Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bus rider....

(If you've heard that take off on "cab driver" you'll be humming it in your head right now. If not..that's okay).

Today on my bus ride home, the bus was quite empty - only about 5 or 6 people on it when we left university. Included in the bunch was an elderly lady, and several UVic-ites. There was one student type fellow sitting in front of me. When he got on the bus and sat down in front of me I somehow knew I'd have something to blog about tonight. I'm not sure why...just something about the way he carried himself. So...we pull out away from the's silent, everyone is looking out their windows, dutifully avoiding eye contact with anyone else (myself included). Suddenly, fellow in front of me just yells "holy _ _ _ _ " (the one that REALLY gets your mouth washed out with soap). He continues reading his newspaper without looking up. Everyone looks at him. He looks up...says "Oh, sorry, but you won't beLIEVE this!!" And proceeds to describe to the 5 or so of us how some developer wants to put in condos in the old Bay building downtown I think it was. He tried very hard to engage everyone...eye contact, holding up the paper, waving it around, madly gesturing towards it. It was funny to watch all of us one wanted to talk, but it couldn't be avoided, he clearly needed a response involving outrage comparable to his. So gradually...quietly the elderly lady said "has it been approved?" and immediately looked down again. It was so funny!! He also, unfortunately was wearing a sweater and scarf in 30 degree weather, and had his arm up and wrapped around the seat infront of me...positioned just so the air conditioning blew underneath it towards me. Nice. You can imaging sweater+scarf+30degree weather does not = smell of roses. Anyhoo..he was an interesting guy, and I was appreciateive of the bus ride adventure.

I was laughing to myself on the bus and thinking of all the mini-adventures I've had and people I've met, while riding transit.

I remember once discussing theories about a mysterious coffee shop on my old bus route with a couple I'd never met before (the shop has been closed for years, but things move around inside it, the florescent light is always on). We started discussing the coffee shop, but ended up being "those" people on the bus laughing hysterically about I can't remember what the whole bus ride. It was like I'd known them for years. Then it was awkward though - when we'd see each other on the bus after that I'd be thinking things like "I won't say hi unless they say hi to me," and wonder "do we know each other well enough to go for coffee, or is that weird." It was like I was trying to date them. LOL!

Then the man that I see all the time. He looks a bit intimidating...very rough around the edges, older. He always likes to talk to people, and I admit I'd always avoided standing next to him. Then one day I couldn't avoid it, and ended up talking with him. He was so nice...I really enjoyed the conversation. I kind of look forward to bumping into him now. Regardless of how many times things like this happen...I still seem to avoid interaction with people who I don't know. I'm a chicken.

Then the old lady who has crazy teased hair, bright pink blush, hot pink lipstick, excellent 80's clothes too hip for most her age, and an awsume attitude. I DID want to talk with her. I got an opportunity to one day, and she told me that she was 22 (she is at least 65/70 I think), and was going to meet her boyfriend...and told me about graduation and all kinds of things.

And the tiny lady in all red, with cowboy boots and a giant cowboy hat (both also red).

And so many more. That doesn't even cover the adventures...just the neat people! That is the one thing I'll miss about being a bus rider... getting to talk with and meet people I never normally would.

What's your best bus rider story?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A little much-needed reinforcement...

The last week has been challenging. Today was good. Things have been bit by bit starting to feel like they are falling to pieces for our move, the house is in caous, and I had this guest lecture to prepare for the class I'm TAing in. It involved video, in digital form, which, as it turns out my computer cannot play, and cannot be inserted into power point without 4 different types of software and about 100 hours of time - neither of which I had. I managed to figure out an alternate set up though, and the presentation is done! The prof I've worked with for the last year and a half or so (research and TAing etc) gave me a very kind and encouraging introduction when he introduced my presentation...would have made me weepy if I hadn't been infront of a group of 30 people. He's not one to really tell you what he thinks about you, or whether you are doing a good job - very reserved and kind of shy. So, it meant a lot that, even if only in this context he told me what he thought.

The presentation went really well. The other prof from our research team did a presentation as well, and the prof I'm TAing for took all of us out to lunch together. It was really good. They were both so encouraging and provided me with lots of postive feedback which was desperately needed at this junction in life. Then, while discussing our research and what to write up for submission etc....they decided that I should "tweak" my final report, send it to them for revisions and review, and submit it for publication!! The report I WROTE is the one we'll be using!! And I'll get to have the awsume learning experience of getting their feedback and coaching as I prepare it for submission. Now, this in NO WAY means it will be published at all, and definately not any time soon. It could easily be rejected after all the work put into it. It's a lengthly process. And there is a gargantuan amount of "tweaking" to do before it is anywhere near ready to be sent in. Apparently I'm supposed to be doing this "in my spare time" while in Mass. Lol! Good thing I don't start classes till January. Anyhoo...the prospect is exciting, and though it's a lot of work, I can't turn down the opportunity to not only have my name on something, but to actually have written the majority of it!

I actually finally had the time to clean the kitchen, somewhat assemble the living room (broken down ikea furniture and half packed boxes littering it), go grocery shopping and prep veggies, tuna and salad for snacks/lunches this week. We've totally been comfort eating this week - which means increadibly unhealthfully. Forgetting to eat, then eating really unhealthy food, and drinking lots of coffee. We have kept up our running though, so that's good. Our office room is still a disaster, but most of it is the "get rid of" pile (now covering half the room), so there is not much I can do about that till we have our "come take away our stuff" get-together. Sigh.

Deep breaths. I really do need some breathing room right now. It's hard.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Trip planning

It's been an eventful couple of days... nothing huge, just a lot of business with the packing, saying goodbye to our stuff, and planning the trip. Thursday, Daryl's dad came and picked up a truck load of our stuff to store. It was sad to wave goodbye to our beloved mementos, books, and a lovely mirror Daryl gave me for an anniversary present. Yesterday, my dad arrived, all the way from Kamloops, to pick up a truck load of stuff to store at their place. We actually had a good evening, packing, organizing stuff, and getting it all ready to go. I had an encouraging and comforting talk with dad on the patio while Daryl did some of the packing. We are so lucky to have such wonderful and supportive parents on both sides. Another night of little sleep though, as our apartment was just roasting. SO hot!! So this morning, we had breakfast, loaded up the truck and dad took off around 10am. We decided that after all of the packing and sorting and saying goodbye to our things, we needed to contact some reinforcers related to our trip (this would be the way I put it, not Daryl ;-). So, we sat down at the patio table with coffee, maps (tons of free ones my parents scored at BCAA!), paper, highlighter, pencil and calculator and planned out our travel route. Being that we want to go to Kamloops and Edmonton "on the way" out, it seems the fastest, most enjoyable route will be: Victoria, Langley, Kamloops, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Kenora (ONT), Sault St. Marie (ish- we've heard there is great camping just before Sault St. Marie along Lake Superior), Hamilton, then accross the boarder at Buffalo and through to MA. We had heard that the route below, via the US was faster, but when we timed it out on the maps, going through Canada was faster by a few hours, and the trip is much more picturesque that way. Besides, both of us have a fear of travelling though Chicago (which the US route would require). I was stuck there twice for hours on end at the O'Hairball airport, and Daryl was stuck there due to car troubles for a matter of days! So, we'll avoid it.

It was quite amusing planning the trip out. Once I had highlighted in our route (a necessity for me), I was very rigid about it. I could not entertain the idea of taking a route that was off the highlighted roads. Daryl was almost as bad, in that he was seriously disturbed when I accidently got a pencil mark on the map. We are an odd couple.

Anyhoo...onwards we go. Half our stuff is gone, now to get rid of the rest, and pack what we're taking with us.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Take away my stuff party??

So I had this idea...I thought - wouldn't it be great if we could combine (stay with me it IS a good idea) visiting with people before we go, and getting rid of our stuff? Like an invite-only-donate-money-to-our-move-and-take-our-stuff-away thing??

Then i was talking with a friend (who's also moving, though not so far, so can cart extra stuff)...tonight and hadn't even mentioned my idea. I was telling her I had spent the afternoon taking pictures of our furniture to post on craigslist. So she got all excited and asked if she could come over and look at our stuff first and have first dibs on buying our stuff. I said "SURE." So, her, and her new baby and her friend came over. They wandered through our house (while I got some "baby action" and) and between the two of them, they are taking 8 or 9 pieces of furniture, and paying for it!! And we had a wonderful visit! They just put post-it's on the stuff they decided to take, with the price we told them. They're picking it up!

So - NO garage sale, NO strangers in your space, NO carting things to a new home, NO listing adds, NO anything!! Just some time visiting with friends, and the potentially (not in this situation) awkward situation of telling a friend how much money they should give you for something. That could be avoided though, by stickering things ahead of time and having a few people over. Some nice coffee and baking and you have an inexpensive social event where you make a little money!

love it? I do!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

We have a car!!

Here it is!! We have our new car!! It's a 1998 Nissan 200Sx. Low miles, perfect on the inspection, and it will be a perfect little car for us. A bit small for our galavanting across the continent, but the pefect commuting car. The biggest plus is that it is a US car - so there are no importing issues (yes we've checked into this in great detail :-). We can't actually DRIVE it yet, as we don't have the insurance. We will be able to insure it in MA from here though (miracle of miracles) and will start that process tomorrow. We're hoping to have the plates within the month. I can't wait to drive it! So, bit by bit things are coming together. Oh happy day...we are once again with car. Did I mention that I really do love driving.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Down on the avenue...

If you happened to spot me walking down Oak Bay Avenue today, you may have thought to yourself "who is that delirious looking woman wandering down the street with a coffee cup in her hand."

I did one of my favorite things today...I went for a walk on the avenue to "run" some errands. Not run though, walk, and walk slowly which most know I don't do often (despite all M's efforts to shape my inappropriately fast walking behavior). I picked up some packing things at the hardware store, stopped at the bakery, then the italian deli (for fresh local veggies and other nice treats) and the grocery store (for boring things like milk and bread). On my travels today I had what was possibly the single best cup of coffee of my life thus far. That is saying something - I have had many outstanding cups of coffee. Before I say much more I must confess that I am an unadulterated coffee snob. Here are two scenarios that emphasize my point:

1) DH and I walk into a little bakery, hoping to get a nice cup of coffee and maybe a pastry. I look around, see yummy pastery, but no clue as to what type of coffee is served. There are large generic pots brewing away (often, though not always a bad sign) and generic paper cups. Suspicious, I casually ask the counter person (unfortunately, I can not use the term "Barista" here) "So...umm...what type of coffee do you brew here?" Counter person stares at me blanly (warning sign # 2), and eventually says, "Umm..I think, ah you mean what BRAND do we have?" Sighing, I reply "yes, what brand" knowing the question is now totally unnecessary. Counter person says "Umm..Canterbury I think." Tyla - "Hmm..(high pitched hmmm)..okay, thank you" and wispers to Daryl "let's get out of here." Daryl looks appalled and replies "you can't just LEAVE now" and I say "well I'm not paying 2 dollars for canterbury coffee." We leave.

2) DH and I have a bit of a wait between buses downtown. There's a (usually) decent coffee place nearby, and DH runs in to get us some coffees for the trip. He comes back, hands one to me. Both of us take sips, turn to look at each other, shake our heads and comment on the absolute disgrace of a cup of coffee we are drinking. I try very hard to keep drinking, as does DH. Finally DH can take it no more (he has been corrupted by this point) and marches to the nearest garbage can and tosses the entire venti coffee. Seconds later I do the same. This is not the first, nor will it be the last time I have tossed a coffee (I once winged a nasty cup of gas station coffee out the driver side window of my car I was so disgusted. Luckily it didn't cause an accident).

Okay. Now that you understand what a good (and bad) cup of coffee mean to me, you will appreciate the experience I had this afternoon. Well, maybe not in the same way that I do...but...

I finally walked by this new little bakery while it was open (I've passed it many times in the evening after it is closed). I decided I needed a pick me up and wanted to check it out, so went in for a coffee and a peak at the pasteries. Firstly - the pasteries and cakes were of the absolute highest quality. The cakes were complete works of art. I was amazed. After gawking with my mouth open, I ordered my coffee. Here's what made it so special:

First - it was Illy coffee (the finest italian coffee - to DIE for). Second the barista (no hesitation here) pulled the shots three times, before she decided they were good enough to use. Having worked in a cafe, and loving straight espresso, I often see people pulling the shots for my drinks and am thoroughly dissapointed. These shots (the good ones) had a beautiful dark coloring, with a thick, creamy caramel coulored creme on top. I love the creme. When I get americano's or straight espresso I sip it off before anything else :-). Today though, I had ordered a double macchiato. Now I must clarify for the Starbucks fans (of which I frequently am one) that a true macchiato is not full of milk and topped with whip cream and caramel sauce. A true machiato is a double shot (or more) of espresso topped with foam (foamed milk). No actual steamed milk is poured in,and it is not sweetened in any way. The machiato I had today had beautiful thick foam (the best kind) - I knew it would be perfect as she foamed it slowly, and tamped the steaming jug down several times. I was served only the best shots of espresso, from the best coffee, with the best foamed milk on top. I walked out into the sunlight, removed the top, and drank in the first sip. There is nothing that compares to the perfectly drawn shot of espresso filtered through thick creamy foam. It was bliss. So, I walked slowly the rest of the way, in order to fully enjoy this creation.

I picked up the groceries and am now off to unpack them and get dinner prepped before we go for our run. Huge to-do list for the evening, but first things first :-).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Purging, running and cooking

Today was productive, but for some reason I"m left feeling somewhat "blah" - like it wasn't productive. Not sure why...Anyhoo.

I worked in the am, then spent the afternoon 1) Purging our kitchen 2) Cleaning 3) Cooking a roast and 4) Going for a run with Daryl.

I managed to pull out 3 boxes of dishes and odds and ends that are non-essential and we do not love enough to store, as well as several small kitchen appliances that are partially broken, old, or almost never used. I also started sorting through a rubbermaid bin of old school/work stuff. I think most of it will be chucked and/or shredded. I'm keeping the larger papers I wrote and stuff, but that's about it. So, Hoping to get one rubbermaid down to one folder of stuff.

I cooked a roast!! This is a rare thing for me. We rarely eat red meat, mostly b/c I really don't like or no how to cook it without a recipe. But we had a certain type of roast at a friends house that we loved. So, standing in front of the meat counter I phoned her and asked "what type of roast do I get??" I then googled it, to try to get some ideas for cooking it, and melded several "recipes" together to come up with this:

1 Cross Rib roast - I rubbed it with a paste of fresh rosemary, crushed garlic, thyme, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and olive oil. I then seared it in a frying pan (they say you're supposed to do this), then put it in a baking pan with potatoes, carrots, garlic, and 2 cups of water and covered with foil. Cooked for about 2 hours, and it was done! Pretty tasty. I think I overcooked it a bit - I didn't have a meat thermometer and was afraid of under cooking it.

It was ready early, and we went for a run when Daryl went home, then had dinner. The cheese man came today at Daryl's we had some brie and smoked cheddar with our wine for dessert. I ate too much of it though!!

We've just completed week 1 of our "couch to 5 k" running program. It starts off very easy and gradually builds you up week by week until you're running 5k. You run 3 times per week, with the difficulty building on a weekly basis. So, next week we up the intensity a bit. It feels good to run again (well, really "Jog" not "run"). I always forget how good it feels. And it's really nice to run with Daryl. I love working out with him :-).

Anyhoo...laundry and more packing calls...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Holiday at home weekend...

This weekend has felt somewhat like a holiday, even though it's been jam-packed, AND I worked. Thursday night, we spent with friends having dinner and watching a mutually favorite, now-retired TV series, (ehhem...Buffy). We haven't spent much time with them, and I so wish we had before now. It was so relaxing and enjoyable. Good company, good food, good chocolate, good TV viewing. Good times :-). Friday night we had movie night togehter and Saturday I worked in the morning. We went for a run together afterwards, had the afternoon together, went to Church, where we prayed a beautiful Akathist to Christ - it is my favorite one, and so wonderful to pray. We then went over to another friends house for a games night afterwards. Again, people we don't spend enough time with! We had wine, games, snacks, and good conversation. Very fun. Our priest and deacon were both away this weekend, so we didn't have a liturgy this morning, but had a reader's service (a prayer service). We had a liesurely morning, breakfast (yummy cereal and fresh blueberries) and coffee on the deck, then went to Church. There was something very special about so few of us gathering together to pray. It was an intimate service, with almost everyone in attendance "doing" something - be it singing or reading or otherwise. It was a peaceful and strengthening prayerful time.

After Church, we had some lunch and coffee with everyone at the Church. Oh - as a side bar - someone brought potato salad (WAIT!) but made with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, green onions and olives with potatoes. It was really really good!! Ok, so AFTER Church, we went accross the highway to Elk Lake, and we rented a WATER BIKE. It was excellent!! It seats two, is impossible to peddal, and takes gargantuan effort to get anywhere. BUT- It was a great workout, and very amusing and we had a blast!! I decided, once we were in the middle of the lake that the water felt warm, and that I should hop off for a swim. Ya, the water was warm...but ummmm...water bikes are not designed for re-mounting mid-lake. I was literally hanging with my legs wrapped around the bars leading from the back to front wheels, with Daryl hauling on my one arm while trying to keep the bike from tipping, flailing my other arm trying to wing myself back up onto the bike. I somehow managed to make it back onto the bike, but it was a serious escapade. If daryl had come swimming too we would have had to tow the bike back in! We had an afternoon of purging/organizing and planning the move, and a good dinner. I have figured out how to make panini type sandwiches at home! Sourdough bread - one side spread with pesto, then tiny bit of shredded cheddar, then sliced chicken breast, tomato and artichoke hearts, then a bit of feta, and another tiny bit of cheddar. Put the second slice on top, brush one side of the sandwich with olive oil, and put it in a grill pan. I put a pot, with an unopened jar of pickled in the pot on top of the sandwiches to squash them, then brush the second side with olive oil, flip and replace the pot/pickle contraption. Cut in half and serve with mixed greens and a glass of wine. SUPER good!

So, all of this combined to make this weekend feel a bit like a holiday, even though we were at home, accomplished quite a bit, and still worked a bit. I think it was the lake visit, and spending time with friends. We often cut out socializing, due to time constraints, and being so tired etc that we just want to curl up and watch a movie together. Have to remember how reviving it can be to spend that time with friends instead.

I am so thankful that we are able to find peace and joy in the midst of the scary and busy moving maddness. God is good.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Big decisions, little victories.

It feels good to make decisions. We have been agonizing over every little decision, debating and weighing pros and cons and expenses. We are finally getting to the point that some type of decisions are being made. We've found the apartment we want. It's a really nice one bedroom 7-800 square foot "victorian" apartment in an area of town recomended by the people at NECC as one of the better areas in Worcester. It is the 2nd floor in a 3 family building. These are the pics we have of it. I'm excited. I think it will be a good little place for us. It's relatively new, clean, in a good neighborhood, and within our price range. We're just going through working out the details of basically renting an apartment from the other side of the continent. Luckily, we are dealing with a real estate agent, which makes me a little less nervous about it than if we were just dealing with someone who posted an add. This picture (<---) is the view from the porch. I like :-)., we've decided on an apartment, now we just have to wait for the real estate agent to confirm my work situation (call them) and do our reference checks etc. So we'll see, hopefully it will work out.

We've also decided on a car. We found a car that a couple brought here from California, but now want to sell, as the importing fees are so high. So, it's a US car, so WE don't have to import it going into the states. It's a nice little 1998 Nissan 200SX. Good commuting car, in mint condition and it came through with a stellar mechanical inspection. So, it will be a huge relief to have a car we can rely on. SO good stuff.

And can I just give a huge recomendation for Craigslist!! It is basically a huge classifed website where you can post adds and view adds for almost anything. They also have discussion forums around certain topics related to this stuff. I have found, for our move on this website:
1) A car.
2) An apartment.
3) Potential jobs for Daryl.
4) Advice about housing costs, heating costs, living expenses in Worcester.
5) FREE moving boxes from someone who is moving to Victoria this weekend!
6) That we can pretty much furnish an entire apartment when we get there for next to nothing through craigslist.

I think we will list our furniture we're selling on the Victoria Craigslist soon to sell it. You also don't have make any of your personal information available to those who are looking at your post. You can set it up so that they reply to a Craigslist address that gets forwarded to your email. Excellent!

Little victories include 1) Free moving boxes, 2) Sorting through about half the storage closet and heaving out a bag of trash, and another bag of give aways, and a box to store..and well, I think that's it for now :-).

There is still much to do, but making headway in little bits.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sand between my toes.

I like the feeling of sand between my toes. I also love the feeling of sun beating down on me and fresh, clean salt water to swim in. So, it was a good camping trip. I think Miracle Beach is the absolute best place to camp. It has the wonderful tall, old trees surrounding the campsites, and the stunning open ocean views at the beach. It has those stumps that huckleberries grow out of. I remember sitting on stumps with a childhood friend on camping trips and eating huckleberries. As I was saying to Daryl this exactly did I know they were huckleberries?? I couldn't tell you today what a huckleberry looked like, and wouldnt' trust myself not to eat poisonous berries! But then I guess I wasn't thinking about potential poisonings at that age.

We went for a wonderful walk around an estuary. It was a beautiful combination of forest and beach! We spent one whole day on the beach - myself laying on the beach in the sun tanning (LOVE it!), Daryl spending most of the time in shadier area reading and relaxing.

Two of my favorite pictures: The rock picture. I always end up taking pictures of rocks and sand. I think "that would be perfect to blow up and hang up to decorate." I HAVE done this once with a set of postcards. I color copied 3 beachy post cards and enlarged them (60 cents each!) and framed them. It worked well. I'm collecting pictures for a beach theme wall. I won't of course put this together till we're settled in in Boston, but at least I'll have the pictures. I have some great ones from our camping trip last year too. So, Daryl took this fabulous beach picture below the rocks. It is truely stunning there. Here too. It really is a little bit of paradise here.

There are many more pictures to share, but this is just a sampling. We had a good weekend, and managed to pack a lot in to it. We visited Cherry Point winery on our way down, and bought our wine for the weekend, then had some friends meet us at the campsite for Friday night. We were, ehhem, a *little* bit later than planned (umm...around 9pm) and our wonderful friends had talked their way into our campsite and had a fire going for us when we arrived!! We all had drinks and roasted hot dogs and smores over the fire (and some brie, artichoke dip, and chips and salsa) and had a great time. It's too bad they lock the gates to the campground at 11pm. It was sad to see them go - we don't see them often at all.

We went to Campbell River for some of the Canada day festivities. There was wood carving...and a "parade." There was no "Miss ___ " float, as in osoyoos (see Michelle's post), but there were some shriners driving around like crazy men in formation in these little mini race cars!! It was SO funny! There were all fairly old, but they were MOTORING in these little mini cars. It reminded me of the clowns in the tiny car at the circus. They were going so fast!! Anyhoo, we had the famous ice cream on the pier and headed back to the campsite.

I'm kind of excited - we kind of have a camping "tradition" now. On the last night, we get fresh salmon and cook it with sliced lemon, dill, and salt and pepper in the fire. Then I make up potatoes mixed with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper etc and we roast them in the fire. Both are in foil packages, and we have some type of vegetable (this time it was green beans) with it as well. We did this again this year, and it was SO good! We had a nice Ortega wine from Cherry Point to go with it - it was a treat!

We had a good last day too, amazingly. We were packed up and out of the campground by 11am, and had time to stop at several markets and pick up produce, and make another stop at the winery. We also went for lunch at what we consider to be "our" restaurant. We went to it several times on our honeymoon. It's called the Beach House and is right on the beach route in Qualicam. The patio is literally 50 feet from the waves. Unbelievable food too, and amazyingly reasonably priced. I sat on the patio, sun beaming down on me, wine in hand, waves lapping at the shore only feet away, with my husband next to me. It was a good time. I had a candied salmon pizza with pesto and cream cheese. Super good! We love this restaurant.

So, all in all it was a good weekend. It gave us a chance to step back a bit, have some fun, and have some more in depth talks about the "Big picture" of the move and such. This part really helped me key downa bit about it all. There are still just as many unknowns, and it's still blinking scary, but i have a some more perspective on it now. I go - this is what happens when I wait too long between blogs! There is more to post just from the last few days! It will have to wait till another time though.