Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Some may say it's silly. Some probably don't get why. But there are also millions who were right there too... glued to their television to watch the Royal Wedding. So why make a big deal out of some wedding? Well, not just some wedding I guess, but The Royal Wedding. Well hey, life is too short to be taken so seriously to have great reasons for everything.

Several of us planned to stay up and watch it all live. It just isn't the same watching repeated coverage. The anticipation of it all was much fun like counting down to the New Years. I went over to my aunt's place at midnight, and all the cousins (who didn't have to work the next day anyway) gathered in front of the TV. One of my cousins, Lisa, made a whole afternoon high tea feast to be whipped out when the ceremony started.

Thanks, Lisa!

Most of us were wrapped up in blankets and dozing in and out of sleep. Even though I'm normally a night owl, I was surprisingly a bit more tired than most nights. But as the clock struck between 2 to 3am our time, the procession of the  Royal and Middleton families spilled all over the TV, and the anxiousness started to build. What were they each going to wear? What would Kate's dress look like? What does a royal wedding even look like? (I was born the same year Princess Diana married Prince Charles).

Cousins sprawled all over the living room.

We had our three tiers - mini sandwiches, scones, and the sweets. Just like how the English do it. We brewed our tea and whipped out the jam and cream. We were a bit groggy and droopy-eyed, but we were well awake enough to enjoy equally the savoury and the sweets. And as we munched away at that ungodly hour, the whole story was being played out on TV. Each family member made their way to the Westminster Abbey in their fancy cars of Bentley, Jaguars, or Rolls Royce. So much for being environment friendly.

Fancy tea cups for fancy occasions like a royal wedding.

Of course there's no other than dining on aunt's MJ table.

Mike applies jam first before the cream, as instructed by sister, Karen.

Our tummies were full as we made our way back to the couch, and that was when Kate stepped out of her car and made her way inside the Westminster Abbey. I love love love her dress. Not that I know her personally but I do think it suits her. It's absolutely gorgeous. I think her sister, Pippa, looked amazing too. The junior bridesmaids were adorable. And I could only imagine the best of the best were involved in making their dresses and outfits turn out so perfect. Every single pleat on the juniors bridesmaids' dresses were probably measured to the tee!

And who can help but notice the incredible parade of hats?? So amazing and fun. Some rather ridiculous if you ask me (Princess Beatrice's hat???), but kudos for London for having accepting this kind of fashion. If, that is indeed fashionable. Hey, not everyone has to love it, but definitely feel free to wear whatever you want.

I dozed off from watching their carriage ride to Buckingham Palace and waiting for their balcony scene, but woke up in time to see it. 6am arrived and it was lightening outside. Still half asleep, we all drove home royally satisfied with witnessing the fairy tale (had to throw in that pun).

It was totally worth losing sleep for because it was mega fun. And well, if you need at least one reason why I stayed up to watch the Royal Wedding live, you just gotta find the fun in everything you do. Even when it comes to watching history create itself on TV.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter, Everyone!

It's Easter Sunday!

I'm trying not to report my days with what I'm doing every hour but somedays, there are more than one simple pleasures.

I've only heard of Bosa Foods a couple times and have always wondered what it is like. If you haven't already gotten the sense or don't know me, I do have a not-so-secret obsession with supermarkets. It all started when I lived with roommates, had a kitchen I could call my own (or shared with roommates), and worked right next door to two large supermarkets. One (Planet Organic) sold only organic foods (which, yes, taught me a whole new world of expensive must-try items), and two (Thirfty's) sold fresh produce and had everything under the sun that I needed. I would purposely plan an hour after work to stroll through each and every aisle in both stores. It was my past time. My highlight of the day. I didn't care that I didn't have a car back then. I would be prepared with a large MEC backpack. I've carried a 10 lb watermelon on my back and walked uphill for 20 minutes to get home. I simply loved it. (Well, maybe not so much carrying that 10 pounder... but I took it as exercise and the watermelon in the summer was so worth it).

I no longer work by a supermarket so I don't go quite as often, but on my days off, you'll quite often find me combing through a supermarket just for the heck of it and not because I needed anything. Allie and I have made it part of a day's event to scan through an Urban Fare. Likewise with my brother. So, I guess it's no surprise to me (although I do wonder what exactly it was that tipped him off) that Ming had an inkling that I'd like to check out Bosa Foods. Out of all places in this city, he wanted to show me a supermarket. But go figure.

I've heard about Bosa Foods, but have never been. For some reason, I always thought it was far. Like Coquitlam far. (Yes Connie, Coquitlam is far). Ming had mentioned it a few weeks ago that he'd take me there. So, finally remembering it yesterday, I asked him, "So when are you taking me to Bosa Foods?".


I was totally geared up. Call it crazy that I get excited over supermarkets. So, after that whole speel and prep, I am so sad to report that of all days, we had to choose Easter Sunday. It was CLOSED. I know... what's the big dilly-o. It will re-open another day. It's a friggin' supermarket. I wouldn't go as far as comparing it to a kid finding out Disneyland is closed...

... or would I?

I was looking forward to perhaps one of their yummy grilled paninis (I've read reviews online), but we ended up having Nando's for lunch. Which isn't a bad consolation.

I seriously think I can be deeply affected by the weather. It was a bit dreary today with light rain... and I was tired. Or lazy. Sleepy. I wanted to crawl back into bed mid afternoon.

My mom and I went over to Auntie Irene's a bit early so I could catch the hockey game with a bunch of my cousins. The hockey game? I won't even go there.

Every year, although I'm not religious (and not saying that you'd have to be either), my family always does a big turkey meal for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For the longest time, we spent most of these holidays with my dad's side of the family. Auntie May did all the big feasts. Now that Auntie May has somewhat retired her kitchen of these festivities, we learn that my mom's side also loves the big turkey meals too. For me, I embrace it all. I absolutely love it. After growing up having it all, I can't imagine not celebrating these holidays. It's an excuse for the families to get together. It's an excuse to eat a lot of good food. And it's an excuse for tradition.

We used to have a very proper Easter dinner at Auntie May's where we all used nice Chinas sometimes and everyone sat around a large dining  table while we had quiet conversations catching up with each other. Tonight, all the cousins grabbed their plate of food and plopped ourselves infront of the TV shouting at the hockey game while stuffing our faces with turkey ... and the aunties sat upstairs in the kitchen gabbing. Nothing ever stays the same. We've all gotten much older.

But, I still love and enjoy our togetherness and closeness. To me, that is always a good enough reason to make a big deal out of the holidays.

Happy Easter, everyone. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011


*Warning : Long post.

It was another gorgeous day outside. Loving the weather.

Started off the day a little late with lunch with my family at Menya, a ramen place. I've been here before with my brother and we thought we'd bring our parents this time. The restaurant is simple, not too big, and there are tree stumps for seats.

My brother ordered the Shoyu Ramen. My mom got the seafood Champon Ramen. And my dad and I both got one of the classics, Miso Ramen. (Notice I never divert away from what I'm used to and like?).

As much as I love my family and my friends, sometimes I really long for alone time. When you're not at work. When you're not engaged in conversation. When you're with your own thoughts. Nothing deep or self-reflecting or meditating or anything like that. But just some quiet time. I wasn't sure where I wanted to go... somewhere on Main St. or West 4th? There is always potential in either place for a nice stroll and end up at a coffee shop.

I ended up at Kits Coffee. Not as crowded. Ordered myself a matcha frappe. I took a short stroll along West 4th beforehand and ended up buying a card at the Oh My Gift shop. I was totally basking in the sun, writing my card, replying to text msgs, and people watching (mainly the couple sitting at the table infront of me). I brought the first of six Scott Pilgrim books because I'm determined to read the series before I watch the movie. I didn't get to it though. I was done writing my card when Maria called. I totally appreciated the call 'cause I rarely get to chat on the phone with her.

When I felt like I've had my dose of quiet time and sun, I headed over to KDer's and watched Ray put up some artwork around their place. Ahh, so homey. Dragged KDer out of her place to go for a walk. We went down Granville St. and ended up at Granville Island. I'm instantly reminded why I love it there so much the moment we got there. We picked up some blueberry bread from Terra's and teas from Granville Island Tea Company and sat outside on the benches listening to the live performer crooning famous french tunes like La Vie En Rose. Ahh, did I ever mention that I love french music?

Anyway, it was absolutely perfect. For me. I continued to bask in the sun, listening to the singer, and watching a couple get their engagement shoot. I could sense that KDer was at times a bit uneasy... in fear that the seagulls flying around with drop one on her. And when one came to peck at a piece of bread by her feet, she flinched. Hmm, if I didn't have the blueberry bread, I might have indulged in a gelato. But the blueberry bread was absolutely decadent.

It was good that we ate 'cause we had a feeling dinner would run late. We showed up at Cascade Room of course expecting a full house. We had to wait an hour for our table. Good thing that the sun and seeing the girls again had me in a good mood so no wait was going to bother me. The seven of us crammed into a booth which made for easy conversation. Lily was back in town from Toronto.

After dinner, Shum had plans to play bingo at the bingo hall across the street. We've seen people lurking around when we've driven by, and the place does look super sketchy from the outside. The big neon lights and the flashing signs, as one of the girls said, looks more like a cheap strip club than Vegas. Nonetheless, that was what the birthday girl wanted to do.

The moment we walked in, we were stared down. We quickly bought our cards and took a table in the corner. Gosh, the caller went really fast! For the first game, I swear we all missed at least half the numbers. We didn't even know how we could win. We later figured out that we had to make certain patterns on our bingo card and you have to be quick and sharp to dab your heart out. Oh, there was a lot of laughs. The whole bingo hall was completely quiet though except for us... as everyone was trying to concentrate on listening to the numbers. We were the slow ones whispering to each other, "What was that number again? What did he just call? Oh no! I just missed it!."

Alice was too shy to yell out BINGO! She did have a legit winning card. Could have had $100 in her pocket. Someone else yelled BINGO instead and we all let it go. Haha. Oh well. We had a hoot. Jen swore she'll definitely go back to play. Actually, it may be a good thing for the aging... (like us)... because it's definitely mind stimulating. Who would have thought.

Shum got us all dabbers in our favorite colours. Mine was purple. When we whipped them out at the restaurant before we went over to the bingo hall, everyone came by our table asking us if they were lubes. Umm. No, just bingo dabbers.

What a day. And what a night.

Good times.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Early Happy Birthday To ME!...7 Months Early

Each shoe is separated in different compartments in a garment bag.

Love the chiffon.

Did a little photoshoot. I think sometimes I enjoy the photoshoot just as much as my finds. Love them all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Trip Down South

We've been talking about making a trip down south for some time now and I don't think we could have picked a better day to go. The weather was perfect.

Someone didn't know how to set his alarm clock so we didn't set off as early as planned but it was all good. We knew how to get to the border but someone had to choose the only route that required Google Map and a GPS. Decided to take a joy ride before the trip down!

We ended up at Truck Crossing and had to wait 50 minutes at the border. While in the lineup, Ming said in prep for the questions by the border guards, "Okay, how do we know each other? School." Oh great. Now we're going to lie at the border. "Less questions, less explaining," he said.  We didn't end up getting that question anyway.

It was such a beaaauuuutiful day. Although it sprinkled a bit now and then, for the majority, the sun came out to play. It was a nice drive along the I-5. Green grass and trees. The blue, blue skies. The cumulus clouds. Absolutely stunning day. I took these photos through the car window. Clean windows.

I love the clouds.

I entertained myself by looking at the hair colour of the drivers in all the cars we were passing by. I started to count them... six cars in a row all had white hair. (Wasn't deliberate. It had something to do with whatever we were talking about in the car.)  I'm not sure if Ming was even listening to my rambling about the fair number of old people on the road or secretly wondering why I'm so weird.

On the road. Still loving those clouds and the beautiful blue sky.
Those hands weren't always on the wheel. "Look! Driving with no hands."

We reached the Premium Outlets in about an hour after the border. Boy, it was busy. The parking lot showed a sign of mad shoppers as cars were strewn everywhere. They weren't even parked in proper spots. Nuts. But we were off to do some serious shopping!

Ming had a whole slew of short jokes. "You should wear heels. I can't find you!". (I guess I was hidden behind the racks and shelves.) Well, maybe if he used his height to his advantage, he would look over and far and beyond the shelves. I am not one to wear heels while shopping!  I was looking at a pair of shorts he was buying and had said "Those look super long. Are they suppose to go down to your ankles??". He of course replied, "If you wore them, yes. For me, it reaches my knees." Bleh.

3.5 hours later, we were DONE. Very productive we were. We both did an equal amount of damage.  An early Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to me! Oh, so horrible. (Will post my finds in my next post).

We ate at Olive Garden. After we were done eating, we figured we'd sit for a while and chat...  but our waitress must have come back to our table a gazillion times to see how we we doing. I suppose it was just service. Likewise, when we were in Home Depot, every employee we passed by greeted us with a big 1000 watt smile and asked us if they could help us. I felt like I was in a Home Depot commercial.

Our fuel for the day.

After a few more other shops... like Best Buy (shopping with a boy afterall), Kohl's, Nike Store (another one), Lulu,... we headed home. The weather continued to hold up.  It was another hour wait at the border coming home. The sun was setting. The view over the water was gorgeous. There were more short jokes to follow. I was trying to take a random photo of the sunset with my camera out of the sunroof. Ming of course had to throw in if he were to take the photo, he would get the sunset. If I took the photo, I would probably get the roof of the car or the car next to us. Well...

THERE! (Although the photo really doesn't do it justice).

Waiting at the border.

Productive shopping trip - a SUCCESS!

Another plus, first road trip together, and Ming and I didn't kill each other. Okay, jokes aside... thanks for driving and well... putting up with me. I guess I had my doubts but it did seem to turn out to be the shorter route. I nag constantly but you know why I do. You hold doors and you hold bags... Winnie's right, you can be a gentleman. Anyway, thanks for an awesome day.

And that is all the "nice" you will get out of me. Put down those cheetos!  

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Little Support

The most contagious was her smile. I'm not sure I know what she looks like not smiling.

The last time I saw her was at Jen's wedding. The time previous was at Jen's bridal shower. The was also the last time I spoke to her. I didn't think she would remember me. I think it has been 20 years since the time before that. But to me, she looked exactly the same as she did 20 years before. Just as youthful. And of course, smiley.  But she had said to me in chinese, in the midst of all the chaos of a bridal shower... "You probably don't remember me, but I remember you." I was probably only 13 years old when she last saw me. I told her, of course I remember you.

Oh, I remember. I remember her coming to our elementary school afterschool everyday. She came to pick up her grandkids. One of them, of course, was my best friend, Jen. She was pushing Jen's baby cousin in a stroller. (She's now in university if I'm correct...). I remember running up to the baby along with Jen, and we would both try and make her say the word, "cookie". "C'mon! Say cookie!." And when she did, we would "aww" at her and say how cute she was.

I also remember her house. It could have been a kiddie birthday party. Or were we just being babysat? That I cannot remember. But I do remember the stairs that lead upstairs to the living room and kitchen. I remember downstairs too. I remember the layout of her house. Oh, I remember.

And so... today, at her memorial service, I chose to go and remember.

I also just wanted to be there. For Jen. For her family. For her. And for myself.

I wasn't so sure I would be okay. I just haven't been to a service for over a decade. Now that I'm older and I understand more, how would I cope? But all I knew was that I wanted to be there.

The service was packed. I could see Jen from afar. I wasn't expecting to talk to her or even see her. I sat near the back in a beautiful service room filled with flowers. I felt completely calm and peaceful. There were stories shared and supportive words given. It was emotional.

We said our farewells and I gave the family hugs. I've known them for so, so, so long. There will always be a sense of closeness no matter how often or not often we see each other or talk.  And for the 20+ years that I have, I've never hugged them. We've been to so many of the same birthdays and weddings and celebrations, and now ... a funeral... as sad as it was, I also felt really, really happy. To know that I have these people in my life. To know all the memories that we share. To know that we will be there for each other and support each other through all the good and bad times. No matter how much or how little you get to know a person, they could still touch you in the smallest ways. The service was beautiful.

I looked over at my cousin when we were leaving and said, "Hey, thanks for coming with me."

"No problem," she said while she rubbed my back. We're usually joking and laughing, which makes this so not us.

From time to time though, we all need a little support.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hummus And Chips

After work, I had one of the best naps I've had in a long time. 2.5 hours long. I was so comfy on the couch. No disturbances (which is rare). I had a really good day at work too. (Clinic Day). I woke up from my nap, ate a little bit of dinner, but still wanted to snack on the avacado hummus that I bought after work. But only to realize I had nothing to eat it with! No chip/bread/crackers. I needed to venture out to get some. Yes, at 8:30-9pm.

Lucky me, Ming offered to drive. Good thing... I was still pretty groggy from my nap. The beauty of being able to just pick up and go...

... is that I was able to get chips for my avacado hummus the same night. Mmm, it was gooooood.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beer 101

I'm not much of a beer drinker. I must say I did use to drink it more often when I lived in Victoria. We spent more time on patios in the summer (mainly because they're only 10 minutes away... and what else would you do there on a sunny summer evening?). It pairs so well with pub food. Not to mention, my roommate would also keep the fridge well stocked with beer for the visiting boyfriend. That lead to us popping one open at home now and then too with dinner. The last few years, I haven't been much of a beer drinker. When we do end up on a patio during the summer, we've all shifted to the white wines if we wanted a drink.

What I know about beer is so little. I just know stick with the honey lagers because they tend to be sweeter and less bitter... or a pale ale. What are the differences between a lager and an ale, I had no idea. So, a few friends and I signed up for "Beer 101" at Firefly, the liquor store on Cambie St. I was warned to make sure I eat before I showed up.

We each had a placemat infront of us with 8 different glasses. On the side, there were some bread, cheese, and grapes to help clean your palate. Along with everything was a booklet explaining all the basics of things, describing each beer we were going to try, and spots for you to jot down notes. These were all what the instructor classified as "classic beers", which none of Canadian or American beers fit. These beers were all from Germany or Belgium... or English.

The classroom.

Karen read further ahead on how to drink beer, and started swirling her beer glasses when we were doing the tasting. The rest of us were laughing, reminding her it's not wine... and she pointed out to us, "What! That's what it says! Read your instructions. You're suppose to SWIRL!".

Karen describing what she's tasting in total sophistication.
I'm still a bit confused after the explanation of "head". I've seen people pour beer ever so carefully to reduce the amount of head you get. At the same time, the instructor was explaining the different shapes of beer glasses for different beers to accomodate different amounts of head. So, if you want to reduce head, why would the shape of a glass be to accomodate head? She, too, explained that too much head isn't good because flavours and such get lost in the head. I'm still confused... or maybe I was only half listening because we were being silly in class...

Kind of like the time when the instructor was explaining and sharing a cask ale. We sampled the beer. Made our likes and dislikes remarks. And then, I don't know how many of us then asked "What's a cask ale?". Surprisingly, only KDer was listening. And she explained that it's simliar to a keg but it's gone through a secondary fermenting stage. And all that I did pick up was that it has hardly any head, and it's less carbonated. A lot of people don't prefer it because it tastes kind of flat. To me, it tastes better than the soy sauce one...

The second beer we had was dark in colour. A "double bock". And right away, you didn't even have to stick your nose up to it, you could get a waft of soy sauce smell. My friends and I were the only Asians in the class (minor detail)... the rest of the class chugged it. I made the comment, "Smells like soy sauce." Then the rest of my friends took a waft and agreed. It even tasted like soy sauce. I think with the exception of the boys not wanting to waste beer, the rest of us couldn't finish that one.

I was the only one who collected them all. Everyone else had empty glasses.

My favorite out of all of them was the Hef. Our 3rd one. It smelled like bananas. To me, it went down smooth. KDer and Jen thought it tasted like banana bread. No sorry, banana walnut bread. Maybe my taste buds aren't as sharp... I couldn't quite get all those notes. Hah.

The 4th one created a debate on whether it was more or less bitter than the 1st beer. Of course, everyone but KDer thinks the 1st one is more bitter. KDer just likes to be different.

The 5th smelled and tasted like lychee.

The rest, I cannot remember.

Chug chug chug...

Ray takes in a big waft before drinking.

At the end of the class, we each got a fancy beer glass to take home. Wooo! Love nice freebies. And a 10% discount if you choose to buy anything from their store. You certainly don't have to. Although it was a beer class, I ended up picking up a wine that people were raving about. Class dismissed!