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.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Movie Review - Monsters Vs. Aliens

I loved this movie. That being said, the posters really ought to have "Warning: this film is best consumed by nerds" plastered on it. References to Star Trek, The Fly, Darwin, and other such things fly at a mile a minute; I loved it, but if you aren't even a little plugged in to all of that, it'll dampen the experience big time (also great; the quiet reference to Legally Blonde). Also skewing my opinion was the cast. Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Colbert (!!), Rainn Wilson. To my mind, this movie was practically guaranteed to be hilarious.

The plot is pretty straightforward: a "normal" girl Susan meteor on her wedding, turns giant, is taken to a monster compound, saves the world from aliens, and realizes her now ex (he dumped her because she'd get all the attention) is a loser, and lives happily ever after saving the world from other monsters and aliens. This isn't particularly deep stuff, and it doesn't seem like the makers were aiming for a particularly affecting experience, either. Susan's development is far less involving for the audience than Reese's Elle in Legally Blonde (and love that movie as I do, I don't claim that it deserved an Oscar by any means). But it's the first movie in a long time that kept me consistently and completely entertained throughout the film. No lulls, no long monologues, no thinking about what I needed to do the next day. AND Stephen Colbert voices the President. Amazing.

A note on the 3D: it was fun, but besides one extremely well-done scene involving a ball and paddle, wasn't that noticeable. Going to see it in normal format would by no means kill the film. It would however prevent you from seeing rad people like myself, XC and her boyfriend all wearing sizable 3D glasses over our glasses. Sexy.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Fully Loaded!

My emergency fund is now at $10,000, which is where I've decided to hold off funding it any further for now.  $10,000 is a comfortable cushion, and the money that would go there can now go to my apartment fund and toward my retirement savings goals.  The retirement savings is particularly important, as that's flying at the low low sum of zero dollars right now (yikes).  I'm hoping by the end of the year I can get it to $10,000.  If I can stay employed, then I think I can do it.  If not...well, it'll be tough.  But hey, anything is better than zero!

I feel like I should redefine my goals, since where I am now, financially, is so different from where I started out.  So here they are:

Retirement Savings (not including TFSA)
(2009) Goal = $10,000
Now = nothing

Goal = $7,000.00
Now = $4,668.91

This one I handle a bit differently.  It's definitely a short-term savings account, in that I save for specific trips.  My goal is to have saved (and travelled) about $2,500 worth per year.  Right now it's at $1,000, but I go to California in a week, so it'll be nosediving soon.  But that, at least, is guilt-free!

And the new one....Down Payment
(Lord knows when) Goal = $30,000 at least (sigh)
Now = zippo (SIGH.)

I have a long way to go.  But I'll never reach a goal I don't set, so hey, 1 step's already done!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Beyonce is a Goddess

I even forgive her for this "Sasha Fierce" conceit.  I went to her conert last night, and it was incredible.  Apart from the fact that she can sing, she has great stage presence, the costumes are amazing (I want her jaguar/wonderwoman ensemble.  I would wear it while hosting dinner parties and doing laundry and any time I feel an injection of fabulousness would be helpful.  ie. All Of The Time), and damn but she can dance.  She also had a great band backing her, made up completely of women, and her backup singers "The Mamas" were an utter joy.  I want to be best friends with all of them.

Now all I want to do is blast Beyonce and dance.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

The second in a row, thanks to the lovely calendar!  So far so good, knock on wood and so forth.

It's been a relatively stressful week, I have to admit.  Things will probably stay that way for at least a couple of weeks, barring some extremely unexpected surprise.  But my emergency fund is rapidly approaching my "stable" goal of $10 000, which is great; I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to hit the target before my current contract came up.  I'm not planning by any means to leave the job, if they still want me, but in light of the state of the economy (which according to media is somewhere between "anarchy" and "apocalyptic") it's reassuring to have a cushion to land on.

In other news, I'm going to Beyonce!  I'm pretty excited, and even though it was kind of pricey, I've already paid for it.  Come to think of it, I think my spending is finally starting to mesh more with my values.  I've been spending more on experiences and less on objects.

Tonight I'm headed to the Recession Party, at Pacific Theatre to watch a friend perform.  I don't have much of an idea what the show will be like, but I'm looking forward to the mystery!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kayak, Here I Come!

I registered for kayak lessons today.  I'm a bit nervous; I have upper body strength of a T-Rex, and now I'm meant to propel myself using only my arms?  Terrifying.  Nonetheless, I'm excited.  I've always wanted to do it, since reading a story about  family who kayaked down (up?) the Amazon in a Ranger Rick magazine, back in elementary school.

My ticker tests came back normal, which things most assuredly are not, so that's a bit of a concern; I'll have to go back in to try to sort it all out.  The issue has gotten a bit better, and seems to be mostly anxiety-triggered, but I'd still like to know why it's just started; I don't think I'm more stressed than I was before the plaguening, so what gives?

I've been more into gardening lately.  So far only the theory of it, as it's still too cold to be adding anything in right now, but hopefully I'll be able to try to get a handle on something this summer.  Of course my mum has the entire space completely packed with all sorts of cool things, I may have to come up with some space of my own...

Monday, March 02, 2009

And Then, There Was The Plague

So, I was struck by...something.  I don't know what it was, but it went something like this:

Feel slightly off.
Feel violently ill.
Lie in bed.
Repeat above 7 times.
Lie in bed in agony, wishing for a break from consciousness but unable to actually slip into dark.
Spend entirety of next day in bed or on couch with pedialyte, friends and Arrested Development.
Finally falling asleep about 36 hours after it all started.
Waking, feeling weak as a kitten, eating a tiny bit, and then noticing that your heart is...doing things.

So the heart thing is still going on; went for an ECG late last week, and am waiting for the results.  The bright side is that so far I'm still alive, so I'm hoping this is nothing too dangerous.

In other news, I've bought a ticket to San Diego for Easter Weekend, to go see the Mo (woo!).  We're going to shop, beach, eat, and go to LEGOLAND.  I'm pretty excited.

I also registered for Mandarin classes.  It's something I've wanted to do forever, but never got around it.   Since I've been feeling so down lately, I decided that I'm just going to go and start doing all these things I keep saying I want to do.  So: chinese lessons.  And later, I'm planning on taking kayak lessons (this is all pending my continued employment, of course).

So to sum up; I was violently ill, there's still something going on, and I've spent a lot of money lately, putting a crimp in my saving rate.  But hopefully I can catch that up reasonably quickly.  Even more importantly, I hope to have this health thing figured out and resolved asap.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Restaurant Review: db bistro moderne

Last night, Pretty and I ventured to db bistro, the replacement restaurant where "Feenies" once stood.  We'd decided at the last minute to try it out, but had both forgotten that Dine Out is still running.  Luckily, packed though it was, they managed to seat us.

The room is quite nice; dark, sleek and modern with unobstrusive music playing in the background, and from what I can tell, conversation-friendly acoustics.  Service wasn't quite impeccable; it took a good five minutes before menus were delivered, and another 3 for water to be offered.  Thereafter it was spotless, however, so the delayed start can be forgiven.

The kitchen offered us some sort of cheese puff (um, it was far more refined than that, but frankly I was exhausted and hungry, so I don't remember what they called it) which was delicious, and then Pretty and I got down to the serious business of ordering, followed by the even more serious business of eating.

I had the moroccan tuna tartare, which was great.  I'm partial to Gyoza King's maguro yukke, followed closely by Boneta's tuna tartare, but db's was gunning for a different target, with a yogurt dressing and chickpeas to garnish.  The charcuterie platter was divine; I even liked the ham!  There was also a wonderful duck pate, an air-dried beef, a (I want to say French) prosciutto, and a pate en croute.  It was a smorgasbord of cured meats, in the best of ways.

For dessert, Pretty had the apple tart, which was perfect.  Everything i want an apple tart to be.  I ordered the Floating Lime Island.  I wish it'd been a bit more lime and a bit less floating; it was akin to eating a wet meringue, and held only the tiniest hint of lime.  It was the only real strike of the evening as far as I was concerned, but considering i like my citrus punch to be substantially more forceful than most people, that could be more my palate than their execution.

Next up: Salt Tasting Room, which will try to exceed db's performance with cured meats.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Two Months

Those two months were not fun.  For no particular reason; I can't blame it on terrible things happening, or even a lack of wonderful things (Obama! Europe! I'm still, beyond expectation, employed!).  I suppose this is what is termed a "quarter-life crisis".  I am not enthused.  As a psych major, I recognize that this is normal, and that it's something that can be dealt with.  As an individual with a deep affection for logic, I completely reject the idea that I could be this overwhelmingly unhappy when I have so much to be thankful for.  These two views don't really reconcile.

And so, after too many weeks of trying it my way, I'm going to try it another way.  Less logic, more frivolity.  I'll let you know how it goes as it happens.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Whoops! That was a long break!

A quote from yesterday's Daily Show, to ease us in:

STEWART: Washington was, so, crowded today. There were so many people. You as a bishop were sort of doubly handicapped in that situation because you are only allowed to move diagonally. How is that negotiating the crowds?

ROBINSON: John, you have to understand; there's a queen on the board as well.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Obamaday!