Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Counting My Blessings

I've been in a bit of a funk the past few weeks, mostly just stress and whatnot, and the happenings of the past couple of days have made me sit back and re-evaluate my state of mine. I've met a couple new people who have inspired me to put on a happy face. I've been following the holiday stories and pictures on Facebook of my friends and family back home, and knowing that they are enjoying the time of year makes me very happy. I have also been watching a fair amount of uplifting Christmas movies which have actually put me in a very festive spirit.

One of my all-time favourite Christmas movies is White Christmas, and Bing Crosby said it best, "When I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep." This post is dedicated to all of the blessings in my life which have given me a very festive spirit and the smile that has been glued to my face all day.

- The fact that it's December 24th, sunny and 8 degrees outside. ABOVE ZERO!
- My amazing family back home who sends me love every day.
- My generous mom who always pays attentions and knows what I want/need and surprises me with the perfect gifts every year.

- My dad who is always encouraging and forever big-hearted in every way.

- My oldest sister who loves Christmas to the max, makes everything beautiful and has given me an adorable nephew (and soon to be niece!) and keeps me updated on the happenings around home.
- My middle sister who makes teeny tiny snowmen for me (which always makes me laugh) and has survived a year from hell with amazing strength and courage.

- My niece who has been such an inspiring person in my life. Watching her and hearing the stories of her strength throughout all of the chemotherapy, horrible treatments and tests and travelling back and forth from Vancouver, has been life-changing and changed my perspective on basically everything.

- My bestie in Wyoming who has loved and put up with me since we were 5 years old, and respects my opinion enough to send me bits of the novel she is writing.

- My heterolifepartner who has accepted me for who I am from the first day we met, and always sends me pictures of her kids. I love them and look forward to them every year.

- The big-hearted boyfriend who makes me constantly laugh out loud and managed to give me a Christmas gift this year that was the absolute perfect balance of practicality and ridiculousness (yes I opened the gift a day early....I couldn't help it)

- The amazing friend who forces booze on me on Jeopardy night, makes me feel like an equal and that I will always be taken care of.
- The beautiful friend I am happy that I was able to reconnect with here in Victoria and unselfishly accepts to do photography for the friends and family in her life (including for me!)
- My dog who, even though he is a jerkface who is a pain in the butt, makes me laugh constantly and gives me unconditional love.

- My wonderful co-workers who make my job enjoyable and whose generosity have made me feel welcome in their homes this holiday season.
- All of my friends back in PEI who send me hilarious jokes and gifts, "just because". I miss them all so much.
- All of the people who make Christmas such a special time of year. Like the neighbour 2 houses down who this morning left a gift out for the recycling guys. Or the guy on the motorcycle who put a Santa hat and beard on his helmet. Or the people who put ornaments on some of the trees around Elk Lake. Thanks to those people for making my heart feel warm,
- The fact that I have no food allergies that inhibit me from enjoying all of the amazing food and goodies going around right now.

Plus 1000 other things that I am sure I did not bring up.

Please remember to stop and think about all of the people and things in your life that make Christmas so special. Don't think about the presents, or the stress, or the balance in your bank account or the number on the scale on January 1st. Don't worry about whether or not you got the perfect gift for someone. Be happy that you have that someone. Count your blessings.

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jerkface Magoo

A few days ago there was man passing through the dog park with his highly energetic poodle. He was new to the area and was on the lookout for places to bring his dog to play. He greeted us dog park regulars and took a look around to see what the park had to offer them. As he left, he called his dog to go.

"Smarty! Let's go!"

We all stopped and turned to him. I asked, "Did you just call your dog Smarty?"

He laughed, "Yes, his name is Smarty Pants."

This got me to thinking about the names we chose for our pets, kids, cars...etc. Looking back on the names you have chosen for your child/pet, would you change them now that you have gotten to know them? I doubt this man could have known for certain that his dog was going to be intelligent (although poodles are incredibly smart dogs) and he must have hoped and prayed that his dog wouldn't grow up to be dumber than a doornail.

In the series of books that I am currently reading, there are certain communities of people that do not name their children until they reach their second birthday. This is due to the fact that children have increased risk of dying young due to war, famine, disease and all those dreadful happenings that readily occurred before modern medicine and sanitation intervened. So these people would wait until the child turned 2 before giving it an official name. What if that were still the tradition today? Do you think that parents would be naming their children the names that they had expected to initially? I hear stories all of the time about parents who have a name all picked out for their unborn baby, and then the baby is born and the parents decide that the child does not at all look like the name they wanted for it. They meet the kid and suddenly the name does not fit and it's back to the drawing board.

Perhaps the pressure of finding that perfect name would suddenly disappear when you have 2 years to figure it out. I feel that by getting to know the kid and learning the blossoming personality would definitely help with determining a name that really works. Cause c'mon, we all know someone who does not (at all) suit his/her name. There are some people whose names I cannot, for the life of me, remember because the name just does not suit the person!

I feel that with a dog, a dog needs to be named immediately because it needs to learn its name and it needs to know when it's being acknowledged so that it can be trained. Not naming a dog until it is 2 is basically the same as not naming a kid until it is 14. That's a bit too long. A think a kid could grow up normally without having a name until 2, but not a dog. However, it would be pretty cool if we could get to know our dogs before we name them.

After adopting Axel, I liked his name and I felt as though it suited his quite well. But honestly, if I could have waited to get to know him and name him afterwards, there is no doubt in my mind that his name would be Jerkface Magoo. Anyone who knows him would understand why this is the perfect name for my dog.

1) He's a jerk - sometimes. But when he's a jerk, he's SUCH a jerkface.
2) He's a complete dork with a semi-droopy eye, and therefore a Magoo.

But I love him anyway.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rain Drops on Roses... Whiskers on Kittens....

It's that time again!!! Time for a quick version of my Favourite Things!!!! Every so often I need to boast and divulge some of the things in my current every day life that make me happy.

1) The parents coming to town. My folks came to the city on Thursday night and stayed with me for 4 days. I was really nervous to have them in my teeny tiny apartment with me and the dog (especially since I was in the process of selling my couch), but it turned out to be pretty good! We made it work. I always love having any family in town. I don't get to see them not nearly enough so having them around makes my heart happy. Just hanging out with them, watching a movie and sharing some beer was a nice way to spend my Saturday night.

2) Beer. Specifically Dark Matter made by the amazing Hoyne Brewing Company. This has been my current favourite beer for about a year now and just thinking about it makes me salivate. I was never a dark beer drinker until I discovered this luscious beverage. Whenever I thought about dark beer, my brain instantly went to Guinness which I find to be too strong. But Dark Matter is so smooth and tasty and not hoppy or overwhelming in any way, and I might marry it if it got down on one knee. No, it wouldn't even have to get down on one knee. It could just casually remark the idea of a wedding and I'd hop on board and commit my entire life without a second thought.

3) My new couch!!!!! I bought a second hand couch when I moved into my apartment but it just never fit me right. I always got a sore back whenever I would lay on it for any length of time, so I decided on a whim to just get rid of it. With the help of the sale of my previous couch (sold it for more than I paid for it!) and an early Christmas present from the folks, I got myself a brand-spankin' new couch. And frankly, I'm madly in love with this sexy piece of furniture,

It's the first time I ever owned a brand new piece of major furniture (apart from my bed but that's not as exciting because this is much prettier). I'm a little afraid to sit on it in case I wreck it somehow, and every time the dog even glances in it's direction I give him the stink eye and threaten him with his life if he ever attempts to lay on it.

4) My 2014 Halloween costume. My costume this year was created very last minute because I didn't know what I wanted to be. In a moment of impulse and desperation, I decided to be a Stick Man for Halloween. I have no idea how or why I came to that decision but when the idea came into my head, I decided that there was no turning back. The plan was to dress in 100% black and black out my face with makeup. Then I would run white hockey tape down my legs, torso and arms to resemble a Stick Man's body. The head was made out of cardboard, covered with white Duck Tape and fastened to my face via a headband. The outcome far surpassed my expectations and looked especially awesome when we were way out in the country at a haunted house. The costume practically glowed in the dark and all people could really see of me was this white Stick Man walking around. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have of it but you get the idea.

5) Movies that make me smile. Is there really much better then sitting down for 2 hours and watching something that just makes you smile the entire time? My 2 top smile movies at the moment are The Secret Life of Walker Mitty and The Grand Budapest Hotel. They may not be the most popular movies ever created but I just couldn't help but smile the entire time watching them. Muchly recommended by myself if you're looking for some silly movies to watch.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sombrio 2014

Today I went to Sombrio Beach for the first time!

What. A. Beaut.

This is a major local spot for the local surfers to catch some awesome waves and for us non-surfers to just simply enjoy. There is the wonderful beach to explore, plus hiking trails to wander along and campsites for those who want to really spend some time amongst the beauty. There aren't many days left in the year such as the one we experienced today, so it was a no-brainer when the topic of heading out there for the day came up. The beach is about a 90 minute drive from downtown Victoria, which is really no big deal considering the view you get.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baked Quinoa and Mushrooms

The other day I looked into my fridge and stared down at the large container of mushrooms that hadn't been touched in far longer than they should have been. I wasn't feeling very inspired but knew that they needed to be used up before they started to get brown and slimy...and I hate wasting food. I looked through my cupboards and devised a plan. The outcome was pure deliciousness and I feel the need to share my recipe for anyone who wants to make a very easy and highly yummy meal.

Baked Quinoa and Mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4-5 cups coarsely chopped mushrooms (mine were white mushrooms)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 can drained beans (I used chickpeas)
  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, boiling
1) Cook the mushrooms, onions, celery, garlic and zucchini in the oil until all of the liquid is absorbed (about 25 minutes).

2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3) Add the basil, oregano, chili flakes and beans to the vegetable mixture - cook another 2 minutes.

4) Pour the vegetable mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Add the dried quinoa and the boiling vegetable stock. Stir to evening combine everything. 

5) Cover with tin-foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pull from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. ENJOY!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Something Must Be Said.

I hate to write a post that is basically just me complaining about the mass amounts of unfairness in the world, but I cannot hide my frustrations any more. Something must be said!

Why is the world big-dog prejudice? Perhaps a more accurate complaint would be, why do people with small dogs feel as though it is their right to dump all over the rules and bi-laws created for dog owners? Am I the only person who is noticing this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

Small dog favouritism makes me angry. The number of rentals available to small dog owners greatly outnumbers the number of rentals for any sized dogs. Finding a place to live in this city is very difficult if you own a pet. Even to buy a condo, tons of buildings have a 30lb weight limit for your canine, which is total stupidity. A 10lb dog can cause WAY more damage than a 110lb dog. The amount of noise and damage created by any pet will be hugely linked to the owner of that pet and his/her ability to train the animal. If the dog is not well exercised or stimulated then it is more likely to cause chaos in the home. My neighbour’s dog never stops barking and I have yet to see them walk that poor thing. I have been living with my dog for over a month in my apartment and my landlord has yet to hear a peep out of him. Whenever I ask him if there have been any issues, he tells me that he always forgets that Axel is even down there.

BOOYAH to all landlords out there! Big dogs are not the problem. Crappy tenants are.
My next bone to pick in this area of discussion is off-leash/on-leash parks. Why do people with small dogs think that they don’t have to follow the rules? They’re making all dog owners look terrible! Yesterday I was walking along a mostly an off-leash dog area; but there is one section of the road in which you have to leash your dog. As I am walking through this area, I take a look around and every single “larger” dog is leashed while EVERY SINGLE small dog was off leash. Do small dog owners think that they do not need to abide to this rule because the dog is small and not going to run-a-muck? Small dogs are just as likely to run into traffic as larger ones are!

Who do I need to smack around here to make people understand that they are dumb?

Just like the with off-leash rules, people with small dogs seem to think it’s OK to have their dog be an asshole to people. Obviously this is not all small dogs because most small dogs are wonderful, but some are horribly viscous and when they act out and try to rip my dog’s face off, the owner just laughs it off and unapologetic. “Oh Mr. Jingles, don't be so silly. Be a good boy!”

If a larger dog were to act like that, people would flip out and be calling animal control to report it. Just because a small dog can only reach the ankles or shins makes them less dangerous and funny when they’re evil?

Again, who do I have to smack?

This makes me want to hurl. 
Then there is the issue of dogs in stores. I have to tie up my dog and leave him outside if I want to go into a store. But small dogs get little purses to be toted around in or just simply get carried in by their owners. This shall forever baffle me. Small dogs are less likely to….what? I have zero rationale to attempt this reasoning made by society. A small dog won’t be able to survive standing outside for 5 minutes? Again…baffling. 

One last thing. You don’t have to carry your miniature pooch when you’re walking down the street either. It can walk on its own 4 little competent legs! Let to poor little thing get some exercise. A dog is not a child that needs to be cradled and carried. It's a dog. 

Oh please let me smack someone.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Single Girl Spider Hysteria

We've all heard the stories.

"Woman lifts car off of her child."

"Girl lifts tractor off of her father."

"Man fights off grizzly bear to save his family."

It's called "Hysterical Strength" or perhaps you could call it tapping into your inner super-hero. Either way, there have been an endless supply of incredible stories about people who have been faced with intensely fearful or stressful situations and they are able to tap into this unnatural physical strength that would not be available in any ordinary situation. 

The reason this happens is because the intensely stressful situation causes an immediate rush of adrenaline throughout the body. The added adrenaline causes some areas of the body to have the blood circulation to be shut off so that it can be sent to areas of the body which need it more, such as the muscles. More blood moving to the muscles means more oxygen is being sent to the muscles, which in turn can allow them to work harder. Adrenaline + Oxygenated muscles = Superhuman Strength. 

While I have never lifted a fallen tree off of a child or anything of the sort, I feel like the past 3 months I have been living in a near constant state of adrenaline + oxygenated muscles. I've been able to perform several acts of inner strength that I was not aware that I was capable of achieving and I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish all on my own. 

The reason for this is because I live in a house that produces spiders the size of house cats. 

I'm getting all heebie jeebied and watery eyed just thinking about it.

I don't know why I am being tested/cursed with these spiders, but they are unnaturally enormous and I feel as though my nerves are becoming more and more frayed as each day passes. Right when I let my guard down and being to relax, one will appear out of the corner of my eye as I am enjoying my morning coffee.

(I keep peering over to the corner of the room where this morning's visitor creeped into my field of vision, destroying my day).

I mean, what is a single girl to do? No big strong brave man (or woman) is going to magically appear in your time of need to sweep you to safety and take care of the situation. At times like this you need to just buckle down, let the adrenaline flow and take matters into your own hands. And this is what I have had to do, time and time again, as each massive arachnid infiltrates my place of residence.

Now I am not one who enjoys or endorses the killing of spiders, or any bug, insect or living creature of any kind. If these spiders were out in nature, enjoying the great outdoors and working on their tans, I would be calling over other people to come take a look at one of nature's coolest creatures. They make their own food traps by spinning sticky thread out of their butts and weaving elaborate webs of doom. How neat is that?

But these spiders don't make webs. They are not neat. They just walk around scaring people, causing me to rethink my every action within the apartment. Every time I pick something off of the floor I am terrified one will be waiting there. Every time I walk over to the kitchen sink, I have to take baby steps and inch forward, peering into the sink to see if anything is waiting to eat my hand when I reach in to fill up my water bottle. Every time something brushes my neck, arm or foot, I swat at myself and leap away in fear. My heart is always pumping faster than it should be, I jump at any dark shadow or object in my line of sight and my knees are always slightly weaker than I would like them to be.

This is not a healthy way to live. The human body is not meant to be in constant "fight-or-flight" mode and the stress will take it's toll on one's physical (and mental) health.

So they have to die.

It always take a while for me to work up the nerve to go through with it, but once the momentum starts, there is no turning back. The hormones and blood are pumping freely and the inner cavewoman in me is out in full throttle. The smashing and destroy-and-conquer state of mind swiftly takes over and death is the only answer. Whether the death is mine of the spiders is completely up to fate, but I have to take my chances. Luckily fate has been on my side up to this point and I have been the conqueror within my domicile, but this does not mean that the repercussions are not significant.

There is the post-massacre clean-up to deal with. For example, the woman who lifts the car to save her child, she comes down from her Hysterical Strength state and falls to the ground with a broken back. As for me, I come down from my high only to realize that I still have to deal with the corpse. It's just sitting there, all battered and deflated, and I have to lean over and pick it up. What if it isn't dead? What if it's one of those super smart spiders that fakes it's own death and will jump on my hand when I reach down and kill me??

Totally legit. This happened to someone I know. But she didn't die.

Again as the fates would have it, I have not had any incidences such as this yet. It might have something to do with the massive amount of smashing and destroying I do once the spider is under the shoe (yes I always use a shoe as my weapon of choice), but one can never be too careful.

In the end I know that it is wrong to kill spiders because they most definitely have an important part on the world. On the flip side of that, living in constant fear is something that I personally cannot handle. I have to channel my inner super-powers and deal with these creatures as they come at me. Conquering these dudes is my Hysterical Strength and the fact that I have to deal with them on my own makes it happen for me. I'm sure the woman would much prefer to have a tow-truck there to lift that car off of her child, but at that moment, all she has is herself. I'll admit that after each kill, while I am very shaky and rattled, I am extremely proud of my bravery because really, all I want to do is run outside and hide and pray that a magical fairy will carely sweep the spider up and release it onto a farm where it can run free, write words in her web and become friends with a pig who wants nothing more than to avoid becoming slaughtered.

How how I love Charlotte's Web. Why can't my spiders be more like Charlotte??

Oh, and you're welcome for not putting any pictures of spiders on this post. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Adjusted Axel and East Sooke Adventures

The last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy.

Plus a bit more busy in there somewhere but I was too busy to remember exactly where it should be.

Axel has been here with me now for about 2 1/2 weeks and I am very happy to announce that he has done a truly remarkable job at adapting to his new life in Victoria. I was really concerned that he would be miserable since he is losing a lot of his freedom here,

But does he look miserable to you?

How about now?

I am astonished at how well he turned into a city dog. The first two days were stressful because he wasn't eating and worst of all, he wasn't pooping, so I was a big stressball just waiting and hoping that his appetite and bowels would go back to normal. When you own a dog, basically your entire life revolves around their I wasn't a happy camper. Axel took it all in stride though. He is great walking through busy traffic and barely shifts an ear when a big truck roars by. He leaves all of the feral hippies alone when he finds them sleeping in the parks and while he is still a bit leery of them, he's pretty much figured out that the waves rolling into shore are nothing to be concerned about. He still tries to drink ocean water though. He runs down to the water, splashes around, takes 2 laps of water and gives me the same "Oh God that tastes awful" face that he gives me every time he drinks from the ocean. Sigh.

The one thing that I will say about Victoria is that (apart from the horrendous access to finding places to live which allow dogs) it does a pretty great job at accommodating the dogs in the city. There are lots of dog-friendly beaches and walk-ways around the city, all well equipped with poop bags and garbage cans. Plus there are dog water fountains placed throughout the city and a lot of businesses in Victoria and in surrounding neighbourhoods keep water bowls and/or buckets outside of their doors to allow any canine passer-bys to have their thirsts' quenched while enjoying their daily stroll.

I can definitely say that Axel has likely been meeting and greeting more dogs and people in the past 2 weeks then he has in his entire life. He's been (mostly) a complete gentleman in all of his introductions to all of the new people and dogs. I was able to find him a lovely lady to take him for walks on the weekdays that I am at work and also a magnificent friend has offered to help out on the weekends when Axel needs some company. Everyone has been very welcoming to him and I am so lucky to have such great people in my life who are willing to help out with his care.

One thing we have been doing is going on TONS of walks and hikes together. Today was the best one so far. It's called the Coast Trail and located in East Sooke. A couple days after I got Axel here, I was hiking in this area with him and a friend and we hiked to the Beechey Trail. I learned about all of the trails in the park and decided that I wanted to do the Coast Trail because it sounded challenging and visually gorgeous.

So this morning we started the trail at East Sooke Park which is an awesome provincial park that is packed full of trails, beaches and picnic areas. The trail is approximately 20km round-trip which in the big scheme of hikes, really isn't that far. But the terrain is tricky and at the drop of a hat changes from lush ferns and soft ground to jagged sheer rock cliffs you have to pull yourself up from. Plus it never gets easier!!! The ups and downs of this hike made my legs feel like jelly (and I'm in semi-decent good shape!) and right when I thought that I would be getting a break from incline, I'd go around the bend and be faced with another rock wall to climb. The way back is equally as difficult and there is no physical relief to be had while enduring this hike.

I friggin loved it.

The one major problem with this hike is that at all times you have to watch your footing so your eyes are basically always to the ground. This means that you just might miss out on some AMAZING views and breathtaking landscapes that most people can only dream about seeing. Based solely on what I saw today, I can 100% understand the draw to living in Sooke. When you can look out from the top of the rocky cliffs and see views of the ocean that are so gorgeous that it brings tears to your eyes, you know you're in an incredible part of the world.

So as I mentioned, the hike is about 20km round-trip. Since the trail doesn't have any km marks or indications of how far along you are, I had no way to know exactly how far I had hiked today. I am guessing that we did about 15 of the 20 kilometres. As much as I really really really wanted to complete the entire thing today, I was worried about how quickly we were going through our water supply: mainly I was worried about Axel. There are some creeks on the hike which would have been great little watering holes for him, but unfortunately they were all dried up so he had to rely on the water that I packed for him. I didn't want to dehydrate the guy so I decided to turn back and ration the water until we got back to the car (where I had lots more ready for our return).

My legs are now feeling less jelly-like and my feet feel a bit achy, but it was a great hike. Next time I shall bring more water and complete the entire trip.

The dog hasn't moved from his bed since we got home so that is a sure sign that he's had ample stimulation for the day. All I can ask for now is for winter to never come so that I can keep enjoying all of these amazing Vancouver Island hikes all year round.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Magoo

 Something pretty exciting is about to happen in my world. I finally get to bring Axel to live with me in Victoria!

I have been living here for a year and a half and have been yearning to have him come to live with me, but due to my job and living situation, it just wasn’t possible. Now that I am living so close to work and was able to find a place that is pet-friendly, the reality of having him here with me is finally (almost) here.

He’s been living with mom and dad this whole time and they always said to me, “As soon as you are in a place and situation in which you can take him, he’s all yours.”

Hint hint, nudge nudge.

Every so often when talking with them on the phone, I would say, “Are you SURE that you will let him go?” and I was always reassured that he was mine when I wanted him. I know that they are very much attached to this guy and I am starting to feel this immense sense of guilt for taking him away…but they say it’s OK. My dad is going to miss his walking buddy and my mom is going to miss her security guard; that much I can definitely guarantee. You never have to worry about anyone or anything mess with you when Axel is around. I mean, I saw the guy take on a bear once…I feel pretty good right now about the neighborhoods’ feral hippies.

Daddio and the Magoo
So this Friday I am starting the long drive back to Trail to pick up the Magoo (my loving nickname for Axel) and begin my 12 day vacation. I’ll admit that I am nervous to bring him out here. He’s never lived in a city before and he’s been living in an environment with so many people around him all of the time. Plus he is used to a lot more freedom than he’s going to get around here. I hope that I am enough to make him happy.

The thing with this breed of dog is that they pick someone. From the moment they enter a family, they pick one person who is “their person” and they are bonded to that person. Axel picked me and every time that I go home to visit the family, he basically acts like no one else exists except for me. For this reason alone I feel good that we will be all right. As long as we have each other then everything should work out.

Also as long as he doesn’t eat my landlord’s cat. That’s a pretty big make-or-break living situation around here.

My main big thing that I need to take care of is finding a part-time dog walker. I work 12 hour days so I need someone to walk him at least once a day. I have a few options at the moment and am planning to meet his (likely) future walker next week. Fingers crossed that they get along all right!

But c’mon. Who wouldn’t love that face?

Sunday, June 29, 2014


So much has been happening the past few weeks; it’s hard to even remember where to begin with it all. 

 First things first, I am officially living (very close to) downtown! It took me a little over a year to make it down there but I am now finally able to ride my bike to work and not have to spend so much time commuting to and from work every day. I’ve been in my new place just under 2 weeks and it’s been nice having the place all to myself. Mostly I am enjoying not having to be super quiet when I get ready for work in the morning. My 4am guilt levels have dramatically decreased since I have been living on my own, which I think is good for the soul. Plus I am quite sure that my cousin and her son are very happy not having to tip-toe around in the evenings when my pathetic ass is trying to get to sleep at an un-Godly early hour for anyone over the age of 4. 

 Right before I moved I stopped and thought about how long it has been since I lived on my own, and I was floored to realize that I haven’t lived “on my own” since I was 20 years old! I haven’t lived in a place that didn’t have a boyfriend, family member, room-mate, house-mate or friend, for that length of time. I didn’t believe it at first but it’s true!

The weird part about it is that I LOVE living alone. I love being able to have a whole place to myself with no designated cupboards, drawers, rooms or refrigerator shelves. It’s great to be able to walk naked from the bedroom to the bathroom without the fear of someone catching you in the buff. 

Poor Krista-Lee. She’ll probably never get that horrifying image out of her brain. I still feel really guilty about that one. 

 The one bad thing about having this whole apartment just for me is that I have accumulated very little things in the past 7 years. I have to fill in the gaps and the space where things like furniture, pictures and appliances generally go. I’ve developed this mentality of “It’s just me, so why do I need it?”, meaning that I am not going to go out of my way to buy stuff cause it’s just me and I don’t need to impress myself. I don’t like “stuff” and have a bad habit of getting rid of things which have little to zero use for me. 

But then I realized that if I want people to come over and visit me, that these people probably don’t want to visit someone who looks like she lives in a colourless, furnitureless prison cell that echoes when a conversation is being had. Something like a couch might be a good way to encourage people to come by and stay for a while. I bought myself a chair (good enough for 1!) but not the most comfortable when company comes around. 

So I was very happy when I got an awesome house-warming gift from my lovely friend. He asked me if I wanted my gift and I was expecting something like a…I don’t know…a mug or some coasters for my non-existent coffee table. Then he blows me away by giving me his old television and DVD player. He bought himself a (much) larger flatscreen a couple days before and gave me his previous one. I had zero intentions of buying a TV for myself but now that I have this one, I am happy to have it for background noise when I am doing things around the apartment. 

I may not have accumulated much stuff to fill my apartment, but I’m accumulating some pretty awesome friends around here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Things that are great about my dad:

- His contagious giggle.
- The way he cries when he gives speeches at weddings, birthdays, anniversaries...really, any time we are all together.
- The way he eats an apple.
- How he always encouraged me with my decisions...even the dumb ones.
- His imagination.
- The way he plays with his grand-kids.
- He's totally not scary to bring a guy home to meet.
- He hikes mountains with me when he'd probably rather be at home watching golf and trying to be retired.
- His endless supply of random TV jingles, just hanging on the tip of his tongue to be busted out into song.
- His good nature.
- You can always count on him to be there.
- His generosity.
- He enjoys Pink and sings along with me to her CDs.
- How he calls me, and only me, Girl.
- How much he loves a good burger and will always have mustard on his face throughout the devouring process.
- The Craaaawwwwwwww.

If your dad is even 1/100th as awesome as my dad is, then you'd better be calling him to let him know what a great guy he is.

Happy Father's Day Daddio. I love ya!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dear Jessica Biel....

Dear Jessica Biel,

I know that you will never read this but I felt it was a very deserving post to write in your honour. I would also like to say that for the record, I very rarely dedicate posts to anyone so by just knowing that, one must understand that this is a pretty big deal. So Jessica Biel, I dedicate about 2% of this post to you and the other 98% to your ass.

I do not mean to sound crass because I have the utmost respect for the full 100% of you, so please let me explain.

Many years ago when I was just starting to learn about my love of fitness, there is that struggle that everyone goes through when you're just starting to build up your stamina. You grunt and groan and sweat like a fiend, never feeling like you're getting anywhere. I remember jogging on the treadmill, barely able to jog longer than a couple minutes at a time and in my head I would repeat, "Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!" meanwhile maintaining an internal giggle at the stupidity of my inner mantra. But it kept me jogging and soon I could go longer and I just kept pushing myself to last another 1, 2 or 5 minutes. I just kept swimming.

Then a few years ago I saw a movie called "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and my mantra took a dramatic turn. There is a scene in the film in which you strip down to just your bra and underwear and the audience gets several good looks at your physique. Obviously you're friggin' gorgeous in every sense of the word, but your ass is what changed it all for me.

I am lucky enough to live in a beautiful province full of hills and mountains, all of them just waiting for me to conquer. Every time that I am walking, hiking, jogging or biking up any kind of hill or mountain trail, my inner mantra is (and has been for the past 7 years),

 "Jessica Biel's ass. Jessica Biel's ass."

Every uphill battle is my time to work and strive for a butt that even slightly resembles the one that you are carrying around with you. Every time I stand there on the trail, my hands on my hips and my laboured breathing nearly drowning out my will to keep going, I just think,

"Jessica Biel's ass"

and I am always able to work up the energy to run that hill and continue my journey along the well worn trail.

Now I am absolutely not some crazy fan or a fitness fiend who obsesses about having the perfect body. I am not striving for skinny or perfection and I know that I will never grace the cover of any kind of magazine. Hell, I only just got the courage to wear a bikini in public last year! I also know that I will never have a butt as nice as yours because, well, genetics wasn't as kind to me from the get-go. I also know that you work hard to look the way that you do and that ass was not a mistake. I applaud you for making the decision to take care of yourself and for being a fantastic role models for girls and women around the world. You're not a bean pole or frighteningly scrawny female trying to fill out her size 0 jeans. You're strong and healthy and have curves to be proud of.

So I thank you for being a lovely curvy role-model and to have an ass that other people (at least 1 person) strives to have someday. Keep up the good work and I will keep trying to get there too.


- Adrienne

Friday, May 23, 2014

And It Shall Be Forever Known.... the Burger Long-Weekend.

This past weekend was Victoria Day long weekend, which I actually had it off from work! Last year I had to work the long weekend so I missed out on all of the festivities that Victoria has to offer our lovely city on the holiday weekend. But then again, last year I pretty much didn't have any friends to enjoy them with, so no big loss there.

Jaime was away for work for a few days so Saturday I had an empty house. I got up early to do a workout because I had plans for the day, so I wanted to get in a quick P90X workout before the start to the day. About 5 minutes into it I heard the garage door open and was like, "What? It's 7:00am! How is Jaime home already?" But it was actually the lady who watches Tank when Jaime is away. She was dropping him off about 9 hours earlier than I was expecting, which kind of threw a wrench in my plans for the day. The plan was to drive downtown to meet up with a friend, hit up a morning farmer's market, buy some delicious food and head to the beach for the day. Now I had to add a high-maintenance and highly demanding dog to the mix. Alright. No worries.

So I packed up Tank and headed to town. Dogs aren't allowed in the interior area of the market so I ended up just perusing the perimeter of the fence and looking at the stalls that lined the outside of the market while my friend went in to buy some delicious food for the picnic. I learned how much I LOVE the Fairfield area of Victoria because the houses are mostly all restored Historian houses and the area has a very "Nelson" feel to it. I was instantly smitten. We headed to the beach (I can't remember the name!) which was an awesome area to bring dogs to. We spent a couple hours there and at no point was not someone walking and/or playing with their dog along the shore. Tank always had someone to play with (aka, someone to bother) which was good for us because we didn't have to entertain him the entire time. Unfortunately what this meant was when we wanted to just lay in the sun and do nothing for longer than 2 minutes, Tank wouldn't allow it. He needed to see and sniff everything and I soon got a bit annoyed. He was physically tired from playing so much but couldn't relax because there was so much going on around us. I couldn't tie him up because he can slip out of his harness (damn Bulldogs not having necks makes things difficult) so after some time, I decided it would be best to drive him home since Jaime would have been home soon anyway.

So I drove him all the way back to the West Shore then headed all the way back to town.

I need to find a place to live downtown.

When I got back to town, we headed to the Inner Harbour to go meet up with some friends at the free concert that was happening down by the water. It was an online RSVP event, which works OK in theory but as soon as we arrived we learned that things didn't work out as expected. They way overbooked the concert so by the time we arrived there, the line-up was a good hour long wait. Luckily it was an outside concert and the weather was awesome, so we just found a grassy knoll nearby and enjoyed the music while sitting in the sunshine. No line-ups, elbow-to-elbow crowds, shouting at your friends or the pressures of feeling the need to cheer and clap after each song. We grabbed a beer at an outside patio pub, which was about 20 feet from the concert, and also enjoyed the show there. Good times!

After the show we headed to another pub to have some late-night dinner with a group of friends, which is where the Burger Long-Weekend all started. Every night last weekend I had a burger for dinner. Each one of them very different than the next, but all were very enjoyable.

Burger #1 - consumed at The Beagle Pub - The Bison Burger. Topped with goat cheese and a whiskey bourbon glaze...yes please! It was a lot tastier than I would have expected and I ate every last crumb of that thing. The actual patty was nothing all that special but the sauces and spreads made it scrumptious.

The next day I volunteered to help my friend Chris paint his new condo. He's been a bit of a stressball about getting all of the renovations done in time for his move-in date (which is today) so I was more than happy to help him out. Plus I truly enjoy painting. I find it very cleansing - like a fresh snowfall that covers up all of the ugly snow buried beneath it. About half way through the work day we had to go to Home Depot to pick up some more paint and painter's tape, so we decided to also take a late lunch break afterwards.

Burger #2 - consumed at the Shine Cafe - The Berkeley Veggie Burger. I heard great stuff about this place and I was not disappointed at all with my choice. The homemade patty was topped with mushrooms, cheddar, onions, pesto mayo and all the trimmings. It was falling apart all over the place and my face and plate was an absolute mess. But honestly, it was the second best veggie burger I have had on this island and dare I say the second best veggie burger I've ever had?? Yup...definitely a possibility. It was pure awesome.

After 12 hours of painting, we called it a night and I went home and crashed in bed. Two busy days in a row, plus one more before the weekend was done.

The final day of the long weekend again started in the early morning. I was feeling guilty about my shitty eating habits the past 2 days so I headed to the gym to get in a quick cardio workout. After a quick shower and change of clothes, my friend Alice and I decided to take advantage of the continuous nice weather and went for a hike up Mt. Finlayson. I've only ever done this hike once before when my parents were in town, and this time I knew what to expect. It's a crazy steep hike with some dodgy areas to get through, but the view from the top is quite lovely. While I enjoy this hike, it's really not my ideal trail because you have to concentrate so hard on where you step or else you'll plummet to your death, so you can't really enjoy the view around you until you reach the top. But it was still a fantastic way to spend some time with Alice and enjoy the early afternoon.

After another shower and another change of clothes, I headed back downtown for a few hours to hang out with friends before the weekend came to an end.

Again, I really need to find a place to live downtown.

Burger #3 - consumed at Bin 4 - The Ginger Soy Tofu Burger. My all-time favourite place to eat in the city. It never lets me down. Considering it was already around 7:30pm and I had to get up at 4am for work the next morning, I didn't want to eat a heavy burger, so I went for this one with the butter lettuce instead of a bun. As much as I absolutely LOVE the buns they have there, I figured eliminating the bun would be easier on the old GI tract since I knew I had to go to bed fairly soon. And as always, even though there was no bun for my burger, I was not let down at all by the flavours and textures of my meal. Such a fantastic place to eat.

PS. Bin 4 has my all-time favourite veggie burger - The Mr. Bean. I dream of this thing.

Honestly though, I was looking forward to getting back to work so that I could actually stop and sit down for longer than 5 minutes! It was definitely a great weekend though. Also I think that Burger Long-Weekend might need to be a new personal tradition for me. Can a person ever get sick of delicious burgers??