Wednesday, December 28, 2011

34 weeks

Well, here I am showing a little more skin than I would have expected. While pregnant. In December. Et cetera. This pool is at the hotel where we spent Christmas and where we'll be departing from tomorrow. I wanted to swim in it every day, but I only managed to make it happen on Christmas Day. The lovely bath, on the other hand, got a little more use.

Michael and I planned this trip to Vancouver as a last hurrah. I've been feeling a little too uncomfortable to live up to the original vision, but it has been lovely all the same. We've seen some of our best buddies (inlcuding a couple of the cutest kids), we both bought fancy new shoes and we (finally) ate at Bao Bei.

It's not the same as celebrating the holidays with family, but I'll take it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

33 weeks

We took this photo on Saturday morning (our photo shoots usually take place on Sunday afternoons), just before we drove to Courtenay to visit the cutest family around. The lighting was poor, but my iPhone pulled through, I think. I still want me a new camera, though, so I'm hoping the Boxing Day sales in Vancouver don't disappoint.

I'm starting to feel worn out, friends. My busy job, Christmas and my big belly have taken their toll, and I'm counting down the days until the holidays. I'm also counting down the days until my last day of work: January 20 (if everything goes according to plan). That's exactly one month from today. I'm in the home stretch!

Monday, December 05, 2011

31 weeks

This picture is courtesy of my roomie Jen. Michael is in Saskatchewan for a little visit, so I had to wrangle her (enthusiastic) assistance, especially since I missed last week's 30 week landmark. We pulled this off in record time since we were running out the door to do holiday things (attend a craft fair, buy a Christmas tree, eat some chocolate covered hazelnuts), which I hope explains why I wasn't really thinking about what to do with my thumbs.

Monday, November 21, 2011

29 weeks

My belly is getting bigger. This should be no surprise, yet it feels noteworthy.

Another remarkable event: I'm officially waddling, and it's taking me a lot longer to get places these days. Even so, I continue to do a lot of walking because my chiropractor says it's the best thing I can do to prepare for labour. I always feel a little creaky when I set out, but after a couple of minutes, my body settles into itself.

Other than the walking, I've been attending a prenatal yoga class every Tuesday. Even though I love the teacher and the other pregnant ladies, I always have trouble gearing up for the class (I may be guilty of skipping a couple of them). I guess this is true for almost every activity these days, especially those that take place after a full day of work.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New car

As promised, some pictures of our new car (a 2010 Elantra Touring). What a cutie.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

28 weeks

Yeah, so 28 weeks. I'm really having trouble sleeping these days, but I can't tell if it's pregnancy related, daylight savings related or food related. I do I know that it's the worst. I'm often in bed by 9 or 10 because I'm so run down, but then my body is up at 3 or 4 or 5, fussing about silly things or wanting to go to the bathroom again. This morning I was up at 5:30 reading A Feast for Crows (the fourth book in the George R. R. Martin fantasy series). I wish I could say that the book kept me up because it's so engaging, but it's actually a bit of a slog right now. Even so, I have to say that it's been fun to read a consuming series during this pregnancy. It has been perfectly distracting.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

26 weeks

This was a great week. We bought a car (a black Elantra Touring). And then we drove around the city and got a million things done. Doing things is easier with a car, you guys. I love it to pieces. I have tentative plans to post a photo of the new addition to our family soon. Until then, this jazzy photo will have to suffice.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

25 weeks

I've been feeling more awkward lately, and you can see why. I painted my toe nails today, and I'm pretty sure that's the last time that's going to happen for several months. I guess that means I'll have to go for a pedicure or two at Silk Road. Such is life.

Overall, I'm still feeling really good. I've been worried about getting a cold, but I think I'm in the clear (for now). Michael got sick, so we've been taking it easy this weekend. Thankfully, I'm still sleeping really well (I slept for 11 hours last night!), so that helps. So does a virgin hot toddy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

23 weeks

I had my latest midwife appointment this morning and everything is looking good. I can't get enough of listening to the baby's heart beat! I want my own machine so I can listen all day. I do feel the odd flutter of activity, which is reassuring, but it's very subtle because of the position of the placenta. Too much information?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

22 weeks

Michael took this photo on Sunday, and I've just been too dang lazy to post it until now. The belly may not seem much bigger, but trust me, it is. I can't wear my old pants anymore, so I bought some maternity pants last week, and I love them so much. Other than the new pants, I've been wearing jersey dresses, and they've been serving me just fine, but I'm unsure how long I'll be able to keep up it up with the tights and leggings. Will they keep me warm in the winter? Will I have trouble putting them on and taking them off when my belly gets bigger? Will Michael need to help me with the ungraceful task? I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We only went to two nights of the festival, but we loved what we heard. These are my favorites.

The Cave Singers:

Painted Palms:

Damien Jurado:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

21 weeks

I can't promise that you won't tire of these photos and my increasingly limited wardrobe, but I'm going to stick to my guns and keep up with them for my own sake. And maybe the baby will want to see them one day?

This weekend Michael and I went to Rifflandia, a music festival in Victoria. Let's go to concerts while we still can, we said. Well, we had so much fun that I suspect we'll attend the day-time shows next year, with the baby in tow.

I'll share some of our favorite music later this week.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

20 weeks

I do plan to write some details about how I'm feeling these days, but whenever I have a moment I'm too tired (that's how I'm feeling these days). For now, these photos will have to suffice.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Making salted caramel cupcakes

It was Jen's birthday in August, and I almost made her the same chocolate cupcakes with malted icing that I made last year, but then I stumbled upon a recipe for salted caramel cupcakes, and there was no turning back.

I usually don't take on complicated recipes (though Smitten Kitchen's chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes and root beer float cupcakes are constant temptations), but this one was reasonable, especially because I opted not to add the extra decoration at the end. It's not as simple as making a cake and icing it, but if you give yourself plenty of time, and if you have a few WireTap podcasts queued up, you'll find that putting caramel into each individual cupcake isn't such a big deal. And it's totally worth it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

It begins

Summer fun has started, which usually means I spend less time on the computer. Last Sunday we spent the afternoon at the Island Chef's Food Fest, which was held at Fort Rodd Hill. I've wanted to go to this event (and Fort Rodd Hill, for that matter) for a long time, but it never worked out until this year. It was delicious, especially the desserts: apple & beet crisp, chocolate baklava, quince ice cream.

This weekend we'll be spending every minute with twin nieces who have been walking since Christmas and a nephew who just turned four years old. It will be loud and awesome.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Today I got to eat outside...

...lounge on my new chair...

...walk with my buddy...

...and it felt good.

Monday, May 23, 2011

On Miranda July

There's a lot of love for Miranda July these days, and I'm bursting with my share. Her second movie, The Future, will be released this summer (though I suspect I will have to wait a little longer since I doubt it will come to Victoria movie theaters).
Did you see her first movie, Me and you and everyone we know? A few times? Maybe you read Nobody Belongs Here More Than You, her collection of short stories? Or maybe you have a copy of Learning to Love You More in your bathroom (I gave my copy to my parents, but I have tentative plans)? Did you post her short film, Are you the favorite person of anybody? on your blog? Or -- last one -- do you revisit her treatise on why you should vote before every election? Did you share it on your work's social networking site? And were you thrilled when a few people you've never met "liked" it?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're probably a fan of Miranda July too. Or maybe you answered no to all of the questions because you've never heard of Miranda July before, but now you're intrigued. If that's the case, you can take this diagnostic test to see if you should watch her latest movie. And while you're at that website, you should probably sign up to get your future divined every week.
P.S. I would like a copy of this poster.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I bought the new Fleet Foxes album, as planned, and I love it, as expected. And when I want to listen to something a little different, I've been listening to Ellie Goulding, who I recently heard on Saturday Night Live:

I hear some influence from the Cranberries, no?

Sunday, May 15, 2011


It doesn't feel like spring, but it sure looks like spring, part 2:

I used to dislike rhododendrons. They look so spindly when they aren't blooming, you know? But they're very popular in these parts, and I was sold when I saw the giant rhodos at Government House. When they bloom, the park looks like a circus. I have tentative plans to take some photos of them this week so I can frame some colourful prints.

The rhodo pictured here is outside our house, and it's really happy right now (unlike last year). So that's one good thing I can say about all this rain.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Again with City Museum

Remember when I wrote about City Museum way back when? I described the museum as a crazy dream world fantasy. I still want to go, especially after I read this description on Design*Sponge:

Part museum, part playground, part funhouse where repurposed architectural and industrial objects mix with cranes, planes, buses, a vintage photobooth, an aquarium, underground tunnels, a 10-story spiral slide, a working Ferris wheel on top of the building and so much more. Housed in a former shoe company, City Museum was named one of the “World’s 10 Best Public Spaces” by the New York-based Project for Public Spaces.

Now I need to find a reason to go to St. Louis.

I also need to find a way to work for the Project for Public Spaces.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Pain in the back

Throwing your back out is embarrassing.

I was riding my bike home on Tuesday. When I stood on my pedals to hustle through an intersection, my lower back seized up. I managed to pedal to the other side of the street in slow motion while a car crawled behind me, waiting to turn.

You guys, I was holding up traffic.

Once I made it to the side of the road, I sat on my bike for a couple of minutes, one foot on the curb, confused as to what to do next. Cyclists passed me and looked over their shoulders at my stunned expression. I probably should have asked for help, but my instincts told me that hiding my shame was a better plan.

Somehow I managed to lift my right leg over my bike frame and hobble to some steps. That's where I sat until my family came to get me 10 minutes later. While I was waiting, I refused to make eye contact with the pedestrians who looked my way. I don't think I managed to hide my pain though. I was hugging the stair railing and sitting at an awkward angle, grimacing. Not as low profile as I would have liked.

I couldn't stand or walk, so Michael and his brother Matthew carried me to my parents' van. With one arm around each of their shoulders, they kept me in the sitting position and put me on the floor of the Westfalia.

Nothing to see here, folks.

Once home, I sat in the driveway for a good 30 minutes -- surrounded by my mom, my dad and Michael -- before we concluded that I wasn't leaving the van. We drove to the hospital instead, and an ambulance attendant helped me into a wheel chair. A few hours and an x-ray later, I left with pain killers and instructions to lay low for the next few days.

Back at home, I was still embarrassed about the whole situation. There were so many witnesses! Sure, they were witnesses that gave me hugs and birthday cards, but they were witnesses all the same. When Matthew left for the airport (he's moving back to Saskatchewan), I had to say goodbye from my bed. Same for my parents. They left for Seattle on Wednesday, and my last hours with them were spent in the bedroom. For shame.

Now Michael and I are on our own until our roomies return from their holiday on Monday. My back is much better, and I'm moving around on my own, for the most part. I've left the house to see my doctor and a physiotherapist, and I even went to my ukulele class this morning. I decided to forgo a cab and walk home, which was the wrong thing to do. The embarrassment crept back as old women clipped past me on the sidewalk and drivers glared at me as they waited for me to amble across the street.

If my doctors are right, I'm a couple of weeks away from being back to normal and leaving those ladies in the dust.

Spare yourselves the embarrassment, friends. Be nice to your backs!

Friday, April 29, 2011

And Check

Well, we weren't at the Empress, but we watched the wedding.

We ate scones from Relish with Jen's strawberry jam and Devonshire cream.

We took photos of the TV and went back to bed at 4:30.

Snuggling on the couch in the middle of the night with my mom was the best part.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I'm planning to watch. I'm tempted to attend the live screening at the Empress Hotel, which will feature an English breakfast buffet, but I suspect I would regret the temptation in the early morning hours of April 29.

Instead, I think I'll get up to watch some live footage in the comfort of my pajamas. And maybe I'll plan ahead and have some scones and Devonshire cream on hand.

I don't feel one way or the other about the monarchy, but I don't want to miss an opportunity to watch this historic event with the rest of the world.

Making baklava

If I had known how easy it was to make baklava, I would have made it a long time ago. I often dream of the baklava that we ate in Turkey over 10 years ago. Men would sell boxes out of the trunks of their cars, and it was one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. It just tasted so fresh! And we bought it out of the trunk of a car!

It occurred to me to look for a baklava recipe when I was planning a wedding anniversary dinner for me and Michael and Marc and Jen (no, the four of us aren't married; our anniversaries are a day apart). What else could follow a dinner of hummus, tabouleh, olives, roasted cauliflower, feta and pita? When I found a recipe on All Recipes with five stars and over a thousand reviews, I knew I was onto something.

The recipe I've posted here captures the way we made it, thanks to a lot of different tips gleaned from the recipe reviews. I wanted to record our method so we can recreate it in the future, and of course I want you to make it too.

Adapted from All Recipes

1 package of phyllo pastry (thawed)
1 pound pecans (you can also use walnuts and/or pistachios)
1 C butter, melted
1 t cinnamon
1.5 C water
1.5 C white sugar
1.5 t vanilla
3/4 C honey

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and buttering the bottoms and sides of a 9 x 13 inch pan.

To make the syrup, boil sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla and honey and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

To prepare the pecans, toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, chop and toss with cinnamon.

To prepare the phyllo pastry, cut the whole stack in half (one sheet should be the same size as the pan), and cover with a dampened cloth to keep it from drying out as you assemble the layers.

Place 2 sheets of phyllo in the prepared pan and use a pastry brush to butter the top sheet thoroughly (no need to drench the pastry though). Repeat four times until you have 8 sheets layered.

Sprinkle approximately 5 T of pecans over the pastry. Top the pecans with two sheets of phyllo and butter as you did the previous sheets. Repeat until you run out of pecans, but make sure you reserve 6-8 sheets of phyllo for the top layers, which you prepare in the same way as the bottom layers.

Using a sharp knife, slice the baklava into individual pieces, but try to avoid cutting through to the very bottom of the pan (this will prevent soggy pastry).

Bake for about 50 minutes until the top is golden and crisp.

Remove baklava from the oven and spoon sauce over it. You can let it cool, but I doubt you will.

You made baklava!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making a cactus garden

Our household is busy growing things inside and out, and I couldn't resist these cuties when we were picking up dirt and seeds at the garden shop a few weeks back. I put them in a planter that has been tricky in the past, so I'm hoping this cactus garden iteration works.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


It doesn't feel like spring, but it sure looks like spring.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Helplessness Blues

Even though (or maybe because) I've been listening to a lot of talk radio and podcasts lately, I'm really looking forward to the new Fleet Foxes album.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Making a spring scarf

Even though I packed up most of my winter clothes last weekend, I still found myself knitting a scarf on Sunday. And so I called it a spring scarf.

Think I can get away with wearing it for another month or so?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jonathan Adler

Michael and I conducted very little research before we went to Palm Springs, but I did come across The Parker Palm Springs during some Internet dabbling. When I saw that Jonathan Adler was the designer, I hoped we'd be able check it out.

We first saw Adler when he was a judge on Top Design (though it was hard not to be distracted by Todd Oldham). After that show I saw his pottery all over the Internet, and we were thrilled to receive the best tea pot and mugs as a wedding gift.

We became official fans when we went out of our way to check out his store in Hollywood last year, where we bought this teal vase as a souvenir:

In Palm Springs, we went for brunch at Norma's, one of the hotel restaurants, so we got to explore the grounds. Everything was very charming -- from the communal fire pit to the croquet pitch -- but we only took photos inside the main building. This one captures the overall style of the lounge:

I don't know if I'd ever choose to stay at this hotel, even though I'm so smitten with it. I'm not sure I can mix with guests who mull about inviting Nick Cage and Joanie Rivers to their next event (overhead during brunch). But I would go out of my way for a cocktail in that lounge any day of the week.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Desert love

In grade school, we remembered that desert is spelled with one 's' and dessert with two because people prefer dessert (that is, two servings over one). At the time, the logic seemed sound; I did like dessert. But now that I've been to the desert, it seems unfair.

We decided to drive from Las Vegas to Palm Springs because of the direct, cheap flights. We imagined the road trip would be interesting, but it turned out to be one of the vacation highlights.

We drove through Barstow on the way down, and we took the route through the Mojave National Preserve on the way back -- the favoured portion of the drive because there was no traffic, and the ghost towns were just creepy enough in the light of day. It was relaxing, and we stopped more than once to get a close look at the Joshua Trees and to bask in the desert heat.

Even though the drive was so endearing, I won't travel through Las Vegas next time we go to Palm Springs. The city is definitely an interesting place, but I found it expensive and exhausting. Instead, I would travel through Los Angeles or San Diego, and I would spend some quality time in Joshua Tree National Park, which is only a half hour drive from Palm Springs. The pool at the Ace Hotel is clearly the main attraction, but I'm going to see some lizards next time around.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Being prepared

When I put my earthquake kit together in 2007, it was because Michael and I were superstitious. I don't think I have to explain why we felt it was necessary to revisit our supplies this weekend.

This is what we've added:

A First Aid kit. (A big omission the first time around.)

A crow bar.

Waterproof matches. (We live in Victoria, after all.)

A whistle.

Freeze-dried meals, including space ice cream to lift our spirits. (The meals don't expire until 2016, so they're worth the investment.)

Water purification tablets.

We also added more bottled water, a survival handbook and a windup radio/flashlight since that original photo was taken.

If you live in an earthquake zone, I hope you're taking appropriate measures too; hopefully we'll never have to realize the fruits of our labour.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hello Palm Springs

I suspected that I would like Palm Springs, and I was right. It's hot and dry and just plain lovely. That said, I'm not sure I would like it as much if it weren't for the Ace Hotel. Michael and I have stayed at the Ace Hotel in Portland a couple of times (remember?), and we figured it was time to try a warmer version. You should check out some photos on Flickr to get an idea of what the desert is like, and I'll go to bed and think of some travel stories to share with you. Deal?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Guest post: Making quilts for new friends

Remember this? Pictured above is the young and undoubtedly charming Charlotte Wallace, sleeping on the quilt I made for her.

Needless to say, these pictures continue to make my whole day.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Making a log cabin pillow (part 2)

The pillow is complete. I sewed the back in the simplest way possible: two pieces of material that overlap. I might add a button to hold everything in place, but I doubt it.

Even though this project turned out to be pretty easy, I feel like it is my biggest crafting achievement to date (probably because I talked about it for so long). So, yeah. High five!