Fernwood vs Rockland

I’m moving tomorrow. Not far, seven blocks south and two blocks west, but in Victoria that is a whole new neighbourhood. After three great years I’m leaving Fernwood and putting down roots in Rockland. Even though it’s only a 10-minute walk or a 2-minute drive from my old home to my  new, the amenities in the 5-minute walk radius is changing and that’s kind of exciting.

Neighbourhood Coffee Shop
Old: I used to get coffee and a cookie at the Parsonage every day. I don’t go there any more but I’m sure it’s still great.
New: Bubby Roses and Picnic, two of my all-time favourites less than a 100M sprint away.

Neighbourhood Pub
Old: I’ve seen some awesome bands and played some mean rounds of Tuesday night bingo at Logan’s.
New: Argyle Attic rules, the food is good, the staff is great. I hope my close proximity increases the frequency of my visits.

Neighbourhood Thai
Old: Little Thai Place for Penang Curry and Pad Thai.
New: Little Thai Place. Technically there is another Thai place much closer to my new house, but I don’t care. I’m ever loyal to this food.

Neighbourhood Grocer
Old: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased yogurt past the best before date at Wellburn’s, I once even helped a meth head pick out an avocado.
New: Oh, Market on Yates, I’m so excited to have you and all your fresh produce, baked goods and organic everything right at my fingertips.

Neighbourhood Running Route
Old: You can’t beat running the hills of Mount Stephen-Fernwood-Cedar Hill-Roseberry-Avebury.
New: Honestly, I don’t know yet, but considering the only things standing between the ocean and my new home is a mostly flat road and millions of flowers, I’ve got a pretty good idea of where I’ll be going.

When I leave Fernwood I’ll be leaving behind numerous free piles and abandoned furniture and front lawn sculptures and weird old people that walk around blowing bubbles. Admittedly on the surface my new neighbourhood is a lot less interesting, but man, is it ever beautiful. And you never know what interesting characters and quirks I’ll manage to find with a little exploration.

And let’s be honest, in the grand scheme of things, what’s 9 blocks?

Eating my way through Texas

I love Texas.

I used to have a job that took me there twice a year and I loved every minute of it, I couldn’t get enough. When I share my affinity for the state with people up here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I’m often met with some questionable looks. Some people just require an explanation and if you’re one of those people, here you go. This is why I love Texas: the food (fish tacos are one of my favourite things), the music (best in the world), and the people (genuine, kind, chivalrous and completely unpretentious). Texas rules.

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Like all my previous trips, this trip was because of business. I received full funding to attend the AFP International Conference in San  Antonio, a conference for fundraisers, communicators and non-profit leaders. My boyfriend Kurt decided to tag along and then join me for a few days in one of my favourite places, Austin.

Upon our Saturday evening arrival in San Antonio, Kurt and I had the chance to walk the Riverwalk (I loved it in a Vegas-y kind of way, he was less impressed) and have some mediocre fish tacos at Maria Mia’s.  As of Sunday morning, I was in full on conference mode, all but forgetting I even had a boyfriend– though considering all the Spurs and NCAA tickets in his pockets, I think he was just fine without me. My conference partner in crime was my real life friend Margo, the Executive Director of the incredible YPSN, an inspiring Victoria charity. It was great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and regroup with in between sessions, not to mention enjoy a night out with. On Monday night Margo and I managed to muster up the energy and get out for a beer at The Friendly Spot, an outdoor trailer-turned-bar complete with the Spurs on a big screen and fun playground for the kids. Indeed it was a very friendly spot. I imagine this place is one the best spots in town on a nice summer night. For dinner we walked across the street to Rosario’s for the best margarita and fish tacos that I had my entire time in Texas. This place was great–and recommended to us by a lot of locals for the best food off tourist path.

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When the conference wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon, I remembered my long lost boyfriend and met up with him for some San Antonio exploration. We wandered around The Alamo, a San Antonio must-see. Being Canadian I know very little about US/Texan history, but we met a great young Mexican guy who gave us the serious low down. If you’re interested you can look it up on wikipedia, but it was adorable to see his passion and it goes to show that it pays to ask probing questions. For our last night in town, Kurt and I went to Bohanan’s for an incredibly disappointing dinner. The prices were ridiculous, the service was terrible (despite the fact we had 2 servers and a server’s assistant) and the room was set up like it was the home of a Southern slave owner. It was gross and weird. Avoid this place unless you’re into that kind of thing. To be fair though, the food was pretty great.

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Wednesday morning we were on to Austin for four straight days of smiling, eating, exploring and eating again. It was great from start to finish. On our first night there, Kurt and I started off on the best street in Austin–South Congress–with dinner at Lucky Robot. This is a very good, very atypical sushi restaurant that also has a great happy hour and serves the best brussel sprouts I’ve ever eaten. We met up with Margo and her friend Jackie (who also came to Austin for little Texan fun) and headed up the street to The Continental Club to see my friend Christian and hear the Hot Club of Cowtown, a super fun gypsy swing/country band. They have a corgi who hangs out on stage when they play and word on the street is, the singer used to have a thing with Dylan (as in Bob).  After this Kurt, Margo, Jackie and I headed to East 6th St, another great street to hang out on (not to be confused with 6th St E….seriously). We had some great cocktails at East Side Showroom and then the time of our lives at The White Horse. For real. The four of us just sat there with these big dumb grins on our faces loving the country music and the dancing. We didn’t even order drinks, we just sat there being big dorks. Such glaringly obvious tourists. It was almost 2am by the time we made it back to our hotel, totally unheard of for me but totally worth it.

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The next three days in Austin meld into a hot, sunny and delicious blur in my mind. Kurt and I rented some very heavy bikes with inadequate brakes and rode around town. We swam in Barton Springs, the jury is still out as to whether that is gross or not. Either way it certainly was fun. We ate BBQ at Stubbs, it was all right but could have been better, says me, the 98% vegetarian.

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We did happy hour at La Condesa and it was the most amazing food ever….the corn….I died. We perused Rainey Street, a historical street filled with character homes turned bars, many seemingly on the verge of being torn down. We walked through many of the buildings, but ultimately chose to eat some great Indian food on Garage Mahal’s outdoor patio, followed by beer and ice cream at Banger’s. On what was or wasn’t the same night we made our way across town to see Second City Comedy, which was amazing. These guys aren’t permanent Austin fixtures, so if they come through your town you should definitely check them out. We wrapped up our trip with lunch with my friend Christian at Curra’s with some pretty delicious and authentic Tex Mex. So good.

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And that was that, my week away in Texas. You really should go there when you get the chance.

PS….hotels book up fast and can be pricey so book early on AirBnB for the best places to stay. Food and drinks are ridiculously affordable. I’d tell you how much I spent but I failed to track my spending, though I assure you, it wasn’t bad at all.

 

 

Happy Monday

Home sweet home. The last three weeks of my life have been unbelievable: I attended a conference in San Antonio and then ate my way through Austin (one of my all time favourite cities) with my cool boyfriend Kurt and some other great people. Literally 8 hours after I arrived home, I was out the door again and en route to Pointe Noire, Congo to visit the world’s largest hospital ship and chat with patients and volunteers alike. It was unreal and I’ve never been more proud of the organization that I work for. And then from  Pointe Noire, I flew to Paris to meet Kurt for a week of exploring and even more eating. I know, right? Amazing trip, but more about that in the coming days….

Now I’m just happy to be home. Three weeks is a long time to be away from everything. I truly love my job and I’m eager to dive back into it and begin catching up. I’ve missed my friends and I’m anxious to see their beautiful faces in the coming days and weeks. And–I know I’m a total dork here–but I’m completely elated to get back to my routine with a normal bedtime, healthy eating and regular exercise. Like seriously excited.

For your eyes I’ll be honest, other than the 2 books I read on my trip, I haven’t done much reading outside of some blog posts read on my iPhone. While I always look forward to what Cait has to say, I particularly loved this post from a few weeks ago: My Perfect Day (In 5 Years). You can’t read this post and not think about what you want your life to be like in 5 years (try, I dare you), such a cool exercise in goal setting and visualization.

For your ears On Thursday night in Paris I got to see Kurt Vile and he was incredible. But just as good as Vile was the opener, Paul Jenkins, the singer from Black Heart Procession. This is the only Black Heart Procession song that I knew before Thursday, but after Jenkins’ performance I’m excited to listen to more.

For your health There has been no health in my life over the last few weeks. None. Other than a ton of walking, I’ve done absolutely no exercise in the past three weeks. I’ve also been eating in restaurants (and planes, ew) and not holding back whatsoever.  I got on the scale yesterday for the first time in forever–156–about 10-15 lbs more than I’m at my most comfortable. I’ve got work to do. Stay tuned.

For the win The trip was amazing from start to finish, but there is nothing better than being home.

Have a great week!

 

Out of Country

Hi!

Thanks for visiting The Love of Gadgetry! Between now and mid-April there will be limited posts, if any, as I’m going to be on the trip of a lifetime. Over the next three weeks I’ll be travelling by boat, plane, rental car, Land Rover, bus and train through Seattle, San Antonio, Austin, Pointe Noire (Congo) and Paris. During this time I want to have my face in a computer as little as possible and my mind and heart fully open and aware to whatever is currently going on around me.

If you’re my mom and/or care about this kind of thing, here is a little break down of where I’ll be over the next three weeks:

Day 1: Victoria –> Seattle A relaxing kick off to a wonderful three weeks. I’ll be travelling, eating, and hanging out with Kurt who will be joining me on most of the trip.

Day 2: Seattle–>Austin–>San Antonio Less relaxing, I’m sure, but no less fun. Curious/terrified to see how Kurt handles the freeways of Texas.

Days 3-5:  In San Antonio I’ll be attending the AFP International Conference, meeting and learning from some of the best minds in non-profit leadership, fundraising and communications. I’ll listen to Steve Wosniak speak and represent my chapter at leadership meetings and get so many great ideas I’ll be busy at work for months to come. Hopefully I’ll also get to check out the Alamo and the Riverwalk. Meanwhile, Kurt will be watching so much basketball.

Days 6-8: San Antonio–>Austin In Austin Kurt and I will be eating many tacos and listening to so much live music. I’ll also be quietly hoping with my whole heart that an old cowboy will ask me to dance.

Days 9-11 Austin–>Salt Lake City–>Seattle–>Victoria–>Seattle–>Paris–>Pointe Noire. Travel. So much plane time. Pray that I manage to sleep at least a few hours here and there, as I’m normally way too high strung to sleep on planes.

Days 12-17: In Point Noire, Congo I’ll be visiting the world’s largest volunteer driven hospital ship and getting to meet the some of the patients whose lives have been utterly transformed by the work of incredible volunteers. I’ve been advocating and raising money for this organization for almost two years now, so I’m so happy to get to see everything first hand.

Days 18-22 Pointe Noire–>Paris Finally in Paris I will just be in love, holding hands with my boyfriend (who is meeting me there) and wandering around the most romantic city in the world.

Day 23: Paris–>Seattle–>Victoria By now I’m sure I’ll be so happy to be home.

Cool trip, eh?

Love,

cs

10KM Training

I ran my first 10km race in 2009 with a time of 1:01. For me then it was a great accomplishment. I’ve run a 10km race every year since with times between 56-58 minutes. I’ve never trained because 10km was a distance I could do in my sleep. But, as I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve let my fitness slide over the last year. A week and a half ago I ran my first 10km in several months in 1:25. I’ve got some work to do. I need to start training.

In addition to being less fit than in previous years, I’m also older. Weird, right? I’m 31 years old, which isn’t really old, but is old enough to start feeling aches and pains that weren’t there before. It’s old enough to feel the repercussions of not stretching. It’s old enough to have to do things differently. So for the past couple of weeks and for the next couple of months, I’m going to go about my 10km training in a new (to me) way.

Run. In the past, increasing the distance and frequency of my runs was the only way I’d train for anything.  Seemed obvious, at least it did to me. I intend to do exactly that again. I want to run 3 x a week, with at least one of those runs being 10km or longer and the distances building as my fitness improves. Easy. However, what I’ve never worked on before is my speed. I’m a slow and steady kind of girl and honestly, I find it challenging to push myself speed-wise when running alone. And here’s yet another reason why I love my bestie Katie–every time we run together she pushes me to be faster. As long as we continue running together every week or so I’ll definitely be able to see my speed improve.

Yoga. I never used to stretch. Ever. What was I thinking? I’ve had problems with my hips before, nothing serious, but definite discomfort. If I spend my days sitting at a computer and my evenings running, I’m not doing anyone’s hips any favours. So I’m going to build 2 yoga classes a week into my fitness schedule. Stretching is important for my hips and my body and I won’t ignore that fact this time.

Strength training. This time last year I was having knee pain any time I hit the 15km mark in a run. I saw a physiotherapist about it and she basically told me that my butt wasn’t strong enough to sustain long runs, so my knee was having to compensate. She gave me a list of strength training exercises and a strap to help me do them. I’ve probably done them 6 times in the last year. I’m dumb. If I want healthy knees (and a less flabby butt) I need to incorporate strength training into my routine. My goal is twice a week.

So there’s that. Running, yoga and strength training  are going to dominate my fitness schedule until the end of May, with a few hikes and squash games thrown in here and there for good measure. Here’s how my first week of training went:

Saturday: 10km trail run
Sunday: 60 minute yin yoga class
Monday: 5km trail run; 20 minutes legs
Tuesday: 45 minute hatha yoga class; 10 minutes core
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 5km run
Friday: rest

What do you think? Have you ever trained for a 10km? Is there anything I’m missing?

Wake Owl

Wake Owl played Victoria on Thursday night and I was lucky enough to be at the sold out show. I thought Lucky Bar was a strange/small venue choice for this band–they’re getting a lot of play on the CBC these days, which pretty much makes them celebs, right? Anyways, long story short, the show sold out before me or my friends could pick up tickets. Then this cool thing happened:

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So that was rad. And because Jojo took me as her plus one I can say the show was rad too.

This is a song by Wake Owl that I love, even though they did not sound like this at all the other night: