Monday, August 29, 2011

Quiet Time

It's been a pretty swell holidays so far. I haven't mentioned it here, but I am currently a bit more than half way through my 2.5 weeks holidays. Originally, the plan was to take some time off to recuperate from Bran's stagette and to spend some time with the 'rents while they're on holidays.

I wrote out a mini to-do list of errands that should be done while I'm off, and surprisingly, I have been slowly checking things off. But mainly, I've been giving myself nothing but time. Lots of time. No rushes. No deadlines. No timelines. No plans. Kinda reminds me of those good ol' school days when summer vacations were meant for sleeping in and bumming.

Today, I had a late lunch at Rocky Mountain Flatbread with Jen. We laughed at all of Jen's City Chase stories while watching Barney eat leaves off the ground. Meanwhile, enjoyed some pretty darn good flatbread. Would definitely go back there. Found on a quiet street decorated with quaint, little shops, the relatively roomy restaurant seems to be a choice even for the famous. We sat on their patio and watched Manny Maholtra, his wife and kid walk out... totally oblivious to who they were. Jen stared at Manny thinking, hmm... that eye injury looks familiar...but didn't really think twice.

Hey, it's our lazy day off. Probably theirs too.

It wasn't until our waitress pointed out that we got a bit of Canucks spotting that we realized who we were staring at...

After lunch, we drove to Pacific Spirits by UBC and took Barney through the trails. For the first half, he was scared. Walking strictly between Jen and I. Not a step ahead or behind. Once he was comfortable, he sniffed at every leaf, twig, and slug and darted ahead. A horse and its rider came trotting down the path. Barney froze and hid behind Jen. He's never seen a horse before...


He barked at the horse as it walked by. But only once.

Once the horse passed us and left, Barney barked some more. Arf! Arf ARF ARF ARF ARF!

Okay. Time to go...

It was a nice, peaceful walk. We do really live in a beauuutiful city with such a gorgeous park just minutes away.

We stopped in Kerrisdale for a coffee from Cafe Artigiano and a snack from Faubourg. We watched Barney while Barney people watched. Jen gave up on pulling leaves out of Barney's mouth and plopped him on a chair. He even got a taste of Jen's blueberry tart. Sigh... it's hard not giving in to that cute bugger.

Two weeks of holidays to do much of nothing seems like a long time. But getting a lazy day like today in between many other lazy days... really isn't a "waste" at all.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Since we were working with waffle irons, why not make some pizzelles as well?

These turned out a lot easier to make compared to Gie Dan Jie, which I just now learned are called Eggettes (according to wiki). And turned out better tasting too. (The eggettes lost its crispiness pretty quickly).

One batch of batter made 24 pizzelles. Pizzelles anyone?

Only Me

I prepared the Gie Dan Jie (Chinese Egg Waffle) batter last night and left it in the fridge for me to make today. After another order of Cattle Cafe's Gie Dan Jie yesterday night, I was really tempted to make my own... even tho I knew it wouldn't be half as good. But fun holiday project!

Only, while I was getting my morning dose of facebook and random surfing time, my dad decided to take it upon himself to make Gie Dan Jie with my batter. Sigh..................... there goes my project. He said the waffle mould was too hot for me to touch. Meh.

He used the entire amount of batter made last night as his "trial run". And soon, he was out of batter. But now that he's gotten the hang of it, and the mould is nice and greasy, this would be the best time to actually make them. So, while my mom was cooking lunch in the kitchen, I was whirling around her trying to whip up another batch of batter before the mould cool down. (We were using a portable stove in the backyard to make the Gie Dan Jie's).

After some crazy chaotic father-daughter teaming, we did end up with some pretty okay lookin' Gie Dan Jie's. Better than what I had expected.

The flavour was okay. The recipe could be tweaked. It was perfectly crispy when it was first done. They were perfectly round and doughy. The only thing was, some were chewy... and some were cakey. Maybe instead of using a wooden spoon to mix (as instructed in the recipe), I used a hand-mixer, which probably created too many air bubbles. Hence the cakey consistency versus chewy.

Anyway, I was still rather proud of the turn-out, so I put some in a wax paper cone that I made, and whisked it off to Ming. Oh. Get this...

... as I was handing it to him, the wax paper cone fell apart, and all the Gie Dan Jie's fell to the floor. Maybe it was a blessing for Ming to not have to be my guinea pig. Hahahaha. But the moment was slightly embarrassing but mighty hilarious.

"Only you," he says.

Yes, only me.

It reminds me of that one time Rachel and I made a chocolate cream pie for Jen's birthday. We spent all afternoon whipping up a storm in the kitchen. We were so proud of our masterpiece. We gave it plenty of time to set. When we put it into a box for transport, it looked absolutely perfect. Little did we know... it hadn't set. When the time came to open the box to admire it one last time before we gave it to Jen, we peeked inside and saw one HUGE chocolatey mess. We laughed sooooo hard. We had to chuck it before it even got to Jen. But imagine her reaction if she had seen it!

Ahhh, really. I'm a walking disaster when it comes to foodie gifts. I should just keep my kitchen creations to myself!

Ha ha.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Soakin' In Summer Days

It's been a little tough trying to update this blog. It's been so sunny and warm outside, all I want to do is be outside soaking it all in. Plus, I think I was more interested in sharing photos rather than words... but without my laptop and Lightroom, I haven't been able to do that.

Karen's birthday dinner was tonight. A small group of seven went for dinner at Pied-A-Terre, a french restaurant on Cambie St. I think I've mentioned it before in a March post. I love the coziness of the small restaurant. The food was delicious (for me anyway - I had the game hen with pureed white beans. Others had the halibut and found it too dry). The company was even better.

We popped open a bottle of champagne to toast the birthday girl. We shared a couple of desserts. Then we made our way down to Joeys on Broadway, and met up with about 15-20 other people for drinks.

To me, this is part of what makes up a good life. Not how many trips I've been to or how many places I've seen, not even how many achievements or rewards I can count, but celebrating a special occasion with the people who matter. As simple as a night out may be, this is what I feel makes my life rich.

Happy Birthday ( I know, not quite yet), "Bew Jei" Karen!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happiest Place On Earth

We had told Bran to pack for Vegas. (The place she said she didn't want to go to for her stagette). It wasn't until we all arrived at the airport and whipped out a pair of bridal disney ears that we let her know... we're actually going to Disneyland!

Sure, the first thought to some may be - Disney? For a stagette?

But if you google it, it's been done many times. There are different ways you can incorporate stagette-y ideas into any destination. We had her wearing the Mickey ears with the veil. We all each bought a pair of Minnie or Mickey ears for ourselves. Everyone also had sashes to wear. The bride wearing, of course, "Bride-To-Be", while the other eight of us all wore a name of the seven dwarves. We made up a name for the eighth dwarf, but let's just leave it to your imagination what it was.

I've been to Disneyland twice before. Once, when I was about 10. Second time was when I was around 20. And now, 29 years old... a third time. There is indeed something very, very magical about Disneyland. You really cannot help but be... happy.

We went on most of the major rides. We held each other's arms while waiting for the scary ones. We watched each other's eyes light up with excitement at some of the shows. We laughed so, so hard seeing each other get drenched on that Grizzly tube ride. We were converted back to our yester-years, and all of a sudden, we were all like kids again.

I can only speak for myself and I must say, I had a time of my life. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. I can't remember the last time I was able to hang out with all the girls like that and have a magical time away from reality. Our little girl's dreams of princes and fairytales all came back so clearly, and what more fun is there than to share that silly, fuzzy feeling with your girlfriends?

We were embarrassing at times. Singing loudly to "It's A Small World" and spinning around like dolls while waiting in the lineup for the ride. We chased after Disney characters during Breakfast with Minnie and Friends (not even the kids were doing that) and were told to go back to our seats. We had frozen bananas, churros and dole whip many times... just because well, there's no parents to stop us and we can pay for whatever we want. We made Bran stand up in the middle of a busy restaurant and shout "Guess what everyone? I'm getting married!". We had her go out on stage and do a dance with the performers. It was seriously a ridiculous amount of fun.

And on the last day of our trip, while watching the fireworks shoot across the sky over the princesses' castle, I had a perma-smile on my face. It must have been a combination of the colours, the "dreams will come true's", the "happily ever afters", and the pixie dust. I was in a state of happiness and serenity. Looking around, my heart melted.

It may very well be the little girl in me re-lighting the beliefs of fairytales...

... or my re-realization that I truly have the best girlfriends in the world. I am so lucky to have these amazing memories with them.

Congratulations, Brandee!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Morning Surprise

To add to the milk post, there's another plus to Ming living close by.

I had to work a night shift on a beautiful, sunny summer day today. But before I went to work, I got a surprise visitor in the morning.

Got a text message : "Are you awake?".


"Someone's coming over to visit you in 5 minutes."

"No! I'm still in my PJs."

"Too late. Here!"

I opened the front door... and guess who I saw?

Coco!  (Read about Coco here and here).

I sat down right next to her on my front doorsteps and let her slobber all over me, but pushed her away when she tried to lick my face. She walked behind me and tried to lick the other side of my face. Gross, Coco. She sat so close to me, she was touching. But just as I was saying that I think she liked me more, she got up and walked over to Ming.

There's no denying that she's a big dog. I realize that with her sitting up right next to me, she's just as tall as me.

Gahhh. It was such a nice day. I wish I could have joined them on their walk but no... I had to go to work.

She didn't stay long. I guess sitting on the doorsteps wasn't exciting enough compared to everything else she could sniff through on the block. So she got up and sauntered off.

A nice surprise to my morning. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kid At Heart

I was definitely one of those girls growing up obsessed with princesses from Disney. I never wanted to be  them. I didn't want to dress up like one. But yah, that hopeless romantic in me always wished to fall in love over singing a musical duet with some guy who's just falling in love with you right at the same time.

Of course, in reality, if that were really to happen, I would probably check myself into a mental clinic and make sure I'm not crazy. Although the hopeless romantic in me has faded, I still melt a little at Disney scenes like this one. It's classic. Even yes, at the age of 29.

C'mon, pretty coloured floating lanterns... and Disney's gotten better at making their male leads lookin' pretty darn good... (does anyone else remember watching Beauty And The Beast and wishing the Beast stayed as a Beast because when he transformed back into a prince, you wondered why the prince looked like a girl with his long hair and warped features?)... what is there not to like?

All at once everything looks different
Now that I see you


Monday, August 8, 2011

She Hasn't Forgotten

I received an email to "add a friend" on facebook from a stranger.

The message attached to it read, "Auntie Virginia sent me your facebook contact."

Oh, Virginia. Retirement must be leaving her with too much time on her hands.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Too Much Sugar

Started off the day late after sleeping in, and woke up just in time for lunch. Went over to Trout Lake and met up with Jen and Anth for some subs from a food cart called Roaming Dragons. It was just okay. What might have even made it sub-okay was the wait. We sat on the grass chowing down on our lunch and basked in the sun while watching Barney amuse himself by finding random things in the lawn.

There was a band playing live music that was being towed around by a truck. I thought the moving live band idea was pretty cool. But Barney didn't like it. Once the band started playing, he barked. And barked. And barked. He was so mad at the band. Haha. Everyone around us thought it was funny. 'Cept for Jen, of course.

We strolled around the Farmer's Market and picked up some fresh fruits and veggies, and walked around the grassy area amongst boys playing some football and families picnicking.

My kinda way to spend a beauutiful early afternoon.

The sun finally peeked out and it was getting hot. Perhap time for some shaved ice! I dropped off my goodies, and went with Ming to The One for some shaved ice. I had a feeling Ming would want his own bowl of shaved ice but I really shouldn't have suggested it. We ended up with two enormous bowls of shaved ice. It was essentially all water... but still. One was a fruity combination, the other with the beans and taro. Beans and taro are still my favorite. Got my sugar fix for the day.

I got rid of Ming (heheheh), and lazily browsed through Oakridge. I went in there with the mission to find some necessities (... and necessities are no fun to shop for), but ended up walking out with bagfuls of birthday presents. Still pretty productive.

Swung by Karen's to pick her up and met up with Wendy for dinner at Zakkushi. Good thing it was tapas (small dishes) since I wasn't very hungry. Bad thing that dinner was with Karen which always means over-ordering. Funny thing was, Wendy did the over-ordering this time. I was stuffed. But there always seems to be room for dessert. Deep fried mochi with vanilla ice cream - yum! More sugar...

The night was still early so we walked up the block to Scoop and got some green tea frozen yogurt. Green tea flavour was strong (which I liked!) but the yogurt was much too sweet. Ugh, more sugar... but spendin' some time with the girls was good. As usual.

Wendy had to go to bed at 9pm for an early morning shift tomorrow (lame!), so we dropped her off before we headed over the Earls on Fir. I already had some awesome patio time last night at The Mills, and now more of it tonight. Summer nights are the best. Tonight was a bit chilly so the heaters were on. Karen sipped on a glass of merlot while I cozied up with my camomile tea.

If I ever doubt that life is good, I could look back on this post.

It was one sweet, sweet day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brilliant Ideas

My brother and I came up with the idea of designing our own fireworks.

Everytime it explodes, it will spray a message in pretty colours...

"THIS COSTED YOU $50,000!!".

The next one would read...


Oh, how we take the pleasure out of fun things eh?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Celebrations Of Light

I think it was about two years ago when I strapped my tripod on my back using my yoga straps (hey, it worked), and took my dslr down to the Burrard St. bridge to take photos of the fireworks. We went early to stake out a spot, and did the waiting game till the fireworks started. The wait didn't seem long. There were other photographers there, and we all chit-chatted about photography. Friends rode by on their bikes and also stopped to chat for a bit. I remember Karen made it down halfway through the fireworks and was still able to see the last ten minutes of the fireworks. With that in mind, I thought as long as I could find a place to dump my car, there will definitely be a spot on the Burrard St. bridge. I mean, the Celebrations Of Light have been going on for years... if this was a hot spot to watch the fireworks, it would be packed.

I don't know what has changed in the past two years... but yesterday night, it was packed. Mom and I drove down with the idea that if we can find parking, we'd watch the fireworks. If we can't dump the car, we'll go home and say we went for a nice cruise. I circled the area to no avail. I thought I'd try my last bet. I called up Bran. It's great to have friends living in the area!

Low and behold, there was a spot in her building's parking lot. So, Bran, my mom and I trekked down to the Burrard St. bridge, which was about a five minute walk from Bran's place, and we got to see the fireworks with the crowd. Not exactly the experience that I remembered from two years ago. I guess people caught on that it's an excellent view point so the bridge was packed. But, for me, I got to get a glimpse of the fireworks all the same. Fireworks is just fireworks. But I love them.

Just taking advantage of a warm, summer night.

Because I Believe Getting It Out Of Your System Is Good For You

I was exhausted by the end of my shift. It wasn't so much busy in volume, but busy in solving problems. Or, busy in emotions.

I don't really know why I let a doctor's receptionist urk me today. Y'know, I just want to get my job done. I don't need a whole run-around with the receptionist to try to talk to the doctor. It had something to do with a matter dealt over the stat holiday that lead to a judgement call. When doctors are not available, we have to make that call. We do it all the time. When the doctor is available again, we of course report what happened to the doctor. I really don't need a receptionist telling me it was wrong. This really wasn't her call. When asking her several times if I could just speak with the doctor, she chose to ignore my question and instead, told what she believes is the right thing to do with a methadone dose. Oh, please. I had only explained the situation to her to let her know why I needed to speak to the doctor. Not to ask her for her two cents.

"You always have to check with the doctor before you do something like this, but ANYWAY...".

"I've already explained that it was a stat holiday. You were closed. How do you propose I talk to the doctor that day?."

"But you should still check with the doctor, but ANYWAY...".

(She kept emphasizing her "anyway"...)

"I just want to talk to the doctor please."

"This was your judgement call so it's really your own problem."

"He is your patient. Can I please just talk to the doctor?".

(Calling the doctor to discuss a patient's therapy is something we do everyday. So a call like this is not something the receptionist isn't used to, but yet she's making it difficult).

She eventually ended our arguement with, "Well, you cannot talk to the doctor. We are very busy here."

And what does she think I am?  So bored that I'm calling the doctor 'cause I wanted to gab with him about the finale of The Bachelorette?

"You will have to clearly document what you just told me and fax it in and I'll have the doctor look at it."

That wasn't her last words. She continued to go on in her snide tone about how since what was done was a judgement call, that it was really just my business and not her or the doctor's problem.

I talked right over her and said, "I will fax it. Thank you." Click.

This makes it my first time in hanging up on someone.

I wrote my long wordy letter to the doctor. I tried to leave it as business only, but you can probably sense the anger between my words.

There. Out of my system.

Carrying on.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's The Endorphins Talkin'

I had my mind set at the beginning of the week that after work today, I'd hit the gym. When I woke up this morning, the first thought that crossed my mind was, there's no way in hell I'm going to the gym today. To add to that thought, I had a relatively crappy day at work. (Where I felt like all the problems were dumped on me, demanding customers demanded me, and I was pulled in fifteen different directions... and well, you know the rest of the drill. Oh, Anita! Why are we always working opposite shifts?! I neeeeeed youuu...).

When I got home, I found out I had the entire house to myself. That never happens. Ahh, peace and quiet. More reason to stay home. I changed out of my work clothes and started doing some arm exercises. Then I decided to clean my exercise equipments. While I was at it, I started cleaning other things... Wiping things down. Tidying things up. Then, I thought, screw it. I have too much energy.

 I strapped on my running shoes. Grabbed a bottle of water. And off I went to the Killarney tracks. The weather was perfect. Usually, I start off walking one lap before I jog. You can call it warm-up, but really it's more people watching and scoping out the scene. Not for any reason but simply to people watch.

I always thought I don't enjoy running tracks. But after being a little frustrated not finding a route I was happy with, or running the same ol' route everytime, this wasn't so bad after all. For one, I can easily track the distance. It was still the same deal. The rhythmic pounding of the pavement. The heart pumping. The way it distracts me and washes everything from my mind. The difference was, even though I was running on my own... in my own pace... on my own time... I felt like I had company.

I made six good laps and was feeling pretty good. Don't know why the number six seemed like a lot, but when I looked at the time, it hasn't even been 15 minutes. I stopped counting the laps or giving myself a time, I remember jotting down (back in the day when there was not much to do in Victoria but to focus it all on running) that the best thing that worked for me was to not give myself a limit or even a goal.

I would start with a jog. No timer. No finish line. Maybe a pattern if I feel like it. (Today, it was run 400m, walk 200m, and repeat.) I soon realize that I just want to keep on running. The finish line doesn't seem far away when there isn't one. The time doesn't seem like it's been forever if there's no timer. And then my mind starts to drift... I run by people gabbing, children laughing, and street hockey players shouting commands at each other. People were doing steps at the stairs by the swings, and others were doing leap frog on the patch of grass in the middle of the track. Some people were wearing jackets. Others wearing sweatshirts. But most were in t-shirts and shorts. Including myself. When I get into that humdrum, I don't want it to end.

Oh, I gotta get gas for my car.

And it always takes something on my to-do checklist in reality that wakes me up and snaps me out of that mode. 40 minutes later, I was still on my high.

The high I get from running, I haven't been getting it everytime. But when I do, it comes back like riding a bike. Familiar and natural.

Still running on my high, I came home, showered, ate dinner, made lunch for tomorrow and did my laundry. And now, finally sitting down at the computer.

A crappy day at work? I don't remember it at all.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finally Summer

Summer seems to be finally here. The warm, sunny days have been a little more consistent. I've got so much done and so much more I want to do... got to check out the Powell St. Festival yesterday! ... but before that, here was last weekend :

Written July 24, 2011

Shum recommended we try out Muira Waffles + Milk Bar. It's near Granville St. and Davie St.
We chose the Bulgogi and the Hoisin Waffles. Now, their concept is to turn waffles into a sandwich... which surprisingly is such a yummy combo. The waffles gives it a slightly crispy outside and the waffle itself is soft. The Bulgogi is a Korean flavoured sandwich with a bit of kimchi, beef, and egg. The Hoisin one is very much like a Vietnamese Banh Mi. Both of them were soooo yum! Shum preferred the Hoisin 'cause she loves Banh Mi's, and although I also love Banh Mi's, I think I'd have to choose the Bulgogi.

There is nothing really fancy about this place. Very small. With a few tables. You order at the counter first and then they bring it to you. We chose to sit outside on their mini patio. And their waffle sandwiches come out in plastic baskets. Like the burgers at Red Robins.

It's a waffle and milk bar, so of course we had to try their milk drinks too. Essentially fruit blended with milk. Very light (not like a milkshake or smoothie) but very flavourful. I got the yogurty blueberry and Shum got the mango. Both delicious. They also had specialty drinks such as wasabi+vanilla ice cream+ chocolate sauce. Or vanilla ice cream+ teriyaki sauce. Too adventurous for me but Shum vowed she'd try it next time.

With Shum's recent obsession of Korean drama and all things Korean, of course we tried the Korean version of the waffles. And it would only make sense if the next place we hit up was... H-Mart. I've never been. I don't know why it's taken me so long to set foot into H-Mart. For some reason, I always imagined it to be somewhat like a Daiso. Never knew it was a supermarket.

And well... you know me and my supermarkets...

I was on cloud nine.

So. many. different. cool. items. to. try............

We took a rolley basket and we went to town with it. Spent the next hour going down every single aisle and combed through every item. We read through everything (or not read through everything - since a lot of it was in Korean) and we made $60 worth of damage. So exciting! Haha.

Shum : "Can you believe it? If someone asked you what you did on a sunny afternoon on your day off, you tell them you went grocery shopping with Shum??".

I can totally believe it.

We each slurped down a kiwi popsicle while we watched some street performers break dance. It was so warm out that my popsicle was melting down my hands before I could finish it. We would have stayed... if we weren't towing four boxes of Melonas in our bags. ($3/box means stocking up!). I refused to go home on such a sunny day. So, we went back to Shum's and stuffed our frozen/fridge goods into her freezer/fridge, and ended up near David Lam Park with a couple of beach towels.

We picked a nice spot and chillaxed on the grass watching people and doggies go by. I laid down and used Shum's hat to shield my face... and almost drifted off to sleep. Half an hour later, I peeled myself off the lawn. Gotta go! Running late for movie with Ming!

Thanks Shumbum for the company!