Out of Country


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?




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:


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:

Continued: Paycheck Eating

Last month I publicly lamented that I spent $756 on food and drinks in January. My rent is $800. I ate (and drank) almost as much as it cost me to live. Man. Most bloggers who talk about this kind of thing spend less than $400 on food and drinks. Clearly I’ve got a lot to learn. So I set a February food and drinks goal at a less than modest $585. I spent $583, so now I think I’m awesome.

Groceries $271 (down $115 from January) I’m so excited about this, but how I did it is embarrassing. Basically I put an end to my 5-tub a week habit of Island Farms Mango French Vanilla Yogurt. Seriously. I was spending $30 a week on yogurt. It’s practically worse than smoking. My life is less delicious these days, but I’m richer for it.

Coffee $15 (-$18) It was easy. I bet I can get this number even lower in March, especially if I win more roll up the rims.

Out for Drinks $73 (+$21) I’m embarrassed to say this was in one night. Believe me, I paid for it.

Drinks at Home $0 (-$19) I definitely want a glass of wine most evenings, but it’s not necessary. Cutting out an evening glass of wine is my own way of cutting daily lattes out of my budget. NB: I’m drinking a glass of wine as I write this. Nobody’s perfect.

Restaurants $103 (+$51) I knew February would be kind of expensive in this area so it’s all good. I treated Kurt to an amazing dinner at Japanese Village for Elexa’s birthday. Katie and I grabbed sushi before her 30th birthday celebration. And Laura and I went out for soup. That’s it. Though I should note, Kurt treated me to dinner several times and the times I ate out in Vancouver were included in my separate travel budget, so to say I only had my butt in restaurant seats 3 times in February wouldn’t be the truth at all.

Take Out $54 (-$28) I’m down from last month, but still, I sucked at this category. Again.

Treats $17 (+$3) I don’t even remember eating a single treat, so I can’t speak to this….

Host/Guest $50 (-$33) I’m down here this month, which is great, but really I don’t care. I’m happy with whatever this number is. Spending evenings with friends is so important to me, my mental health and my happiness. I’m happy to bring food to a potluck, host a dinner, or bring a bottle of wine to a girls night if it means getting to spend quality time with the people I love most.

Happy Monday

Sometimes it’s baffling how quickly things change. It wasn’t so long ago that I had so many social commitments that my apartment served only as a glorified closet and sleeping space. Today I am not like that.  Not at all. Today it’s rare that I muster up enough energy for one mid-week event.  And since gaining back my Friday nights in December I’ve really been enjoying having more time on the weekend just to be calm. Does this mean I’m getting old and boring? Maybe, but I don’t think I mind that much. What I do know is that the quality of my social life has definitely improved. It’s definitely a different story spending time with someone when I’m not half thinking about the next thing in my schedule. I have to say, I’m enjoying it. This past week was totally reflective of quality over quantity reigning supreme.

For your eyes: My whole intention behind this was to share some intelligent and relevant article that made me think over the past week. Not today. Today is just all about how cool the internet is and how great it is to be Canadian: A Curated Anthology of Donuts

For your ears: Between March 21 and April 12, I’m going to be spending lots of time on planes, so I’m in the market for some new music to add to my collection. I pay for most of my music, so I’m trying to give everything a good listen before I decide which purchases to go with. My current top contenders: Basia Bulat, Beck, Damien Jurado, Ryan Bingham, Volcano Choir, Valerie June and The Shouting Matches. What am I missing? Tell me some music to listen to!

For your health: We’ve sprung ahead! My list of excuses not to go for a trail run after work  just got way shorter. I’m so happy to be able to have the daylight for this.

For the win: On Friday night I gathered with a handful of my favourite people for the  Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Urbanite. These quarterly events have been happening for several years now, and they are always just great. I got to put on a pretty dress, drink some white wine, and look at beautiful art. While I planned to (and did) attend with Katie, Megan et al I also got to run into some wonderful people that I haven’t remained as close with over the years, and that was awesome. Victoria is a small town with some great residents and it’s so fun to be reminded of that in such a beautiful space.

Weekend Away: Vancouver

So, lucky me, I got to visit Vancouver three times in February, which was awesome because Vancouver is awesome. One trip was just a quickie for work, but on the other two I got to spend some time with friends as well as see, do and eat some great things. Every time I’m there I’m reminded of world class city Vancouver is.

Sushi at General Public This is not at all traditional sushi. It’s not clean. It’s not healthy. But holy cow is it ever good–they add all sorts of creamy sauces and deep fried goodness to their rolls and it does not dispoint. Plus the decor is rad and the sake margaritas are yummy. Thanks to Adam for taking us here. He knows all the best places.

White Denim at the Biltmore White Denim is a super cool bluesy-rock band from Austin and they are so good. The Biltmore is cool too. And they become a club on Saturday nights, so live shows are early and old people like me can go home before midnight. It’s lame that I spent more time praising the early show than the actual band. I shouldn’t have. White Denim rules in the dirty-jam-band-pure-rock-and-roll way.

Dinner and beers at The Famous Warehouse This place is cool. All food is $5 and it’s really good food. I had the fish tacos, obviously and they were great. The beer is good too, though it’s normal priced. I’d definitely like to go here again. Again, thanks Adam.

Paul Simon and Sting at Rogers Arena There aren’t even words. Paul Simon is perfect and my heart melts every time he sings. Sting was good too. Seeing Paul was on my bucket list and will absolutely be one of the musical highlights of the year.

Lunch with my Grandma at Cheshire Cheese in the Lonsdale Quay I love my Grandma but I did not like this restaurant. My sandwich had way too much butter. It’s a very Grandma-friendly place however. Also, I treated her to lunch which means I’m the favourite for about another 6 months.

Date night at Banana Leaf on Davie I liked it here. The food was good, the service exceptional, but more than both of these things it was just a great date with Kurt.

Hope, BC My friend Lizzie and I braved the rare Vancouver snow storm and drove out to Hope to visit our close friend Saveria and her beautiful family, including 5-week-old Vivian. Before Saveria made Hope her home, to me it was just a place to get gas, but if you have the time to spare, this is a beautiful little city, especially in the summer time. Wow. Rambo was filmed here too, in case that helps you make the trip.

Breakfast for dinner at Red Wagon Cafe This place is pretty cool if you like diners and breakfast. I had the grilled cheese, but I should have had the pancakes.

Harbour Air I hope I’m not shooting myself in the foot by sharing this, but if you value your time and would prefer the 30 minute flight to the 5-hour ferry/drive to get from Victoria to Vancouver, check out the Harbour Air website on Thursday afternoons. Crazy sales. Just please don’t take the last seat on the next flight I try to get on.

Happy Monday

So this last week wasn’t the best, as I’ve amply whined and complained about both on this blog and in life. It’s time to move on, right? Right. Aside from the let down, some great things have happened over the last seven days: I finally got to meet Cait, whose blog has inspired me for almost a year now. I spent some quality time with Kurt’s mom who was in town for the failed home purchase. I was able to channel the stress and anxiety I was feeling into my first 10km trail run in months. And I had a great Saturday night with good food, good music and great friends, which always changes things for me.

For your eyes: Working in international development, I often find myself facing those who theoretically oppose my work, which totally baffles me. More often than not these are people who learned about aid in the 80’s and 90’s when much of its infrastructure was broken and haven’t taken to time to understand it’s updated models. Enter Bill and Melinda Gates. In the 2014 Gates Annual Letter they dispel many common myths about international development in both an accessible and credible way.

For your ears: A cool thing about living so close to Seattle is having access to their awesome music scene when their bands go on tour, bands like the Cave Singers who graced Victoria on Saturday night.

For your health: I started my 10km training this week by doing my first 10km run in months. It took me 1 hour and 25 minutes. Any slower and I was running the risk of being passed by people out walking their dogs, but whatever, I had fun.

For the win. On Sunday night I went tothis beautiful home  to eat, drink, reminisce and just be with other people who have left parts of their hearts in Uganda over the years. I’ve had the privileged of exploring one of the most beautiful countries in the world with some of the greatest people and it’s so nice to be in their company every  now and then.