Monday, January 28, 2008

Snowshoe Sabbatical

We have lived on this glorious island for over a year now, but I'm (obviously) still pretty clueless about it. There are too many examples that I could use to illustrate this point, but allow me to select just one: this weekend we went snowshoeing, but up until that point (pretty much up until we pulled into the Mount Washington parking lot), I had no idea there was anywhere close-ish that boasted enough snow to merit us strapping on the snowshoes! This was despite the fact that many of my friends go up to Mount Washington to ski... I just assumed that the 'ski hill' they spoke of was a C.O.P. special-- full of freshly made 'snow' to attract all the hard core 'skiers'. I'll admit I was wrong about this. Very, very wrong. Sure, it was no 45 minute jaunt to Kananaskis, but even the 3 hour commute to and from the resort here was worth it- we love to snowshoe!!

Marty celebrated his big 3-7 yesterday, so snowshoeing was a perfect way to usher in his special day. It was also the perfect antidote to a less-than-perfect week, in which I grumbled nonstop about my job being boring and proceeded to take a self-proclaimed mental health day on Thursday. I literally walked into the door, signed myself in, paused for thought, signed myself back out and said 'SEE YA' to the non-profit world. At least for the day-- the next day I was back in my desk (but so productive! I should take a mental health day every single week!)

I could do this every day:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

In case my mild OCD tendencies have not been obvious to date, allow me to detail my latest fascination. You see, I have large loves for many tiny things, and most of these things would certainly fail to thrill ordinary people in the slightest bit. To reason: Mason jars? Check! I collect them and put anything and everything I can into them.

Clothes pins? Ditto! Even though we have not had the luxury of a clothes line for a good 3 years now, I still harbour the pins and long for the day when our clothes will once again air dry outside, fastened to the line with the most stunning of jewel-toned clothes pins.

Rolls of coins, or the act of rolling loose change? Yes! I was over the moon when I discovered that part of my job would be to sort and count thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of spare change. 'I love counting coins!', I proclaimed when I saw the brimming bucketfuls that awaited me in the office upstairs. 'Don't say that too loudly', my coworker hushed, fearful of the ocean of coins that would soon threaten to drown me if others knew they could pawn the dreaded coin-counting job off on me. I didn't care. I was in absolute heaven counting all of that change and sorting it all into neat little stacks of 10, 20, or 50 coins. Plus, I was getting paid to do it! Imagine that!

My most recent squeals of delight are related to making sprouts. Now, the mere act of making things grow is tremendously rewarding in itself; however, sprouting becomes doubly exciting when you factor in the added bonus that I get to use some of my Mason jars to do it! (If I were James Brown, (and if James Brown were still alive), this is when I'd be melting down onto the stage and getting my sidekicks to rush over and cover me with a glittery cape. Headfake-- YOW!-- I'd get back up and keep shakin' that thang. It feels that good to make sprouts in my Mason jars.)

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I was under the impression that sprouting was a difficult and time-consuming process. From my past life working at a natural foods grocery store, I had seen sprouting kits that you could buy, and I simply assumed that those kits were necessary components of the sprouting process. I had never bought a kit; ergo, I had never made sprouts before.

This past weekend, based on the extremely simple instructions in the Thrive Diet book, I decided to grow some mung bean sprouts. The directions:

1. Rinse seeds, nuts, or beans, and place in a clean jar. The beans (or whatever) should only fill a maximum of 1/4 jar (my experience suggests less than that, even, because these suckers GROW!). Then add purified or filtered water to the 3/4 jar mark and let the jar sit at room temperature overnight. No need to add a lid or anything to the jar at this stage.

2. Wake up in the morning and discover to your immense delight that the beans (or whatever) look puffy and swollen. The germinating process has begun! Drain water and rinse sprouts-to-be very well. Put back in the jar.

3. Put cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and hold in place with an elastic band. (If only I could have worked clothes pins in there somewhere, this truly would have been an angelic process!) Turn jar upside down to drain any more water out and just let those suckers sit.

4. Whenever sprouts-to-be are looking a little dry, fill the jar with water, swish around, and then tip the jar and let the water drain through the cheesecloth again. I did this once or twice a day. If you're like me, you will have to transfer your sprouts into a larger jar because they just grow so huge!

Sorry for the crappy quality of the photo, but this is what you get when you're taking photos in the bathroom (!!) in the wee hours of the morning before you leave for work, or in my case, an acupuncture appt. The light just sucks.

5. Within 1-2 days, prepare to be amazed and astonished: In place of your dry beans, nuts, or seeds will be wholesome and delicious sprouts! Just like that! Eat with salads, on sandwiches, in wraps, or as a garnish for pretty much anything. Repeat steps 1-5 indefinitely, and mix things up in the seed department. YUM!

Monday, January 14, 2008

To the Dogs

Even though I grew up with cats (at times, many cats-- enough to qualify me as a cat lady, even-- except I wasn't a lady yet), I have developed a strong fondness for dogs. Big dogs, especially. And one big dog in particular:

Our part time dog, Robertina. Our current apartment building does not allow dogs (especially large, excited, always-so-happy-to-see-us ones like her), but it's OK: we get to take Robertine on a walk every single weekend, and we're loving it. She waits for us patiently until we come pick her up, she's into our new van as much as we are (points!), and she has so much fun on the walks, it would be impossible for it not to rub off on us, too.

Bounding down Lone Tree Hill!

It's a win-win-win situation for everybody involved: her owner has chronic fatigue and likes to know that her dog is taken care of while she catches up on rest, we get to explore our beautiful surroundings with our FAVOURITE DOG EVER, and of course, Robertine gets to run free, scramble over mossy rocks, chase squirrels, and hang out with her boyfriend:

Putting the moves on Marty-- I'd say 'back off, bitch!' in a horrible pun, but the truth is Robertina and I have made an agreement: she can be the girlfriend as long as I still get to be the wife. Besides, Robertine is the only one I know who loves Marty as much as I do, so I'm cool with that. We relate.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Apparently, I Never Learn

I mentioned a few posts ago that I have been a bad blogger and knitter as of late, due to an unfortunate case of bilateral tendonitis. It seems that everything I really enjoy doing involves repetitive movements of my hands, arms, and wrists, and geez-- even if I can't get enough knitting, my body sure can. Well, I've been remedying the situation by seeing an excellent acupuncturist. After 3 measly (and intensely relaxing) sessions, I was able to resume many of the activities I missed doing-- knitting being the most important one.

Well, seeing as I regained the use of my arms so easily and holistically, I decided that it was high time for me to undertake a project I've wanted to knit for a very long time: an entire damn knitted blanket! The original pattern is for a baby blanket in an "Underwater" colour theme, but with some fudged mathematical equations (i.e.: Baby blanket x 3ish for length x 3ish for width= Big Blanket), and a fancy for the shades of autumn leaves, I am adapting the project to be big enough for Marty and I.

Well, I have made it through the first strip of the pattern and part of the second one (photos to be added later-- Marty must have taken the camera on his bike ride this morning). Already, it has become apparent that I am a complete and utter fool. The nagging soreness in my arms has returned, and if my poor wrists could talk, they would strongly tsk-tsk me, I'm sure of it. Their lecture would be something along the lines of: "I know that you're excited to start knitting again, but really-- would it maybe be sufficient to knit a pair of mittens instead of knitting 500 rows of blanket and weaving in the ends all in one sitting??" Heh. When you put it that way...

I will have to return to my sweet (and hopefully understanding) acupuncturist this Friday to start the healing process all over again. It's OK, though-- I completely enjoy the feeling of the needles in my forearms (and sometimes my feet and ears!), and it's even better when she does some roving cupping on my back and shoulder muscles-- I don't even mind the resulting (huge, dark, questionable-looking) hickeys that linger for nearly a week afterward...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

I [heart] Depeche Mode!

Just recently, I stumbled into an intense, all-consuming obsession (the good way) with Depeche Mode. I can't say why or how this happened, exactly, but I can tell you that I haven't been this enthralled with a band since junior high, when I was outrageously in love with U2 and even nicknamed myself Bono while playing computer games (I know-- terribly cool, right?). We watched their live DVD "Touring the Angel" the other night, and I was positively blown away-- so much so, in fact, that I watched it AGAIN the very next night. Now, of course, I must. see. Depeche. live. in concert. I must.

I am now the unofficial President of the Teenage Depeche Mode Fanclub. Sure, I'm about 15 years late jumping on this bandwagon, but better late than never, right?

"Never Let Me Down" Live: I appreciate the jazz hands action of 80,000 fans, though it's not captured nearly as good in this video as it was in the official DVD.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

So far, 2008 is PERFECT!

Well, we are back from a quick jaunt into the temperate rainforests to ring in the new year. We spent a night camping at the illustrious French Beach, and for probably the first time in west coast history, it did not rain AT ALL on the 31st or the 1st! There's one for the record books!

It's amazing how different camping and hiking are here, compared to Kananaskis and Banff National Park, where we are used to spending time outdoors. In Alberta, there are plenty of things to be worried about when camping: bears, cougars, freezing to death, avalanches, falling through ice, getting caught in snowdrifts up to your head, etc., etc. Here, you still have to worry about bears and cougars, but most people say this tongue and cheek like there is only one Ogopogo-like bear that only the craziest people have actually ever "seen". Overall, though, for some reason, camping here never feels as dangerous-- it's like a gorgeous and inspiring Camping Lite.

This past holiday, we did discover something that you must absolutely fear here that you wouldn't even think about back in Alberta (aside from the tide coming in and swallowing your tent on the beach): FALLING TREES. Wind storms on the west coast, especially in winter, are commonplace and intense. Hence, we strategically put our tent in the mossy depths near a giant cedar tree and hoped to hell that it would shelter us in the event of a wind storm. Luckily, it did.

Unfortunately, the starfish weren't as lucky as we were in the overnight winds. We saw nearly 10 of these guys washed up on the shore, most of them already dead.

New Year's Day was spent hiking a mere 2 km on the epic 47 km Juan de Fuca Marine Coast Trail. What a beautiful hike!

Cozying up on Mystic Beach

Those measly 2 km (and back) made us hunger for more rainforest hiking, so hopefully I can book some time off of work STAT and make plans to do the whole thing-- finally!

I hope you have all enjoyed the 2 days of the new year as much as we have!