parents to bring with them, knowing full well that the chances of me finding it were pretty good in a one-bedroom apartment. The whole thing was planned also knowing how important it was for me to have my parents around when it happened. They've missed so many exciting parts of my life in the past few years, and it meant a lot to me to be able to walk back down the beach and share it with them as well. We all headed to another favorite beach for a delicious lunch of freshly-caught garlic shrimp to celebrate.

I'm very, very happy. I don't think I've gone five minutes without looking at my ring since that moment, and pretty much spent the rest of the week smiling. We made the obvious phone calls to family and a couple of friends before our phone cards ran out, and the shoddy internet connection at the hotel meant that there wasn't much else we could do until we got back. That's ok though. Being able to change our F-book status to "engaged" gave us (me) something to look forward to on the way home.

OH...the ring. Round solitaire set in platinum. It's my dream ring...and it's even the perfect size. I absolutely love it.


Holy crap.

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's Tax Time!

OK...not really. The mad rush is at least a month and a half away, but I am of the "get it over with" persuasion and like to get started on these things early. Also, my 2007 return is a bit sticky and I want extra time to weed through it properly so that we follow all of the confusing procedures outlined so beautifully on CRA's website. And by "beautifully", I mean "not at all".

Obviously, when we first decided to move, my play-by-the-rules mindset kicked in and I started doing some research on how our taxes will work once we're gone. I collected all sorts of statements, paperwork and receipts, downloaded a crapload of PDF guides from CRA's website, and had a heart-to-heart with a tax accountant. Now that the time has come to get it all out on paper, I'm anxious to get it over with. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the various informational slips to arrive so that I can get started and I'm thinking that I shouldn't hold my breath for them to arrive anytime soon.

I don't know why I'm so anxious. I know we've done everything correctly and followed all the guidelines. Still, the combination of now filing as common-law (the romance of this overwhelms me), the change in residency during the year and the fact that we kept our house mean that I have at least one solid weekend ahead of me full of calculations, paperwork and the occasional frustration-induced screaming rant to Kurtis about how we should just say $%&@ it like everyone else and take our chances. But then the good play-by-the-rules girl will return, smooth the wrinkles from the tossed paperwork, tape the receipts back together, and fill in the little numbered boxes to the best of her abilities.

By the way - if you bank with TD, they are offering their customers 20% off QuickTax Web, which is a great way to file. For one, it's online and typing is more fun than pencils, which make my teeth hurt. Also, it checks for any missing information and guides you through your return, which makes it a lot easier. And most importantly, you can submit it to the CRA through 'My Account' and usually have your return in your bank account within a week. If you get a return, that is.

Good Intentions.

Of course, right after I get the wheels in motion with my blog, I lose steam almost immediately. This time it was health-induced. I think I'm fighting something but not actually sick...if that makes any sense. My Monday run was amazing...so good that I actually jogged instead of walked for my little cool-down afterwards. But by Tuesday, my entire body felt like lead and I was lagging behind Kurt, and today I skipped my run completely. I guess everyone has those days. Still, it's a bummer to have to delete scheduled work-outs from my overly-scheduled calendar. As a little test, I went for 3 days without taking the glucosamine and guess what? The pain came back. So, started taking them again on Monday and guess what? Now it's gone again. Very. Interesting. My unsolicited endorsement stands. And my knee is feeling fabulous enough to do one final 7.5km along that narrow, windy stretch of road before moving production to a different oceanside locale. I don't know yet if I'll be doing any running while we're away. The beach is too slanty to run on (at least, it was last year), but I might be able to try it along some of the little roads in the town we're staying in. My shoes and watch are coming with me, so at least I'll have it as an option, if I get bored with exploring or poolside reading. Ha. Very unlikely.

I forgot something on my UPE: Running Checklist: lululemon headbands. I own at least 10 of these and use them constantly. They're especially helpful when you have long hair (check) and it's windy (check). Be careful though, because one size does NOT fit all, in my experience. My brown one is at least an inch larger than my white one and my green one is totally useless for running because it doesn't stay in place.

We're down to the final two sleeps before the long-awaited vacay and I can only hope that the vacation doesn't fly by as quickly as the time leading up to it has. We've been counting down, but I swear on my favorite purse, the days are shorter here. Or maybe this island is placed into some sort of time tunnel where the minutes click by slightly faster than anywhere else. Regardless...I'm hoping things slow down in Mexico.


Note: The following post is sponsored.

It's been almost 6 years since I last owned my own car. Though Kurt has always been generous with the keys, owning your own vehicle gives you a sense of freedom which I really miss. At some point in the next few years, I will own my own car again, which is exciting.

Like anything else, I'll be shopping around when the time comes, scouting out the best deals. A great resource for free car quotes is http://www.carsblvd.com/. If you're looking for car prices, check them out. You enter the details of what you're looking for (make, model, etc.) and they provide free quotes from dealers who are competing for your business. What's better than that? Definitely worth a peek if you're in the market for a new set of wheels.

Unsolicited Product Endorsements: Running Checklist

Yesterday morning, I reached my first running goal, which I set when I started running again last November. After not having run for almost 6 months, my goal was to run for 40 minutes. I did that this morning, running about 7.3 km in total.

While my distance/time may seem short/slow to some more advanced runners, it's huge for me. Mostly because I always hated running as a kid, loathed any gym activities that incorporated it, only started running seriously last year, and spent 6 months of that year nursing a crap knee. This is a real accomplishment for me, also because I normally give up on anything that requires consistent early-rising fairly quickly.

I rely on a number of things to get me through my runs, which I'm only now just beginning to really enjoy. These have become priceless and I highly recommend them.

1. The Running Room. For anyone who has never taken a Running Room clinic, the idea of running around the neighborhood with a bunch of strangers may not seem so appealing. I was a skeptic, but I signed up last March to get my ass out of the house and to see what I could do with a little motivation. The clinic cost me about $70 and lasted 10 weeks, and was more than worth it. Through their 10&1 system, I worked my way from 0 to 5 km in under 10 weeks. 10&1's are the Running Room's formula for running - run 10, walk 1. You start at run 1, walk 1 and work your way up to running 10 and walking 1 by the end of the clinic. The idea is that using 10&1's you can avoid injury and muscle pain, because it allows the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during the running portion to drain during the walking minute, as well as allowing you to regain some energy through slower breathing. I don't know about the science, but I know that I am a faithful, pain-free subscriber (knee aside) and plan to always run this way. My instructor ran a marathon at the end of our clinic using 10&1's the entire time and her time was amazing. Anyways, the Running Room is a fantastic resource and worth checking out.

2. My Timex 50-Lap Ironman Triathlon Sleek watch. I love this thing. I picked mine up for under $50 and it is definitely a must-have if you are running 10&1's, or any intervals at all. Why? Because you can set it to time your intervals so that it counts them down for you and beeps loudly when the interval is over, saving you from having to constantly keep an eye on your watch, and automatically repeats them until you hit 'stop'. Even if you're listening to music and have to keep an eye on your time, it counts the sets as well, so you always know where you're at. Typical Timex...easy to set, easy to use.

3. Lady Hathaway Sports Bras. Secretly recommended to me by a Running Room employee, these awesome sports bras are sold at Costco in a package of 2 for $19.99 and are often on sale. For comparison, I tried on some of the more expensive brands at various other stores and couldn't believe how much more comfortable the Costco ones are. If you turn them inside out, they're seam-free, though the seams have never bothered me at all. Plus, they're cheap enough that you can buy enough to rotate through, saving you laundry time.

4. Mizuno Wave Rider 10's. I ran with Asics through my running clinic and into the early summer, until my knee started having issues and I looked at my shoes more closely. I realized that they are meant for people who have feet that turn outwards, which mine don't. I have the elusive neutral foot, which doesn't turn outwards or inwards, meaning that the shoes were probably causing damage. The Running Room offers foot assessments when you buy shoes there, so that you know which type of foot you have. It's imperative that you buy the right shoes. These ones have been amazing and I've put over 250 km on them. They're light, cool and really comfortable.

5. lululemon Racer Back Tank. Best. Tank. Ever. For running, that is.

6. A buddy. While not really necessary in many neighborhoods, it's always recommended that you don't run alone. And if you do, to make sure you change your route often so that in the off chance that some creep is keeping an eye on you, you can avoid putting yourself in a "situation". I always have Kurt with me, riding behind me on the bike.

7. My Running Logs. I mentioned these before and was surprised that so many people were interested in being geeky like me and logging runs (or other types of exercise...whatever). The ones I use are through the Running Room and are free. Go to their website and sign up to use their tools. They're awesome...and they use fun colors for the visually motivated, such as myself.

8. Glucosamine. Now, this one is brand-new to me, so I'm not totally sure yet if I should be reviewing it yet but...so far, so great. I bought a Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM complex to take each day (two gigantic horse pills that I can barely gag down) in the hopes that they would improve my knee. I self-diagnosed my knee as being a case of "runner's knee", which is a pretty common and not too serious problem involving my knee not tracking properly and grinding under the knee cap. Yes...gross. So, after some serious googling, I found myself a bottle and started taking them two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I could not walk down stairs without serious pain...to the point that I would often go down stairs backwards. I know. Ridiculous. However, I would yell placebo effect if I hadn't been in so much pain before, and able to walk down stairs like a normal person now, with very little pain or none at all. It's been a long time since my knee has felt normal, even though I'm running more now than ever. So...I'm giving glucosamine the thumbs up. The glucosamine itself isn't supposed to kick in for at least 4 weeks, but the other two components are fast-acting, so I think they've taken the edge off for me. Thank you, chondroitin and MSM, for allowing me to descend stairs without looking like a fool. Having bought mine here, it was pricey. However, one of the best combination pills is available at Costco (as well as a liquid version) and is relatively cheap. Even if you don't have runner's knee, it's fantastic for joints (often prescribed for arthritis).

9. MEC's Turtle White LED lights. We bought these originally as headlights for our bikes, but as the sun started coming up later and later, it was obvious that I needed some kind of light on me during the early morning runs. So, I grabbed mine off my bike and looped it around my watch strap. They're tiny, cheap ($3.50) and apparently have enough juice for 150 hours of light. I run with mine on the flashing setting.


10. Goals/Rewards. I don't really work well without them, in any aspect of my life. Running is no different. I knew that I was starting from scratch in November, as if I'd never run before. Reaching a goal gives you a feeling of accomplishment, no matter how small your goal may seem to others. Now that I've reached my first, I'm going to wallow in self-glory for a few weeks and keep my runs the same and then start working towards 60 minute runs. That sounds like a long time...

And as far as my reward goes...that's tricky. I bought myself a necklace today for yesterday's accomplishment...nothing expensive, just something I saw and immediately loved and couldn't leave the store without. I do want an iPod Shuffle to clip on and run with, so maybe I'll work towards that going forward. 60 minute runs might be a tad boring without something to listen to.

The only worry I have right now is running out of space...literally. There is only so far I can go and really only one route I can take, and with only a limited amount of real estate to run on, I may have to get a little creative at the end of my route to be able to keep going...like, literally run in circles or something. If I turn the other direction out our front door, I have almost the entire country ahead of me, but the road is a lot less appealing with it's blind corners and worst driving ever (and I lived near Quebec...), so that's not really an option. Tricky.

The Little Neighborhoods That Weren't.

For those of you who are familiar with my small obsession with real estate, it should come as no surprise that I continue to read various real estate blogs. I try to keep myself balanced by reading the wishy-washy "just wait...it will crash and we'll all get fantastic deals!" blogs, along with the "don't hold your breath, Victoria is going to be taken over by millions of rich Chinese immigrants and Albertan retirees and no one will be able to afford houses here ever again" blogs. For the purposes of maintaining my sanity and preventing heart palpitations, I do confess to reading more wishy washy blogs than doomsday ones. Also, I actually do believe that at some point soon, things will slow down out there. There's already a serious oversupply of condos and investments once hailed as being the next "big thing" that investors are now actually walking away from, since they can't rent them for enough money to pay the astronomical mortgage. Plus...does anyone realize that the job market in Victoria is not exactly a "happening" thing? And by that I mean...it sucks. At some point, there just simply aren't enough jobs paying the kind of salaries required for mortgage payments on a $500,000 home. And that's one of the cheap ones.

One of the things that I particularly enjoy about Victoria's real estate is the renaming of once-shitty parts of town to make them more attractive to potential investors. Here are my insights on some of my favorite examples of this renaming phenomenon, which is changing the beloved map of my hometown and adding a certain je ne sais quois to areas that certainly have none on their own. If I'm wrong on any of these points, I hope my Victoria-based readers will correct me. I have not lived in that city for over 5 years, though I do visit often and try my best to remain informed.

Here it goes:

Quadra Village: Build a village, they will come...right? Or not. Quadra Village, the area surrounding the Quadra/Hillside intersection, has notoriously been one of the worst areas of town to live in. Still, a few years ago they attempted a neighborhood revival by installing a few hopeful looking lampposts with hanging baskets and encouraging businesses to take up shop there, so to speak. I don't think that enough change has taken place to make this one of Victoria's most desirable neighborhoods, or desirable at all, for that matter. The stagnant memories of the Holiday Court are far too recent. I think this area peaked when it had Fuddrucker's and has never quite recovered from it's bankruptcy and subsequent closure. But that's just me.

"Victoria's Yaletown": Pardon? The first time I saw this reference in a real estate listing, I immediately wondered which area of town was the fortunate recipient of this nickname. My guess was the Fisgard/Capital Iron area. I was so wrong. It actually refers to the area surrounding the corner of Quadra and Bay. Yes...Quadra and Bay. Um...what? Yes, I am aware that there have been attempts to turn the former crackhouses into expensive condos, but come on. This is not a hot area, and certainly not an area you would walk alone in at night. $399,000 for half of a former crackhouse in a shit part of town? For reals?

LoJo: Love it. Victoria's run at urban chic. A beautiful part of downtown, no doubt, but here is nothing worse than a lame nickname for something that is cool enough all on its own. All this reference has done is further inflate prices of 350 square foot $400,000+ bachelor condos built into heritage buildings by developers who cite "peaceful" as one of the many attractive qualities people are paying for. The others would be the proximity to lululemon and bragging rights, obviously.

Bear Mountain: One word: Langford. The houses are beautifully designed, but I can not see any further appeal to living there. You can put a pig in a dress but...it's still just a big hill in Langford.

The West Shore: One word: Langford. I remember the original attempt at bringing this name into place. I was working for the Federal Crown at the time and rumour has it that the name was quickly removed when it was obvious that certain gangs were using it to bolster their position in Victoria's impressive gang community. However, it's back and it looks like it's staying, but I can't bring myself to use it. It will always be Langford to me.

Now, before I get some irate Langfordite leaving me scathing comments about my personal opinions of their beloved community, I feel the need to point out that at this point, I would happily take a house just about anywhere in the general vicinity of Victoria. My parents did a great disservice to me, bringing me up in Oak Bay and then moving to Fairfield right at the point where Fairfield became the place to be. I'm spoiled, and I know it. Plus, they're both on some sort of a longevity kick, so now there's not even the faintest of hopes that I'll get their own beautiful house until I'm at least 80, unless some terrible accident messes with the ability of Dad's 3 HP blender, which he uses to produce their grass-and-vegetable smoothies.

The thought of my parents not being around is actually the saddest thing I can think of, just so you know. I was just hoping they'd be into downsizing to a nice waterfront condo at some point down the road and need someone to bequeath their house to. They're not. Apparently, they are leaving the house "feet first".

Perhaps it's the wisdom that comes from living outside the bubble of Oak Bay, but I do recognize other pockets of the city where life is beautiful, even if you can't walk to the ocean or smell the fairly-traded coffee and gluten-free vegan brownies wafting from the local trendy coffee spot. Maplewood and Cedar Hill fit into this category, as do areas of Gordon Head and Saanich East - perfect if not preferable spots to raise a family and take advantage of all that Victoria has to offer, and still closer to affordable than the trendier areas. I know this now, and I'm more than prepared and happy to look at opportunities in those areas as well as my more familiar ones, should we decide to return to Canada in the future. Because I should be able to afford a single family home in Oak Bay by approximately never.

Anyways, it's an interesting thing to keep an eye on. No one really has any idea of what's going to happen, but there certainly are some great blogs on it. Two that I recommend, from the glass-half-full side of the spectrum are:

http://www.househuntvictoria.blogspot.com/ - a husband and wife duo, on the hunt for a home.


http://www.pricedoutforever.com/ - not as dire as it sounds.