Monday, 27 July 2009

BC Adventuring: Part III - I'll Miss the Mountains

Today was boring. The highlight: I retrieved my rebuilt Birkenstocks from the shoemaker. They look spiffy!

But my BC trip was much more exciting.

Day 5: We woke up early to avoid the heat of the day and hit the road to the bike rental shop and spent the morning biking the sea wall in Stanley Park. I took about a million pictures, but I did it while biking, so half of them are crooked. It was probably a poor and dangerous decision, but it was so pretty, I just wanted to take pictures all the time. Every time we went around a corner I wanted to take more pictures.

When we got to Third Beach we locked up our bikes and spent an hour lying in the sun and cooling down in the water. Water from the Pacific Ocean! My first time.

By the end of the ride we were sun-scorched and pooped -- we managed to get separated and a little lost, but finally returned the bikes and found a Noodle Spot for late lunch. It was called Legendary Noodle, on Denman. Very delicious.

After lunch we hiked back to the hotel for a rest and a shower. Once Ange finished work, she joined us there and we went on our adventure to Richmond. Some Ange quotes on Richmond:

"It's the real Chinatown! Where the real Chinese people live."

"Welcome to Richmond. There are no street signs, so when you come here you're like "where the fuck am I?"

So we took the bus. The most exciting part about the bus was that it was free, all four times with the tranfering -- for some reason the bus driver never took my money. Oh, and some skater boy in a purple t-shirt eye flirted with me on the way there. I was wearing a new dress I was unsure about, and took that as a vote in favour of the dress.

The reason we went to Richmond was for the outdoor Asian Night Market. When we got off the bus Ange explained that she didn't know where we were going, but we decided that following all the asian people was a good plan. We trekked through a Home Depot big box parking lot that had signs that said "Absolutely NO night market parking". We were on the right track. We continued to trek through a parking lot and behind a warehouse to a little village of tents.

There were a few different types of stalls which repeated over and over: knockoff tech accessories, pirated DVDs, jewelery, and bras and socks. The one exception was a unique stall that sold holographic pictures of puppies and busty women. We briefly considered buying one for the 3rd floor common room, but moved on.

The food was the real reason we went. Ange made me eat everything, basically:

1. Octopus and dough balls. Thumbs down from me.
2. Pork Dumpings
3. Fried Squid and Tofu
4. Shrimp dumplings
5. "Hurricane fries" : a spiral cut potato on a stick
6. Rice noodles with peanut sauce
7. Bubble Waffles (bubbles of waffles, bascially)

and we washed it all down with bubble tea. I woke up the next morning with a rumbly tummy asking me what the hell I'd done to it.

Day 6: We hit Gastown, which was less exciting that I was expecting, but I did enjoy all the cobblestones and stone buildings. Gastown is the original Vancouver, so it's all historical, like I'm used to. We had a delicious Mexican fiesta of a lunch and my mom and I shared a Margarita.

For some reason, that hike home felt sooooo loooong. I was dead tired, and sweaty.

Day 6 was a low-key day. The highlight was a relaxing cup of chai in a coffeeshop in Gastown. The window was thrown open and the air smelled great.

Day 7 we left town. The plane ride was awesome this time because there were no clouds. We watched the Rockies, then the prairies slip by. Soon we were back in Ontario (we could tell by the lakes).

I love the moutains. Love love them. I really want to go back as soon as I can.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

BOLO recap, among other things

WOW is it ever RAINING. Save some for drought-ridden areas, would you, sky? And pipe down on that thunder. Thunder makes me uneasy at the best of times, but having just returned home from watching a little girl for the evening, I'm on edge. Somehow, though the house shook and I jumped every time, she slept through the thunder. Phew.

Today went by remarkably quickly. Fridays are half-days at work, so the actually shortened day paired with extreme exhaustion made me feel like I drifted into work, sat down, got up again, and left. In the middle I copy edited. Today I was the queen of copy editing.

The best part was though I woke up wondering if my alarm had gone off just before dawn due to the lack of light coming from the sky, I hauled myself out of bed and knew I would plop it back down mere hours later. I love my Friday afternoons in bed with a book -- and a nap. Although, I didn't think it was possible to have a nightmare during an afternoon nap. Aren't "day"dreams the nice ones? Maybe my brain was confused by the darkened sky. Whatever it was, I had a terrible dream which culminated with my beloved cat dying. I woke up panicked, breathing hard, and my cat picked that moment to reach her paw out and rest it on my foot in a very comforting way.

(Here Rosie helpfully reminds me there are more important things than technology)

Last night's Blog Out Loud Ottawa was a lot of fun! I met all sorts of new bloggers, like Nat, who made me laugh so hard I was tearing up, and caught up with Andrea and Milan. I met people whose blogs I completely love and look forward to reading every day -- most particularly zoom, whose posts amuse and touch me on a regular basis*.

Well, new lurkers, that is, bloggers I met last night, I enjoyed hearing from all of you very much and I hope the feeling was mutual! Thank you again, Lynn, for putting together such a fun event.

On another note, I think both "zup" and "ex-u-pee" sound weird. I mostly just read her name and try not to figure out how to say it out loud. XUP, did you have any idea what kind of controversy you were starting with your blog moniker?

(Here is a picture of another of my cats, Jubal)

Thursday, 23 July 2009


Blog Out Loud Ottawa is tonight -- I'm very excited. I love meeting the other people whose words I read on a regular basis. Hearing everyone's voice will be the best.

Oh, plus I'm reading. That part I'm trying to forget about. Wish me luck, and I hope to see many of you there!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

BC Adventuring: Part II - Bigger Mountains!

Day 3: This was by far our most exciting day. It starts on the night of Day 2.

After being in BC more than 24 hours with a chance to catch my breath, I decided to call up my friend Mark (of the amazing band New Providence) who lives in Victoria. I knew Victoria was kind of far away and involved traveling over water, but hey, if you're not going to go nuts on vacation, when will you?

It was so nice hearing his voice. After many phone calls and a lot of googling, we decided it was feasible to take a day trip to the island to see Mark. The only way of making it work, however, was if we had a car. Which we only had for one more day. So it was decided we'd forgo the sleeping in plans, drag our tired asses out of bed early and beat it to the Tswwassen ferry.

(Passing another ferry, among the Gulf Islands)

I felt a little guilty, dragging my family along, since it was my friend we were making all the effort to see, but none of us regretted it. It was so beautiful, sailing between the Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay. It was a warm, sunny day on Vancouver Island and we put the top down on the convertible and left it down all day.

(walking along the pier)

Victoria is a perfectly lovely city. Lots of the historical bits I'm used to, as well as gorgeous vistas. Mark gave us a great tour of the city, all along the water front. Top down, sun on our faces (burning us, it turns out). We walked out on the long pier where the cruise ships stop and looked at the Olympic Mountains across the straight in Washington State. I was mesmerised -- they had snow on the tops of them! And they were huge!

We finished up the afternoon by driving to the top of Mount Doug and surveying all of Victoria laid out below us. Note: this is a must-see when in Victoria. Just barely, in the distance, we could see Mount Baker, a real live volcano, towering about the mountains around it, completely covered in snow. That pretty much blew me away.

(Mount Baker way in the distance)

Day 4: We headed out on foot (rental car now returned) and visited Granville Island where we poked around, saw the sites, and bought fresh produce and bread to make a picnic on the quay. There was even some decent busking to listen to. I also ate the most amazing donut of my entire life. Curse you, Tim Horton's, for killing all the little places that made donuts that way!

(lunch on Granville Island)

After we got our share of sun, we took the Aquabus across to downtown and hit up the Golden Age of Dutch Art exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery -- a very neat and beautiful building, by the by. I hardly ever go to galleries, but it's something I always enjoy. I particularly love historical context, so I love audioguides. The best was one paintin of a women receiving a love letter and all the things in the room and the picture hint at what it says. That's the kind of thing I've never know without an audioguide.

(The Vancouver Art Gallery)

We finished off the day with delicious, fresh sushi. Mmm... I miss sushi that good. I ate way more than I should have and fell asleep early.

(Sushi Dinner)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Becoming (a writer)

This afternoon I was sitting at my computer when my dad tapped on my door. "Can I come in?" he asked, the way my dad always asks. Like he's hopeful but worried that he's going somewhere he's not supposed to, like he's forgotten he paid for the house. At moments like these, with my dad, I think that adults sort of peak, at a certain point, and then regress back into childhood. I can't help but think this is probably the way he asked my Grandmother if he could enter a room when she was busy, making dinner, or doing a crossword by herself. His face is intent and has purpose but it's waiting.

He's coming in with a package in his hand. When I open it, I find a tiny pin in the shape of a fountain pin. I look at it, and my dad pipes up, "You can wear it on your lapel, or something, anything". I turn it over. "It's from an artist in Alaska". I smile and say the magic words he wants to hear, I say "Thank you dad. I love it". And I do, I really do. It's a very nice pin. My reticence, my anxiety stems from what he's celebrating with this gift hthat e bought in Minnesota at the beginning of the summer, and saved for this right moment.

After I hug him, he leaves again. The pin is sitting next to me, here, by my computer, on top of the stack of books.

This is a post of exciting news. I heard about this exciting news 10 days ago, or so, in an email, but I wanted confirmation before getting hyped up about it. On a whim, earlier this summer, I applied to a job (well, unpaid) I heard about in a mail out from my journalism school. In one of the few truly spontaneous moments of my life, I applied to, and have subsequently become, a blogger for Macleans OnCampus. The confirmation, now, is that my profile and picture are up on the website. Now that I have the confirmation, I should get excited, but instead the anxiety has crept in and prevents everything else.

This is silly, I've been blogging for years now*, and as the Macleans people said in the email, they like my writing. This should be easy. This is something I truly can do. Except, I can't seem to convince myself that I can. Because it's a step forward and each one of those means I'm somewhere I haven't been before, somewhere directly adjacent to where I just was, but this little spot is different enough that breathing is harder. This place, I'm uncomfortable enough that I could totally and completely mess up. I want a map for this place.

This, I've decided is the last of my defeat. This is the last of my anxiety. I will draw my own map. I will take purposeful steps forward. I will write things I like and hope that others accept it. But I will not let myself crumble if they don't. I give myself permission to do this because the only way I can become a writer is by writing things.

A couple hours later, while watching TV, my dad muses about the gift he's just given me. "Well... you're a real writer. I'm incredibly proud of you." This comment, at the time, filled me with paralysing fear of failure, of disappointing him. Now, I feel a little bit proud too.

On a more practical note, I will keep writing this blog, here, as well as the one over at Macleans, which will be a little different. Less personal, for sure. But I will keep writing; it's good practice. And I'm proud of it.

Thank you Ira Glass (by way of Ange) for giving me my daily dose of inspiration:

*OMG, seven years. Wow.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

BC Adventuring: Part I - Mountains!

BC was totally incredible. I love, love mountains. Love.

Day 1:
We flew in to BC early in the morning. Because of the time difference, we arrived with a whole day ahead of us. I sat next to the window, itching to see the mountains the whole way. I've done my fair share of traveling, but I've never seen "real" mountains, rocky ones with snow at the top. More than anything else, I was excited to see that. Unfortunately, it was cloudy the whole way over. I saw snaps of Ontario (lake) and Saskatchewan (fields) but missed out completely on snowy peaks. When we finally descended, I could see the mountains around Vancouver slipping into the clouds and I got very, very excited.

We picked up our rental car (hello deal on Mustang convertible!) and we drove to our hotel. Too tired for much activity, we decided to drive on highway 1 up to Horseshoe Bay. Driving along, watching the mountains and lush green fly past, I was drawn in completely. I took a hundred pictures and all of them failed to accurately capture what I was seeing and feeling, so part way through, I gave up.

On the way back, we drove over the Lionsgate Bridge and through Stanley Park to downtown. After the lush forest, the shiny, hard, stark downtown was more than I could handle. I'm used to stone buildings, a little bit of history... downtown Vancouver is all glass. I immediately wanted to retreat back to the mountains and breath in the cedar wood and salt air of the bay.


Day 2: We headed up to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I knew it was either going to be really awesome or really touristy, and it turned out to be the best of both. Incredible views (biiiiig trees) and high school students dressed in period costumes (1890s) with old timey music playing. We gaped and walked through the tree top bridges and took a nature tour (the coveted fish feeding tour, in fact). The tour was the best. Some of those trees are 1000 years old! That's incredible! They were big trees when Dante was writing the Divine Comedy.*

After our fill of touristy, we hit the road for Abbotsford to take care of some business (the whole reason for the trip out there in the first place). On the way, we stopped in New Westminster and ate at the Green Diner. It's not a diner at all, it's the local sandwich shop where sandwiches named after clients cover a whole chalkboard wall and they pack pic-nic lunches (basket and all!). We stuck around at closing time and chatted with the owner (who is originally from Cape Breton, no word of a lie), exactly the kind of person you'd want to know. She loves to make sandwiches, but nothing too crazy, "people don't want to eat that every day!" Her shop doesn't want to be anything more than your regular stop. I highly recommend it, and I recommend the chicken corn chowder, her new recipe -- she gave us a cupful to try.

Well, two days is a lot to read (and write). I'm still a little jet-lagged and need to fix my sleep schedule. Part II to come!

*FYP strikes again. It was actually the first comparison that popped to mind.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


I opted not to go to Girl Talk at Bluesfest tonight. The awful headache of the other night has been hovering, just outside my head, waiting to pounce at the first hint of stress or noise. To combat it, I spent my weekend relaxing. Mmm.

Tomorrow I head to Vancouver for a few days. I will by blogging all about it. With photos! Hurray.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Lazy, lazy, lazy

Today I was totally planning on going to work. You know, grudgingly, since like Jo Stockton, I love, love long days doing nothing. I have only recently realized this deep love. Last summer I remember hating the "doing nothing" days. What was I thinking? Such wonderful leisure, completely taken for granted! Sure this week hasn't been ideal, what with the chipmunk cheeks and the throbbing and the salt water gargling, but the afternoons of lying in bed listening to music and reading and dozing have been lovely. The percocet is not so bad either. Also, LC from two months ago? Those bamboo sheets were a WONDERFUL idea.

All this aside, I have a lot of things to get done at work and I won't be in next week due to a family vaca (yes, vay-kay) to Vancouver, so I really thought a few hours' work would be a good plan. So I put aside my lounge-y clothes and got the ole' blouse out of the closet. Relatedly, I have perfected the art of lounge-wear, and no, there is no lululemon involved. I looked super foxy today, ask Sarah who came over to watch SYTYCD on my couch.*

So the going to work things was thwarted by the Killer Headache, subtype: Worst I Have Ever Had. I procured this headache via hipster overload. No, I'm joking, kind of. I was cajoled into going to the Metric concert at Bluesfest last night. I enjoy Metric, I enjoyed the last show of theirs I saw and I really like their new CD. The show was fine, but it went on too long and the headache attacked me. We left after Stadium Love and I dragged my guy friends over to Iron and Wine which I was very much looking forward to. Unfortunately, I had the same experience as Stella, and thought it was underwhelming. I felt a bit like I was in a holding cell for all the Ben Harper fans who wanted to be far from Metric.

I beat it home after and lay on my bed with a cold cloth on my head to soothe my head and block out the light as I Skype chatted. I went to sleep around my normal bed time, not so much looking forward to work. When I woke up in the morning I felt like someone had tied a heavy weight around my head. Neither tea nor a shower helped and I gave up and went back to bed. I slept til noon, and I am not a sleeping in kind of gal. I'm not. But it was glorious.

I've spent the rest of today on the edge of a headache. Tonight I'm staying in quietly with a borrowed copy of Vanity Fair and a DVD, curled up under said bamboo sheets and nursing my head. I hear tomorrow is going to be a dreadful day weather-wsie, so I intend to stay in a CLEAN! MY! ROOM! You heard it here first. Oh! And make eggs for breakfast.

My life is soooo exciting.

*New TV show? So You Think You Can Dance On My Couch? I volunteer to host it. Mia Michaels can come over to my house anytime.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Less wise

Monday morning at 10am I had my wisdom teeth pulled out of my head. Two days in and I'm feeling OK (thank you percocet). More to come when I'm more coherent.

Current cravings: Quasedillas, hambuger, pizza pop.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

I fully understand being judged by the position taken (re: Spice Girls) in this post.

I sort of wish I’d been weirder when I was younger. My name was the one the supply teachers never pronounced properly and other kids loved turning it into less than charitable nicknames, but my weird factor was pretty limited beyond that. Average height, average weight, blond hair, brown eyes, an outgoing bookworm. I wore a lot of pink. As much as I remember that kids can be mean, I also remember being very normal. I wasn’t leading any trends, but nor was I ignoring them. In fact, I remember following a lot of trends. I played with Barbies and My Little Ponies and knew all the words to Spiceworld (a skill that has come in handy more than once in the years since).

The Spice Girls were really not that bad. I mean, sure it was all manufactured and the songs contained subject matter than wasn’t really appropriate, but all I remember is sitting on the playground assigning Spice names (I was Baby Spice. Blond hair, natch). My mother put up with our tape playing over and over – she used it to entice us to get ready on time for school. At least the catchphrase my friends and I took from the Spice Girls was “Girl Power”.

I look at the girl band du jour now, and gag. The friendly, smiling faces and bizarre costumes of my childhood favourites have been replaced by a series of glorified strippers in dominatrix outfits. Um, gag? If they had been around when I was ten, no way would my mother have even allowed the tape in the house, and rightly so. Poor little girls can’t even play with Barbies anymore; they weren't the best for body image, but the “new Barbie”, the Bratz dolls, shouldn’t be anywhere near anyone who isn’t old enough to wear a bra. Also, Gap? Babies don’t need skinny jeans. Thanks.

What is wrong with the world? I’m a little bit disgusted. It must be hard for all the moms out there with their daughters being bombarded by the Pussycat Dolls. I do not envy their predicament. I remember being ten, I remember how everything friends were allowed to do and I wasn’t were SO unfair. Kids don’t see the big picture. I certainly didn’t. At least my number one role model was Claudia Kishi from the Babysitter’s Club. Does anyone read those anymore? Does anyone read anything anymore? My own little sister is only three years younger than I am and she and her friends barely ever read unless forced to. Without all those fabulous literary characters to draw on, pop culture retains an even larger influence.

Yikes. When I have kids, I’m chucking out the TV.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Oh, Canada.

I had a perfectly civilized Canada Day that I thoroughly enjoyed. Best on record.

I accomplished an early goal -- sleeping in. I've done precious little sleeping in during this break and any time I get for that is wonderful. I stayed in bed until noon, when I finally got up and picked out a red and white outfit.

Eventually, I made it downtown. I love the feeling of the city on Canada Day; every street is buzzing with the energy, every third house is humming with the sounds of a party, BBQs are going with the smell of hot dogs, people are handing out free stuff, there is an incredible surplus of South American music and Eastern traditions being played out on Wellington.

A large mob of us gathered and did the traditional mid-afternoon Canada Day walkaround. We loop down Elgin, down Sussex to the NAG, back past Major's Hill and then back down Elgin. You see a lot going that way. We got the sun, the sights, and the spiked slushies that are the cornerstone of our Canada Day.

While at the NAG, showing off Maman to our out-of-town aquaintance, we got caught in the brief, but heavy, downpour. I took shelter.

After the walkaround, we ended up moseying back down the canal toward my neighbourhood. We spotted a rainbow as we passed over the Bank Street Bridge, en route to the next location.

After a few beers and some catching up, as well as a mandatory drunk dial to my cousin Nathan, I was feeling my day wrapping up beautifully. As everyone started to get ready for the march downtown to the fireworks, I decided what I really wanted was my bed. My decision was rewarded with a call from my other cousin (it's a Canada Day tradition!) and a call from Phil. Beer and shawarma in my belly and sun on my face, I crawled into bed and listened to the fireworks in the distance.
Happy Canada Day! I hope everyone had as great a day as I did.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Vinyl Cafe

Tonight I saw the Vinyl Cafe at the Museum of Civilization. I heard that a fellow blogger/one of my favourite musicians, Andrea, was playing and immediately bought tickets. And invited two friends along. I was hoping they'd say yes so I wouldn't end up going all by my lonesome , and turns out it doesn't take much arm twisting to get people to listen to Stuart McLean. He has a wonderful way of enchanting his audience so he's our friend and so are his characters and he's also going to share some damn good music with us. Cause he's that kind of friend.

Andrea's voice is so lovely and she played my favourite song, so no complaints from me. My two friends were immediately in love with her music. I also really enjoyed Hawkley Workman, who I knew I should know, but didn't. His songs made me smile. And, of course, there was Stuart.

Stuart fidgeted and squirmed. He tapped his feet and stepped and reach and flapped his arms as if to push free of the ground and take us all up, up and away from the sold-out theatre where we sat, up to this wonderful, free floating playground where Stuart's imagination lives. We all suspended our disbelief and flew with him. We were all make-believers for a couple of hours. We floated away on Andrea's voice.

It was so familiar. It was so comforting. It was so what I wanted to do the day before Canada Day. I love my CBC.

During the show, the producer came out at intervals for various reasons. At the end of the show, my friends both told me "LC, that's what you should do!". I'll file that one away for future reference.

Now I'm planning on sleeping in, leisurely waking up, dressing in red and white and finding my way to my friends downtown to celebrate this country we live in. Cheers!