Monday, January 18, 2010

Here I Am!

If anyone is even still listening. No matter, here I go!

So, I'm going. In just over a month! There's a lot to organize before then (booking a flight, for example), and I'm taking more shifts to prepare for my time of no income and higher expenses. In the moments betwseen, I'm going to try to buckle down with the mandarin, and also just enjoy the hell out of Vancouver (thankfully I have a free pass to most things).

In that spirit, when given the perfect gift of a gloriously sunny day this weekend, I went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge with a friend. I hadn't been in years, and I'll admit, I was impressed! BC doesn't hold back on the showy scenery, that's for sure. We explored the new(ish) treetops canopy, which was fun (going on a rainforest canopy is still on my life list).

I'm not sure what'll happen in Taiwan; I may start a new, Taiwan-centric blog for my travels. I'll keep y'all posted!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

So I mentioned I was planning on moving.  It's looking more an more likely that I'll be following through with this (basically, it'll happen unless something huge comes up).  I'm planning on moving to Taiwan.  Specifically Taipei, though that may change.

It's been a long time coming, my leaving Vancouver.  If I'd gone ahead with grad school, leaving would have been implicit.  I decided not to go, which was the right choice, but that meant I stayed here, which wasn't.  The timing seems pretty ideal, all told; I don't own property, I don't have a boyfriend, or a career track I feel wedded to.  All those things sound like negatives, but the silver lining is that I'm completely untied.  I can't imagine a time when I'll feel so untied again, so I want to take advantage of it when I can.

It's not that I've regretted my time here at all, it's that...I feel like I've grown as much as I can here, for now.  I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know I'm not finding it here.  The last time I went away for any sustained period of time was in 2006, and there's something about coming back better than you were when you left that I need to do again.  So, I'm going, and hopefully will come back better than I was before.
Oh my GOD, I'm so sorry.

Remember when I said I'd try to post more? That went well, didn't it? Sigh. It's not an excuse, but in the intervening time, a lot has happened, including:

My dad had surgery
My mom had surgery
My work ran out of work for me
I decided to (probably) move
Oh, and today I turned 26

That's the point-form version. So far the surgeries seem to have worked out (we get word on my mom's in a week). I received my last paycheck from work, and am now bracing myself for the inevitable decrease in my hard-won emergency fund (I knew there was a reason I made it so big!). 26 has been pretty alright, for the past...12 hours. So hey; busy, but generally okay. Not so bad, right? Ok, so I've been boring too. I can't help it, what do you people want from me? Oh. Semi-regular, half-decent blog posts. Yeah, that's reasonable. Sigh.

Friday, September 04, 2009

New Computer!

This is my first entry with my new laptop, OshTosh B'Gosh. He's a 16-inch Toshiba, and so far he's lovely. He was a steal of a deal, too! As an added bonus, he's EnergyStar certified, and is currently running on Toshiba's "eco Utility" mode (weird capitalization part of the trademark) which reduces power usage even more. Way to go, Osh!

In other news, I lunched at Market by Jean-Georges Vongerichten today, with a dear friend. They have a great deal for lunch, three courses for $28. According to our server, what Jean-Georges did was canvas all his restaurants and create a "greatest hits" list in this menu. Based upon my two meals (so far!) his guests have wonderful taste. Here's a head to head (and in some cases, to head) matchup of the dishes I've sampled.

Appetizer Round
Steamed Prawn Salad vs. Calamari vs. Fontina Pizza with Frisee and Truffle Oil
Winner: the pizza. The other two were exceptional (the calamari especially), but the pizza...yum.

Entree Round
Burger vs. Hangar Steak
Winner: hangar steak. Man oh man this was delicious. Next time I'll have to order something different, but it will be tough to leave that one behind.

Dessert Round
In-House Sorbets and Ice Creams vs. Chocolate Pudding with Whipped Cream and Lavender Sugar
Winner: sorbets and ice creams, hands down. Those were incredible. My lunch date and I both fell in love with them. Even the vanilla was the best vanilla ice cream I've ever had.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I've always loved the idea of weddings.  Everything is pretty, people are happy, and any celebration is wonderful.  There's something magical about them, and the different ways people can personalize them are always fun to see.

This summer I've attended two weddings, and am helping a friend prepare for one next summer.  The two I went to had staggeringly different aesthetics.  One was at a winery in the Okanagan, while the other was at the Empress Hotel in Victoria.  Both had the most essential ingredients for a great wedding, namely a bride and groom in love, surrounded by friends and family.

But now, helping with the preparation for a wedding, I can't help but be shocked at the entire process.  Once it's stopped being hypothetical, the cost is staggering.  Put the word "wedding" in front of something and the price doubles.  Use the word "bridal" instead, and it jumps three times.  Then there're all the things that need to be bought, made, sent, written,'s insanity.  It's fun, but keeping costs down takes serious planning.  Ing is doing a fantastic job (this is by far the most bang I've seen someone get for their buck), but it's a little daunting to see.  Now I understand why eloping is such a popular idea (if rarely followed through on).

But if they eloped, I wouldn't be able to be a bridesmaid!  And that would be awful; I'm so excited!

Monday, August 31, 2009

...I'm late

Very late.  Sorry.

In the past 3 months (yikes) I've:

taken several cooking classes (woo!)
gone to LA (more below)
asked for a full-time position at my job (scary!)
was going to be offered a job I wasn't ok with taking, so gave my notice at the job (MORE scary!)(but I'm still there for the time being, under contract which is great)
attended two lovely weddings
read some books
taken a kayaking course
made 437 dumplings (for reals)
celebrated a friend's engagement (eee!)
gone wedding dress shopping - with success!
bought a new laptop
signed up for sewing classes, more chinese classes, and more cooking classes.  Momma's gonna LEARN.

So, LA.  I went with a friend we'll call Med, who had a medical licensing exam to take.  The planning went something like this:

Med: Hey, can you get me a hotel deal in LA?
J-Bird: Hmmm, it's about $140/night.
Med: Dammit.  Motel 6 it is.
J-Bird: Huh, if I go with you it'd be $49/night.
Med: Each?
J-Bird: Total.  So, hope you're cool with having a roommate!

It was a lovely trip; while Med studied, I read/worked/tanned, and after her exam we went shopping, sightseeing, eating (oh, the eating), and one night, she watched while I drank most of a bottle of champagne (that I'd bought for her, natch) and then acted the fool as a result.  But in a more culinary vein (because we know where my tastes lie), here are the highlights.

In Manhattan Beach, I recommend the Rock n' Fish (particularly the Oak-Grilled Artichoke.  If you're lucky and  they're on special, just get 4 and have those for dinner).  Afterward, if you have room (I did, but Med was aghast that I even entertained the notion), head just up the road to the Manhattan Beach Creamery for some ice cream.

In Santa Monica we had a lovely meal at Trastavere (website seems to be down), an old-fashioned Italian place.

In Pasadena, head to Marston's for breakfast, and have the French Toast (it is a revelation).  For lunch...I don't remember what it was called.  Look, go to the Westin Pasadena, and ask the concierge (an older black man) about his favourite Mexican place, and then go there.  But don't eat too much, because for dinner at Madeleine's you want to have room.  That one was a splurge, and highly worth it.

When we weren't stuffing our faces or shopping at Anthropologie (so much love), we were checking out Huntington Gardens and the Getty Center, which were both incredible.  Be sure to check out the desert garden at Huntington, and just go walk around the Getty.  We didn't go even go in, the architecture is so amazing.  Come to think of it, Huntington has a library and museum we also didn't check out.  But who wants to be indoors when it's so gorgeous outside?  Remember to pack drinks, though.  It gets hot!

And of course, you can't go to California without visiting In n' Out (Med had never been!).

All in all, a great (and filling) trip.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Updates! Well, One.

I've updated the count to the right; numbers aren't as high as I'd like, but not too bad.

In other news, I owe several updates (and that's not counting the ones which in the past, were promised, but then cast off and forgotten like used kleenex.  I'm not a very conscientious blogger, it seems), so here's one.  The tale of Legoland, Moppet and Me.

I went to California, as mentioned previously, to visit Moppet.  While we were still in the planning stages of the visit, she kindly asked me what I would like to do.  I had only two requests: Hillcrest Farmer's Market, and Legoland.  I'm very happy to report that she humoured me in both these requests (Hillcrest was less of a chore, in that it led to delicious edibles including Cherimoyas, Guavas, and Lamb Stuffed with Goat Cheese).

Legoland, though not actually in San Diego (did you know California has a Carlsbad?  And it isn't through a vortex to WarCraft, it's a real place!), is a fantastic land full of these magical little blocks that they call Legos.  They have historic parts of American cities made of legos.  They have dinosaurs made of legos.  They have Caroline Rhea made of legos (no, really).  They also have rides (why yes, I will go on the lego version of "It's a Small World"! Thank you for asking!) and games (And the gold medal in stamping-the-face-on-the-lego-head is...Moppet!) and demonstrations of how these blocks are made.  It is all in all, a grand place full of joy and laughter, where all is right in my heart.*

We wandered the country for an astounding 4 hours, far surpassing our projected stay of 1-2 hours, and it was totally worth it.  We came, we laughed, we left.  Best amusement park ever.

*almost all is right.  They are severely lacking in lego-food.  Wherefore your Mickey-churro, Legoland?

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Which I Suck At Updating


This is going to be a quick recap, because the J-Bird, she is tired.

California was perfect.

I've started my Chinese classes, and they're great.

I have now made english toffee successfully from scratch.  Twice.

Bezzer is back in town.

I've decided to think about buying a place, which means I have to save money like there's no tomorrow.

More later, it's sleepytime.