Sunday, 31 August 2008

ABC 123 Baby You And Me Girl - Part 3

Wedding Recap A - D can be found here.
Wedding Recap E - H can be found here.
Invitations: Brown and Ivory. We printed them from a kit we bought, thinking we'd save a tonne of money. The money saved was not worth the angst that resulted from assembling them. Shawn and I almost didn't get married due to the wedding-invitation-assembly. Okay that's a slight exaggeration but I did have a major meltdown that included a lecture on Responsible Fast Food Consumption in Proximity to Wedding Invitations. Not my finest moment.

Jam: Our favours. I wanted our favours to be thoughtful, homemade, and consumable. I was also really excited about having a cheesy tagline. Jam was perfect because it covered all those requirements. I had only ever made freezer jam before but switching over to canned jam wasn't too difficult. After making multiple batches of jam (strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, rhubarb orange, rhubarb pineapple, mint, apple, kiwi ) I am now an expert at canning jam. Even though the canning was the most time consuming, the most satisfying part of our favour? The label. I love the label.

Kiss: We should have practiced our kiss. It was a bit awkward. Noses were smushed. Lips were pursed (I was so against wedding-kiss-tongue. Which resulted in a weird closed-mouth kiss.)Shawn had a few drinks before the ceremony so immediately after the kiss I told him he tasted like beer. It was pretty classy. It was also pretty long, judging from the seven photos Angella was able to snap.
Wedding Recaps to continue when we're home from Montreal. Hope everyone is having a fabulous long weekend!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Better Leave Her Behind Where The Kids Are Alright

I'm in Montreal right now, likely eating my weight in poutine. I'm posting here today; go check it out and find out why I shouldn't have kids.

Stella is enjoying the long weekend at Shawn's mom's house. Right about now she's probably sneaking up on Cleo (Shawn's mom's 10-year old whippet) and jumping on her back, ninja-style. That's how she rolls.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Yup I Could Tap That

You know how there are different relationships you have with the people you work with? There are the people who have authority over you so you're forced to respect them. There are the people you loathe. The people you fear. And then there's the people you actually like. People who you might be friends with in real life. People you grab lunch with, joke around with, snark about your crazy coworkers with.

One of those people just called me. He's on his way to a meeting and he forgot the name of the person he needs to speak to. That person's name is Tap. We had a wonky connection though, so coworker couldn't hear me that well.

"Tack?" he says, "like thumbtack?"

"No," I reply "Tap. Like I'd tap that."

And then I remember that I'm at work. In an open concept office space.

Welcome to my mortification.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

I Got Rusted Anxiety

We're going to Montreal this weekend. Whenever I think about going to Montreal I start to have a meltdown. This has resulted in me not thinking about going to Montreal. Not thinking about going to Montreal means not packing for Montreal or even doing laundry so my clothes are clean to pack for Montreal. There is no end to this crazy.

Shawn's dad is flying us out to see his new house. Aren't we spoiled? The problem with Shawn's dad flying us out to visit him is that we now have to spend all of our time with Shawn's dad. Aren't I rotten?

I like Shawn's dad. What I'm worried about is Shawn's dad's family. They couldn't make it out to the wedding so this trip is less about him showing us his house than it is him showing us off to his family. His large family. His large family that speaks French.

Being Canadian, I "speak french." By that, I mean that I had to take french right through high school and if you dropped me in a situation where I had to speak french or die, there's a slight possibility I'd make it out alive. I can muddle my way through reading french but there is no way I can converse in french (apart from asking where the bathroom is. Or asking if you want to sleep with me tonight.)

Here's my problem: his family also speaks English. Um, yes, I know I am crazy. Stick with me, we're getting to the point.

If his family only spoke French, I would have an excuse for how awkward and socially inept I will be. Without the language barrier, I have no excuse. Just anxiety issues.

I am not good at meeting new people. I almost threw up when I met Angella and she's pretty much the nicest person ever. Multiple people told me that she was the nicest person ever and yet, I was still all "but what if she doesn't liiiike me?" Yes, high school was a fun time for me.

I'm not shy. I'm not cold or uninterested or unfriendly. I genuinely like people; I just don't like meeting people. My stomach knots up and my hands sweat and I blush every time I open my mouth to say something. Not that it matters that I'm saying something, no one can hear me because I'm speaking so quietly and mumbling. Oh the mumbling. I actually have intelligent, insightful things to add to the conversation. You wouldn't know it though because I'm bright red and muttering incoherently. (Okay so I realise that this sounds like shyness but it's not. It's anxiety. Unmedicated (for now) anxiety.)

I kind of want to throw up just thinking about it. Or maybe I want to throw up because I just ate a rotten almond and wow, is there anything more gross than a rotten almond?

I'm trying to focus on the positive. I've never been to Montreal before; the furthest east I've been in Canada is Ottawa. It's warmer in Montreal than it is in Vancouver right now. I actually am interested in meeting Shawn's dad's side of the family, despite the distress it's causing me. But the real kicker, the thing that clinched it for me, the first thing Shawn told me about when his dad invited us out: authentic poutine. I have never had authentic poutine before. I'm told that western poutine cannot even be compared to Quebecois poutine because they are not even in the same realm. We're in Montreal for 3 days. I plan on eating poutine every day. My poutine adventure will be photographed extensively. There will be taste tests. We will eat poutine in various establishments and document the differences and similarities.

It's good to have goals.

ABC 123 Baby You And Me Girl - Part 2

Wedding Recap A - D can be found here.

Expectations: I'm someone who tries to please everybody. This results in much head-meltage for me. If I could offer one piece of advice to anyone planning their wedding, it would be "choose your battles wisely." For there will be battles. Everyone has an opinion about what your wedding should entail. Everyone feels justified in voicing their opinion. It doesn't matter if they are contributing financially or not, everyone would feel like their wishes should be respected. I had a really hard time accepting the fact that our wedding wasn't just about us. It was also about our family. There were some things worth fighting over (not having heart-shaped whisks as
our wedding favour) and some things that weren't (not having any flowers.) I'm glad that we stood our ground on the things that felt most important to use, but I'm also glad that we were able to compromise on some issues and make others happy. In the end, no one resent our decisions (at least, I hope not) and we still had the wedding we wanted to have.

Sheesh, look at me all preachy preachy. Moving on to a more humorous topic:

Expressions, facial: (yes, another 'e' - but at least I didn't put this under 'x' and make it 'xpressions' ... you would have permission to kick me in the shin if I did that.) We are goofy people. I'm so glad that Angella was able to capture it in the photos she took. I'm also glad that
others were able to catch us looking a bit silly during the reception because these are the photos that we love the most. Yes, it's nice to have lovely wedding photos. It's also great to have the silly ones; they feel more genuine.

Flowers: Right, so I will be the first to admit that I may have gone a little crazy. I was really annoyed at my aunt for the dahlias vs mums debate. Everyone told me that it didn't matter and I wouldn't even care on the actual day but honestly, I didn't really believe them. But guess what? I didn't get the flowers I wanted and I didn't give a shit. The bouquets looked fine. They were nothing like what I ordered and I didn't care. This concept blows my mind. I knew that there was a good possibility that I wouldn't get the flowers I wanted but I thought it would bother me a lot more than it did. In the end, the flowers looked great, my aunt felt included and we spent a ridiculously small amount on our wedding flowers (cost was my only argument against having flowers.)

Garter Toss: Didn't do it. Didn't toss a bouquet either. Maybe I'm a prude, but I always find the garter thing really awkward to watch. We'd scrapped so any other traditional wedding things that no-one even noticed that we didn't do the various tosses. Or if they did notice they didn't say anything.

Hair: I have wanted to chop my hair off for so long but I kept it long for the wedding. I wanted to be able to put it up with no fussy bits hanging in my face. It looks really simple and plain but there was actually about 100 bobby pins and a bottle of hairspray in it. It was not fun to undo but it didn't move at all for the entire day so I'm not complaining.

Honeymoon: Ireland. On hold until next spring because of our work schedules.

to be continued ...

Monday, 25 August 2008

ABC 123 Baby You And Me Girl

Lookie here! A wedding recap! And it only took three weeks for me to put together. But it's really fancy! And alphabetical! And there is alot of pictures! And too many exclamation marks!

Wedding Recap: A - D

August 4, 2008: Monday. Upsetting to those who did not support the idea of having the wedding in the pub. August 4th was a stat holiday this year (the first Monday of August is BC Day) so the pub was closed. If we wanted to have the wedding on a weekend we would only be able to rent one level of the pub, we wouldn't have access to the sound system, and we would be charged a ridiculously high minimum spend ($20,000 before tax, liquor tax, or gratuity.) Because the pub was closed for the holiday, we had access to the entire venue, we had full control of the sound system (which was the whole point of having the wedding in a pub) and we had no minimum spend. I like the idea of our anniversary being on or around a long weekend - my birthday falls on or around the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend and I love having the extra day to celebrate.

Best Ladies and Best Men: We didn't want to choose a Best Man or Maid of Honour so we had 3 Best Ladies and 3 Best Men. My Best Ladies were my sisters (Turtle and Bow) and my best friend (Robin Girl.) Shawn's Best Men were his brother, my brother (Westy) and a childhood friend.
Shawn, his friend, Shawn's brother, Westy
Me, Bow, Robin Girl, Turtle
Cake: aka Tower of Cupcakes. We didn't want a traditional wedding cake so we went with mini cupcakes and a small cake for the cake-cutting. We forgot to do the cake-cutting though. Actually, we did remember but we didn't want to break up the flow of the party so we just didn't do it. We put cupcakes on each table and people ate off the cupcake tower all night long so it wasn't a big deal. Shawn totally would have smeared cake on my face if given the opportunity so I'm kind of glad we didn't do it.

Ooh look, two C's. Too bad; this is my wedding recap. Don't like it? Get your own wedding recap.

Centrepieces: Source of much angst. I wanted casual centrepieces. I wanted it to look like someone went out to the garden and picked a bunch of flowers and stuck them in a jar. My aunt thought this was a ridiculous idea. Shawn's mom wanted something more formal and modern. I'm glad I stuck to my idea because it looked beautiful and was exactly what I wanted. It was bright and cheerful and a hodgepodge of colour.And now I have a bunch of canning jars instead of numerous vases that I'll never use again.

Dance: We didn't have a first dance. We wanted to do the Thriller zombie dance with our wedding party but it didn't work out. It involved way too much coordination and not everyone was enthusiastic about it, so we scrapped it. I wish that we could have pulled it off but it's one of those things that just didn't work out. We didn't want to do a traditional first dance because we don't have a specific song that has a lot of meaning for us. It felt a bit contrived. The first dance that we ended up both being on the dancefloor for was Sexyback by Justin Timberlake, so I guess that's now officially Our Song.

Dresses: I went on one wedding dress shopping trip with my mom. We went down to the states to go to a large bridal store. It was horrible. I wasn't overly picky about what I wanted, I just knew that I didn't want a train and I didn't want a strapless dress. The saleslady didn't believe me though; she kept trying to give me dresses with trains. I finally tried one on to shut her up and then tripped while trying to step up onto the pedestal thing in front of the giant mirrored area. That shopping trip was pretty much the worst shopping trip of my life. I found my dress when I went to a sample sale on a whim (by myself.) It wasn't strapless, fit me right off the rack so I didn't need to pay for alterations, had: cute little lace cap sleeves instead of large straps, no train, built-in boning so I didn't need to buy any special underthings, and a built-in crinoline so I didn't need to buy one of those. It wasn't perfect - I wish that it was off-white instead of white, I would have rather had a nice natural fabric instead of polyester, and it didn't fit me perfectly in the chest (though that was fixed with the addition of my chicken fillets) but it was easy and the price was right. Of all the wedding purchases we had to make, I had the most trouble justifying the cost of my wedding dress. The guilt I felt at spending so much on a dress I'd wear once was completely erased when I found my dress. After tax I spent a measly $316 on my dress. It's still the most expensive dress I own but it was much cheaper than the other dresses I tried on.

I hated trying to find the Best Ladies' dresses. I wanted something light, simple, more of a sundress than a formal dress. It took me forever but I finally found what I wanted at J.Crew. We ordered the dresses without the ladies trying them on (we have no J.Crew in Canada - boooo!) which was a bit of a gamble, but it turned out okay. The dresses were maybe a bit more booby than I had envisioned, but the ladies all looked fabulous.

stay tuned for more wedding awesomeness (hey, at this rate maybe I'll get to 'z' by Christmas!)

Friday, 22 August 2008

My Drifting Nature Has Got To Stop

Shawn and I took the monster to Buntzen Lake tonight. There's a fabulous off-leash dog area that has fencing extending straight into the water. Stella isn't much of a swimmer yet but she still enjoys splashing in the shallows.

We don't go to Buntzen often. It's a 40 minute drive from where we live and it's usually really crowded. I dragged Shawn out tonight so I could take a picture for Bridge's photo contest. This week's theme is "something in nature."

So, go enter the contest! Take a picture (it can't be a picture you've taken previously, it has to be a new picture) and post it on your blog. Then go leave a comment on See Hear Speak No Evil. The contest is open until August 30th.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Rock Me Now In The Arms Of Cobwebs

Xavier Rudd's new album "Dark Shades of Blue" is my new Favourite! Album! Ever! His voice is smooth yet gravelly and the man can rock a didgeridoo like nobody's business.

With this album, Xavier Rudd has the honour of being added to the List of Artists Hillary and Shawn Agree Kick Ass (which is also known as the List of Music Hillary and Shawn Will Listen To Together Without Complaining About. Too Much.) This is a short list. We've discussed it extensively and have decided that our list consists of:

Michael Jackson
The Police
Big Wreck / Thornley
Soundgarden / Audioslave (though Chris Cornell's solo stuff is banned from this list)
Dave Matthews Band
Rage Against the Machine
The Killers

What's on your list?

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

On My Way To Ireland It's Been A Long Time

I moved to England in June of 2004. By August I was lonely; I missed my family, my friends, Canada. I needed an adventure. My adventure came in the form of a week-long hiking trip through County Kerry in southwest Ireland. I wasn't brave enough to hike on my own - I signed up for a guided tour - but it was still one of the coolest things I've ever done.

We hiked 10 - 20km daily, making our way across the Iveragh Peninsula and completing part of the Ring of Kerry. We hiked through the Gap of Dunloe, on an early Christian route and medieval coaching road, and through a peat bog. We explored Killarney National Park and, on our only non-hiking day, took a fishing boat out to Skelligs Rock.

The Gap of Dunloe
the medieval coaching road was so narrow that I thought I was going to trip and fall into the ocean

The non-hiking day was our "off day" - the day that the tour company had nothing planned for us. This meant that whatever we chose to do, we organised ourselves (and the company would not be liable for anything that happened to us.) I went along with the group because everyone wanted to do the Skelligs trip and my alternative was spending the day alone. We didn't have internet access so we couldn't book a fancy, guided tour to Skelligs. We figured that there would be reputable tour companies at the docks. Instead, we found a bunch of teenagers in charge of some fishing boats. We decided to hire one of the fishing boats to take us 12km straight out into the Atlantic Ocean. We were herded into the back of the boat, given rain slickers but not life jackets and told to sit on the box that took up the back of the boat. There were no seats (so no seatbelts) and the railing only reached mid-thigh when I stood beside it. The twelve us us huddled together on the box and tried to stay away from the edge of the boat.

Skelligs Rock was a monastery sometime around the 7th or 8th century. It was raided by the Vikings in 823 AD (they kidnapped the abbot!) and ceased to exist in the 10th century due to climatic changes that made the sea journey impossible. Once you get to Skellig Michael (the island with the monastery) you climb 640 stone steps that were carved into the face of the island. I didn't know how I would accomplish this (hi! clumsiest person ever!) but it wasn't an issue as the sea was too rough to land.

The waves were higher than the boat. Of the twelve of us, only three managed to not vomit. I was one of those three, not because of an iron stomach but because of the sheer terror I felt at going anywhere near the side of the boat (there were no barf bags - if you were going to be sick you had to puke over the side of the boat. Without falling in. During a storm. Not scary at all.)

We made it out to Skellig Michael but had to turn around immediately to avoid crashing the boat on the rocks. When we got back to the dock,the kid who took us out was reprimanded severely by the owner of the boat (though when we asked for a refund he turned his surliness on us.) Taking the boat trip to Skelligs Rock was both the most exhilarating and foolhardy thing I've ever done. Exhilarating because I've never done anything like it due to my ocean phobia. Foolhardy because looking back on it now, we should have known that the sea was too rough and we never should have climbed into the back of the boat.

This is the only picture I have from that day, taken before we got on the boat. Once we got out onto the sea, our cameras were put away to prevent them from getting soaked

The rest of the trip seemed tame in comparison.

My first trip to Ireland was as a solo traveller. I am so excited to go back with Shawn. We didn't go on a honeymoon right after the wedding because of our work schedules. We've started planning our honeymoon for next April. Destination: Ireland.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

But That Unusual Blend Of My Funny Friend And Me

"Wedding Photos That Make Me Laugh"
"Still Not A Wedding Recap"

Shawn's brother making a touching Best Man's speech ... Shawn checking out my rack

this is now our signature dance move

my family, doing the contemplative pose ... Grandma not playing along

what can I say - we are classy peeps

toasting ... with a shot glass

"Oh crap, it wasn't a dream!"

Oh Great Calamity Ditch Of Iniquity And Tears

Shawn ditched me last night to go to a barbecue. I don't know why. I mean, I had a fabulous time watching the Olympics for five hours straight, in my pyjamas, while he had to eat yummy food and hang out with friends. I had a full-on sulk going after he told me he was ditching me, which included a lot of "Momma loves you, Stella. Do you want a treat? You're such a good girl. You wouldn't ditch your momma."

Shawn's response? "Of course she doesn't ditch you. She can't drive!"

I Asked Him If He Wants A Placemat Or A Wife

My sister left a comment yesterday regarding non-registry gifts. She told me to post a picture of the placemats my crazy aunt made for me and Shawn. Is it malicious to mock gifts? I'm not being mean-spirited, I just think it's funny. These placemats are funny. See for yourself:

really? magenta and teal? what about me says magenta and teal?

I appreciate the time and effort that went into this gift. I appreciate the thought behind it. I just don't think I will ever use these placemats. They make my eyes bleed. It should be noted that this is the third set of placemats my aunt has made for me. Over the years, from my aunt I have received: 30 placemats, 1 table runner, 1 Christmas tree skirt, 1 quilt that folds into a pillow, 1 wall hanging of fish, 1 wall hanging of angels, all made in the same vein. Lovingly sewn with craaaaazy fabric. I can't get rid of them - I would feel too guilty - so they get pushed into a closet that is already bursting at its seams. We live in a small condo. We don't have room to store quilted goods that we will never use.

Since I've already proven myself to be an ungrateful bitch, let's move on to the other gifts I posted about yesterday. The glass balls:

Seriously, what do I do with these? They're very heavy so I thought maybe they're paperweights. They don't have a flat edge though, so they're very rolly. They would be ineffective paperweights.

The platters:

I actually really like these (okay I like two - can anyone guess which ones I dislike?) I just can't find the space for all of them. I feel a bit rotten, considering getting rid of wedding presents. I feel like I'm supposed to love and cherish them all.

In other, less selfish, news, we took Stella to the beach on the weekend. We took Shawn's car, which is a Stella-free zone, so she had to ride in her crate. She was not pleased:

this photo cracks me up - she really was that mad

We went to Spanish Banks, which has a sizeable off-leash area. It's not fenced in though, so I was a bit nervous. Shawn, trusting fool that he is, thought Stella would be fine so he released the beast. She promptly took off down the beach and we spent about ten minutes trying to corral her. She spent the rest of the evening on her leash, pouting because she couldn't join in the game of bocce ball.

in the off-leash area, about 10 seconds before she took off running

even though she was constricted by her leash, she was a happy puppy

We were treated to an amazing sunset. Nights like this really make me miss living downtown.