Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{June 21, 2008}   The Grouse Grind…. again.

Yesterday marked my first Grouse Grind of the year! The trail didn’t open for the season until quite recently due to the super heavy snowfall we had this past winter – they don’t open the trail until enough of the snow is gone. And apparently there was too much snow until June. Craziness.

Also craziness is the idea of climbing 2800 ft… for FUN! But that is, in fact, what Kim and I decided to do with our Friday morning.

First up, taking the requisite pictures at the start of the trail:

And then we climbed for 1.5 hrs and then took this photo.

The End.


{March 26, 2008}   Yes, it really was.

{January 29, 2008}   Longest. Busride. Ever.

My bus ride to work took an hour today, after waiting half an hour for the bus to show up.  It’s usually a 15 minute ride and the bus is supposed to come every 10 minutes.  This city needs to invest in a snowplow.

{January 10, 2008}   Can’t Blog. Skiing.

Will report in later.

For my Christmas present, Sarah and Dave offered me a “choose my own Ottawaian adventure.” In the interest me not having to carry a bunch o’ stuff back on the plane, they gave me some options of fun things to do in Ottawa, including:

I chose: most of the above. I’m unable to go to the National Gallery due to the fact that they have sculpture of a giant spider outside. And you know how I feel about spiders. Museums of Civilization and/or War are out because, um, I’m neither civilized nor war mongering.

Today, Dave had to work today in order to keep us in the style to which we have become accustomed while Sarah & I picked up the cats from the cat spa3, then went to the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The C.S.T.M. kinda made us feel like Canada hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot in science and technology that isn’t related to snow and/or hockey. Although we did learn that Ernest Rutherford did the work which earned him his 1908 Nobel Prize while in Canada. Which, you know, you think they would have mentioned when we learned about the Rutherford model of the atom in high school and university chemistry classes, given that we went to high school and university in Canada. But whatevs.

After the C.S.T.M., we came home and Sarah made us some super delish veggie sushi. Just like The Eatery, but with much better service. We chain smoked the first four episodes of Veronica Mars, which Sarah has been telling me about forever, but which I had never watched before. Now I’m totally into the mystery and need – and I mean NEED – to find out whodunit. Then we watched the Sens game, followed by the Canucks game – both which had happy endings. And now I be tired. But before I head to bed, I give you me, in a stupid large snowbank. With a pink hat on:


1although not live, since it’s sold out. But with PVR-y goodness, we can watch it without pesky commercials
2I can’t link to this site, because I am afraid that a picture of the giant spider will be on their site.
3Where they had been living a life of cat luxury while S & D were away for a few days of family Christmas visiting.

So, I was wondering all day why no one commented on my engaging tale of the 12 Bars of Christmas. I get the comments on my blog emailed to me, so I didn’t look at the blog itself – just didn’t get any emailed comments. And just now when I went to write a new posting, I discovered that, although I finished writing the posting yesterday, I didn’t actually click “publish.” D’oh! Guess that kind of absentmindedness is a sign that perhaps one shouldn’t go to 12 bars in one night. Anyway, here’s the posting:

So, I have a confession to make. I did not successfully complete the 12 Bars of Christmas this year! *hangs head in shame*. I made it to all the bars. I sang all the verses of the 12 Days of Christmas at the appropriate times and in the appropriate locations, as per the rules of the 12 Bars. But I was not able to drink a drink at every bar! Well, I suppose I would have been able to, so I probably should say I was unwilling to given that my body was telling me that I needed a break after 8 drinks1.

I think part of the problem as that I couldn’t stick to the same game plan I had last year – which was to stick with a specific drink2 for most bars, with the occasional shot when we got behind schedule and needed to get in and out of a bar really fast. Why couldn’t I stick to that game plan, you ask? Because the 12 Bars got waaaaay too popular! Last year, we started out at Erika & Paul’s place with something like 7 people and then ended up with about 30 by the last bar, as people joined us along the way. This year, we had somewhere around 30 people at the first bar!! By the end, we have no accurate count of participants as friends of friends had joined up and no one really knew who was with us and who were just randoms in the bar. But there had to be over 50 of us by the end. This resulted in two things: (a) we didn’t get to meet as many new people, as you sort of had to stick with your little group in order to not get totally lost in the crowd, and (b) it’s really hard to get a drink at a bar when 30-50 others are also all trying to get a drink in 30 mins3 – somehow always seemed to be the last people served and so had to take a few shots off the start because there wasn’t enough time to drink an actual drink. I think this set a poor tone for the evening!

My night went something like this.

Bar #0 – Erika & Paul’s place (UNOFFICIAL START) – Vodka & Sprite. I agreed to have a drink here. This was my first mistake!

Bar #1 – Las Margarita’s – OFFICIAL START – Jolly Rancher shot. I wanted a margarita here, but by the time we got to the bartender, it was pretty much time to leave, so we had to do a shot.

Bar #2 – Room 18Polar bear shot. Bar #2 was supposed to be Hell’s Kitchen5, makers of the best Amaretto sour at last year’s 12 Bars. When Hell’s Kitchen was called early in the day and asked if they would be open at 4 p.m., they replied “yes.” Apparently “yes” means “no” at Hell’s Kitchen, because when we go there, they weren’t open. So we improvised and went to Room 18 instead. They didn’t want to let us in at first, saying they couldn’t handle 34 people with just one bartender. So we promised that we’d all get the exact same shot and be out in her hair in life 15 minutes, probably the fasted $300 that bar will ever make. So another unplanned shot for me, but a great photo opp!

Bartender at Room 18 makes 34 Polar bear shots.

Bar #3 – Brown’sAmaretto sour. Finally! Although this one wasn’t like any Amaretto sour I’d had before – it was brown rather than green. Weird.

Bar #4 – Kitsilano RestaurantWhite wine. This is the place where we stop to eat. But it counts as a bar, so we have to drink their too. So I enjoyed a much too full glass of wine with my yam rolls, veggie tempura and teriyaki tofu. About halfway through the wine was when my brain took notice of the unnecessary amount of alcohol to which it was being subjected.

Bar #5 – Tatlow’sSpiced rum & diet Coke6 – I don’t think I have anything special to report about this bar.

Bar #6 – Darby’sAmaretto sour! Yay! Darby’s makes a tasty A.S. And it was green. Making for a very Christmasy photo of red and green drinks.

Casey shows off our Christmas coloured drinks –
Vodka cran + Amaretto sour.

Bar #7 – Nevermind Spiced rum & diet Coke6 – Unlike it’s sister restaurant, Hell’s Kitchen, Nevermind was open. Unlike last year, where we convinced a #84 Express bus to pick us up and drive us to Nevermind despite the fact that Nevermind is not where the #84 bus is supposed to stop, this year we had to walk all the way to Nevermind. Which, by my calculations, is 872 blocks from Darby’s.

Between bars #7 and #8 is where I officially decided to wuss out. My tummy was telling me that it was sufficiently stocked with alcoholic beverages at the moment and any further deliveries would be returned to sender. So, in the interest of not puking, I decided to skip the drinks at the next two bars.

Bar #8 – Gargoyles – No drink!

Bar #9 – The Fringe – No drink again!

Bar #10 & #11 – Coppertank Spiced rum & diet Coke. We were supposed to go to Elwood’s for Bar #10, but they told us that brinigng 50ish people would put them over capacity, so they wouldn’t let us in. So we decided that Coppertank could have more of our money and decided to stay there for an hour instead of the usual 30 mins, having two drinks (and sing two verses of the 12 Days of Christmas) instead of the usual 1. I felt better enough to have one drink, but decided that I didn’t really need two.

Beth and Kalev tell us that we are at Bar #10.
Unfortunately, Coppertank counted as 2 bars, I forgot to take a “Bar #11” pic.

Bar #12 – Regal BeagleSpiced rum and diet Coke. And thus ended the 12 Bars.

Bar #13 – Lola’sSpiced rum and diet Coke – In celebration of not having died, we went next door to Lola’s to dance, and make fun of the other patrons fashion choices behind their backs.

Hooray for Bar #13. Go team!

You can view all the photos here.

1In my defence, I would like to remind everyone that I’m somewhat on the small size. I don’t think 115 lb people are meant to drink 13 drinks!
2In my case, Amaretto sour.
3And the 30 minutes includes travel time between bars. And, given that we were having a blizzard4, travel time was somewhat slower going than one would like.
4To my readers out east: “blizzard” in Vancouver vernacular means “it was snowing out.”
5You may recall Hell’s Kitchen as the location of my brief but celebrated career as a coat check girl.
6I think. If memory serves me, they didn’t have Amaretto here so I had to improvise. But I could be misremembering – memory started to fuzzy for some unidentifiable reason.

{September 18, 2007}   A Night of Firsts

So last night I took my first trip in a Car Co-op Car to my first hockey game on my new team. Oh yes, did I mention that I joined the Car Co-op? And that I joined a new hockey team? Perhaps I should back up a few steps.

A few weeks ago, I joined the Car Co-op. It’s actually called the Co-operative Auto Network (or CAN), but I just call it the Car Co-op because, well, it’s a car co-op1. The deal with the co-op is that you put down a $500 (refundable) deposit to become a member and then you co-operatively own the cars, along with all the other members. The cars are spread out over the city and you book them online when you want to use them – first come, first served. You pay depending on how much time you have the car and how many kilometers you drive. It’s much cheaper than buying a car and since I discovered that I can’t afford even a measly $21,000 (after all the fees & taxes), plus insurance, for my beloved Smart Car2, this is the only way for me to get my hands on some wheels.

And I need wheels because I just joined a new hockey team, but they play out in Coquitlam. Coq, for those of you who aren’t from around these parts, is a 45 minute drive3 from my house. And it appears that I’m the only person on the team who isn’t from Coq, so there is no chance to car pool. So I needed some wheels. Hence the Car Co-op.

Plus, having access to wheels makes the idea of getting a ski pass this winter feasible. I’ve lived in this city far too long without having a ski pass!

But back to the hockey. My new team is awesome! Everyone is so nice and so friendly! And with lots of team spirit! They’ve been playing together for awhile (only me and one other person are new to the team this year) and there is just an overall positive vibe to the team. I was worried before the game, since I hadn’t played in sooooo long, but it all comes back to you, just like riding a bike. Take short shifts, skate hard, stand in front of the net, wait for good player to pass to you & shovel the puck in the net3… or tie up the defenceman in front of the net to give one of the good players a clear shot. I was playing right wing last night (on my former team, I was a centre) and I quite liked it. I still have to get used to the position and where I’m supposed to be under different circumstances, but positioning has always been my strong point, so I’m sure I’ll pick it up quickly. [OK, so this is weird. I just looked on the Canucks website to see who is a right winger (and thus, who I should be watching now that pre-season is under way) and, apparently all of our forwards are either centres or left wingers, other than new kid Ryan Shannon. What the f is up with that? Also, Ryan Shannon – get a haircut, you hippie!]

So, yeah, Car Coop – great. New hockey team – great. If you want to join the Co-op, tell them that I referred you and I’ll get $20. And you know how much I like getting stuff for free!

1I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it was only a few years ago when I actually learned what a co-op is. Before that, I just knew the Co-op as the place where my dad bought feed for his chickens.

2thanks $850 a month in student loan payments!

3Or a 372 hour bus ride. Give or take.

4One of these days, I really do need to learn how to actually shoot the puck.

{January 17, 2007}   Surfin’ in Tofino

Cast of Characters (in alphabetical order):

Alicia: friend of mine through school and through science outreach work.
Beth: um, this is me. But you knew that!
Danielle: my awesome roommate and former hockey team captain!
Jasmine & Jesse: Danielle’s friends. It was Jesse’s birthday too, so they have a bunch of friends coming on this adventure too.
Kalev: friend of mine through school, sort of. We worked together on a project once, ended up in San Fran together and the rest is history.
Kim: friend of mine through my and Danielle’s hockey team.
Kyle: Kalev’s boyfriend. He’s a physicist.
Sheila: friend of mine through Danielle. We all play ultimate together.
Bunch’o’people, most of whose names I did not catch: Jasmine & Jesse’s friends… I didn’t catch most of their names, other than Brice who drove us around.

Vancouver –> Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in West Van –> Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo –> Tofino!!!

Saturday, January 13, 2007. At 6:25 am on a normal day, you are far more likely to find Beth just going to bed than you are to find her up and ready to go for the day. But there she is, showered, fed, full of coffee and on her way up the icy hill to catch the 6:35 am bus that will take her downtown to catch another bus to the ferry. And she only had to set three alarms and be slightly panicked that she wouldn’t wake up in time in order to achieve this. Danielle is already over on the island and Sheila is taking another bus downtown, but everyone else gets on Beth’s bus and make it downtown without incident. Alicia informs Beth, to her delight, that her birthday present is that they will be taking a pole dancing lesson! Sweet! Meeting up with Sheila downtown, they all hop on the bus to the ferry terminal, taking over the back of the bus and being rather rowdy for such an early hour. Their rowdiness continues into the ferry waiting area and the annoyance of the other early morning travellers (and their relief that we aren’t getting on the same ferry as them) is palpable. Once on the ferry, someone inadvertently flips Sheila’s off switch. The group soon (OK, two hours later) arrives and Beth declares that getting them to Departure Bay was the end of her responsibility insofar as knowing where they are going is concerned. She also declares that Departure Bay is inappropriately named, seeing as they have just arrived. Beth likes to declare things.

Danielle, Jasmine, Jesse and crew arrive to whisk the group to Tofino. That’s “Tofino,” not “casino” as Beth’s, Kim’s and Kyle’s mothers all thought they were saying when they said “I’m going to Tofino this weekend!”. “Whisking” involves a 3-hour drive, a Tim Horton’s lunch break and much pondering on the snowiness of the surroundings, given that the group is on a surfing trip. As they near Tofino, Kalev declares that we should not pick up the hitchhiker, because he is “not nearly hot enough.” The group scopes out the beach, checks into the cabin (Beth’s crew) and suite (J&J’s crew) and then heads to the surf rental shop. They discover that they are too late in the day to do a 4-hour rental and have to do a 24-hour rental instead. Seeing as it is only $5 more and it means they get to surf on Sunday morning in addition to Saturday afternoon, everyone is happy with that. Wetsuits are struggled into, and, at the end of it, they all look like Navy Seals. Kalev & Kyle have elected to stay at the cabin and Alicia and Kim have elected to act as official photographers and surf support team. Surf support team duties include picking up the surfers’s food & booze & extra towels (because the surfers use up all the towels!) while they shower and struggle out of their wetsuits. Oh ya, and on Sunday morning it involved combing Beth’s hair for her. Seriously, I’m not making that up.

Off to Chesterman Beach they go, for skimboarding, boogie boarding and surfing in the most spectacular sunset they’ve ever seen. Everyone marvels at the beauty surrounding them, thrills at the fun of diving through waves to get our far enough to then try to catch a big one and, with any luck, actually make it to some sort of standing-like position for falling off. Despite the cold weather, the wetsuits are so good that the surfers are warmer in the water than the surf support team is on the beach. Beth is thrilled that she actually managed to get up to her knees and catch a bit of wave… not too bad for a first time surfer! Beth decides that this is officially the best birthday EVER!

Once the sun is set, the crew returns to the cabin and the surfers shower and get out of the wetsuits while the surf support team performs their aforementioned food & booze retrieval duties. Cabin activities include, but are not limited to, watching the Canucks kick some Leafs butt (w00t!); calling Beth’s dad to taunt over said Canucks victory; eating a communal dinner of chips, more chips, other snacks, various meal-like items, cookies and so forth; a variety of games; the eating of the birthday cupcakes. In a strange twist, Beth declines to consume alcohol, deciding that she consumed sufficient quantities on her actual birthday.

Sunday, January 14 , 2007. Sunday morning involves getting into the still-wet wetsuits for more surfing. All those things that were said about “wow, it’s not even cold surfing in the winter!” are taken back. As is Beth’s early morning comment of “how could you forget to duck & cover when you fall off your board?” Beth proceeds to blame her “head injury” (sometimes cited as a “brain injury”) every time she says or does something stupid for the rest of the trip. Fortunately, Beth is relatively unharmed, making her mother’s predictions that she get hurt while surfing and end up in a watery grave unfulfilled. However, ever the trooper, Beth continues to surf and actually does manage to get up to a standing-like pose on the board for at least a half a second before falling off. As a result, she contemplates a career as a pro surfer. After surfing to the point just shy of hypothermia, they group piles back into the vans to race back to the cabin to try to shower and pack before check-out time.

Beth learns that she shouldn’t offer to take the last shower in a cabin of 7 people, as this results in the water going cold before she’s even out of her wetsuit. This, combined with the fact that she got the crappy surfing gloves that morning and her hands were frozen to the point of nonfunctionality and that she didn’t get to dry her hair as the group was already running late, resulted in her being freezing cold for the remainder of the trip.

The drive back to the now appropriately named Departure Bay ferry terminal at Nanaimo was fairly uneventful, mostly because Beth slept so as to escape sensation that she was freezing to death. She did wake up long enough to take a picture of the cool clouds by the mountain through the car window. Hitting *five* red lights in the home stretch to the ferry terminal leads the group to be 3 minutes too late to buy ferry tickets. Despite the fact that they could have easily run up the ramp to the ferry before it left, the ticket seller refuses and they are force to wait *two hours* until the next ferry. But such is the temperament of our intrepid group that they enjoyed their unexpected two-hour delay by meandering through a grocery store, consuming Timmy Ho or Quizno sandwiches, pretending to be sad about their delay, and taking a nice brisk walk back to the ferry after their food gathering adventures.

And after a two-hour ferry ride (during which they try, but never succeed, at throwing a chocolate covered raisin into Danielle’s mouth), a very, very, very full bus ride and another bus ride, they were home again!!

And a good time was had by all. And not just a good time. An wickedly, amazingly, fantastically awesome time in fact. I wanted to do something exciting, something memorable, surrounded by great friends to embrace my 30th birthday and to start to make 2007 the fantastic year that I know it will be. That I will make it be, if it kills me! Life is, after all, what you make it.

So mark your calendars (and start saving your pennies) for January 11th, 2007 – my 40th birthday. The plan (subject to change over the next decade) is to go surfing in Australia or Hawaii. I’ll keep you posted as plans develop 😉

Note: The complete set of photos (all 200+ of them!) from the weekend, in their out-of-order splendor, can be seen on my Flickr.

{January 11, 2007}   Cozy

Is there anything better than sitting at home, drinking a nice hot cup of tea, listening to the radio where everyone is calling in talking about being stuck in traffic because of this unexpected blizzard* we are having? 30 car pile up** here, traffic backed up for hours there. Apparently the RCMP have issued a statement about the driving conditions saying, “It’s not pretty.” Cars are sliding everywhere, everyone is cold, and you are toasty warm and cosy?

OK, I’m back. As I was writing that, my landlord came downstairs*** and asked if I would mind shoveling the steps for him. My landlords are older and can’t really do that sort of thing. And it really isn’t safe for them to walk on snowy, icy steps, so I said I would be happy to. Serves me right for bragging about my toasty warmness. Fortunately, the snow is that not heavy and, seeing as I was never made to shovel snow as a kid and have spent the last 12 years living in apartments where I haven’t need to shovel snow, it’s still novel to me and so I enjoy it.

Now, I’m actually going to head out into the snow, so I can see the carnage first hand. I’ll bring my camera.

*I went for a run earlier in the day, but it was just a light snowfall and it was actually quite pleasant to run in.

**In truth, it was probably a 3 car pile up, but you know how people like to exaggerate things.

**I live in a basement suite, FYI.

et cetera