Shot of Joy 9

"Mumvember" at the garden.
-hot tea on a cold day – my wood burning fireplace – spending holidays with wonderful people – cooking and baking – hosting Thanksgiving and having everyone enjoy themselves –

-having dinner with Vahid at our new table without TV or phone distractions – starting a practice of saying one thing we are grateful for before we eat – creating traditions – curling up under this fleece at night – fleece sheets on my bed –

-putting up pictures that we’ve taken as art above our fireplace – it’s wonderful to look at them and remember trips we’ve gone on and places we’ve seen – planning more art for our place and other little touches –

Even otters need to stay warm

-using the candles I bought as decoration – having candlelit dinner dates at home – a new recipe Vahid tried for chocolate pudding – talking about building our own cob house – just feeling really happy about where we are going in life –

 

The Year of the Killer Apple Pie

(Alternative Title–The Year I Cut Off Vahid’s Toe)
A Touch Of Frost
I’m going to tell you a little story about how I learned that you should always get your own dessert and also try not to harm others with said desserts. Behold my tale of hosting Thanksgiving:

Vahid and I ended up hosting Thanksgiving through a random turn of events. Last year we had our own little holiday, just the two of us, and were thinking of doing that again. I told Vahid to call his mom and let her know to either not expect us or see what the family was doing and if the answer was nothing invite her up. That ended up being most of Vahid’s immediate family because sometimes that’s just how these things go.

I felt a little stressed and rushed because I had also decided to redecorate our main living area and buy a dining room table and put up shelves and get rid of furniture and holy crap why did I think this was a good idea two weeks before Thanksgiving? But magically it all came together as it does and it was Thursday morning and I was making cinnamon rolls, which failed spectacularly, and crying because I just wanted these damn things not to suck. (Spoiler–they sucked, both batches I made did not turn out well) I realized I probably could have slept a little better because I was crying over stupid cinnamon rolls that didn’t matter.

It's love when he buys you the special Adventure Time addition of Munchkin.The day progressed and it became one of those days full of family and laughter and really amazing food. Half of us played my special edition Adventure Time themed Munchkin, which is a really fun game, and the other half sat by the fire doing whatever people do on their phones.

The pumpkin chiffon and apple pies were getting sliced and ready to dish up. Vahid offered to get dessert for me but got distracted. I jokingly said, “Hey! Where’s my pie?!” And he went, “Oh ya! Sorry babe!” and went to get them for me.

Then the plate, along with the apple pie, was dropped on his toe cutting it and the blood started flowing out it like a broken water pipe. Roxy, the dog, was very happy about the pie on the floor, even if it was getting covered in blood.

After much flailing and commotion Vahid’s toe was bandaged up and he was good to go. He’s fine now, nearly a week later but there was a lot of blood and a lot of mess and it all occurred because I couldn’t walk ten feet into the kitchen and cut my own slice of pie.

My first year of hosting a big holiday was 89% a success and about 11% bodily harm done to others through the use of dessert.

How did your holiday go? Did you travel or host at home? Did you also cause bodily harm through pie?

A little bit of Everything

I just kept waiting because I was hoping I would be able to talk about it but now it’s nearly the end of November, Thanksgiving is this week, and I still can’t. Not yet, soon, but not yet. I try to make a point of not writing about work, for a few reasons, but mostly because I don’t want to have another job where all I do is complain about it. I mean this job is pretty nice as far as jobs go. It’s nothing career building but it’s a good office with nice people and someone is always bringing a dog to work. I only have to work four days a week and now I feel insanely spoiled if I were to get any other job where I was working Monday through Friday.

All that to say that I wish I could talk about what’s going on because it’s awesome and kind of a big deal in that I’ve read stories about stuff like this in school but never thought I’d be on the ground level of something like this. Granted because the office and facility staff is small what’s happening is on the small scale but it’s still pretty awesome.

I’ve also been busy writing. At the end of October I decided to try to complete NaNoWriMo this month and both failed wildly and succeeded unexpectedly. I failed as I haven’t been writing every day, really only about two weeks total, and even for that I am only sitting at about 8,000 words. But it was successful because this is the longest I’ve worked on something without just giving up. I’m also really trying to get a first draft down and not get caught up in details I’d like to change but rather just write because anything can be changed later.

I also decided that since we are renewing the lease and not moving that I was going to decorate because I just haven’t. We’ve lived in this apartment for four years now and every year was the year we were going to move and for one reason or another we didn’t. Some years we just never looked for a new place. Recently rents have just skyrocketed and it didn’t make sense to leave an okay place and pay more money just to live in a similar apartment in a different part of the city. I was sick of living in what felt like a transient space and decided that even if it meant I was going to invest in a lot of putty to fix holes when we did decide to move out I was going to make our place look nice and feel inviting. It’s not completely done but it’s done enough that I feel a lot better about having a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving.

I really don’t know what I’m doing with that story I’m writing. But I am determined to keep writing and just see where it goes. It’s so hard to write but writing and decorating has really sparked a lot of my creativity. I am itching to paint again and draw and I found my pens it feels good to be in touch with part of myself again. I was so creative when I was younger and perhaps it’s something about “growing up” that we feel we must put things like that bed and embrace this more “adult” version of ourselves. Maybe I just put it away as I became more and more bogged down with the stress of life and now I can finally find it again and embrace it.

This has been a good month full of things and full of life.

How have you been? Do you have plans for Thanksgiving? What have you been up to this month?

Here We Are Again

We arrived in the evening and settled into our room. The beds were a smidge too small but the room was nice and clean and mostly quiet. We decided to go out for a celebratory drink, “yay vacation!” We joked that we ended up at the Canadian version of Malone’s, a crappy suburban sports bar near our house that is somehow always packed. It was a little too true for comfort. The drinks were decent though.

The next day we woke up entirely too early. It was nice to wake up and get ready slowly, we weren’t on anyone’s time table but our own. We wandered down for the “free continental breakfast” expecting it to be some folder’s coffee and pastries from Costco. We were pleasantly surprised by scrambled eggs, bacon, belgian waffles among assorted other things. I got to have breakfast tea to fully wake up that morning. We made our plans for the day over a syrupy waffle we split.

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We ventured out to the International Buddhist Temple, missing a turn and having to double back. It was an adventure driving anywhere not using our phones to give us turn-by-turn directions. “How did we survive before?” we laughed as wrong turns were made and circles were drove.

The sun was starting to come out sending the heavy clouds away. It was beautiful weather, a fall sunny day, crisp and bright. It was enchanting to walk through the temple grounds, many of the shrines you were not allowed to photograph for obvious reasons. Even if you could I doubt a photo would ever do any of them justice. They were breath taking.

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Taking in the afternoon sun we meandered along the paths of Queen Elizabeth Park, walking among the quarry gardens. I always seem to find myself visiting either an aquarium, zoo, or something of that sort no matter where we visit and we found this trip was no different. We popped into the Bloedel Conservatory and walked amongst the birds and exotic plants.

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Raman was had for dinner following the best bubble tea I’ve had. We spent the evening catching up with a wonderful friend and passed out asleep, full and happy.

The second day started in much the same way as the first. It was another beautiful fall day and we took advantage of it. We headed over to the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. We wandered as much of the gardens as we could, still not seeing everything I’m sure. The leaves were changing the sun bounced off them creating a fire of colors. We wandered through mazes and meditation gardens. We sat on benches and talked of our adventures. I fussed with my camera some but didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I thought.

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This time we had to stop at Stanley Park, having missed it the first time. We meandered along the sea wall for a bit, enjoying the views of the water and the people and the city. It’s a gorgeous city.

The evening ended much the same as the first. Sushi was had instead of raman and at the end we wandered through downtown, comparing places to the first time we had visit years ago. It was a different visit and we were a different couple and we remarked on how time changes you and we were both glad to be there again.

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In the end the trip was entirely too quick, there’s always so many more things to do, more places to try, more food to eat. But Monday morning we packed our car and headed back across the border, back to our home, and slept that night in our own, just the right size, bed.

(The rest of the photos from the trip are here on flickr.)

Stop Along the Way

The forecast predicted rain, as it always does this time of year. We were still in the last drops of a hot spell here and the thought rain was a welcome relief. I planned things to do, places to see, places we didn’t make it to on our last trip. Our last trip that felt like a lifetime ago, was a lifetime ago.

We drove late afternoon, catching rush hour traffic but trying to make the most of the stop-and-go. Seattle came up slowly then all at once as it does. If you aren’t paying attention you don’t realize you’re in the city until you’re halfway through it. Or perhaps I just dreaming, lost in my thoughts.

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That night was drinks with friends, his friends first then mine. We caught up, played games, and eventually found our way to sleep. Morning was a weekday and school and work was happening for most in the house. We made our way to breakfast, piroshkies, and decided our plans for the day over warm drinks in the drizzle.

Our plans were lofty, they always are, too much to see in too little hours. The rain was steadily sprinkling, not enough to be called rain, just enough to make you feel wet. I felt the melancholy of the day, the grayness felt a part of me. I wandered from place to place, feeling like a leaf blowing in the wind.

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We stopped for tea and crepes at a place Vahid saw on a list of “Best Tea Houses.” I had a hot chocolate made with Smoky Lapsang Souchong. I asked for hemp milk which makes a very creamy drink. It was perfect wet weather food. We split an apple and fig crepe.

Some places feed the soul. I sat and sipped my tea and I felt myself becoming whole again. The gray was less a part of me and more just a way to describe the day. The warmth of the tea and chocolate spread through me. I was content.

We drove to vantage points, both of us a sucker for a good cityscape. We went to gasworks park. I wandered among the dead machinery, wandering a land I had not created but spent many nights in. It wasn’t a perfect match but I could imagine Blaine the Mono leaving from a fabricated port. The sounds of constructions became the Grays and Pubes in their neverending feud. The tunnel built into the large body, covered in weeds and graffiti was the entrance to the Tik Tok Man and his layer.

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We wandered a neighborhood for a while, enjoying our time together to be leisurely, to change the schedule as we saw fit.

The time drifted into early afternoon and we knew we still had a few hours of driving and a border to cross before reaching our destination in Surrey, just outside Vancouver proper. We got into our car and headed north, onto the next part of our adventure.