Canada Eh?

We’re back from Canada and I must say, I adore that place! I do not love it as I do Seattle (I don’t think anywhere else will ever own my affections as Seattle does) but Canada was a very fresh, different experience, and makes me yearn to plan more international vacations, so that I might immerse myself in different cultures.

On the night we arrived in Vancouver, the street our hotel is on was blocked off with police tape. We drove around the block, taking in the fire trucks and hazmat team. Finally, Paul found a place to park in an underground parking garage (the stench suggested that our parking spot probably doubled as a homeless person’s bathroom) and walked to the edge of the commotion to learn what was going on.

Canadian police are actually pretty nice, as long as you don’t cross their caution tape. We got to witness one man doing this, and the subsequent yelling at him by a slender female police officer. Just as quickly as she’d been authoritive and sort of loud, she turned to us and became professional, polite, and geniunely sympathetic. She explained that there had been a chemical fire in a neighboring building and that it was evacuated indefinitely. With nothing else to do, we walked to a nearby restaurant for appetizers and drinks. The place we hit on was called Cactus Club. It features a fabulous menu and, on that particular evening, was the host of a wedding reception. Paul’s mom and I enjoyed taking in the dresses of the partygoers.

We did finally get checked into the condo, and I fell asleep that night with the curtains open, enjoying the view of the city lights from my floor-to-ceiling window. The next day we visited Grandville Island, formerly known as Industrial Island. It’s a market similar to Pike Place, with fresh breads, candies, produce, and souveniers. We wandered the market and took everything in. After lunch, we chose fresh salmon, a lovely sourdough bread as well as assorted cheese breads, vegetables for salad, and the most amazing fruit tart that I’ve ever had in my life to take back to the condo for dinner.

While in Vancouver, we also took a trip to Stanley Park to take pictures and enjoy being outdoors on a sunny day. That afternoon we piled into the car and drove up to Whistler, where the Olympics were held. I would love to take the drive to Whistler again in a few weeks, when all the leaves have turned orange for fall. The town was picturesque and I loved it. Poor Paul got a parking ticket (we did pay for parking, but he entered my license plate number wrong), so we were given the experience of visiting the Canadian parking authority. The woman behind the counter took our receipt and promised to handle the ticket. I am still amazed at how easy it was to take care of the issue.

While in Vancouver we discovered Earl’s, a hip and yummy upscale restaurant that just happens to also have a location in Bellevue. The food was delicious! We dined at Earl’s twice in Vancouver, and a third time for lunch once we reached Victoria.

On Wednesday we took the ferry boat to Nanaimo, which really does not get the attention it deserves as being a great place for a vacation. That town is beautiful! We had a nice walk along the shore, through a park. We got to see fish, crabs, and starfish. I liked Nanaimo and would definitely spend time there again. After a lunch of fish and chips (delicious, but waaaay too greasy!) we drove to Victoria. Our arrival there was anticlimatic compared to the one in Vancouver, which suited all of us just fine. We purchased two day tickets for a hop on, hop off bus tour and spent the first day checking out downtown Victoria.

On Friday, we had breakfast at a diner and then went to tour Butchart Gardens. To anyone who likes botany or gardening, I highly recommend this place. Even on the gray, rainy day that we toured the gardens, it was a fantastic experience. The original garden was built in a rock quarry. From that, designer Jennie Butchart developed an Italian Garden, a Rose Garden, and a Japanese Garden. There’s a carousel and a stage for summer outdoor performances. The gardens also host a summertime fireworks display. I loved it and we got some beautiful photos of the gardens.

Saturday, Paul and I had planned on going out kayaking, but the owners of the rental booth were gone until October. Dismayed, we got lattes at a local coffee shop and instead went to Oak Bay Marina. I wanted to visit the marina because the bus tour promised that it was a popular place to spot seals. None appeared, but I did find a shot glass for Paul at the gift shop! From there we took the bus to Mile Zero on the bus tour and walked through Beacon Hill Park. The park is immense and features beautiful gardens, a play area for kids, and a giant totem pole. I loved the park and could have spent the whole day there. Finally, we were too hungry to keep exploring and walked back downtown for lunch.

The trip was wonderful! Obviously I haven’t detailed every minute of the vacation, but these were some of the unusual things, as well as my favorite highlights. I’m relaxed and ready to rejoin the working class, at least until our next vacation!


Hey look! It’s me!!


In my blog!!

I know there hasn’t been a lot of that lately, and that anything I have posted may or may not have been, arguably, substantial. I’m living my life, I’m just not taking the time to actually write about it. Which I am going to try to turn over a new leaf and correct.


Not that anyone ever promises to reopen a neglected blog.


Okay, so anyhoo, that said, life has been really busy. I’m on loan for six months out of sales, on what is called the Fios Jeop Desk. In layman’s terms, this means that I take orders that need changing rightthisverysecond or fix ones that have something wrong with them, like wrong address or something else mildly important. I’ve been there a month and am loving the feeling of loving my job.

I also just completed my second course toward my bachelor’s degree. I don’t like school. If it weren’t for the stigma of being a dropout (again) I would probably quit because it’s nonsense. Bachelor’s degree programs at my college require group activities and projects, which I have already stated I feel is stupid because I’m taking online courses specifically because I don’t have time to rely on other people to do work. In my last class the final project was a PowerPoint presentation, which was frusterating because my teammates had no freaking clue how to use PowerPoint. This I find incredulous. I certainly don’t expect everyone to know how to use it, but I do expect students who had to complete several presentations before they earned their Associate’s degrees to have a firm grip on the fundamentals. My classes now are only five weeks long and I feel I could really take two at a time, except that I don’t have the patience to deal with two different learning teams at a time. As it goes right now I’m staggering my classes, taking a month off between each one. I didn’t actually plan this, but I took July off because we had multiple little trips planned and I didn’t want to worry about schoolwork, and I’m taking September off for our vacation to Canada.

So yes, I have been busy.

Today was my first day off by myself since I went on the Jeop Desk. I got up early to take the Azera in for an oil change, since it’s the car we’re taking on vacation. I was pleased that there was no wait at Grease Monkey and even more pleased when they accomplished the oil changing in under twenty minutes. I was less than pleased, however, when I walked out through the rain to my car and found that they’d left the driver’s side window down. Nice, guys. No, no, a little water never hurt anything, but that doesn’t mean I want today’s showers scattered all over my leather interior. Fail, Grease Monkey.

Other than that, today was pleasant. I got my hair cut (too short, by Paul’s standards apparently) and had a nice pedicure. I got some new clothes for our trip and am sort of ready to go back to work tomorrow.

After all, I’m actually going to a job I like.