Tuesday, July 31, 2012

of pneumonia, TO DO lists and dog angst

Never say "I don't have time to be sick"......

It's like an open invitation for viruses and bacteria to take up residence. 

Not only do the viruses and bacteria laugh in your face they lodge in your lungs...in the summer. 

They send you to "rest" (which BTW is a term Doctors should more clearly define so as to avoid familial and marital discord - I propose a checklist of allowed activities for a patients particular "rest" that they can wave it in the face of those around her share their rest needs with those around them). 

Turns out the "rest" causes an injury - from sitting propped up in bed to breathe ones hip becomes inflamed and now that the bacteria has been killed with drugs (and to all you pharmacology smartypants out there we need drugs with less side effects please) the pain in my leg/hip is ridiculous.

So you see.....take it from me......DO NOT say "I don't have time to be sick".


I love ye olde TO DO list the way I love my espresso machine.....we're close.

This week I am rocking several TO DO lists - the happiness!!!  The craziness!!!

The kids have a day by day schedule this week to get ready for Camp 6 on Anvil Island.  Day one - all bedding and towels labelled, packed in giant ziploc bags (love those things!!), Day 2 check all toiletries and get laundry done etc...... It's like a military operation......I am not usually this anal (Allan just snorted his coffee through his nose) but we are leaving before they are and so there can be no last minute mom rescues this time - it has to be done and ready on time.

Allan and I head off to Spring Lake Ranch on Friday for his photography course.  We are taking the canoe and kayak and all that gear and all our own food so not only a TO DO list but a full menu plan with accompanying shopping list..... the JOY!

Of course all this while "resting"..... Hmmmm.......pretty sure that packing up 4 people going in different directions for a week would be on the checklist...and checked off by my Dr...... totally sure actually.


Having the whole family home (even if Mom is "resting") is lovely - we can chat and watch the Olympics and water the garden.......then just like that (snap your fingers for full effect)......you are sitting on the couch - 2 laptops whirring away looking at dogs to adopt.

It was a stealth attack.

To be perfectly honest the "dog discussion" has been swirling away in this house for months....with me the lone voice of sanity reason.  I have now presented all my best arguments to three of the smartest people I know and I have been outwitted, outplayed, outargued.  There will be a dog in our house.... the debate now is puppy vs pound (puppy well ahead at this point) and breed (lab well ahead but my FB peeps have given us pause on this front).

It's such a battle between this from my friend Jack
Until you have loved a dog there is part of your soul that remains unawakened...you are in for a treat!
And these from my friends Hayley and Lisa
 Oh Nick, oh Nicks.....how do I put this ? ...get all the sleep that you can now ! Take a lot of pictures of your lovely garden now..for "before" and "after"....hide ALL furniture, shoes, garden hoses, irrigation lines.....Buy a portable Bissell carpet cleaner...and then just pray for the puppy years (usually about 3 - 4 years) to pass VERY quickly !! Sorry my friend, just need to prepare you ! Our English Golden Retriever has just turned 2 ....BUT...they are beautiful when they're sleeping !!
 PS Labs eat EVERYTHING! Casey chewed the knobs off our washer and dryer. My friend's lab ate their drywall. You need to ensure that your dog is busy and well socialized for the first 8 years or so!
 Between a rock and a hard place.......... the other 3 are SO excited and the dog will be going to school with them but I know, I know I know the house and garden are in for a beating and our pack-up-and-go lifestyle will change.......but we will love this dog for years......just imagine the blog stories it will generate!

I am betting the currently unchewed leather sofa that we have a choc lab puppy by tomorrow (not ready to come home until late in Aug) and 3 VERY excited Byres.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Food Carts

My friend and colleague Jennifer and I have been planning a lunch date.

We sometimes go out for lunch to have some time away from the office to chat without interruption.  Sometimes a new setting is good for more creative thinking..... and good food never hurts.

Jennifer and I have many things in common.  One of them is a love of good food.

Jennifer has been acting in a Maternity Leave postion that is soon coming to an end and she is moving into a newly created management position for the next 10-12 months as our organisation prepares to double in size.

She and I are going to be working together ALOT.

So a celebratory lunch was in order and instead of something local Jen suggested taking the skytrain into the City (aka Vancouver) and eating from the new abundance of food carts.  It's great creative thinking like that that makes her so special!

So although, if I am honest, I was feeling less than enthusiastic after a late and difficult Board Meeting the night before and beginning to feel unwell.....we headed out of our adventure on sunny summer day.

We perused the very handy Street Food Vancouver app on our matching iPhones and tried to decide where to head.

We walked out of the station and right in front of us was Le Brasserie with its excellent reputation but Jen has tried them before so we took a left turn and headed towards the Art Gallery.

The Art Gallery has a great piazza on the North side and was busy with food carts and lunch timers and a group dancing in a circle to a beating drum?  There is almost no better place to people watch and to eat good food while doing so...... so much better.
 We each spied our choice of food carts pretty quickly.  Jen opted for Re-Up BBQ and a pulled pork sandwich with iced tea and I headed for Mangal Kiss - Mid Eastern BBQ for a lamb kebab wrap with lots of fresh veg including diakon which I tried for the first time and really enjoyed.
 I also had THE most refreshing lemon/mint drink.  Mine took a bit longer to get but we eventually found ourselves a spot on the Art Gallery steps and had a great lunch.

The line-ups for Pig on the Street (they have a cool story and my admiration for catering from a Westfalia!) and Feastro were epic and made us want to try them one day.  We had been headed for Vij's but will keep that for another time.

Before we headed back we completed a quest Jen had been on to find this Banana Bread at Cafe Artigiano which also served up an excellent Americano for me.  We liked the Banana Bread but as for "best ever" or "To Die For"......we agreed... not in our opinion.

We hopped a train back to the office feeling quite refreshed for the mental break and mini-adventure in a busy day.  Jen was already plotting ways to repeat the exercise soon.  My arm will be easily twisted.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Memories

Despite being laid up with a summer pneumonia I am feeling the Olympic excitement in London today thanks to the CBC radio coverage.  The PVR downstairs is set to record the Opening Ceremonies.  My plans to host a British party today were derailed but I look forward to curling up on the couch and watching with the family later.  Maybe we will drink tea and eat crumpets......

Before 2012 I had never bothered to watch an Olympic opening ceremony and my attitude to past Olympics has been ambivalent, struggling with the enormous costs but enjoying watching the sporting events and the inspirational stories that inevitably emerge.

But having been so immersed in the last Winter Olympics, the spirit of which was so wonderful and overwhelming.....I am excited to catch some of these games.

I enjoyed trolling through my photos from 2010 and remembering......our opening ceremonies were incredible...it will be hard to top them but I am sure the Brits will give it all they have.

We had some great parties, watched the torch come by our street, put a skier on the roof of our house, took some amazing trips downtown, we sang Oh Canada over and over again and we survived that Gold Medal Hockey game.......

Here are some photos of Winter Olympics 2012

Fun Downtown

The Torch Relay

The Opening Ceremonies Party

Other memories

Wishing Team Canada much success in London. 

Hoping for a peaceful and inspirational Games for all athletes and spectators.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Breaking up

Breaking up is hard to do

Especially a 12 year relationship

Especially if its your church you are breaking up with

We just went through a break up with our church.  

And it was hard.  

And it got messy......as break ups do.

And my heart was broken. I grieved the loss of so much, so many memories, so many relationships, so many years, so much living, so much community.

About now the Christians are wondering why I am airing this subject and the rest of you are perhaps agreeing that this sounds just like your own experience of church....or how you imagine church would be if you went.

This is what I know:

I am the problem with the church.

I, like you (I hate to break it to you), am a sinner - I like things my way, I want things to be a certain way, I judge, I criticize, I sulk.  So the minute I walk into a church I make it a little less perfect.  The more of us who walk through the doors make it less and less perfect.  And we all walk in with our own set of expectations (some of us with demands) and preferences.  Many of us try to put those things aside when we go to church, to try and be the better version of ourselves, to try and do what our faith asks of us.... to love our enemies and serve our neighbours.  

I did try, I do try to do that in as an authentic way as I can. 

But I failed.  Other people failed too.  But I own my part in this story. 

We went to a new-to-us church yesterday.  It was hard to do.  We were all anxious.  It was lovely and welcoming and we will stay for a while and see if our brokeness and lack of perfection fits here with these others who are also not perfect.  If we can be part of an authentic community that practices love.

We also hope new people go to our old church and find the same.

Have you read TripAdvisor?  Reviews of hotels, attractions, restaurants etc..... I am a HUGE fan of TripAdvisor - and I review many things.  In any one review stream of one hotel, one restaurant you can find VASTLY different opinions about it, some within days of other reviews - one give it 5 stars and the other 1....because each reviewer brings their own preferences and expectations and no one hotel or restaurant can possibly meet them all.  I have had to learn to read carefully between the lines to see if there is a real issue or just a failed expectation and sometimes I call the hotel or restaurant and ask.  The cool thing is that there are so many places for so many different people.

I think that is the cool thing about the church.  Many many people are happy and nourished and loved and cared for at our old church.  We will be friends with some of them for many years to come. But we needed something that we couldn't find there.  And sad as we were....we know there is a church that can be what we need for our lives and circumstances right now.

If you went to a church and it didn't work for you, I encourage you to try another one.  Just because you have a bad meal doesn't mean you never eat out again right? You just try a different place next time and hopefully have a different experience.

To read smarter people than I on this topic here are some links.


I welcome your views on this........

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How to know you are raising Foodies

Heard this week in our house from our children......

"When are we going to the farmers market"

"Why do we not have fresh basil - I need it for my grilled cheese sandwich"
"Homemade pizza dough is so easy"
"I'll make maple scones and we can have it with the wild honey and farm fresh strawberry jam"
"I'll look on Epicurious, You look on Food Network"
"The bacon was an inspired addition to the BBQ chicken pizza I made"
"We need more ginger"
"We need to make salmon stock to get those salmon carcasses out of the freezer - they creep me out!"

"That new peach cobbler recipe is a keeper"
"I am making salted caramel steamed milk"
"Can we pleeease go to Westham Island Herb Farm"
"I'll go harvest some lettuce and snap peas for the salad"
"Now these are REAL carrots"
"Who do I have to lobby to get backyard chickens approved?"
"We're out of vinaigrette - no problem we'll make some"
"YES, fresh basil!!"
 followed by 
"Am I the only 15 year old who thinks getting fresh basil from the farm is THAT cool?"


 Lindsay say's this is "her" recipe but I am sharing it with you all!  Enjoy!

Maple Walnut Scones
3 1/2 cups/875 ml flour
1 cup/250 ml Walnuts or other nuts (finely chopped)(optional)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Combine Thoroughly

2/3 cup/150 ml butter (chilled)
Cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs

1 cup/250 ml milk
1/2 cup/125 ml maple syrup

Stir in and work into soft dough;
knead 5-6 times. 
Roll out 1/2-inch/1-cm thick, about a 7-inch round.
Cut into 10-12 wedges; place on greased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven at 425F until golden, 15-18 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chasing Sunset

Given how short our summers can feel, it seems sacrilegious to not watch the incredible sunsets as much as we can.

But after a while one sunset can look much like another especially for those subjected to seeing endless photos of them.

The ever-changing light is like a drug to photographers who end up at home in the dark with 192 photos of ever-so-slightly different photos of the sinking sun......or is that just me? 

But every now and again there is a gem.

Last night David, Lindsay and Lindsay's friend Megan and I headed south of Richmond to Ladner to find a new and different spot to watch the sun set. 

We found Wellington Point Park but it was a little early to settle for this vantage point.
Dueling DSLR's
The North Shore Mountains many miles away

I did like this capture on the river.
 We drove onto Westham Island and as much as we love that place and drove all the roads we didn't find a close enough water view that met the approval of the photographers.

The sun was sinking and beach access seemed elusive........but I followed a hunch and drove west along river road.  

We spotted this delightful barn in a barley field along the road.

On we drove on ever-narrowing roads, the dyke high on one side and farm fields on the other.  

Eventually we hit a dead-end but spotted a trail to the the dyke.  Atop the dyke the views were all we hoped for.

And then the wait for the sun to go down through several banks of clouds onto a dappled river.....

 And down it went.....

How blessed we were to be there to see it - the whole the sky and the water looked like molten gold - as Lindsay said "it was as close to seeing water on fire as we'll ever see"......

And this morning we woke up to steady rain and cool temperatures.