Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Run Vegan Run

The training is in full swing. I've signed up for the Scotiabank 1/2 in Vancouver at the end of June. Incidentally, the run is on the same day my family arrives from Montreal and N.B., so I can run the event and then head to the airport to pick them up. That worked out well.

I feel motivated more than ever right now.

The sun was shining when I left work, and the air was cool. It was a good night for a run. I changed as soon as I got home and headed up that hill. No matter what way I go, once I leave the house, I have to either go up a steep hill or down it. To start my run I'd rather go up. It's a decent climb and nothing to take lightly. Tonight when I started up the hill, I looked at the path ahead and the hill looked almost completely flat. It didn't look like a climb at all. For the first time I felt like I had overcome the mental block of running up the hill and subsequently my body seemed to hurt less. I knew it would be work, but I knew I could run up it and would be able to again and again. Facing obstacles head on seems to be the lesson of the day. Let's see if I can apply that to my non-running side of my life.

The colour pink

I don't wear a lot of pink. I have one long sleeve running shirt in pink and that's about it, so I suppose I don't consider the colour much. However, this week it stood up and asked me to take notice. When I flipped through my pictures from this past week I noticed that pink was the dominate colour.

This rhododendron is in full bloom right now. I'm really enjoying it as a bright accent in an otherwise predominately green landscape.
When I saw this dessert at the post punk kitchen blog, I knew it was the dessert for me. It's raw and it's loaded with strawberries. The recipe is simple and takes little time to make (minus the cashew soaking time, and the chilling time in the fridge -- ah, I've discovered the brilliance of coconut oil!).

The strawberries turned the "cake" this beautiful pink colour that really appeals to me.

What do you think of the colour?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Garden day

Sunday was all about gardens. I know it was about Mother's Day for some of you, but I can only call my mom since she lives so far away. Seeing as I'm not a mom myself (unless you count the cats, which I do), I didn't really want to go to a popular Mother's Day destination, but it was the Geranium and Pelargonium Club's sale and it was being held at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens.

We didn't go into the gardens itself. Mother's Day was not the time for that.

This photo is near the entrance in the parking lot. It looks very enticing and now I know I'll have to go back to Van Dusen for a tour.

All entrances to major attractions have totems and Van Dusen is no exception.

It does look relatively quiet, but believe me it was teeming with moms and their families.

There wasn't much left at the sale in the afternoon of its last day. If I hadn't worked Saturday I would have gone earlier for more selection. However, I found some beautiful geraniums (hardy geraniums that include a white double, called Double Jewel, and a phaeum, called Samobor) and a scented geranium that smells of nutmeg.

After I'd made my choices, we had planned to go to the Sustainable Expo, but because it was such a beautiful day, we decided to spend the time in our new garden that needs a lot of work.

This isn't our garden. This is one of the pathways leading away from the Van Dusen parking lot. The rhodos lined the whole path.

Okay so here's part of our garden. There are several raised beds as you enter the garden that leads to our door. Each bed has a rose in it (varieties unknown since they were already here).

Here db has joined in to help me weed the dandelions out of the area. They were abundant, but I had two tools to try out from LV tools. The Dandelion Digger and the Grandpa's Weeder were the two tools. I preferred the digger because it was less cumbersome to use than the weeder. Also, the weeder took out large chunks of earth so it left more of a hole that looked a lot nastier on the lawn.
I found that the digger did equally as good a job and it was light and easy to use.

Into the earth it goes.

It's hard to tell here, but the plant is being lifted out easily. The cup part of the tool presses against the earth and the plant lifts out.

Here's the result. It's hard to tell because of the out of focus foreground, but there is a significant amount of the taproot removed from the soil. Yay!

And so it went dandelion after dandelion until the trug was overflowing, and then I had to stash the rest of them alongside the house until I get some yardwaste bags.

Here's the view from our kitchen looking west.

Here's another view looking in the other direction (south).

db took the Christmas lights down that were left up by the last tenant.

As you can see from these last two photos, we do border the forest. One of the really nice aspects of this position is that we get to hear lots of birdsong.
While out in the garden we heard this very loud crazy sounding call that neither of us had ever heard before. I looked up to see a sizeable bird and it looked like he had a red head. It was definitely a woodpecker, and not just any woodpecker, but a Pileated Woodpecker. They are about the size of a large crow and have a striking red tuft on top.

Fortunately, I had unpacked the binoculars and left them near the door. The binoculars gave us a good view of him (I later confirmed it was a him since only the males have the red streak on the face). It was the largest woodpecker I've ever seen.

Here's an image to give you an idea of what they look like. I don't have a telephoto lens so I did not take this picture.

Amazing looking aren't they?

Election day

We have a provincial election today and I'm still trying to decide who I'm going to vote from. I'm leaving work early so I'll do some more research when I get home.

Friday, May 08, 2009

My uncle

My aunt and uncle were visiting from Vermont. As I mentioned I saw my cousin as well. We all got a chance to get together at another cousin's house in Ladner. It was great to see everyone.

My uncle is a painter and I was very touched when he gave me one of his paintings (I'm sorry I couldn't get a better picture of it than the one above). He said he wants to give something to all the nieces and nephews (there's a lot of us), which is such a generous gesture.

If you'd like to see a sample of his work, you can visit his website. From his website you can visit his blog and see more of his kimono series.

My cousin #494 Roasting coffee at Oso Negro

I recently saw my cousin, who I haven't seen in years, and found out that he's a coffee roaster. He's the roaster seen in this video.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

garden pictures

Finally I can post pictures again!

These were taken 2-3 weeks ago before we moved and left our garden behind. Checkered lily (fritillaria)
Dogtooth violet
Some of the tulips (Gavota & Midnight Mystique) and a few (Thalia) daffodils in the background
Persian tulips. I absolutely loved these smaller bright tulips.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I'm still alive

It's been a while, hasn't it?

I still cannot find my camera cord to load photos, so until then there will only be text.

The move went fine. The cats settled quickly. Prima settled in almost immediately and was back to her routine of having a bath on the couch in no time. Gigi took a little more time exploring, peeking around corners, and jumping up on boxes to check them out.

The week has been hectic. Every time I tried to catch up on unpacking something came up. First there's work and then there was my long day on Thursday when I had my last grammar class after a full day of work. Friday was my day off so I slept in because I really needed to and then got up to go for a run. Later, I remembered that I had to go to the race expo downtown and pick up my race package for Sunday's Vancouver half marathon (oh, I tried the new Sport drink by Vega at the expo and loved it. I definitely have to pick up some and use that for my training. I also tried their new Chai flavoured mix and it was also delicious. I have to order some). I also had Saturday off, but we had an annual vet trip to make with the cats and then I had to make something to take to dinner that evening for a get together with some cousins, aunts, and uncles. (I made black bean and quinoa salad from Veganomicon. It has mango and cilantro in it and is, of course, delicious and simple to make). Meanwhile, as I'm making the dish for that night, the cable guy is in the house to hook us up to telus and it's taking him a lot longer than he thought so he's coming and going. It was a little chaotic and I felt like not much unpacking was actually getting done. However, we did do better than I thought. I'm not even sure if I need anything in the boxes that are left unpacked. I guess I will want to unpack the artwork and pictures when I do finally get around to decorating.

Sunday I awoke at five a.m. after getting to bed around midnight (dinner ran way longer than I thought. We were having such a good time and didn't want to leave). I realized at 5:30 a.m. that I should have gotten up at 4:30 since we have at least a 40 minute drive into the city and the race starts at 7:00 a.m. I was sleepy and rushing around. Toast and tea in hand, I got into the car before 6:00 a.m. but was panicked. There was zero traffic and db got me downtown to drop me near the start with 25 minutes to spare (which really means getting in line for the port-0-potty with all the other runners). I was so worried that I'd have to run to the start line like last year, but I was there with all the other runners and had time to just take it all in, sing the national anthem (It's true. I may have been one of the few singing), and listen to the countdown.

The run went pretty well. 1:56:40 is the official time. I've already knocked off 3 minutes from my run in February so the next one in June should be even better. We had beautiful weather. All week long the forecast had been predicting rain, and Saturday night confirmed that the rain had moved into the area. When I woke this morning I was so happy to see that it was clear and the morning just kept getting brighter and brighter. The whole day was sunshine; it was a beautiful day.

After the run db and I stopped by to see red jane, who I haven't seen in ages. It was great to see her. She made her famous power cookies for me and made them gluten free. They are the best. We had a nice visit. I started to feel pretty tired so we headed home.

Once we got home, I ate and napped. Now here I am. The place is finally starting to shape up. We are starting to win over the boxes. Outside our patio is framed by temporary pots with plants I dug out of the last garden. Those will just have to wait. The homeowners, M & N, did say that I could use the three raised beds that aren't being used in the backyard so I think I'll get a few nice plants for that area. They'll need some new soil since it's mostly packed clay and moss now. I can't wait to get into the garden.

Pictures are coming as soon as I can find that damned cord!