Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Same cheesy name, new domain!

I needed a break, but I didn't really expect my hiatus to last this long!

I got kind of tired with this blog. My photography and writing was feeling stale, a lot of people I know in real life have been reading and I've had a lot of things to write down during the past couple months that have no place on the internet.

Thanks to all of you who have checked in and asked for me. Sorry for not keeping you all in the loop.

I've started a new blog. It doesn't quite look the way I want just yet but I needed a blank slate to play with.

I considered changing the name, but when it comes down to it, I'm kind of attached to this one. I like it, people know it. It's hard to get rid of. My mom found it and she said she knew exactly why I chose it and that it's very me.

The new blog is here. I hope you'll follow me over!

Sunday, May 24, 2009



The dining room window in the house where I grew up was five and a half feet square and faced the ocean.  Our dining table was a semi-circle that hugged the wall just below it.  A huge cedar branch looped down in front of it from which we suspended a bird feeder that saw a lot of action.

We didn't have cable so it provided a lot of entertainment.  Frequent diners had names.  I'd get up late at night with a flashlight so that I could watch Harvey the nocturnal flying squirrel because he was the coolest one.

One of the first things I noticed when I moved out here was the lack of birds.  I mean, there were probably birds around but I didn't see nearly as many.  It didn't really help that the previous owners had covered the front garden with a huge slab of concrete and the back yard was a sea of oil and car parts.  They had had an outdoor-only cat that they didn't feed called Fuzzers.  Not to mention, the neighbour next door at the time used impressive amounts of RoundUp and Killex.

These things do not happy bird territory make.

You can probably imagine that I'm pretty happy that there are birds living in the back yard now.  Manic would be a better way to describe my glee.  It's almost ridiculous how much it amuses me that they're there.  My joy however, has been tempered by the knowledge that the barrier I built on the fence beside the birdhouse has been knocked down by cats that want to harass them.

I've got my eye on you, Flinty. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This post brought to you by the tungsten setting on my camera


I went hiking with my camera the other day and somehow or other managed to take all my pictures with the white balance all wrong so everything looks very blue and washed out.  They kind of remind me of those really tacky paintings you can get in Chinatown or in dollar stores that show the Yangtze River and a waterfall that lights up with little lights.  The fact that I have photographed such a thing makes me want to whack myself.

Anyways, out on the dikes the birds were singing.  We didn't really see very many.  What we did see were bugs.  Not the bitey kind.  More like the eating-the-bitey kind and the eaten-by-birds kind, which is probably why there were so many birds. 

I'm not all that good at identifying these things.  I'm good at the plants and animals but once we get into the lichens and bugs my knowledge fails me.  I guess I have to go back to girl guides.

I chased some dragonflies around for a bit but I didn't manage to get any spectacular photos.  Not that they'd be spectacular anyways because they're all very blue.

It's been nonstop yardwork here.  My only reward for being so awesome at yardwork is more yardwork.  Such is life.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Laminated bacon


A party sat down behind us and the conversation began, spanning all sorts of things - silvaculture, raw log exports, windrow composting, Gordon Campbell, unions, mostly dominated by a single guy.

There's a set script that seems to be followed by these conversations regardless of the actual content.  The guy who does most of the talking made a lot of money.  Maybe he was in the oil sands or up north somewhere.  It doesn't really matter.  They try to establish their importance and explain away their current less-than-favourable position by claiming all sorts of past victories but mostly they just talk.

At one point in time the conversation drifted toward hunting.  They discussed all sorts of lodges and the entertainment and game you could find there, bragging about what they'd caught themselves, who had been to the best one.  Of course the one guy dominated finally by declaring the amount of bear ham and bear salami he'd eaten.

"You know, this one place is the best," he said, "You know how you go to hotels and they put the chocolates on your pillows?  You go to this place and they leave dried meat on your pillow.  Dried meat!"

That was enough listening in on that conversation.  We left.

Outside and out of earshot there was a competition to imitate the line.  Dried meat on your pillow!  Ick!  Can you believe it?  It was good for a bit of a chuckle.  "I bet that's meat hanging from the mirror of that truck," my mom said in an offhand way, without really looking at it.

"There is," I replied.  It was three laminated strips of bacon.

She began to laugh hysterically.  Good thing she wasn't driving.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chocolates were meant to be surprises.


When my parents took my sister to Seattle in the spring, she took on the task of making a reservation at a nice restaurant.  She shopped around and read a lot of restaurant reviews and menus until she finally decided on what sounded like a decent seafood place with a view of the ocean.

But when she made the reservation, something was off.  She was told that the restaurant had changed its name but didn't think a lot of it until they got there.  They found that the restaurant in question was actually next door, the one my sister chose had closed.  The two were in the same hotel.

The place they ended up at was still by the water, but the rotting hulk of an abandoned cargo ship was moored just outside, completely obscuring the view.  The menu was different and the food wasn't particularly good.  The service was very good because the restaurant was empty for the duration of their meal.

Abby was really upset because she had spent a lot of time and effort trying to find a good restaurant so she wanted to redeem herself.  Not that she needed to because no one really blamed her for it.

She chose Sandbar this time.  Everything was great and she received the victory she so badly deserved.

Onwards!  (my blogging rut is apparently hard to get out of so I'm posting this too late and now making this post unnecessarily long)

We also got my mom a box of chocolates and the first thing my sister did was open the map to start the orientation.  I hate that.  I want to be surprised.  I want to jump in with both feet and not look back.  I want to put a chocolate in my mouth and be disappointed when it tastes chemically or weird and I can't figure out what the flavour is supposed to be.

That's the way it's supposed to be, but she insists on ruining it by telling me that it's a raspberry mocha just before I stick it in my mouth.

I was determined to have none of it so I tried to sneak them out of the box without her seeing it which turned into a wrestling match that I lost.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The creation of a fantastically large litterbox


I've spent the past two days shoveling a small mountain of sand that appeared in front of our house into the back yard in order to turn the back yard into one of the most fantastic litterboxes that the neighbourhood has ever seen.  Any cat who is anyone has already been around to use it.

You see, a couple of days ago the parental unit looked out into the back yard and they snapped.  Up until this point, the lawn has been more weeds than grass, perpetually lumpy and in all but the driest of seasons it tends to be waterlogged, the soil a claylike muck that likes to form huge dirt clods on the bottom of your shoes that refuse to fall off until you're in the house.

No, the weeds definitely have to go and this calls for drastic measures.  The back yard is to be covered with a layer of sand, and then a layer of topsoil and then completely reseeded.  Since I am currently unemployed this is my new job.  

Just over the fence, the neighbours have completely let their garden go.

We shall see how effective all this will be.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cinco de Mayo


Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, the international celebration of my mother's birthday.  We arrived at work and dragged her out for dinner.  Dragged is an appropriate verb here because she can be pretty hard to get out of the office sometimes.  I trailed her as she made a bunch of trips around the office and then somehow she lost me and I couldn't find her anywhere.

Just about the time we thought we'd succeeded, the office sucked her back up again because she'd forgotten her bag.  Is her bag really that essential?  Apparently yes.  Dinner was nice when we finally got to it.

Other than continuing my job search my mission this week is to actually learn Adobe Illustrator.  I'm no expert at InDesign or Photoshop but I can use them and have the finished product look alright.  I've been taught a bit of it and I've learned a lot from playing and feeling my way around.  For whatever reason, I've never been able to do that with Illustrator.  It's one of the most frustrating programs I've ever tried to use so we'll see how I do with it.

Tomorrow if the weather's nice I'm going to go hiking and see if I can take some pictures.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Garden notes

mason bee

Secret weapon:  Bees.  Mason bees.

They're all black so they kind of look like long skinny flies.  They're really docile and pretty much never sting.  They're more efficient at pollination than regular bees.

Technically they exist in the wild but they can be kind of 'managed' if you put up housing that they find acceptable for nesting.  Their larvae hibernate inside little cocoons that look like rabbit poop over the winter and wait for the weather to warm up to hatch.  That means that if you keep them inside your fridge over the winter, they'll stay dormant until you decide to release them.

mason bee house

They lay their eggs inside the holes and then plug them up with mud.  You have no idea how much they amuse me.  

Other than that, not much is happening out in the garden right now.  I guess that means that I have some space to answer some of the questions I was asked on my last post.

Soil: The City of Port Moody was generous enough to provide us with some topsoil in it's more benevolent days.  When we moved from Port Moody we shoveled it all into garbage cans and took it with us.  Every year we throw in a big load of compost, some steer manure and some beds get a bit of sea soil.  Most things (tomatoes especially) get crunched up eggshells and bone meal and everything gets a dusting of coffee grounds.

Beds: Everything is in raised beds because the soil here is full of clay and rotten to grow anything in.  We have ten plus two bathtubs.  Bathtubs are really great for tomatoes, have built-in drainage and seating.  The best kind of bathtub is dusty rose, avocado green or harvest gold and found for free by the side of the road or on cragislist or freecycle.



Maple trees have flowers.  Who knew?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's be paranoid and take leave of our senses, shall we?


To mitigate the risk of swine flu SFU suggests that students should sneeze on their shirt sleeves instead of their hands.  

Seriously SFU?  Seriously?

You mean to tell me that this is preferable to say, washing your hands after you sneeze?

Do you have any idea how gross my shirt would be even two hours into the day?

Are you aware of the fact that the weather is warming up and shirt sleeves are rising?  Any idea how awkward it is to cough into your shoulder?


That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009



I spent most of yesterday at Canstruction.  For those who aren't familiar with it, it's an annual sculpture competition.  Teams of people make sculptures out of cans and then the food is donated to the food bank.

I didn't take my camera because I had a lot of other things to carry around so the pictures in this post are from my sister.  Corinna at Gusgreeper has a bunch of photos from this year's competition here.  You can see other photos on flickr though it seems like it's mostly photos from last year right now.

Some people come up with some pretty cool stuff but I think the kids in the school programs came up with the most awesome, creative, insanely gravity-defying stuff:

Because so much more is possible when you aren't familiar with the laws of physics.