Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You want me to what?

I used to think work was pretty decent. It had it's bad days, the coffee tastes like burning, the view outside consists of a lone tree and a slatted wall, and the usual day to day office shenanigans. Today, well today opened a whole other door of "having a bad day". I can usually deal with what work throws at me, but I draw the line when I'm asked to pee in a cup at the office. Yup, that's right. They're in the process of extending our health care plan, but when they want to weigh me, measure me, take my blood pressure three times and want a urine sample, that's pretty much the line that I'm not going to cross in my work environment. I asked if I can go to my doctor to have it done, but nope. She needs to do it. Well, can she at least answer one question: Is the information kept confidential? She was unable to answer that, but gave me the form that I would have to sign after going through said tests. It states: the US and Canadian Government have access to all of my information at any time, once I "sign below".

No thanks. 

So, those of you who are sitting at their desk reading this, thinking how crappy the coffee at your office is, or how annoying Joe from accounting is, just be grateful that they haven't asked for your pee.

I spent last weekend in Seattle, our neighbor to the south. We loaded our bikes in the truck, and managed to evade rain the whole weekend. Biking around Seattle is amazing, but it does make one appreciate the condition of our roads up here in Van. I felt like I was on a slalom course on some streets, constantly weaving in and out of gargantuan potholes. The weekend was relaxing, pretty non-eventful. Batting cages, a couple of great restaurants, and a day at the street fair, which was overrun by Seattle hippies.

Our beloved Canucks have secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. The streets of Vancouver went up in a roar with our victory last night, and everyone was all smiles on my way home. The horn honking and yelling didn't subside until the wee hours of the morning, and the stillness of this morning makes me believe that half the city is hungover. Yours truly, however, resisted all temptation and sent myself to bed after the game. I have a bout with my personal trainer today at 5, and I don't think I would be able to fight through that if I was feeling like many others in the city are no doubt feeling today.

That's it for now,


Monday, May 16, 2011

Play Ball ! (and hockey)

These past three weeks have definitely been interesting ones. Softball season has officially started, I joined a pottery class, my bf's rugby team won the provincial championship, I finally got a night out with a friend whom I see very rarely, I took my new bike for a nice long ride, and I tried to get people to sign up to donate their organs.

When I think of softball, I think of sunny Saturdays hanging around Stanley Park's Brockton Oval, bbq's sizzling, boomboxes playing their tunes, and sipping a freshly cracked cold beer on a warm day. This season, though, has been quite the opposite. Sloppy fields, grey skies, rain outs and miserable people. Some were upset about the weather, and others were grumpy due to the fact that they were missing one of the Canucks games that our scheduled games collided with. We've had one really nice evening game since the start of the season (which happened to fall on one of the said Canuck's games). Our team won the game, and after hearing the entire city rise in a dull roar, we realized the Canucks had won theirs, too. It was bittersweet, being all the way out in the park. Many of us yearned to be in one of those noisy bars, beer in hand, doling out high-fives to our new found best friends. On another hand, hearing the city from afar was pretty exciting too. It's amazing how a few boys with sticks and a puck can bring an entire city together. Just ask any resident here, and they'll tell you that "this is the year".

For the next 8 Monday's, you'll find me sitting at a pottery wheel for my new found hobby. I've decided to try out other forms of art, and this is my first stop. After a quick catch up lesson, I was ready to try my hand at it. It's pretty fun stuff to work with, bringing back those carefree days of playing around in the mud as a kid. It's pretty soothing too. There's something hypnotizing about the spinning of the wheel, and the blob that sits perfectly in the center of it. After two hours of playing around, followed by 45 minutes of arduous clean up (that clay gets EVERYWHERE), I victoriously emerged with two bowls and a large mug. Not too bad for a first time potter or potterer or whatever it is that I think I am now. Tonight will allow me another opportunity to expand my knowledge of clay, and I'm pretty excited about that.

This pretty much brings me to yesterday, where my sis and I volunteered at the BC Transplant booth at the EPIC! sustainability conference. Wearing a bright red shirt with several assorted cartoon organs across the front is a pretty good conversation starter, that's for sure. We had the usual people who were eager to sign up, we had the hesitant people, and we had the down right refusals. It surprises me that they just walk off saying they "don't want their heart in someone else" ect. I find it interesting that its the young kids that say things like "well, I'll be dead, I won't need them anymore", and it's the parents who hesitate.

Following our stint at the organ booth, we headed out to further deteriorate our own livers and to watch hockey at a friend's fundraiser event. They raised lots of money, the Canucks won, and I left there with an awesome gift for my cousin - a Anaheim Ducks jersey, signed by the team. He's a die-hard Ducks fan (I know, I can't believe we're related either), so I know as soon as he sees it he's going to probably faint. I can't wait!

That's all the catch-up for today - time for me to take a break from all this hard work at the office.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

five-star theives.

Yesterday saw me returning to punching the clock and sitting at a desk. I had spent the prior eight days laying around in Mexico, in the beautiful town of Cabo San Lucas. We stayed near the town, in a beautiful resort which provided eager travelers with unlimited drinks and food. We visited the town a few times, and of course took a water taxi out to see Land's End. We were able to go by the famous arch, which was exposed on a beach, something that happens only once every four years. Lucky us!

The only negative thing I can really think of about the whole trip was the fact that I had my wallet stolen from my room. I'm grateful that it was my travel wallet, and the few items inside can easily be replaced, but I'm a little bummed that I had taken a couple hundred dollars out of a bank machine the night before. I just hope the senor or senorita that stole the wallet desperately needed the money to feed their children, or any other reason that they could use it more than I could have. I guess now I have no excuse for not getting a new drivers license too. The tattered, expired and 9 year old photo of me are now in the hands of some Mexican. Maybe, if their conscience catches up with them, the house I used to live in before I turned 20 will have a wallet show up in the mail one day.

After screaming off my balcony in frustration (which was highly recommended by my sis), we spent most of our time pool side, with a constantly replenished cerveza in our hands. Surprisingly, there were almost always kids in the bar pool, and when they started eating nachos it was pretty much time to move. Trying to dodge soggy nacho chips whilst making ones way to the barstools can pretty much ruin a good buzz. All in all, it was a fantastic trip with wonderful friends, and although I wouldn't return to that resort in particular, I'd be happy to return to Mexico. Maybe a small town, so I can see what real Mexico is like without the tourist hot spots. The one thing that will have me returning is the incredible people. They are all so friendly, and they seem so willing to help out. Especially the guys that always are offering their companionship as a Mexican boyfriend, or offering free Mexican massages (which was nice until I found out what that was...)

Unfortunately, upon returning home I realized that I hadn't taken the time to clean up my apartment. After trying to precariously balance my suitcase on a pile of laundry, I decided that unpacking would have to wait until I cleaned up the rest of my place. As we speak, it's still not done. I managed to catch a cold on the day we returned back to Vancouver, so that's been my excuse. I'll have to see if I can make it through today without keeling over, then I'll work on the cleaning. As for now, I suppose I'll have to get back to this "to-do" pile that's been giving me the stink-eye.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Wheely cool!

About eight months ago, I was out for breakfast at the local watering hole, Score on Davie, and hanging on the wall was a beautiful bright green bike. It was like a piece of art, and I knew that I wanted it. After inquiring about it, it turned out that it was part of a fundraiser, and they were unsure about what was going to come of it. Fast forward to Thursday of last week, and a friend of mine randomly told me about a fundraiser going on at said watering hole. I decided to pop over, and sure enough, after the auctioning off of several bachelor and bachelorettes, up wheeled the piece de resistance... the green bike. Before the auctioneer even opened his mouth, I knew I had to have it. Worth $1,000, they said. Bidding started at $100. Done! Some guy across the room was trying to move in on my bike, so I upped it. So did he. So did I. This went on for several bids, until I jumped the price by a large sum, rather than the lowly $25 increments. After holding my breath for what seemed like an hour, they announce the winner. I unfortunately don't carry large sums of cash in my wallet at all times, so I had to have a quick run home, scoop some moolah, and run back to claim my beauty. I think I got it for a steal, especially since it was exactly what I was looking for in a summer bike. Here she is, pre-personalization:

After this photo was taken, she underwent a couple of upgrades, including really nice tires, new pedals, and a really REALLY sharp seat. I can't wait for the weather to pick up so I can take her out. I still haven't named her, but I'm sure it'll come along. I hope Spokey doesn't get too jealous. 

So, one more week until I'm off to the tropics of Mexico, a very VERY needed vacation!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011


As was mentioned in a prior post, I have a bad case of lack of creativity. This terrible problem has been going on for about three months now, and quite frankly, it's getting really tiresome. So, yesterday after a long day of working (read: watching seagulls outside and wondering what they are thinking) I decided to do some shopping on the way home. The rain was holding off, I had some extra cash in my pocket, and I actually felt like shopping for the first time in months (must be the weather). After splurging on a pair of much sought-after shades, some new jeans, and a couple shirts, I stopped in at a shoe store for some new kicks. A pair of plain white canvas shoes shouted out at me, and I had an epiphany. Canvas shoes are basically a blank canvas, so why not paint on these? It'll be fun, and give me a unique pair of shoes that no one else on this planet has!! I basically ran home, with this idea in my head, scared that if I took too long it would fade away and again I'd be unsure what to draw. So, three hours later, I present you:

So fun! Now, we just need a little sun so I can try out these and my new shades.

Aside from this, there's really not much to report. Mexico is approaching in 13 more sleeps, and as much as I want to pack now, I think it's best to hold off for at least another week. Staring at a packed suitcase will get me too excited every morning.

In the meantime, I'm off to go ransack the local shoe store to see if I can pick up any more of these blank canvases for my feet. The options are limitless, and there are a ton of other designs I want to try out! Oh, and the sun has decided to make an appearance as we speak. I'd better get out there quick.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seawall, Spaghetti-No's and Salsa

After another long day at work on Monday, the last thing I really felt like doing was going down to the dingy dark gym, turning on the fake lights, and running on a machine for an hour. So, although the skies looked ominous, I hopped on ol' Spokey (I've decided to name my bike...) and headed for the seawall. Aside from the occasional runner, it was smooth biking the whole way around. The skies were on my side too, because although with every turn the clouds looked darker and I knew rain was imminent, it held off until I got home. Just barely. As I hopped off, the first drop fell. Perfect!

After being out in the cold, I was looking for something that would really be a nice, cozy warm dinner, especially now that the clouds were letting loose. So, after some recipe googling, I settled on PPK's Spaghetti-No's. Ok, they were supposed to have lentil "meatballs", but to be honest, considering it was 7:30pm, and I hadn't eaten since lunch, I wasn't much up for preparing meatballs, rolling them, baking them, ect. So, pasta and sauce it  was, and when it was done, it was delicious. It actually TOTALLY reminded me of Zoodles (aka spaghetti-o's). I don't think I can  make it again though, because I pretty much ate the whole pot. It was as addicting as the Zoodles were when I was a kid. Two thumbs up for taste, for sure.

For yesterday's dinner I decided to stray away from the usual pasta or rice. A big shoutout to @rollergirl17 for linking to Fat Free Vegan for this recipe. Mmm, Mexican food! I had papaya sitting in my fridge, begging to be used within the next day, and I also had most of the other ingredients already on hand, so this one seemed like it would be a breeze. Emphasis on the "seemed like" part. On my stroll home, I realized I didn't have any soft corn tacos. So, I stopped into a grocery store, but to my surprise, there wasn't a corn taco to be seen. I tried another store. Again, not a corn taco to be had. But, alas! What's this? White corn flour? Well, why not try making them myself? Brilliant, I thought. Oh, and why not get one of these super looking pineapples? They would go great in the salsa! So, once again, I managed to make MORE work for myself. The salsa and the marinade came together in a snap. The pineapple wasn't too bad. The corn tortilla batter was the tough part.

I read the instructions on the bag, which boldly stated that "it is so simple and quick! Just mix, roll into a ball, and place in your tortilla press for 50 seconds!!" Wait.... Tortilla press? I don't even know what that is...How the heck will I manage to make pretty little round tortillas? Well, I pulled a MacGyver in the kitchen by placing a ball of dough between two sheets of parchment paper, and flattening with a big cutting board, then rolling out with a rolling pin to make them nice and even. The result of all this was a corn-dust and corn paste encrusted kitchen, and about 14 little round tortillas. A lot of work. A lot of cleaning. Definitely worth it. They were tasty little guys! I fried up the tofu in my new cast iron pan (which I can't believe I've lived without for three years), and assembled a couple of tortillas. I'm glad that I put the pineapple in there, it really added a lot to the salsa. The papaya and the pineapple really gave this dish a Hawaiian feel, something that I can never really seem to get enough of.

So, I brought some for lunch to the office, and offered some up to my guy, and he loved them. Said they were really good, but a lot of work to assemble at the office, and he had a hard time "taco-ing" it. Very funny. And hey, you thought it was hard to put together? Try chopping up a bunch of papaya and pineapple, squeezing limes and getting it in your eye, preparing and mincing a hot chili without letting any of it touch your skin, rolling out 16 perfect little dough-balls, and flattening them without a tortilla press...then tell me how hard they are to assemble.

But they are worth it. Totally.

Monday, March 28, 2011

There's going to be a few changes around here...

OK, so I've decided to go a different direction here. I tried, I honestly did, to actually follow the whole vegan thing 100%, but it was proving too difficult for yours truly. I lack the necessary willpower for such a feat, I'll admit that. Currently about 50% of my meals ARE vegan, but that doesn't seem to be enough to warrant a blog about vegan-ism. It's about time that my writings branch out to include a little more of my life, rather than focusing mainly on what I'm stuffing into my face.

So, without further ado, let's begin!

I've been stuck with "artist's block" for the past month or so, and it's getting to be a pain. I can sit in front of a blank canvas for an hour, and end up putting it back up against the wall, void of even a single pencil stroke. I'm really unsure what to do in this case. I just hope that once my crazy month is done at work, I'll be able to relax and let the imagination flow back out through the paint. Saturday night I attended an event put on by Monika Blichar at My Chef, just off of Main and Kingsway. The place had a great vibe to it, which was further enhanced by the live paintings of Monica and Sarazen Brooks. It's always fascinating to see a painting start to emerge out of what was once nothing. They were each working on one of two canvases that would eventually be put side by side as one piece, and it was great to see how the different styles and interpretations of the subject. They had great wine, and great samples of their menu for $2 each. To top of the great event, I won a gift certificate to L'Atelier Hair Boutique, with which I'm not sure exactly what I'll do yet. I'm one of those never-change-my-hairstyle kind of people, so maybe I'll use this as a chance to change things up for summer.

Saturday during the day I went out an supported the local Vancouver Rowing Club Ruby team, who played Richmond at King George park. There is something about being out in the sunshine, watching a bunch of guys running around with a ball that just makes me feel like summer is just around the corner. After many MANY questions to my oh-so-patient other half, I am starting to understand the game. After 90 minutes of sitting at the edge of my seat, the Rowers pulled in another victory. One guy broke his nose, and I was close enough to hear the crunch as the team medic pushed it back into place. I also witnessed two gashed foreheads, a couple of sprained ankles, and numerous other wounds being taped up or iced. Boys are weird.

Sunday I headed to the underground garage and woke up my beautiful bike from a 5 month hibernation. She was a little dusty and low on air, but still brought a huge smile to my face. I forgot how much I missed the feeling of riding! An hour later, after some air and some tuning up, she was reading to go. After a game of basketball (which I gave full effort to, but still managed to lose), we took our bikes out for a ride, and it was amazing. Summer is just around the corner people!

Oh, and my personal favourite: magnolia trees are just starting to bloom - enjoy them!!