Friday, August 24, 2012

Til We Meet Again

I've been spending the past week as a tourist and I am so grateful to have been able to enjoy my time here these past few days. The weather has been sensational and my friends have been so accommodating with their schedules so that I have been able to spend time with everyone. Sunday was spent at my friend's house out in the country to celebrate my going away and also my birthday (which was on the 20th). It was such a good time and I am so thankful for each friend who was able to attend. The actual day of my birthday was also great and ended with an amazing meal at Lot 30. It was definitely one of the best meals that I have ever had on this island and I think that everyone should eat there at least once.

As I said, I have spent the past while acting like a tourist, doing tourist things and visiting tourist places. I've gone to more beaches in the past week and a half then I have the entire time I have lived on PEI. This island is called "The Gentle Island" and I can most definitely understand why (apart from the raging winds). The people, the land, the beauty that this place holds and the slower pace of the province makes it a gentle place to live and vacation to. I'm jumping on a plane tomorrow and might never come back. I've learned so much about myself living here and and experienced such great things, I thought that I would take the time to share some of these things.

- I learned about a province I knew nothing about!

- I met a guy. Chris is sweet and romantic and a talented musician. What can I say... I've become quite attached.

- I was introduced to hot yoga. It pushed me beyond what I ever knew I could do and made me sweat more then I knew that I could! Dynamic Fitness was a huge part of my life here and I thank them for teaching me so much.

- I got a Bachelors Degree of Science. That's fairly rad.

- I became someone's personal cook! That was such an unexpected job but it was such a great experience.

- I learned how much I love biking! I biked the Confederation Trail for miles and miles, always pushing myself to go a little bit further.
The Confederation Trail - right outside York, PEI.
- I got the desire to open my own business. Stay tuned!

- I learned to always count to at least 5 before stepping into an intersection after the light turns green because  there is a very high chance that someone will be running that yellow or red light.

- I became a blond. Who knew such a crazy impulsive decision would suit me so well?

- I became a bit of a beach bum and now love swimming in the ocean.

Basin Head, PEI. The only white sands beach on PEI.
 Did I also mention that they are "singing sands"?
This is me jumping off the bridge at Basin Head.
That is some super salty water to jump into.
- I got over my fear of flying. I didn't know this would ever happen. But I guess when it takes 3 planes to get from PEI to Trail, and do that 2 times a year for 5 years, you start to zone out.

- I learned that I really love crab cakes. I really don't like shellfish so anything with the words crab, lobster, clams or mussels just turned me off completely. Then only 2 weeks ago I tried a crab cake for the first time and actually like it! I've had 3 of them since!

- I had my tea leaves read and also my eyes read. Very cool experiences.

Me at The Kitchen Witch right after eating the meal but before
getting my tea leaves read.

- I learned to speak up and express my feelings more. Unfortunately I learned this the hard way, but better late then never right?

 - Sat in this chair.

- I worked at a sex shop. Ha! Good times.

- I learned how much I love wigs! Wigs are awesome and I wish that I could wear them all of the time. 

Wigs are awesome.
- Made some amazingly amazing friends who I hold near and dear to my heart and shall never forget.

I will miss PEI very much - there is no denying that. There are so many things about this place that I love and will appreciate until the day that I die. Til we meet again Gentle Island.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: 50 Shades of Grey

Alright. The time has come for me to write about the 50 Shades of Grey books. Hold on. I need a drink.

*Goes and gets a bottle of Keiths and takes a long swig*

You know when you were a kid and your mom would tell you to not do something, but you just had to test her and did it anyway? Remember how the second you did it you instantly regretted it because it led to either, a) severe pain, b) horrible embarrassment, c) a bath, d) being grounded, e) toys taken away, or f) a trip to the emergency room? Let's just say that I wish that mom had warned me to not read these books because instant regret flooded through me when I finished them.

I only started to read the first one because I was hearing so much about it and how insanely "controversial" it was. I'll admit that all the attention that it got had sparked my interest and I started to ask around about it. I heard mixed reviews and decided that I'd have to read it myself because I never make my decisions of books to read or movies to watch based on other peoples' opinions because what someone else may like could completely differ from what I like. So I got my hands on book #1 and read it within about a week (I was on vacation at the time). I just...have really nothing good to say about this book. The writing was poor and if I didn't know who the author was, apart from the rather graphic sex scenes, I would have guessed that a teenager wrote it. There was absolutely no depth to the book, the reading level seemed very low, and every so often she would throw in a big word to make her sound intellectual, but it just came across sounding out of place. The characters are extremely one dimensional and so insanely predictable that it became hard to read.

Anastasia (lead female character): The beautiful (but she doesn't know it) leading lady who is 100% pure and innocent (but every man who meets her loves her but she is clueless and ignorant to their advances) and has never had a boyfriend and has definitely never had sex or any sexual experience whatsoever. She's clumsy and simple but smart and educated.

Christian (lead male character): The unimaginable gorgeous man who makes every single woman swoon and blush by merely looking at him. He had a horrible early childhood which left him emotionally damaged. He was adopted by a wealthy couple and grew into a self sufficient billionaire who has a secret S&M lifestyle in which he contracts women to be his submissives but never ever has personal or emotional relationships with the women. He just ties them up, whips them and does all types of naughty things to them.  

Plot: The two meet. They have an instant carnal attraction which leads them into a constant spiral of situations which ends up creating a magical and unconditional love.

It was bad. Really bad. "Oh I love you but you don't love me but you do love me but won't tell me that you love me so I have to leave you while you figure out what you want but then I have to come back to you because I love you and love the kinky things you do to me." Give me a break.

Ok, so you'd think that I would have stopped reading them after finishing the first one. The same damn thing happened to me with those retched Twilight books. I read the first one and even though it was unbelieveable atrocious, I felt the need to read the next one because what if the second one was better? What if the author learned how to write after completing the first one? What if the characters grew in dimension and wisdom and personality as time went on? Why doesn't this ever happen and why do I always fall for it???

Let me just skip to the ending and say that these books are not good. Like, really not good. The books are so badly written that I felt embarrassed many times while reading them. The author clearly does not know how to create and build up the story-line or the situations within it, so she fills each book up with multiple small scenerios that come and go as quickly as it takes to turn a page. Someone was kidnapped? What's going to happen? 6 pages later, kidnapping resolved! 3 pages after that heart pounding scene, new shocking turn of events! How will this be resolved? 4 pages later, problem resolved! Give me a break.

And don't get me started on the words that she uses. If I had a nickel for every time that these characters "muttered", "rolled their eyes", "murmured, "whispered", said "Holy Shit" or talked about how much they love each other and promise to never, ever, in a million trillion years leave one another, I would be as rich as Christian Grey.

So why are these books to popular? Why are women flocking to the bookstores or buying electronic versions of this book by the millions? Because it leads people to fantasize that we can change people and that love is strong enough to make a person change who they are. It can make you dream that the simple, everyday mousy girl can get the most powerful and beautiful man in the country by simply being herself. It gets women to fantasize about this amazing man who cares only for you and would move mountains for you, and only you. And this man can do things to you sexually that you never dreamed possible and then take you for a ride in his own helicopter (which he can fly himself obviously). It's kinky and romantic all at once. It turns women on. It mostly turned me off, but maybe I'm just built differently.

There is one good things that came from this book. They called their "playroom time", or "red room of pain", kinky f*ckery, which I think is hilarious and I plan to use that. And please watch this video. Please. It's too funny to pass up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bike Trip Pics

Today I went for a bike ride and brought along my camera. I am hoping to take as many pictures as I can the next few days so that I can take some of PEI's beauty with me when I leave here in Saturday. Here's a sample of the pictures I snapped today!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Now I'm A Believer

It can be a difficult feat to become a believer sometimes.

There will be times in you life in which changing your mind will be easy. You might be a die-hard Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream fan but then someday, someone convinces you to take a lick of their Cherry Vanilla and BAM, you love them both! Changing your mind was quick and painless and all of a sudden you get two ice cream options instead of just one!

There will be times in your life in which changing your mind will be impossible. You might be terrified of snakes and no matter how much rationalization, hypnosis or shock therapy you go through, nothing will ever make you touch a snake. You will live the rest of your life terrified of snakes and that is the end of that.

I grew up in the interior of BC where we swam in lakes. Swimming, boating and fishing was done in freshwater and I have never been able to get over my unadulterated love for freshwater and switch to the saltwater experience. I've swam in the ocean a few times but never was able to enjoy it all that much. The salt made my eyes fuzzy very quickly (possibly due to the Lasik eye surgery???) and licking the water from my lips only to taste salt just kind of grossed me out. Plus the beach always seemed so windy every time I was there so I would be picking sand out of my belongings for days afterward. Sure it was kind of cool to be instantly more buoyant when you're in the water, but the cons seemed to outweigh the pros. I'm a freshwater swimmer. End of story.

But then Wednesday happened.

After getting stuck in a major writer's block at work, I decided to skip out early (the boss said it was OK as long as I made up the hours on Friday, which I did) and go to the beach with Chris and his parents. We arrived a little past 3pm and the thought of being at the beach with the insane humidity in the air was like heaven. I was looking forward to the cool air from the ocean and being able to enjoy just laying in the sunshine. When we walked over the dunes to see the giant waves crashing into the shore, I instantly got excited. The waves were huge! There was even a guy out there surfing! We don't get waves like that at the lake. Needless to say, we had a blast playing in those waves. The water was amazingly refreshing and even though my eyes got fuzzy and the water tasted gross, the waves outweighed any cons that day. Everyone who was in the water that afternoon was having so much fun and even all of the adults were goofing around like little kids.

Now I'm a believer. Jess and I went again today and even though the waves weren't as huge as the previous visit, I was able to appreciate my surroundings so much more. It just took me a few trips to the beaches on PEI to be affected by them positively. I still love my freshwater and will still pick freshwater over saltwater; however, I won't turn down an invite to the ocean ever again.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fruit Of My Labour

I had an excellent bike ride after work today. I was riding along, lost in my own little world, when I noticed a large bush of blackberries on the side of the trail. SCORE! So I stopped and picked a bunch, stuffed my cheeks to my satisfaction and went on my merry way once again. Then it happened. I got stuck with blackberry vision.

My family is fairly obsessed with huckleberries, which is a delicious little berry related to the blueberry that grows in mid-alpine regions. When you grown up always looking forward to huckleberry season, looking for plants just becomes second nature and you can spot a bush a mile away. You get a sort of tunnel vision in which you don't see anything but huckleberry bushes. Well this happened to me today, but with blackberry bushes.

My big bowl of deliciousness! Yum yum yum!
I have been riding the trails for 3 summers now and have never once seen a blackberry bush along the trail. It's not that they weren't there...I just wasn't seeing them because I was never looking for them. But the trees and bushes at this one area  of the trail are growing well into the path so riders have to swerve around them to avoid getting a branch in the eye. Today I swerved around a branch only to notice it was loaded with large ripe blackberries. After that, my blackberry tunnel vision was ignited and there was nothing else I could see from that moment on.

About 12 kms into my ride I couldn't handle it anymore because there were bushes everywhere! Luckily I had a plastic bag tied to the frame of my bike (that's another story as to why it was there) so I stopped and just started picking. The ants, flies, mosquitoes and thorns should have been enough to deter me from my task but no, blackberries are a hot commodity around here and my hunting and gathering instincts were taking over. Plus every tiny seed particle flying off of the plant was sticking to the sweat on my arms and chest, so by the time I was done, I was covered in black dots. I ran into Chris's dad on the ride back and he even commented on them...damn. I was hoping to be a bit more inconspicuous in my picking obsession.

Thorns and mosquito bites couldn't keep me down!
At what point do you think that we lost our desire/need to hunt and gather? Have we become just that lazy in today's modern world? In some parts of the trail, there were houses just a few hundred yards from the overloaded bushes, yet I would bet a good part of my paycheck that no one in those houses walks out to pick any berries. Why would they go out and pick them for free when they could buy them at the grocery store for $4.99 per pint? If I lived there I'd post signs all along the trail saying that the berries are overloaded with unwashable pesticides and not safe to  eat. Then pick them all and keep them all for me!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Soul Searching

Yesterday was one of those days where I wish that I had a video camera on me because I witnessed something awesome.

It's no mystery that I love cows. I have confessed my love for them on several occasions on this blog and I will stand tall and proud of my declaration of adoration for this animal. Yesterday, Chris and I went for a bike ride on the Confederation Trail towards York, PEI when my supernose detected raspberries (it was really hot so being able to smell sweet raspberries was no major feat). We hopped off our bikes and started picking and eating the yummy fresh berries on the side of the trail. After a few minutes of munching, we came across a cow sitting all alone in the shade on the other side of the fence beside the trail. We proceeded to talk to the cow but it didn't seem all that interested in us. It just laid there on its side, staring at us. Another minute or two passed and then the cow grudgingly got to its feet. This was when we realized that the poor thing was injured. Cow 206 (the number on the tag on its ear) had an injured front leg and could put barely any weight on it.

When we realized that 206 was injured, we decided it would be a good idea to go find the owner and let him know that he had a hurt animal. Plus the poor thing was all alone on the opposite end of the property, so it was probably pretty lonely too! We walked back to our bikes and started to ride away when we heard a low mooing. Across the field was the rest of the herd and there was a smaller cow mooing in the direction of 206. We stopped and stood there, listening to the mooing and watching the small cow separate itself from the herd. It mooed and mooed for about 2-3 minutes then started to quickly walk towards 206. I said to Chris, "I want to see how this plays out!" and we jumped off our bikes and walked quietly back over to poor 206 who was waiting patiently in the shade. 

A few weeks ago, I was horrified by a friend who told me that he thought that cows had no souls. WHAT? No souls? Really? He said that if you look into the eyes of a cow, there is nothing. They are blank in there. Now I would blame any kind of blankness to having a small IQ, but saying that a creature has no soul is just not cool.

Little cow mooed and mooed as it walked up to 206, and the moment they were close enough to touch, they started rubbing up against one another affectionately, sniffing each other over and just making the world seem like a much better place :) The sweetness and tenderness was heart warming. It was easy to see that this must have been a mother/child relationship and it really put my heart in my throat to witness.

On the ride back towards Charlottetown, we passed 206 again to see that 206 and baby cow were laying in the shade together, waiting to be rescued by the farmer.

I dare someone to see something like this and say that these creatures have no soul. Impossible.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thai Broccoli and Chicken Noodles

I stumbled upon this gem of a recipe yesterday and was delighted to see that everything I needed was already in my fridge. I looked over the original recipe and decided to tweak it slightly to fit my tastes. And the outcome was far more delicious and easy than I would have expected, so I decided to share it with the world! It's tangy, creamy, slightly sweet and all over enjoyable. If chowed it down too quickly to remember to take a picture. Enjoy!

Thai Broccoli and Chicken Noodles
- Cooked vermicelli noodles (rice noodles)
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 1 head of broccoli, washed and cut into florets
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp grated ginger-root
- 2 tbsp natural peanut butter (I used chunky)
- 1 tbsp Braggs, or soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1-3 tsp Sriracha sauce (or any hot chili sauce), depending on your love for it hot
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup water
1) Heat the coconut oil on med/high heat and add the broccoli. Stir-fry for 5 minutes then add the chicken, onion and shallot. Stir fry 5 more minutes.
2) While the vegetables cook, combine everything into a blender (or Magik Bullet like me!) and pour onto the cooking veggie mixture. Heat through.
3) Spoon the sauce over the cooked vermicelli noodles, top with some extra chopped green onions and enjoy!