Kurt & Kristmas


Because we're both flying out of here (hopefully) this week, we decided to celebrate mini-Christmas this weekend. This is our 6th Christmas together and we have a few traditions that we didn't want to miss out, just because we weren't going to be together on the actual day. So, we got our shopping done last week and I cleaned the apartment so it would be ready for a weekend of Christmas movies, Christmas baking, Christmas music and general Christmas merriment. It didn't disappoint...and it's not even over yet.


Yesterday, I made (way too many) Christmas cookies - chocolate mint (my favorite) and ginger molasses (his favorite) and we had a dinner of snacks...cheese, crackers, pepper jam, chips, dip, prosciutto and olives while we sipped our black rum and ginger beer and giggled to Elf. This was after our afternoon movie rundown of Charlie Brown (can you believe that this was the first time I'd ever seen it?) and A Muppet Family Christmas (Muppets + Sesame Street + Fraggles congregate at Fozzie's Mom's farmhouse...Swedish Chef tries to cook Big Bird), and before we ended the evening with a viewing of the original Grinch and exchanging a couple of gifts. I got a very timely new watch, as my other watch (which Kurt gave me for my 24th birthday) died during the longest meeting ever a few weeks ago. It was like it just gave up...and I sat there wondering if the day could possibly tick by any slower. Turns out that it couldn't.

So, the first half of mini-Christmas was pretty awesome. And we didn't even feel bad about being couch potatoes because the weather was TERRIBLE. It was probably the worst day, weather-wise, that we've had on the Rock this year. Gale force winds, reports of a tornado (I'm skeptical), and a LOT of rain. Our dehumidifier had a field day. We lit candles and enjoyed the show from the inside. We enjoyed the movies from the comfort of our couch boat - an invention we came up with a few months ago when we realized that our living room set up allowed us to push our matching gigantic couches together in front of the TV to make one huge bed-like couch to cuddle up on. It's great but it's almost too comfortable because I always end up drifting off during movies. Elf kept me awake though.


We have a bunch of friends who were set to fly out of here yesterday to various spots and they shut down the airport after the Air Canada flight left, so a lot of them are stranded until Tuesday or Wednesday because the flights are so booked up for Christmas (and there's normally only one each day to each destination, except New York). I feel so bad for them. Travelling at Christmas is awful when the flights are relatively normal, so any kind of interruptions really dampen the spirit. I will never forgive Air Canada for the time I sat on the tarmac in the plane from Ottawa (which had landed on time but didn't have a gate available for it) and watched my Victoria flight take off without me. On Christmas Eve.

Please keep all of your fingers and toes crossed for us. I fly out on Wednesday and Kurt leaves on Christmas Eve. We've got confirmed seats, and Air Canada is pretty good about flying in less-than-ideal weather, but I'm hoping for clear days in Toronto and Ottawa next week. Victoria...I'm not too concerned about. They can always land in rain.

Today will be much the same as yesterday. I've saved my two favorite Christmas movies (A Christmas Story and Love Actually), I have a new book to get into, and Kurt's making his famous traditional codfish and potato breakfast. It's a Rock thing. And it is DELICIOUS. Until then, I'll try to stay out of the cookies.

My Christmas spirit was a bit lacking until this weekend. Now I'm feelin' it. I love this time of year.

Spoiled.

Today is my birthday. In my head, I am 23. In reality, I am 29. Yiiiiikes.


I was totally spoiled today. First of all, my amazing mother sent me a birthday present which arrived last week and has been staring at me from the dining room table. I was good though. I waited until this morning to open it up and found a new pair of super cute shoes and a kit for this new form of art called Zentangle which is 100% addictive doodling.

At work, I was spoiled too. One co-worker made me a cake, some friends took me for lunch, and then there was some singing....it was fun. And tonight I was spoiled by my man, who took me for a birthday date to one of my favorite restaurants.

Fun day. So far, 29 is pretty awesome.

2010 is my year.

Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

That's the sound of our new dehumidifier, dehumidifying. Thank effin' God.

I told a few people at work about the Mould Incident and they all asked why I didn't have my dehumidifier on, because obviously I wouldn't be having any mould issues if I did. When I told them that I didn't own one, there was a lot of finger wagging (whilst snapping) in my face and "Giiiiiiirl, why you don't have none? You out your mind!"

In other words, I got told.

I acted quickly and we just plugged in our new (to us) appliance. Which may send our electricity bill to the Moon but really...my Frye's are worth it.

Dear Mould: Don't eff around. Regards, Me.

For most of the year, the humidity on the Rock is very high (it hit 98% in the summer). For my skin and hair, this is fabulous. My hair has never grown faster and I hardly ever need to use moisturizer. But it's not all good news. With houses made out of coral and rock, that means that dealing with dampness in the home is just a regular part of life here - a fact which we have recently become acutely aware of.

Our previous apartment, which was in a 400 year-old building, was framed and drywalled, much like a house in Canada. There are probably 3 houses like that on the whole island...it is VERY rare. I'm guessing this is because moisture + drywall = eventual disaster. But, our apartment was dry as a bone, all year round. It was fabulous. Besides the lovely floors, it was pretty much the best thing about the place.

Our new apartment is less than a year old. However, it is a regular-style house, made out of coral, cinder blocks and cement. No moisture barrier. No drywall. Not dry.

I noticed it shortly after we moved in...a bit of a coldness in the sheets tipped me off one night and then the fact that it took 3 days for a pair of jeans to dry on a hanger sealed it for me. We are now officially living in a regular house and now we have to deal with what everyone else is dealing with: the War on Mould.

Mould...is gross. I'm not a fan. Up until now, my experiences with mould have been confined to the food variety - leaving an open juice box in my locker for weeks on end would normally sprout something pretty, and there has been more than one container of forgotten leftovers in my fridge that was "discovered" to be a greener shade than necessary. I'm not messy...it happens.

But when mould sprouts on my SHOES...everything changes.

This evening, Kurt and I were having a casual conversation in the closet (our closet is huge - larger than our bathroom) and I randomly pulled my beloved Frye sandals out of the shoe organizer to discover this:


Oh, hell no.

Yes, that is a crop of mould on my lovely sandal. A tiny green forest of gross.

Disgusted, I pulled out all of my shoes and discovered that The Mould had invaded another favorite pair, my Born sandals (you will probably note how similar they are to the Fryes...at least the Mould has good taste):


I said some words that I don't feel comfortable repeating on my blog, gathered up my beloved sandals and every bottle of shoe product that has ever been hawked (successfully, apparently) to me by shoe sales people, and got to work in the kitchen.


30 minutes later, my pulse had gone back to a regular pace and my sandals were looking as good as new. Some shampoo and conditioner were all it took to bring them back to life. However, I'm now freaking out about everything else in my closet. Like...my clothes. My luggage. My PURSES. My pashmina collection. What else is quietly becoming a home to The Mould? I don't really care to find out.

We got some closet heaters from a co-worker of mine and installed them immediately. They don't heat up much - just enough to zap the moisture from the air. Hopefully that's enough to prevent future invasions. Until then...daily inspections.


Ahh...life in the tropics. Always a pleasure.

Latest Discoveries.


1) Hoarders.

Is anyone else watching this brilliant show? Well, maybe 'brilliant' is a strong word, but it's downright entertaining. And interesting. And yes, parts of it may make you dry heave, but for the most part, you'll just feel like washing your dishes when it's over. I don't know if it's on TV now, but it definitely aired this year and it is about people with compulsive hoarding disease. Gone are the days where we call chronically messy people "lazy slobs". They are now classified with a mental disorder. Actually, from the few episodes I've watched, these people on the show are in a league of their own. Multiple rotten pumpkins on the dining room floor...congealed meat byproduct pooling in the fridge...10,000 teddy bears...astonishing collections of shampoo caps and broken picture frames...it is wild. What happens on the show is that you "meet" the Compulsive Hoarders, and then the show sends in a Certified Professional Organiser (who knew THAT was a job?), these Saint-like people who come in with masks and a truckload of patience (and at least 4 dumptrucks) and they work with the Compulsive Hoarder to get rid of the junk. But they can't tell them to get rid of the junk...they have to work with them to hope they make the decision on their own. Some of them don't, and the show ends with this kind of sad "update" on how they got evicted, or their children stopped speaking to them, or some other depressing ending.

I've watched 4 episodes and I'm totally hooked. It really puts my slightly untidy coffee table into perspective. Some of these people can't see the floor...in any room, hallway or stairwell of their home. Fascinating.



Totally deserving of the 'brilliant' label, The DailyLit is a brilliant website. If you don't already know about it (I only just discovered it through a blog I read), it used to be a subscription-based service but is now free. It's kind of like an electronic library, where you go, find a book you want to read and sign up (this involves entering your e-mail address), and then they will send you the book by e-mail in segments over...well, however long it takes you to read it. For instance, I signed up today to read Little Women. I've been wanting to re-read it for awhile and lo and behold, DailyLit has a fabulous selection of classic books. So, I opted for 'longer' installments and received my first two today. I read them during my lunch hour (about the equivalent of 2-3 pages of the book) and tomorrow at Noon, they'll send me the next two. Or, if I'd had the time today, I could have asked for the next two right away.

I think this is SO smart. So many people have such limited time to read books, but this way you can read on your BlackBerry when you're in a waiting room, or like me on a lunch hour, or anytime you want, really. You can pause your book if you're going on vacation, or ask for it only to be sent on Mondays...it's very customisable. I am very impressed. I currently have three books coming to me from DailyLit: Little Women, The Count of Monte Cristo, and one which I can't remember the name of right now but it was on the homepage and looked good and Diane von Furstenberg recommended it so really, how could I go wrong?

December!

Welcome, friend. December is my absolute hands-down favorite month of the year. First of all, it involves my birthday. A tad less exciting than when I was turning ages that didn't make me think "no effin' way am I that old...", but exciting nonetheless because right around the corner from my birthday is...Christmas! Obviously.

And to celebrate December 1st, and because I have zero imagination today, a Christmas MeMe. Stolen from Heather's blog. Thanks once again, HAO.

To celebrate the 1st of December, here is a Christmas meme for you all!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags wherever possible, but normally wrapping paper for the bulk of the presents. I'm a pretty decent wrapper, 50% of the time.

2. Real tree or artificial? Currently, the most artificial of artificial. And by that, I mean that it's only a tree in that it's shaped like an inverted cone, but it's made out of sparkly gold wire and has little gold beads here and there. It's festive...but it's not really a tree. At the homestead, where I'm spending actual Christmas, we have an artificial tree.

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanks for the reminder! I'm going to go get it out of the closet right now and plunk it on the coffee table. Decorating...CHECK.

4. When do you take the tree down? My family was of the variety that put the tree up late and took it down before New Years. In and out, no muss, no fuss. And then we'd drive around and laugh at people who still had their tree up on January 15...because THEY are the ones who are weird, obviously. Don't get me wrong...no one gets excited about Christmas like my Dad...we just contain our excitement to a smaller window than others.

5. Do you like eggnog? In small quantities.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Every Christmas had a special gift (Santa has always been very good to me), but the one that is standing out at the moment was the year that my parents decided to get Kelsey and I FIVE turtles of varying sizes and a gigantic turtle tank. The largest was the size of a dinner plate and the smallest was the size of a toonie. They met varying fates, but I believe one of them can still be found at the Beacon Hill Park Petting Zoo. By the way, turtles are really boring and stinky pets. The novelty for my parents wore off on or about December 26th.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? I do not.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My Sister.

10. Worst Christmas Gift you ever received? The year I didn't make the connection in Toronto and spent Christmas Eve at YYZ. Worst. Day. Ever.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? MAIL!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story ("you'll shoot your eye out, kid!" never gets old)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually sometime in November.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Anything from my Mom's kitchen. She is a-freakin-mazing.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? "All I Want for Christmas" - Mariah Carey. No joke.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home, but I have to travel to get there. Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas on the Rock.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, dancer, prancer, vixen, comet, cupid, donner and blitzen, Rudolph.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. Or, in the case of my "tree", a glittery bead. Glorious.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Present from Dad on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People...everywhere.

From the Trenches...

I'm coming to you from the frontlines of H1N1, the bug that stole the past 5 days of my life and ruined what was supposed to be a romantic weekend getaway with my man. Eff you, Swine.

Last Tuesday, I went to bed with a tiny tickle in the back of my throat. I woke up Wednesday morning with an aching body - the kind where even your hair hurts - and a persistent hacking cough. By the next morning, it was clear that I was man down. Or, woman down, really.

And enter...Swine Flu.

As a survivor of the dreaded H1N1, I have a little secret to share with you all. This is pretty hush hush...you're not going to find this on CNN or Fox News, so read the next sentence very. carefully.


The Swine Flu is....


...THE FLU!


My only tip-off that this was likely H1N1 was the cough. The cough that kept me up for an entire night (incidentally, the night spent in a super swank hotel in 800 thread count Egyptian cotton). The cough that went away for hours and then returned with such a venegeance that I thought I was going to literally hack up a lung. The cough that even Buckley's wouldn't touch.

My hair has hurt before. I've hacked until I gagged before...this was nothing new. Of course, I've been lucky enough to avoid the flu for awhile so this was a longer span than usual away from the office for me, but that was just good sense. I'm not one of those people who tries to look like a hero, or a really dedicated employee at least, by showing up at the office sick as a dog and hacking all over their co-workers. I loathe those people. Those people are why the rest of us get sick! At least, those of us without tiny germ-mongers kids.

I did not get the vaccine. I wasn't planning on getting it, even if I were allowed to get it, which I'm not (not being a child, pregnant or elderly). Me and my iffy immune system took it on and we won.

The romantic getaway was a bit of a bummer. We had a great afternoon/evening and an AMAZING room to lounge around in (photos will be forthcoming), but as soon as I tried to go to sleep, the cough kicked in and did not let up until 5:30 a.m. Awesome. So, I spent the night on the couch in the living room, watching The Shopping Channel (I hate Snuggies) and trying not to wake Kurt up from his peaceful slumber. Oh well. We have another little getaway planned for the weekend before we both fly home for Christmas, so fingers crossed that Kurt will remain Swine-free and we'll be able to enjoy that one a bit more.

So, I survived the Swine. And I'm better for it. At least, my immune system is.

I really hate Sunday evenings.

They can be such a downer!

We had a super relaxing weekend. Did a bit more unpacking (yes, there is STILL unpacking to do), had a nap, hit up the driving range, paid too much for mediocre Indian buffet, had a friend over for dinner, made some pumpkin muffins...you know. Standard weekend stuff.

I'm starting to get very excited to go home for Christmas. I hate travelling at Christmas time, but I'm not even sure I'll mind this time around. I just can't wait to get there.

In my unpacking today, I re-discovered a number of purses I haven't used in awhile. Don't you love that? Especially when you leave money in the pockets? Brilliant. One purse in particular has been out of the rotation for far too long, so I'm thinking I'll ease it back in tomorrow and see how it does. My lovely mustard-yellow fall purse (scored at Winners in September) is about ready for a break.

I'm about ready to head off to bed, but I have a phone date tonight with a good friend from home who I haven't talked to since August. We obviously have a lot to catch up on. After that, I plan to curl up with some Bengal Spice tea and my book in my fresh sheets. Ahhh.

Maybe Sunday night isn't SO bad after all. It's Monday that's the bitch.

Etsy Love.

I've made a few purchases lately. I "discovered" Etsy back in 2006 but haven't bought anything from the site since before we moved to the Rock, since PayPal hasn't always been cooperative with internationally-based credit cards. However, that changed. And so I was able to surf through my (extensive) list of favorites and pick out a few things that I decided I couldn't live without.

One of these purchases arrived on Friday. EcoChicHandKnits organic hand-crocheted nesting bowls.

I'd been trying to find something for us to put sunglasses and keys in, by the door, so that we can avoid the classic morning scramble for these vital items. So, I contacted the seller to see if she would ship internationally (yes) and whether the shipping costs would be reasonable (yes) and the adorable little package arrived on Friday, all wrapped up with a little card, thanking me for my purchase. Delightful. And the bowls are just as cute in person as they are in the photo, and perfect for what I wanted them for. The large one is for sunglasses, the medium-sized one is for keys, and the small one sits on my nightstand as a safe place to put jewelry before bed.

I love buying handmade and think it's more important now than ever. Etsy = Awesome.

Check out the EcoChicHandKnits storefront...definitely a seller who is staying in my Etsy Favorites!

Crippled by Flat-Packed Furniture.

On Friday, we picked up most of the huge order of IKEA stuff we put together before we moved into the new apartment. The order was mostly dressers and shelves, so quite a bit of our unpacking has been strewn about in boxes and bags waiting for it to arrive. A few things were sold out (apparently, the 'Walnut' finish is the colour de jour), but we got our MALM, ORGEL, SKUBB and small BILLY. Yesterday morning, K went out to run some errands, so I put on Season 1 of The L Word and got to work. I decided to tackle the MALM six-drawer dressers first (we bought two, because we can't share) and figured I could bang those together in an hour or two, tops. No problem, right? Gong. I started at about noon...and finished just before 6:00 p.m. During that time, I'd taken, cumulatively, one half hour break. It was a nightmare. The dressers went together beautifully...they just had a lot of extra steps and they are actually kind of huge, which made putting them together alone a bit of a challenge. Anyways, we got them moved into the bedroom and (finally!) emptied our suitcases out and filled the drawers, had a friend over for dinner and went to bed early.

When I woke up this morning, I felt as though I'd been hit by a truck. My back and legs were killing me and my arms felt like I'd been toting around a huge watermelon or a heavy child for hours. Turns out, assembling MALM on your own is harder work than I thought. It was a workout. But the results were worth it, because I woke up this morning and dressed without having to dig through suitcases...an amazing feeling after 4 weeks of living like gypsies. Gypsies with Samsonite.

The house is really coming together. The cookbooks are shelved (thanks, BILLY), our BBQ is in place and had it's debut last night, and in about two weeks, the last of our furniture should arrive from New Jersey.

I was looking around last night and realized that this apartment is definitely the nicest place that we have lived together so far. Our house was great, but this place just suits us. Maybe it's the fact that the front patio always smells like rosemary, or that the apartment is so quiet when a car does creep by on the crescent, it's noticeable. Unlike the old apartment, where quiet periods on the road would have us looking at each other like "what's going on? Where is everyone?" It's lovely. I had a two hour nap in the middle of the day with my sleep mask and it was heaven.

Love, love, love. I'm going to take some photos this week and update the Facebook album, now that we're moved in and it's looking more like ours.

November!

My favorite month, next to December. I'm not even sure why, but I expect that it has to do with being the start of the lead up to Christmas...my absolute favorite time of year. The other great thing about November? November 1st means that October 31st has passed. I really do not love Halloween at all. This year, we spent all of Saturday scouring our old apartment and came home feeling so tired and annoyed by it all that we ended up being those assholes who FOR SURE will get egged at some point. We closed our blinds and turned off all of the lights and pretended that we weren't home. Oh yes, we did. And then we snuck out for Indian food. I will take baigan bhartha over teenagers dressed like vampires (because every. single. teenager. was dressed as a vampire) anyday.

The little ones though...I'll make exceptions for them. When did kids get so damn cute?

We kicked November off quietly, just how I like it. We did a bit of unpacking around here and I'm happy to say that our house is starting to look a little bit like we actually live here! Not that we've spent any time here at all, other than to sleep, until this weekend. Now, finally, we've had some quality time in our new digs, just hanging around, and we are loving it. It's quiet, always has a nice little breeze, and our landlords are probably the nicest people on the planet. I think we'll be happy here for awhile. How long awhile? I have no idea.

This weekend marked our anniversary on the Rock. Two years. Amazing...especially since when we first moved here, two years was the plan. Get in, get out. And now, two years in, it still feels like we just got here. So, I went back to the beginning of this blog and found this post, written just a few days after we moved into our first apartment. I like to look back on what my initial thoughts were, back when everything seemed so new and we felt like we were on a permanent vacation. Back when I apparently hated those little frogs I love so much now. Before life set in, before the noise of the street below our apartment started to get to us, before we'd figured out that life is just life, no matter where you live it. That being said, it's been a pretty interesting two years.

If you had asked me back in November 2007 what I would be doing in November of 2009, I would have absolutely predicted that we would be back in Canada, preparing to buy a house in the city we plan to "settle down" in. Without question, that was the plan.

Seriously though...how long has this been my plan, now?

I moved to Ottawa in 2002, planning to return to Victoria in 2004. Didn't happen.

We bought our house in 2005, planning to sell and move to Victoria in 2008.

Before that could happen, we moved to the Rock in 2007 with a two-year plan.

Those two years are up and we're still here, and have no plans to leave anytime very soon.

Maybe I should take a hint. MAYBE...if I really wanted to be in Victoria, I would have found a way to be there by now. This is me, getting introspective. I'm getting deep here, people. Seriously though...wouldn't we be there if that's where we were supposed to be? As much as I complain about rude people and how much a leek costs, some very big part of me must have fallen in love with the Rock. I know I like it. I like my job, I love the weather, I like the freedom we have and I like that we now have the means to do a lot of things that were out of our reach before we moved here. Of course I hate being away from family and friends, but I have been away from my family and a good chunk of my friend base for a very long time now. I'm used to missing people. And the thing is, is that being in Victoria doesn't mean that I'll have everyone I love around me. One crappy thing about having three homes is that there are people to miss in each of them.

OK, enough depth. Back to shallow blogging.

I made vegetable soup tonight. No recipe. I just noticed that we had an inordinate number of red peppers in the fridge and a bag of shredded carrots that looked as though it was considering a turn to the dark side. So, I tossed them into a pot with a diced onion and some broth and spices, boiled up a storm and then blended the works and served to my (obviously very impressed) man. It was delicious. Made me feel clever.

This time change has left me sleepy at 8:57 p.m. How sad. Probably great news for my body though, which has been craving sleep like no one's business.

Bed time!

Life.

The past week has been, in a word, EFFING CRAZY. OK, two words.

We have officially moved. And I am officially in love with the new apartment, despite the boxes and bags all over the place and the fact that many of my clothes are in suitcases awaiting the MALM dressers coming from IKEA on the weekend. The move itself was probably my best move yet. We weren't necessarily more organized, but we did have a lot of time to move so we were pretty relaxed. This means that we were not killing each other over little things. We even tried to enjoy the process, to the extent that moving can ever be enjoyable.

There were a few touch-and-go moments. The first was when I got caught trying to throw some items out that had not officially been designated as trash. By him. Busted. The second, and more serious, incident was when we finally arrived with our movers at the new place - a 40 minute drive from our old place - and I realized that I had brilliantly left the key to the new apartment in the old apartment. Idiotic. Luckily, our landlords were home and helped us out. More serious than that was when our "professional" movers announced that our 37", 7.5 foot long couches would not fit through the doorways or windows and that there was no way that they could get them into our apartment. I nearly barfed. Because the couches were WHY we hired movers. We could have moved most of our crap ourselves but the couches are huge and require a truck. So, we paid them to drop the couches off in our driveway and leave, leaving us standing there wondering what to do with two 7.5 foot long couches that won't fit in the house when our landlord comes over and wants to try fitting them through the back entrance. The entrance that the movers didn't try because they said that it was mathematically impossible to get the couches through the door and around the sharp corner they'd have to turn to get into the living room. They know this because they are "professionals".

Well, EFF YOU "professionals"! Because not 15 minutes later, K and I were arranging our couches into our preferred formation in the living room. It does make absolutely no mathematical sense that they made it into this room but they did and we are ecstatic, because they are a part of the family.

And because selling things sucks.

So, we're here. We have a lot of unpacking to do, but it's a work in progress. It's so quiet that it's almost eerie at night. Just frogs and wind.

I love me some frogs and wind.

Drama.

So, I read this blog on a semi-regular basis...I'd say 2 or three times a month. She usually blogs more than once a day, but I enjoy watching her bump her net worth up and she's sent me in the direction of some good deals. Plus, she's from my beloved hometown, so I feel like we have something in common. A kinship, if you will. Whatever. I like her blog. Anyways, her blog is all about personal finance, though she's pretty real and honest and talks a lot about her life, hobbies, plans, etc. as well and last week, she decided to buy a car. A car that is worth approximately what her net worth was calculated to be prior to the purchase, with a difference of about $5K. While I was surprised at the purchase (I started reading the blog back when she was clawing her way out of heavy student debt and wouldn't spend a penny on herself without overanalyzing every other possible use for said penny), that's about the extent of the thought I gave it. She bought a car. Good for her. While driving a brand new car off the lot isn't really my bag, I can see the allure. She's worked hard to save money and really, who cares?

OH...a lot of people care. She posted about the purchase and was greeted with a shitstorm of comments about how irresponsible a purchase she had just made. Comments from complete strangers under the impression that their opinions, somehow, matter. And then she responds back with a well-worded post that essentially said PFO without saying PFO to the trolls and explained, though she didn't have to, that her blog is her blog and her money is her money. And THAT illicited another shitstorm from people who have way, WAY too much time on their hands.

What a bunch of morons.

I think about this sometimes - this whole blog thing. What is it really about, and why do we do it? I started my blog, my original (more fabulous than this blog) blog to stay in touch with friends who are far away, and share pictures and random thoughts. Then I felt like it was too general, so I tried to make it more specific, about a certain aspect of my life. Then that got boring, so I made it general again. And then I stopped blogging altogether for a long time, and then I revived my blogging self by starting this blog when we decided to move to the Rock, expecting to document the many fascinating aspects of our new adventure.

And then we realized that life on the Rock is just life...on a rock.

And now I'm back to a general, rambling blog that no one can really learn anything useful from, other than my occasional product reviews and why I love sleep masks (very useful) and how homesick I get sometimes (even more useful).

Honestly, I blog because I like to write. And if no one ever reads this...I'm OK with that. Writing is something I have done, in various forms, since I could hold a pencil. I wrote stories about ponies and Indians (seriously) when I was a kid because, for whatever reason, I felt like ponies and Indians were a story that needed to be told.

This blog is my story. INCREDIBLY BORING at times, but a story, nonetheless. I can look back at my old blog, which started in 2005, and remember what it was like when Kurt and I were a brand new couple. When I still thought I would be back in Victoria in 2008. What it was like to have a difficult time scrounging up rent money, and what it was like to live with mental roommates. I can remember the bitter cold of Ottawa winters and the excitement leading up to holidays. The turmoil surrounding our move to the Rock and the period of uncertainty before we were both settled into jobs. It's all there, still, just where I left it.

Sometimes, that creeps me out. But mostly, I like it.

Reasons why this week is complete horse shit.

  1. Movers arrive on Saturday. Totally not ready.
  2. Unable to drive car for most of the week, which was dedicated to moving stuff. Why? Oh, because we got a $1,750 traffic fine for driving unlicensed, unknowingly. We have to go to Court. FML.
  3. I ruined my new purse by getting caught in a torrential downpour on Monday.
  4. The tooth I went to Toronto to have fixed is not fixed. Back on another 2 rounds of antibiotics AND...back to Toronto very soon. FML. I'm on the verge of saying "pull it".
  5. I look like a chipmunk (refer to #4).
  6. I'm starting a new job on Tuesday and am about 3 weeks away from wrapping up my current job.
  7. We got our first tax penalty. Not a lot, but enough to annoy me.
  8. Stressed to my breaking point.

FML. Seriously. Everything about my week has been astonishingly horrendous.

What?

Someone sent me this today. Three runners, two marathoners and a half-marathoner died during the Detroit marathon on Sunday, at ages 26, 35, and 65. They say it's a fluke and likely related to heart disease, in all three cases.

What?

I knew it was no walk in the park, but never seriously considered that it was something that could kill you if you had properly trained and were ready for it.

The quote that bothered me the most, besides the tragic news itself:

"In general, somewhere between 1-in-50,000 and 1-in-75,000 people who finish a marathon will die from it. So three deaths at an event with 19,000 registered runners is high, but not necessarily off-the-charts, statistically speaking. "

Depressing. Puts me off a tad.

In unrelated news, I now have a learner's license, which means I am officially a driver in training. It was a minor production, much like every other simple, mundane errand which somehow becomes infinitely more complicated by simple virtue of being HERE, but it's over and done with and my test is next Tuesday.

Better start practicing those figure eights...

Out of Touch.

The past week has been kind of nuts. On Monday night, I bought a scooter. I got it for a great price (secondhand) and since I was planning on buying one when we moved anyways, I figured might as well jump on a deal now and learn to ride before crap weather descends upon us. It's like the one below, except a year older. Very cute. Very easy to ride...apparently. We went to practice on a friend's bike this afternoon (a.k.a. The Bike Formerly Known as Ashleigh's) and I did OK. I zipped around through some cones and, after figuring out that turning right is similar to turning left, except the opposite, I was OK. I have to go get a learner's license and then the actually driving test and THEN...watch out. I'll have wheels.

Another item we accomplished last week was the ordering of overpriced IKEA furniture from the local overpriced IKEA furniture ordering place. Actually, it's not terrible. It's a bit much to see the catalog price next to the price with the surcharge, but we're pretty much covering the cost of the new stuff with the money we're making from selling off a bunch of our old stuff so really...who cares? It's a wash. Except we like the new stuff and the old stuff...not so much. So far, we've sold the dresser we hate, the headboard we hate, the TV cabinet that weighs 1000 pounds and a lamp that irritated me from the moment it came through the door. It came as a package deal with some other things we'd bought and now, two years later, I finally kicked it out. Into the loving arms of a girl who had big plans for refinishing it. Game on.

Besides all of that, we've just been packing, loading up the car, driving to the new place, dropping off, and then starting all over again. This has been a pretty stress-free move, really. Our furniture is being picked up on Saturday morning, so this time next week we should be all settled. Maybe not totally unpacked, but getting there. I'm so excited. I love love love the new apartment.

In other news, I am totally addicted to lime Perrier.







Saturday.

That was a LONG week. The kind of week that takes three weeks to finish and, by the time it's actually over, you're so wiped out that you can't think of anything better to do on Friday night than watch a movie and use as few brain cells as possible. Mission accomplished.

After a solid 8 hours (thank you, sleep mask and earplugs), I'm ready to face the weekend. Today, we're taking our first load of "stuff" to the house. A random assortment, indeed. Bikes, golf clubs, yoga mat, bedding. You know, the basics. Actually, while it is fantastic to have a month to move, it's also difficult to figure out what you're not going to need to continue to function daily. Sadly, I can live without my yoga mat because it hasn't been used in months.

We're also going to check out scooters today because I need one, STAT. I had one, which I never used, but I sold it back in February. The location of our new place means that we're scooting to work, so unless I want to be up with the roosters to go with Kurt, I'm going to have to suck it up and learn how to drive one...on the left.

Another errand for today is to select/purchase some necessary occasional furniture. Bookcases and dressers, namely, from the one place on the Rock that offers IKEA furniture, at a mere 175% mark-up over US retail. Awesome! Eff.

New Discovery.


Does anyone else sleep with a sleep mask on?

Our room is huge and very bright during both day and night. There are two large windows on two different walls, one of which faces a streetlight, and the other faces a building with security lights. So, at any given time in the night, I can totally count the number of pashminas that I have stacked up on the dresser. Bright.

After a year or so of living here, I realized that I am constantly "foggy". Most days, I wake up with my head full of cotton and it takes me ages to bounce back (and a double-shot of espresso) to jolt me to life. I have blamed this on everything I can think of. At first, I thought it was our bed. Then, I blamed allergies. Next, I blamed Kurt. Finally, it occurred to me that while I get plenty of sleep, it's probably not of the highest quality.

Besides the brightness of our bedroom, there is also quite a bit of noise from the street. Regular traffic, yes, but also the lovely noise from morons who pull over to use the bank machine and leave their stereos going full blast, windows down, doors open. Every night. And while it doesn't always wake me up completely, I'm guessing that the noise, mixed with the light, probably has me up multiple times each night and I don't even know it. Meaning that the really deep sleep that we all need (but which requires no interruptions and complete darkness) was probably not even happening, most nights.

Any new Mom would probably say "big effin' deal". But considering that I have lived here for two years, I've potentially gone a very long time without regular, proper sleep. So new Mom's can stuff it. I may not be waking up because of a screaming child, but is Tupac any less annoying at 3:00 a.m.? And again at 5:00? On a Sunday?

The last time I flew home, I purchased a $3.00 sleep mask at the airport, thinking that it might help me actually sleep on the redeye. And it did. So, I tried it at home during a formerlly impossible afternoon nap and guess what? It worked wonders. So, combined with earplugs (which I have slept with regularly for years, on and off), I brought it into the regular bedtime routine and I can't even tell you what a difference this has made in only one week. ONE WEEK. I wake up after fewer hours of sleep, feeling better. The cotton is gone. The IBD diet doesn't allow for caffeine, so I've been going without my double-shots for 11 days now...no problem. I don't wake up until the alarm goes off (an hour before I normally get up, but Kurt leaves early), and today I felt so good that I got up with him (again, ONE HOUR before I would normally get up) and we made breakfast together.

I'm going to invest in a "real" one because I'm not positive that my $3.00 wonder will last much longer, but I am so thrilled that such a simple thing can make such a difference.

Our new place, by the way, is much, MUCH quieter. When we visited on Sunday, I stood in the backyard and just listened and all I could hear were birds, frogs and wind. Lovely.

Home Sweet Home.

This morning, we went over to see our new place and take some photos. It is just as adorable and gorgeous as we remembered and now I'm even more excited to move in. It's hard to imagine what it will be like because it's totally empty now besides our bedroom set, but once our furniture is moved in and set up, I think it's going to be a very happy little home.



Awesome News.

I just spoke with our new landlords and they told us that the previous tenants moved back to the U.K. at the beginning of the month and that we can start moving our stuff in anytime. But our lease doesn't start until November 1st. So, we pretty much have a month to move. I'm so happy about this because the week that we were supposed to move, I'm starting my new position and doing a handover of my current job, so it's going to be a stressful week at work. Now, we can start taking car-loads of stuff over a few times a week and hopefully that last week, we'll just have to arrange to have the bigger furniture moved and have it cleaned.

SO. Excited.

I love the new apartment. We're going over to see it tomorrow and take measurements, so I'll get some photos.

Fall TV.

We don't have cable. That does NOT mean that I haven't checked out nearly all of the offerings of Fall TV 2009. And because I'm sure my opinions are valuable to someone, here are my reviews:

NEW SHOWS...in no particular order:

Cougar Town: I love Courtney Cox. It's 21:00 minutes of Courtney Cox being neurotic, eccentric and fairly hilarious. So...Monica. Incidentally, my favorite Friend. I've only seen the pilot but I'd like to see more.

Glee: Again, only seen the pilot but I'll watch more. I was fully entertained and the tunes are catchy. It's kind of High School Musical (shudder) meets Election meets Summer Heights High without Mr. G. I like it.

Melrose Place: No. Thanks. I watched the first episode and thought that the hour could have been better spent doing laundry. Not surprising, seeing as I wasn't a huge fan of the original either.

The Beautiful Life: Gossip Girl meets Eighth & Ocean meets America's Next Top Model (in the sense that the models live in the same house). I got totally hooked on this after only two episodes only to find out that they pulled it off the air before episode 3 aired this week. What? Apparently due to low viewership. A quick Google search proved that I was not the only one enticed into this one, despite the main character being Mischa Barton who ranks slightly behind Miley Cyrus on my list of people I harbour unkind feelings for. I'm sad to report that she didn't spend the years since she infamously died on The O.C. learning to act.

The Good Wife: Good Show. So far. The wife of a politician caught up in some sort of prostitution/embezzlement scandal has to go back to work as a lawyer to support the family while hubby (Mr. Big) is serving his sentence. Politics, scandal, a side of legalese...what's not to like?

The Modern Family: Brilliant. Documentary-style show about three (related) "modern" families. This is probably my favorite of the new shows this Fall. Definitely a keeper. If they pull it before episode 3, I'm going to be pissed. Watch it!

Hung: This has been on for awhile now (10 episodes into the first season), so it was new this summer and it is really, really good. High school gym teacher's house burns down so to make the extra cash to rebuild it, he becomes a male prostitute with the help of his "pimp" - an ubernerdy female friend. This is one of K's faves too...so funny.


RETURNING FAVORITES...

Weeds: I love Weeds. It might be one of my favorite shows ever, and one of the few shows where each season is better than the last, unlike so many other shows (cough...O.C....cough). Ahem. Weeds is delicious.

Gossip Girl: I don't even need to verify why I'm back for Season 3. I've been an avid fan since Season 1, Episode 1, watched in the Forgetful's TV room while I was waiting to move to the Rock. So. Good. I love Blair. And Chuck...but for very different reasons.

30 Rock: Again, don't really need to explain. If you have any questions, please consult the Emmy's. I (heart) Tina Fey.

The Hills: The bitch is back...do you think I would miss that for anything? No. I would not. And she didn't disappoint in the first episode. The season looks like such a trainwreck...Lauren is lucky she got out when she did.

The City: I watch this to see that idiot Olivia make an ass of herself and guess what? She nailed it on the first episode and threw a hissy fit on her first day of her new job at Elle. Pathetic. Can't not watch it.

Entourage: Season 6 is almost over, I think. I'm a big fan of Vinnie and his gang of merry men. I didn't like that troll who dated E in this season though...she looked too much like a 12 year old to make me not feel uncomfortable with the whole thing. But the show is still one of my all-time favorites.


This list makes it seem like I watch a lot of TV. I really don't. I just know what I like. And a lot of these will just be saved to load onto my iPod to entertain me during ferry rides, flights, etc.

Fall TV 2009 = mostly good stuff.

Thinking about 2010...

I can't believe that I'm already planning out 2010 vacation time, but here I am...carefully mapping out my vacation days over a year, trying to figure out how to make the most of them. And how NOT to spend them all in Canada, like this year. No offence, Canada, but I can get to London for the same cost as going home. Um....yeah.

So, that being said, I do need to kiss the soil of my Motherland at least one time next year. We don't know what we're going to do about our postponed wedding, but I do know that I'll be in Ottawa at the end of May and that K wants to be there for the CHEO BBQ in June, so there's a good possibility that those weeks will be our Great Canadian Adventure for 2010. Other ideas we're tossing around:

NYC for a long Easter weekend at the beginning of April. This is all but a done deal. We've been dying to go back since March 2008.

Boston for a long weekend in the Fall. Boston is a city that I have wanted to go to for years, even long before I moved to the Rock, where it is one of the primary destinations for island feverish Rock-dwellers. I hear it's best in the Fall, so the Fall is when we'll probably go. The deals from here are phenomenal if you book early.

NYC in November so I can kick some marathon ass. This is totally up in the air and obviously totally dependant upon me actually training for a marathon. I have a friend here who is running the marathon in DC this November and who had some words of advice for me that made me believe that the training here isn't as impossible as I thought it might be. I'd still really love to do this and it's still very much in my plans.

All of those trips together will still leave me with a week of vacation days left. Hmmmm.

I live for vacations.

Unstoppable Duo.

I got some exciting news on Friday. Shan and I got hired, officially, to shoot a wedding in Ottawa at the end of May, 2010. Well, Shan wow'd the client, and then she hired me to work with her. I'm so excited. I've been the "unofficial" photographer for a wedding before, but I was like the back-up for the back-up. This time around, it's just us, our cameras and someone else's magical day. I'm intimidated, but confident that we're going to make an awesome team.

SO. Excited.

Simple Salads.


A few weeks ago, I came across this brilliant article from the New York Times, listing 101 (very) salad recipes using unique and fun combinations of ingredients that are easy to find and simple to put together. If you haven't done so already, I would print a copy to keep in the kitchen for those times when you're feeling uninspired. Like most days for me, recently. I went through it on Friday and marked the ones that worked with the IBD diet we're currently doing and found lots that will work as is, or if modified just a touch here and there, and whipped up #2 and #3 for dinner on Friday night, to serve alongside our favorite chicken sausages. I added a bit of avocado to #2. Easy, delicious. Perfect.


I'm going to keep working (and blogging) my way through the list.

Ugh.

I finally returned to work today, after two weeks away. It wasn't pretty. I finally finished going through my e-mails at 3:00 p.m. Plus, I still feel kind of like crap. OK...a lot like crap. I have a head cold, on top of my annoying tooth issues...this week kind of sucks.

Photography Fun.

One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2009, which I am just getting to now, was to use my camera more and really take on the learning I need to do if I'm ever going to make a real hobby, or even a business, out of photography. I love taking photos and always have. This is perhaps best evidenced by the four Tupperware crates full of photos in my parent's basement, mostly taken during high school and the first two years of college. Lots of winners amongst those shots. But when I got my first digital camera and really started to play around, I stumbled into something that I really love to do.

I've had some encouragement lately to get more into it, to develop it further and to see where it can go. Where it absolutely can NOT go while I'm on the Rock is a real business, because that would be illegal. But it's a great time to build my skills and start to put together a portfolio and I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by all kinds of people, going through all kinds of exciting things in their lives, and who want those moments captured. And who are generous enough with their moments to let me attempt to capture them.

A few weeks ago, I photographed a couple I know who are expecting their first baby later this week. We went out one evening and took advantage of some amazing light (and strategically placed sunbeams) and I was really happy with how they turned out. It helps that the couple are beyond photogenic and the backdrop was seriously gorgeous, but they were thrilled with the photos, and that's all the encouragement I needed.





While I was in Ottawa, I had the chance to photograph my friend and her new baby boy. We didn't have a lot of time, so we just went up to the Hill to snap some shots and even though he slept through the whole thing, it was fun and we got some good ones. There were one or two moments where I considered a babynapping, but she was right there, so it wasn't a well developed plan at all.






I have two more "photoshoots" booked for the coming weeks - an engagement shoot for some friends who are getting married in 2010, and a one year-old's birthday photos. And, I was invited to help a friend shoot a wedding in Ottawa next May, which is pretty exciting. A bit intimidating, but I'm looking forward to them. I have a LOT to learn, but I'm inspired and lucky to have talented friends to call upon for guidance, if I need it!

New Look.

Every time I looked at my blog in the previous template, I would cringe. Something about it just wasn't right. Like those little blank purple boxes where the date was supposed to be. And that weird letter A above the first post. So, I changed it again and lo and behold, this template worked on the very first try. It's a keeper I think. For now.

Reading List Update

How am I doing on my "to read" list for summer/fall?

- Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
- A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick
- The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
- Canadians, Roy MacGregor
- Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
- My Life in France, Julia Child
- Julie & Julia, Julie Powell
- Making a Literary Life, Carolyn See
- The Food Revolution, John Robbins
- Possession, A.S.Byatt
- The Tenth Gift, Jane Johnson
- The Post Office Girl, Stefan Zweig
- Hey Nostradamus, Douglas Coupland
- After the Crash, Garth Turner
- Europe Through the Back Door, Rick Steves
- The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving
- Life is a Verb, Patti Digh
- 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, Gail McMeekin

Hmmm...not so good. I had ambitions of doing a lot of reading while we were on our trip, but that didn't happen at all. I didn't even crack the spine of a book, much less make any real headway on the list.

I'm home sick today from work, meaning that I will have been out of the office for two full weeks by the time I return tomorrow, assuming I a) no longer resemble a chipmunk (I am less chipmunky than yesterday) and b) the prescription painkillers and antibiotics combo no longer makes me want to barf up anything I ingest.

Have I mentioned that I HATE teeth?

Back.


Well, we're back from our trip to Ottawa and not super happy to be, to be quite honest. We had an awesome time. Last year's trip to Ottawa was so rushed and busy that we hardly had any time to enjoy ourselves. This year, we made a point of enjoying every day and spacing the annoying stuff out enough so that we could fit in all of the things we wanted to do and, with a few exceptions, we got it all done. It was great.


The whole time I lived in Ottawa, I was missing Victoria. And now that I'm on the Rock, I miss both. Sometimes one over the other, like now. And surprisingly, it's not my lovely hometown that I'm having a hard time being away from. Ottawa is full of so many happy memories for me, and most of our memories as a couple...special spots, favorite restaurants, stuff we used to do together...I guess after everything that went down this summer, I'm finding myself feeling nostalgic for those times. Not that the Rock doesn't have it's high points. But we had a blast doing "normal" stuff, like wandering around Chapters with hot pumpkin spice lattes, and driving down the Queensway listening to music. Sounds pretty blah, but seriously...it felt so familiar and nice to be able to live our old lives for a week or so.

We wandered the Market, ate Beavertails, shopped for beads (ok, that was me), did many, many laps of the Rideau Centre, sorted through boxes of stuff from our house that we left behind, had pho at phive (or mid-afternoon, anyways) with Shan and Jaia, BBQ'd some salmon, visited friends, caught up with the ladies of LUNLF over Thai food, photographed KKB and her new main man, Myles, and topped it all off with Mike and Krystal's wedding in Quebec. All in all? An amazing trip. And now we're back, moping around the apartment and wistfully making comments about what we might be doing if we were still there.

We are so geographically challenged. Sometimes, it's just too much. TOO MANY MILES. I'm so bored of airports. I wish we could just have our roots down somewhere and have our families and friends close by. Unfortunately, this is impossible.

I can see us going back to Ottawa, sometimes, if I think really hard and forget about everything that happens in Ottawa between December and April. Our Ottawa friends are a special bunch. I'm hating that we're missing out on so much of their lives, but happy that we're able to get there in 4 hours if we need to.

Anyways...I digress. I'm going to move on from my Ottawa love fest. The goodbye is still somewhat raw.

Speaking of raw, remember my root canal retreatment? Well, that was fun. Yesterday morning, I made my way downtown from the Toronto Airport on the subway (an experience all on its own), found my way to the endodontic specialist I was referred to, and spent 3 glorious hours in the chair, having my tooth fixed by the best of the best. Or so I've been told. And according to the internet. I felt pretty confident, but woke up today with a chipmunk cheek so I'm feeling sorry for myself now. Mostly because I look like I took a punch to the jaw. But, I suppose it was a pretty big infection and I'm not in any pain, so I'm feeling pretty good about it all. I'm hoping that this is the last I hear from this effin' tooth. If I have to go to work looking like this tomorrow, I'm not going to be very happy.


OK, I have to get to bed ASAP. I had a fab sleep last night in the most comfortable bed either (thank you, Hilton Toronto Airport), but it was cut short by my flight back to the Rock, so I'm more than just a little bit exhausted!

See that little purple box next to this blog post? Yeah. The date is supposed to be in that box. And I can not, for the life of me, figure out why it's not there. I have exhausted Google. I've tried to translate Spanish instructions. I'm stumped. And annoyed.

September 1: FML.

I went to the dentist this morning. It was a lukewarm affair. On the bright side, one of my three hygienist friends cleaned my teeth and did a great job. Now I will have to compare her to my other two hygienist friends and see who is the best. Even though I'll have to fly around a bit to conduct my comparison. On the negative side? The dentist suggested, nicely, that perhaps I should be hesitant to return to the dentist in Canada who did the work in the first place. Yes, THAT dentist with the last name that rhymes with "Doctor" and with the office in the bottom of the large complex with many law offices and such located within, who is so NOT desperate for work that he skimped on my root canal and did a fantastic job...of effing it up. Royally. I repeat: that dentist is crap.

And the specialist on the Rock is backed up until next June. Or maybe not that long, but long enough that waiting for an appointment isn't really an option for me. So, I've been referred to a specialist...in Canada. FML.

On the negative side, this effin' tooth will cost me an extra $500 (non-reimburseable) in plane ticket change fees and hotel charges to do an extended stopover in Toronto on my way back to the Rock. Fine. Annoying, but fine. This on top of the $2.5K that it's going to cost to have the work done (mostly reimburseable). Fine. FINE. What are my other options?

On the plus side, I should be out of the chair by noon at the latest and since the office is right downtown, I should be able to drool my way around the Eaton Centre before heading back to the hotel to sleep it off and fly back to the Rock the next day.

OK, enough about this horrible tooth, the bane of my existence. I think it has just ousted Miley Cyrus from the role of my nemesis and installed itself, in all of it's infected, abscessed, aching glory.

To add trial to tribulation, K had an appointment with my naturopath last night and was put on a diet to try to combat the horrible headaches the poor guy has suffered from 24/7 since March. Before the appointment, and without much thought, I told him that no matter what he was told that he had to do, I'd do it with him to make it easier. I did this thinking that he would be taken off of gluten and/or dairy, which I've gone through before. He forwarded me a copy of the diet this morning....check this:

- no grains of ANY kind (including rice, corn, etc.)
- no dairy at all
- no tropical fruit (fantastic, since K is allergic to all non-tropical fruits except berries)
- no sugar, in any way, shape or form including maple syrup, agave, honey...
- no salt
- no alcohol
- no caffeine
- no potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, or starchy vegetables
- no cooked carrots (?)

...and a variety of other no-no's. I honestly am stumped over what is left, besides meat and some vegetables. Especially for a guy who doesn't eat eggs, is allergic to nuts and can't eat most normal types of fruit, like apples, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, etc.

This should be fun. I'm so glad I agreed to join him. For a month. I mean, I want to be supportive, but this is VERY restrictive. Yikes.

2009 has been FULL of annoyances, troubles and stress...both of the small and large variety...and I, for one, am done with it.

Effed.

I logged into my blog the other day to find it totally effed up. Apparently, the photo-hosting site for all of the graphics on my fun, fancy blog got clogged up and so I was going to have to copy them all over to a NEW site and go from there. And then I got lazy and just deleted the whole template. Which I now regret. So now I hate my blog again. I have to find a new template to use but I'm too lazy at the moment, so this boring blue is going to have to do. For now. Give me a few days.

In other news, I am going to be spending at least one day of my upcoming trip recovering from an emergency root canal, to be performed on a tooth that has ALREADY HAD A ROOT CANAL. WTF. Why me? FML. I hate teeth. I am lucky to have a few hygienist friends, one of whom made it not seem like the worst effin' thing ever (which is what I equate everything to do with teeth with), and the other...did. I think she even used the word "disastrous". I'm not sure whose bedside manner I prefer but between the two, I got a pretty graphic depiction of what I'm in for over the next few weeks. I should know more tomorrow. Fan-freakin-tastic. At least I'm going to have the opportunity to have the dentist who actually did the original work get back in there and fix me up. After I punch him in the face.

August 26: Reading Material

I'm starting to think about packing and our upcoming move and as my eyes drifted over the ridiculous amount of stuff that we have accumulated during our nearly two years in this apartment, they came to rest on my bookshelf. Formerly the home of 8 books. Now the home of many, many books. And, after my last trip to Canada, many, many more.

What is with my obsession with books?

Even before moving to the Rock, I was an Amazon junkie. I'd buy books constantly, anxiously await their arrival, devour them, and then put them on the shelf. Like art. I love the way books look, all lined up in neat rows. And if you ever set foot in my parents' house, you'd see that I come by it honestly. They actually have an entire room devoted to books, along with built-in bookshelves all over the house, all of which are filled with just about every type of book you could think of. Every time I go home, I do a tour and grab whatever I want...it's awesome.

So, after lugging another 11 books home, here is what my "to read" list currently looks like:

- Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
- A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick
- The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
- Canadians, Roy MacGregor
- Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
- My Life in France, Julia Child
- Julie & Julia, Julie Powell
- Making a Literary Life, Carolyn See
- The Food Revolution, John Robbins
- Possession, A.S.Byatt
- The Tenth Gift, Jane Johnson
- The Post Office Girl, Stefan Zweig
- Hey Nostradamus, Douglas Coupland
- After the Crash, Garth Turner
- Europe Through the Back Door, Rick Steves
- The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving
- Life is a Verb, Patti Digh
- 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, Gail McMeekin

And still, my virtual Amazon shopping cart is full and ready to be checked out. I'm doing everything within my power not to give in, since I've got an expensive few months ahead of me but seriously...it's hard. I crave new books almost as much as I crave Baskin Robbins peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.

Books make me happy. I'll let you know which of the above are worth checking out.

August 25


Well, as you have probably guessed, Bill was a bit of a pussycat. We got some pretty crazy wind and rain late Friday night, and our car got covered in a layer of salty slime, but other than that...Bill was a non-starter. Which, of course, is good news. We chickened out and went to a friend's house to spend Hurricane Bill drinking, playing games and watching movies because she had power and we lost ours at around 6:00 p.m. But, seeing as her landlord didn't close her shutters and they banged against the side of the house ALL NIGHT, we probably would have had a better sleep at home. Oh, and our power apparently came back on right after we left the house, so we even would have had A/C if we'd stuck around. Next time!

A special thank you to our CayMAN correspondent, Ass, who kept us up to date with all pertinent storm announcements.

The photo above was taken the morning following the "hurricane". The water was insanely angry and dangerous and the hurricane washed away most of our favorite beaches. The sand will be back soon...but it's weird to see what beaches look like without it. Mostly rocks, actually. Who knew?

I got up early today for the first time in a few months and went out for a brisk walk with my former running buddy. We figured that we should ease back into our runs, given that a) we haven't ran in at least 8 weeks; and b) it's approximately 40 degrees out there, PLUS 94% humidity. HOT. We leave early enough that the first part of our walk was pretty OK, but the sun had come up by the time we were headed back home and we were both dying. Good times! I love fitness.

2.5 weeks from now we're headed to Ottawa for a week ending with a very large wedding. I've been pretty busy organising our "to do's", which so far include the following (in no particular order):

- Rideau Centre, St. Laurent & Place D'Orleans (I need to shop)
- IKEA (I need new cutting boards)
- Mama/Baby photoshoot with my friend and her brand spankin' new son, Myles
- Haveli (I need Indian food)
- Lunch and/or drinks with the ladies of LUNLF
- Kurt and Kris day. We don't know what this means yet, but so far it includes a morning at Le Nordik
- Pho at Phive

That's it for now. The list will probably be a bit longer by the end of the day.

August 21: Well, this is fun...

We're home from work, safe and sound. The ferries stopped running mid-day, so my co-worker gave us a ride. I'm glad, because the backup "plan" was to ride the scooter home. Terrible plan, actually. So far, the Rock is getting lots of rain, lots of dark clouds and the air feels very electrified, like something is coming. The waves are gigantic, splashing up over the roads in some areas already, and Bill is still hours and hours away. However, we're safe inside, shutters closed, supplies handy, ready to take this on...whether it's just a lot of wind, a lot of rain, a lot of both, or - worst case scenario - a full on hurricane. They suspect that the storm will pass us in the wee hours of Saturday - somewhere between 4:00 and 7:00 a.m.

Bill is still rated a Category 3 hurricane, which means that he hasn't regained the speed that they thought he would. I suppose anything can happen, but I'm taking this as good news.

I'll keep you posted if things get interesting.

August 20: Um.....

DEFINITELY should have stayed in Canada for an extra week because I'm back just in time for...MY FIRST HURRICANE! Did that sound excited? Because it should have had some serious FML undertones.

Category 3 is serious. Category 4 is extreme. Category 5 is catastrophic. Bill was a 4 yesterday, downgraded to a 3 today, and expected to be back up at a 4 again overnight. And expected to pass by these parts in the next 48 hours. Unimpressed. We've bought all of the supplies on the list (including chips) and we're closing our shutters tonight and I guess all we can do is hope for the best? Sure am glad I don't own a boat...it would get tossed around for sure.

Wish us luck! Eff tiny islands in the middle of the Atlantic. EFF THEM ALL.

August 18: New (Old) Hobby.


When I was in Grade 7, our class had to fundraise so that we could go on a class trip to Strathcona Park. It was a big deal because it was a SLEEPOVER trip, which meant that most of us were hoping to do some sneaking around and making out in the bushes when our teachers and chaperones weren't looking. Because, when you are 13 (12 in my case), planning to sneak around and make out in the bushes is as good as it gets. Besides cherry-flavoured LipSmackers and getting to dance with the guy you like to Stairway to Heaven at the school dance.

My friend and I decided that instead of doing a lame car wash or bake sale, we were going to make jewelry and sell it at school. I had a stash of beads and we pooled our meager savings to purchase all of the necessary supplies and we got to work. We effin' cleaned up. Two lunch hours selling our wares and we were $230.00 richer. Which, by the way, is a FORTUNE when you are 12 (in 1994). And far more than we were making with our after-school paper route, which netted approximately $0.02/paper. We made (and shared) about $4.00 a week delivering those stupid papers. What a gargantuan waste of precious worry-free pre-teen time.



Unfortunately for our bank accounts, our venture as entrepreneurs was short-lived. We made enough to get ourselves on the bus and into the room above the boy's room and enjoyed a week of PG fun and jewelry hit the backburner. In fact, my bead box of tools and supplies was sold at a garage sale a few years later and I forgot how much fun it all was until I moved to the Rock and met a VERY talented jewelry-making Australian named V, whose fabulous, sparkly creations I wear almost daily. She's inspired me over the past few years and on this last trip home, I took a course with my Mom and my sister. I have to say...I got into it. Very into it. And while the course was more about the techniques, I got a chance to do some designing and found a new love in wire wrapping and gemstones. So. Much. Fun.


I think I'm going to claim a corner of our new apartment and do some playing around. I'm going to have to order supplies from the States because (surprise!) there isn't any kind of supply store on the Rock, but I'm kind of pumped to start fiddling around and to see what I can come up with.


August 17: What I wish I was having for dinner tonight.

Half-order of salmon sashimi, expertly prepared by Tamami. Amazing.

What I AM having for dinner tonight? Whatever I can put together with whatever is in our cupboards, since we haven't gone grocery shopping yet. Do artichokes and KD go together?

August 16: Home Already?

That week went by shockingly fast. I feel like I was just sitting here, uploading TV shows onto my iPod for the plane and mentally going over my packing list (while procrastinating actual packing). However, I spent the last 7 days in my lovely hometown. It was slightly chaotic, but we packed a LOT in. In point form:

- Tamami Sushi (I drool for their salmon sashimi)
- Cowichan Bay/Merridale Cidery/City of Totems
- Saltspring Island
- Moka House almond milk lattes
- Velvet Wednesday
- Jewelry-making course (I am now going to become a famous jewelry artist)
- Heron Rock (x3). Pickled Caesars were spot on.
- Quality time with Dan/Shan/Bean. I am so in love with that kid. And SO loved hanging out with them and showing them some of my favorite spots!
- Quality time with Christa, a good friend of mine from Ottawa, and her boyfriend Alex. Fun times.
- Quality time with my Victoria people. All of them. I miss you all TONS when I'm not there.
- Driving on the right.
- Beacon Hill Drive In.
- Brunch/lunch with my ladies on Saturday morning.

I love home. And I'll be back in 4 months or so, so I don't even have to be sad and gloomy about leaving it all behind.

Next up, Ottawa in September. Excellent.

August 5: Loves.

Frozen organic raspberries with a bit of dark chocolate. Pretty much the greatest dessert ever.

My first order from anthropologie.com arrived today and not only did everything fit perfectly, but I am totally in love with the newest additions to my wardrobe, including a very classic denim jacket that I have been wanting, like, forever. So in love that I logged right back on to populate my wish list.

Victoria in two sleeps. Including tonight's sleep, which should have started an hour ago, so it's pretty much a write off, meaning that it's really only one sleep.

The most amazing sashimi ever approximately 45 minutes after we land. YUM.

I had confirmation today that my paperwork for my new position has been sent on to Payroll. Cha-ching.

Night!

August 4: A Boat or Two...

Sunday was the end of the Rock's annual four-day long weekend, and is always the day of boating. There are races, live music and events, all in the little bay behind our house, but mostly it just means that there are a LOT of boats. Check this out.


We weren't out on a boat this year, because I had a badly-timed haircut and by the time we got home, it was WAY too hot to think of tracking down someone to come in to the beach and pick us up (and the whole bay was a boat parking lot so no one could move easily anyways), so we just watched from the shore.

I love boats. I've managed to get on one every weekend so far this summer...and there are lots of weekends left before the boats get moored for the winter. Good news for me...bad news for my perpetual raccoon eyes tan.

August 4: Uh...

Actually, it's four sleeps. I can't count. NOW it is three sleeps.

August 3: Monday, Monday.

Not my favorite day. This is especially true after a long weekend spent doing pretty much nothing. Relaxing, sunning, a cold beverage or two, some time on a boat...that was about all we had on our agenda and we fulfilled our (two) obligations nicely. One being the boat, and the other being a hair appointment for me yesterday. Besides that, we just enjoyed ourselves. And we might have done some casual stalking around the new neighborhood, in a totally non-creepy way of course.

Anyways, back to Monday. It kind of sucked until about 3:00, when I was called into a meeting and told that...I GOT THE JOB. OMFG. It was all I could do to hold it together and muster up "professional" until the meeting was over, but as soon as it was...totally unprofessional. There might have been some squealing (concealed behind closed doors). It is just a really awesome opportunity and means good things all around.

I start at the beginning of September, though the actual start date is a bit fuzzy since I'll need to do a proper handover of my current position, which will be advertised soon.

YES!!! Anyways, that was GREAT news. It's an awesome promotion that I fought tooth and nail for, and won. Happy happy.

I didn't do much in the way of celebrating tonight, though I did indulge in my favorite pinot with my favorite guy, while watching one of HIS favorite movies, Swingers, which is actually a pretty decent way to spend a couple of hours. Now it's off to bed with The Poisonwood Bible, which I am finally reading and wondering...why did it take me so long to take this one off the shelf and get into it? It's fab.

Three sleeps.

July 29: Yessssssssssss.

Remember how the Rock has a four-day long weekend at the end of July? To celebrate...cricket? Yes, well, it does. And it starts today, when the work day ends at 5:00.

I'm not into cricket at all, and I certainly am not into snow cones (which seem to play a major role in the celebrations), but I am into a four-day weekend with hot, hot weather and maybe a tiny bit of boating thrown in for fun. That's pretty much all we have planned for the four days but I'm looking forward a lot of down time. I'm hoping to start taking photos of all of the stuff we're going to sell before we move...time to get rid of a lot of random furniture we never sit on/eat off of/look at. I'm also looking forward to sleeping in and eating some chips. Because that's what holidays are for.

I'm going to try to take some photos this weekend, because I haven't been doing a lot of that lately and think I should be trying to capture some summer shots. The weather has been great lately (hot though...our apartment is over 30 degrees when we get home after work) and not too humid yet, so that will probably set in while we're away and we'll come back to the greenhouse I remember the Rock being this time last year. Awesome.

In other news, I'm now a week and a half away from a plane ride!

July 28: Blonde dot com.

Please check out my link to Blonde dot com, the Internet's latest addition, written by the soon-to-be-famous-for-blogging blonde friend of mine who shall remain nameless for the time being. But who's name you should be able to figure out by referring to her blog. She's so funny she makes me pee.

July 27: So.


Major accomplishments today:

1) Secured our fabulous new apartment! Yup...it's all ours. At the end of October, which seems SO far away and especially so, since I'm SO excited to move now that we have such a great place to move in to. And yes, there is room for houseguests, so come on down. Just don't all come at once.

Can't. Wait.

2) Secured second interview for the job!!! And subsequently began freaking out obsessively over the interview, which is with my other boss. Who is the most lovely person in the world, and who I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for, but perhaps those are the reasons why I'm so nervous about the interview. I interviewed for my current position with only the other boss (and this one via conference call), so I don't really have a point of reference for interview style, but it's at 11:15 tomorrow morning, so I don't have to freak about it for that much longer.

YES.

We celebrated the above with a lovely dinner at the Lighthouse tonight, out on a patio overlooking...everything. You can see both ends of the country from up there and it was a beautiful, sunny, clear evening. I had caesar salad and the piccante pizza, and K had a mozzarella and tomato salad with a pizza topped with prosciutto, arugula and parmesan. Yum.

Hopefully we'll have even more to celebrate later in the week. My fingers are crossed, but I saw the calibre of candidates and so I'm trying to keep my expectations in check.

July 27: Mememememememe...

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:30...had to catch the early ferry in this morning to get all the work done I was supposed to finish on Friday but didn't. Because it was Friday.

2. How do you like your steak? Alive. Or very occasionally medium.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? What the eff is a cinema? The last movie I saw in a theatre was "He's Just Not That Into You" in Grand Cayman with Ash and Andy...in February. I obviously don't get to the cinema very often.

4. What is your favorite TV Show? I'm enjoying True Blood and Hung (HBO, HBO). Other favorites include Entourage (HBO), Big Love (HBO), and my all-time favorite, Sex and the City (HBO). I am sensing a theme.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Right now, I am A-OK with the Rock. But my home Rock will always be #1 for me.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Breakfast? Terrible...I know...

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Malaysian. It's like a glorious mixture of Indian and Thai.

8. What foods do you dislike? Watermelon.

9. Favorite Place to Eat? Heron Rock and Haveli in Canada. Rustico on the Rock.

10. Favorite dressing? Champagne viniagrette.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? No vehicle.

12. What are your favorite clothes? My weekend wear...shirts, tanks, flip flops.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Barcelona.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 full, actually.

15. Where would you want to retire? I think I'd try to spend part of the year somewhere warm, so maybe a Victoria/Rock combo would work out.

16. Favorite time of day? Early early morning, if I'm awake in time to see it.

17. Where were you born? Victoria.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Gymnastics.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back? No one, since I won't tag anyone.

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? like I said

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? Mine.

22. Bird watcher? Sure, if there is a bird around, I will watch it.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? I love early mornings but I am a night owl. This rarely works out.

24. Do you have any pets? Yes, Harley the cat who now lives with my parents.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I rented a new and FABULOUS apartment today!

26. What did you want to be when you were little? A lawyer. Nerd!

27. What is your best childhood memory? Playing with my sister and the cousins at Hornby.

28. Are you a cat or dog person? 100% cat.

29. Are you married? No. That was awkward.

30. Always wear your seat belt? Yes, I like to arrive alive.

31. Been in a car accident? Yes, I drove into the back of a fish and chips delivery vehicle in Cook Street Village circa 2001 and it cost my Dad a fortune because they had a flippin' Echo (boo) and we had to replace the whole back end. Thanks again, Dad!

32. Any pet peeves? Ignorance and when people spell my name wrong. IT'S NOT HARD!

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Capers and spicy stuff.

34. Favorite Flower? Pink oleanders. And yes, I know they are poisonous and deadly.

35. Favorite ice cream? Chocolate peanut butter.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? No fast food on the Rock.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Zero.

38. From whom did you get your last email? From myself...reminding myself to do something.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Anthropologie.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Hmmmm...no, I don't think so....

41. Like your job? Mostly.

42. Broccoli? OK.

43. What was your favorite vacation? Spain/England 2006.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? My man, just this evening. We sat on a patio overlooking the whole country and toasted to our new fabulous apartment.

45. What are you listening to right now? Myself, typing.

46. What is your favorite color? Emerald green.

47. How many tattoos do you have? None

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? is this a test?

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 8:10 p.m.

50. Coffee Drinker? Soy lattes.

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