Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012

I just wanted to share a few photos from our Christmas this year.

The food is a vegan vegetable terrine served with an arugula pesto and crostini. The terrine recipe is from the Artful Vegan. It's a recipe I've always wanted to try, but was a bit intimidated by the baking and then leaving it to refrigerate overnight. It seemed like a long process, but it really wasn't at all. Agar is amazing in how it held it all together. Grilling the veg took the most time. We also made tempeh scallopini with mushrooms, and asparagus with a lemon dill dressing. 

Boxing day we went snowshoeing at Mt. Seymour. It was such a green Christmas at our place with our mossy back yard and glossy green leaved rhodos, that it was nice to drive up to Seymour (about a half hours drive from whoville) and enjoy some "winter." The snow was beautiful and there was no wind once we were in the forest so it was very quiet and still. Just beautiful.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Library Things

I'm thinking about a new blog that just relates to my library studies. Thoughts?

Maybe I'd blog more on this more personal blog if I was already blogging mode for my studies.

A little Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan

I once played this over the phone for my dad. I didn't think he'd know Bob Dylan, but he recognized Johnny Cash right away. Love this song.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nitobe Memorial Gardens

 After only one class on my first full day of school, I was completely overwhelmed. The campus was busy with hundreds of students going every direction; student groups, businesses, and vendors were set up everywhere; music was blaring from speakers near the SUB, and I needed to find a quiet space away from the hubbub.
I found out that as students, we have free access to the museums and gardens on campus. The Botanical Gardens seemed too far away being on the other side of campus, so I looked up the Nitobe Memorial Gardens and discovered that they were a short walk away.
What a beautiful oasis! And no one was there. There were maybe 3 or 4 people I saw during my whole visit. I walked into this gorgeous Japanese style garden and the sun was filtered through the trees.
 There were several places to sit, and all of them seemed secluded. There's a tea house that is only open when they have a tea ceremony, but there was a bench built into the outside wall that will be a perfect place to sit in the rain when I go back during the winter. I'll make sure I see it through the seasons. I'm already looking forward to cherry blossom season in the spring.
Just one of the gems on this beautiful campus.

Friday, September 07, 2012


If you just ignore the bad french, the video is great.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Take me out to the ball game

On our vacation with the family visiting from the east coast, we went to a ball game in Seattle.

The day we arrived in Seattle, we learned that Ichiro had just been traded to the Yankees after having played for the Mariners for 10 years! The Yankees were in town to play the Mariners. So we were there to see Ichiro's first game with the Yankees, which was pretty cool.

All of the Ichiro merchandise was quickly being bought up. db managed to find an Ichiro t-shirt after much searching, and I think this game solidified him as a Mariners fan.

 Our seats were up high with a great view. Loved it!
Oh yes, that's right a vegan hot dog stand at Safeco Field. That makes it the coolest ball park, and solidifies me as a Mariners fan. Field Roast Grain Meat is from Seattle, so it's fitting that they should have a hot dog stand. There were veggie dogs at all of the stands, but only the Field Roast stand had the IchiBan hot dog. There were burgers available too, but you've gotta have a dog at the ball park.

 They created the IchiBan hot dog because of Ichiro's popularity. I hope they keep it even though he was traded. It was delicious with vegan wasabi mayo, grilled onions, and seaweed strips. It was honestly one of the best vegan dogs I've had.
Ichiro's first hit with the Yankees.  Lucky shot on my part.
Let's not forget the gulls. They were happily swirling nearby, waiting for the crowds to thin so they could begin the clean up.

The ball game experience became yet another reason to love Seattle! 

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The bears are back! We've had several "incidents" recently.
We had the usual knocking down of the garbage/yardwaste/compost bins. As you probably already know, whoville has provided all of its citizens with bear proof bins that have special clips to keep them closed and the bears out. It works as long as you clip both sides, which is something that seems unimportant to our neighbour. So, there was the incident with their bin where the bear emptied the contents across our front garden and sat on the garden crushing my oriental poppies that were about to bloom! (By now the lavender has filled in the flattened area and there is one small oriental poppy that survived with 1 bloom. It's a beautiful coral colour. )

Then the conservation officer came around to the houses and told everyone to keep both clips on the bins even when empty. Makes sense since the bins remain stinky even after rinsing and with a bear's sense of smell that would definitely be inviting. Our neighbour was instructed to move their bins to the side of the house as well (why they wanted them in their front yard is beyond me, but whatever).  Our house almost got a fine for not having both clips done up, but the landlord knew the officer from his spin class and that let us off with a warning.

Bears returned (mom and cubs) and knocked over all bins, but were unsuccessful.

Bears did get into the garage when the landlord forgot to close it overnight. The bear made a mess in there knocking all kinds of things over and found their sons protein powder and dusted that everywhere.

The above mentioned son chased a bear away from the side of the house one evening by throwing a rock at it. His mom was behind him with a broom (the son, not the bear. Gender unknown on this bear). When it ran towards the woods it ran just a few feet past our neighbour as he was barbecuing in the backyard. He was a little surprised.

I may have already mentioned that the bear got into our fresh produce delivery box. We thought it hadn't been delivered, but our neighbour brought it over. All of the veggies were in tact, but the fruit was all gone (except for 2 of the 3 lemons). We asked SPUD (that's the fresh produce company) to deliver to db's work address. Fortunately, we have the car now so that works out fine. I can't see db taking a large rubbermaid bin of produce on the bus during rush hour. 

Finally yesterday morning I was taking my birdfeeder out to feed the birds (I have a spotted towhee that waits on the fence for it) and there was a bear sitting on the lower level of our yard just behind the rhodo. S/he didn't seem too concerned when I clapped and then came back out with a pot and spoon to bang. However, the bear did climb the fence and then grabbed onto the nearest tree and climbed down into the woods. Bye bear. The spotted towhee and the rest of the birds were not fed that day.

Everytime I open our gate or go out the door, I'm scanning the property for bears. It will settle down once the berries are out. C'mon sunshine we need you!

I love their red eyes.  So cute and such a cute little call.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Recent surprise visitors to the whoville birdfeeder

 As usual the birdfeeder has been busy with the usual chickadees, nuthatches, pine siskins, and the groundfeeders like the dark-eyed juncos and spotted towhees who manage to perch on the feeder even if they are a little large.

These two recent visitors are clearly too large. This blurry picture of the pileated woodpecker was all I could capture. The feeder was swinging madly from the weight and size of this bird. He wasn't sure how to get inside the feeder or how to get at the feed. Then he flew to a nearby tree where I could get some better shots.

 Then just a few days ago this downy woodpecker appeared on the feeder, scaring off all of the little ones. He worked his way around the feeder, trying to figure out how to get at the food.

He was successful and figured out how to perch sideways and reach in with her beak to get at the seed.

Who needs a suet feeder (which I couldn't do anyway).
 He's clearly too big for this little feeder.
Snack time.

It's nice to get something out of the ordinary. I never tire of watching the little birds, but these two were really special to see. You don't really get an idea of the size of the pileated woodpecker and from these photos the downy woodpecker looks larger, but the pileated really is quite a bit larger.

Hopefully they will return though because it is fun to see.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm back! I never really went away, but there was this stretch of several months of school. Wow, two online courses and working full time can really take up a lot of time. Somehow I managed to get in some trail running mileage and snowshoeing.

Now, the courses are over and I've got my evenings free again to do a little more blogging.

Here's a quick update:

  • Did well in school. Good marks in both classes. I was exhausted though, and am so glad to be done.
  • Work is work and I'm doing my best to stay positive right now. There have been some changes. I might get into that later.
  • Starting grad school (again!) in the fall at UBC in the library program. It seems really unbelievable right now, but it will be all too real very soon.
  • Dirty Duo race went well, but led to a calf injury. The last 5 k of the race was killer and I was all alone. Wah! 
  • Still running trails and have had some great runs. I am currently training for Iron Knee 25 k. You may recall that I ran the 15k Tender Knee last year. It was my first long trail run. 
  • Didn't make it into the Knee Knacker 50k. My name wasn't drawn in the lottery, but am setting my sights on a 50k in the fall. Baker Lake maybe? Might do a 30k in July if possible. It'd be a good warm up for the longer distance in the fall. 
  • I am completely obsessed with watching the bird cams at Cornell. I've been watching since late March. There's a heron cam and a hawk cam. I've seen eggs laid, owl attacks, and chicks hatch. It's been pretty amazing.
  • Let's Go Blues! Blues are through the first round of the play-offs!!!!

It's nice to be back. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a good running buddy is a lifesaver

Dirty Duo is coming up! I won't be doing the biking part of the event. I am not that crazy to even consider biking in the mountains. I'd much rather run them.

The training run on Saturday turned into quite the miserable event as the rain was pouring from the get go, and that just made it colder. I'm okay with a little rain, and once your on the trails, it's usually not so bad and there's a little shelter under that great canopy. However, we were running the bike route section of the race so it was a little more open than expected and we were all soaked after about 20 minutes into our 20 k run.

It didn't take long before we were wet, cold, and starting to wonder how to get back faster than planned. There's not much you can do when you're 10k away from your car or any warmth at all. The best we could as a group was to try and stick together and get through it together.

There weren't that many of us running the 20 k distance at this point (perhaps some had better sense to turn back early??), so the few that were left started to struggle with walking and running. We were way beyond wringing out our gloves and hats. I was soaked through to my skin; the layers can only wick away so much moisture, so I felt like my whole body needed to be wrung out.  I ditched the gloves because they were beyond helping me and I started to tuck my hands under my shirt whenever I walked to try and warm them up. My running partner, dl, (we were pretty much down to two of us by now. There were two others ahead of us in the distance, and two who were behind us, but later passed us as dl and I struggled along) told me that she was done with about 7k to go. We re-grouped with a few others at the next point and changed up the route to head directly back to the lot and skip the rest of the trail route. dl wasn't feeling well being so wet and cold, so I walked with her, or would run a little to try and keep warm and then wait for her.

We did try to stay on trail as much as possible to be out of the rain more (actually it was now slushy snow). I was running with my hands tucked under my shirt because it was too painful to leave them exposed. dl was really struggling and she's a super strong runner. We kind of kept each other going for a bit and thought about all the warm things in the world (comforters, hottubs, goretex!), and how beyond ridiculous this run was. My legs were starting to really ache. I felt like I had run twice the distance, and every ache and pain seemed magnified. My feet shuffled along, each step seemed like it would never end, and my legs felt like they were seizing up and they probably were.

When we got back to the start where the clinic leader was waiting for us, I couldn't even hold a pencil to sign myself out. The clinic leader had to sign me out. dl and I said a quick good-bye. Screw the stretching. No one cared about that. We made haste to our cars. I had to sit in the car for a half hour before I could even drive. Fortunately, I had brought a change of clothes so I could change in the car and that took the better part of the half hour just to get changed. Then the shaking started and I realized that I was experiencing or had been experiencing hypothermia. We all had.

I shook all the way home. db said my lips were blue when I walked through the door and that was after an hour in a heated car. I immediately got into the tub and started to feel human again.

I couldn't have gotten through it without my running buddy. Crazy thing was, we were back out there the next day. I laughed when I saw that she was wearing extra layers as well. I stuffed my running pack with extra everything. From now on it's going to be emergency blankets in every pack. I think dl had one in her pack, but we never thought were were bad enough off to use it (just another sign of hypothermia -- not thinking clearly). I won't let that happen again.

Here's to a future of running with goretex socks! My next purchase.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Snowshoeing in the Mountains

 I know! Two posts in one week. Don't think this will continue. I could disappear again for another month as the school work piles on.


There are snow in those mountains. I thought it just rained here all winter, at least until we got that snow a couple of weeks ago, but before that everything was green and rainy, and we had a mild Christmas. I'm acclimatised to the winters here, and know how to get through the months of rain.

However, this year db and I resolved to get in some snowshoeing. db had purchased two pairs of snowshoes for us in the fall as Christmas gifts. I was wondering if we'd ever get to use them because there was no sign of snow and friends I had spoken to in December said that the snow conditions weren't great on the mountains when they had been skiing, so I wasn't expecting much when we headed up Mt. Seymour Rd. for our first snowshoe outing. 

 Our Costco snowshoes. db found these at Costco and they've been great. The last time I was on snowshoes, it was those more "traditional" shaped snowshoes that you might know with the tennis racket shape: very wide and difficult to walk in. Snowshoes have come a long way, and these are great! They may not be as streamlined as some of the "running" snowshoes I've seen on the market, but they sure are fun for walking. (I really don't have plans for taking up snowshoe running...honest).

As we drove up towards the ski hill, we were relieved to have purchased winter tires because it was suddenly full on winter!

There were skiers everywhere. Kids were heading to the sliding hill with parents, and snowshoeing is definitely popular. We purchased our passes and strapped on the snowshoes.

These photos are from three different outings.  Mt. Seymour, Cypress (twice), and then back to Seymour.

You can see how much snow had actually accumulated on the mountain. Now I realize that whenever it's raining at home, it's snowing on the mountains.

 The reward back at home! Two vegan hot chocolates with those amazing sweet & sara marshmallows.

The following week, I took hot chocolate in a thermos (thank you to my brother for sending the fantastic company branded -- Capital Springs -- thermos for Christmas), and carted the marshmallows so we could enjoy it in the car. Why wait until you get home in the rain. It's more fun to have hot chocolate in a winter setting.

 This is Hollyburn Lodge at Cypruss. The snowshoe and nordic skiing trails lead to this lodge on the way to Hollyburn Mtn. It's a really cute little spot in the woods, and there were several pairs of snowshoes hanging outside next to skis while people warmed up inside. They have a little cafe in there as well, and there's a lovely wood stove smell as you near the lodge/cabin. Must be quite the hike up with the supplies (oh wait, there's a snowmobile track that leads up there).

You can see that it was snowing on that day. It was very pretty.

 I think this was Cypress the following weekend. We went on a longer hike. I was hoping to go all the way to Hollyburn Mtn, but once we hit the hiking access trail (free for snowshoers who don't want to pay to have access to the snowshoe trails), it was packed so we quickly headed back to the tranquility of the snowshoe trails and made our way on a fairly long route that pretty much tired us out for the rest of the day. db had also forgotten to put his orthotics in his hiking boots, so he had very sore and tired feet.

We did get some sun that day though. Blue skies.

This last shot was taken back at Seymour last weekend.  It was pouring when we left home, and as we drove up the mountain it was definitely like a winter storm up there. It was slow going on the road up.

At the top it was a blizzard. Snow was whipping around us and the winds were crazy. There were still skiers everywhere. There was actually an event going on, and it didn't seem to be slowing it down too much. db and I wondered how crazy we might be, but thought it would be better once we got into the woods, and it was. It was pretty tranquil in the woods, and we had another great hike. The trees creaked a little in the wind.

This hike was a little more adventurous since we took one of the "closed" trails. There were at least one or two other set of snowshoe tracks on the trail, so were weren't the only ones doing this. Plus there are many hiking trails that lead up to Seymour.

It was definitely more off the beaten path, but it did follow a well marked route and clearly someone else had been through. It was beautiful and quite hilly so it was a challenge. We did have to cross a creek without a bridge at one point so that was a little more challenge than I wanted in snowshoes, but I think there was probably a better way around that. was a good hike on a snowy day. The snow was still whipping up the ski slopes when we got back, and since we had been forced to park along the side of the road, we had a bit of a walk in the snow and wind, so we were glad to get to the shelter of our car, and warm up.

Next weekend, we might venture a little further afield. Squamish? Callaghan Valley?

Weekend Trail Runs

Had an awesome run Saturday! (I hate overusing the word "awesome," which I often do, but I'm using it anyway because it just seems right to describe today's run).

It was snowing when I left to meet the trail running clinic group...well, it was more slushy snow falling, which turned into rain when I reached the bottom of our hill, and then snow again as I started to climb along the Barnet. It was full on snow by the time I reached our meeting point at the bottom of the drive to Mt. Seymour (ski hill for those that don't know). There was a sad looking group of runners shivering in the parking lot, and I joined them, signed in and then we pretty much got under way because no one wanted to stand around for very long.

(the trail did not look as nice as this. Imagine it overcast, very damp, and partially snow covered and then you'll get an idea of trail running in the winter here)

The start was a long, slow climb on a trail that runs parallel to Mt Seymour Rd.  We were all running at first (probably just trying to stay warm. I know I was), and then eventually we all walked up at trail that's called Old Buck.  The clinic leader was at the next junction to meet us, and then we turned onto a more narrow trail that's part of the 48k trail route named Baden Powell. More climbing! The trail was snowy, but not too slippery. We stayed all grouped together. Usually we break up into smaller groups depending on pace, but this week we clustered in a big long group along the trail.

My legs were burning! I had done some lunges with weights on Thursday at the gym and was still feeling the effects of that, so the climbing was TOUGH. When we finally hit something I could actually run on it felt great, but it was a really rocky section with lots of loose rocks so it was slow going in the snow. I later found out that that section of trail is called the Seymour grind. Appropriate.

There was a lot of up and down, but the warmer I got, the better I felt and the final run down towards our meeting point felt great and I pretty much ran my own pace downhill. I seem to be pretty fast on the downhills, finishing them before many more experienced runners, which is making me wonder if I'm going too fast and not pacing properly. Will it catch up with me later on a longer run? I just don't find the downhill sections that difficult. The uphills I'm always at the back of the pack, but the descent is pure joy for me.

I think finishing on a good descent kept me feeling great all day. I had a real runner's high that helped carry me through work. I should probably run every day before work!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Friends Making Money

I didn't look up why this is called "Friends Making Money" when I found it on Wandering Coyote's blog, but that' okay.

FMM involves answering 20 questions, then leaving a link to your post on the post of the friend you got the list from.

1.  What is your favourite way to spend a Saturday?
Start the day with an early morning trail run with my trail running buddies, then go home for a db specialty coffee and some yummy breakfast/brunch and then just let the day unfold. Hopefully there's a great movie in there at some point.

2. List your top 3 favourite TV shows.  
I think I only watch re-runs. 
St. Louis Blues Hockey (that's current!)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (all time favorite)
The Simpsons
3. Would you rather be in pictures or take them?
Definitely take them.

4. Why do you blog?
Even though I don't do it as much anymore, I do blog for my family, and for my own interest. I think I started out to blog for different reasons and with bigger plans (creative expression), but it turned into a much more personal blog than I thought it would be.

5. Share 5 web sites you visit regularly.

Facebook (do you really need the link?)
Langara College (where I'm currently taking 2 courses)
SPUD (gotta order the veggies and see what's on special for the week) (running stuff)
Fat Free Vegan (always something yummy)

6.  If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list, who would that be?
I don't have a twitter list. Let's say my fb would be my sister.
7.  List a few of your favourite snacks.
Kale Chips from Tao Organics!!!! I'm addicted.
Vegan Peppermint Nanaimo bars from Sprout Vegan Bakery (She is an amazing local vegan baker)
db's hats (I can't give away the secret, but if you've had them, you know what I'm talking about.
Que Pasa tortilla chips and a spicy salsa (standard favorite).

8.  Do you have a pet?  If so, what kind.
Yes, two cats that are my companion animals.

9.  Which 3 material possessions would you struggle to live without?
 Struggle seems like a strong word for these things, but it would be: My Mac, My blender, and My camera. (not necessarily in that order).

10.  What’s your favourite drink?
Fresh juice with apple, beet, carrot and ginger. (Hmm, I think I'll go make some after this).
For something a little stronger, I prefer a nice red like a Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino (but who doesn't. I don't get to enjoy these too often though - $$$$$ -- so another tasty wine will do. I enjoy trying different ones.)

11.  Do you enjoy cooking?
Yes when I have time. Not so much when I don't.

12.  Do you have children?
Nope. I have two cats and too many other things in my life.

13.  What are you favourite hobbies?
Trail running, trail running, and trail running. Just kidding (sort of). I also enjoy photography, hiking, knitting, and volunteering at Wildlife Rescue.

14.  Would you consider yourself to be shy or outgoing?

15.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Better memory.

16.  Who is your favourite actor/actress?
My sis, of course!
Actor: Cary Grant.

17.  What’s the coolest thing  you’ve done this week?
Trail ran in the snow, and then later went out snowshoeing. That was today and I'm toast.

18.  Do you live near family or far from them?
Both. Most of my family is far away, but pw is just across the Salish Sea.

19.  List three of your talents.
Ability to take on any challenge.
Story editing (I do miss script editing)
Making risotto (It really is the best)

20.  What is your greatest attribute?
Compassion towards animals.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Christmas Day

 What kind of Christmas Day photo is this? Well, when db and I drove out to Mission to cut our Christmas tree, we took a wrong turn and passed this area that was full of eagles feeding on Salmon. A little further up the highway it was the weekend of Harrison's Eagle Festival, where eagles return every year to feed on the Salmon, so it wasn't surprising to see them in the area. As we drove past we saw eagle after eagle after eagle.

Anywho...db and I didn't stop that day, but decided to go back 2 weeks later on Christmas. The beach was littered with Salmon carcasses and there was mostly just gulls enjoying what was left.
 It's really a beautiful little spot, and the weather cleared long enough for us to walk along the water.
 An American Dipper. I looked up this little guy once I got home and could load the photo to see what it was. I was astounded when I saw it dive into the water and then come back out.
 Looking over the bridge, we watched this gull enjoying himself. The gulls really do enjoy cleaning up. They were almost as much fun to watch as the eagles.
 We did see eagles. At one point we counted a total of 14 in one area. It was probably a quarter of what we probably would have seen two weeks earlier.
 Several were perched in the trees. They stayed there the whole time we were there.
 This one bald eagle remained in this spot the whole time as well. Others moved around us, and we got to see several take off and land fairly close. It was quite amazing.
 More gulls having fun. (I love gulls!)
Finally, the best view! This eagle was along the side of the road and we almost drove past him and missed him. db spotted him as we drove by, so we swung around and parked several feet away to watch him (or her) enjoy whatever it had in his (her) talons. Beautiful raptors!