Ten New Things 2010 – 2

Continued from previous ramblings…

6. Serving on my Birthday – I turned 30 this year and decided I wanted to stick with the Others theme on my birthday too.  So some of my friends and I served dinner at Out of the Cold at my church.  They provide meals and a place to sleep overnight for those in need.  I love serving in this way and making small chat as I load up people’s plates.  Everyone is so kind and thankful.  Thank you again to my friends who came out, we had a great time.

OOTC
Thirty and flirty with the veggies.

7. Organized Long Runs – I have never organized a weekly run (shocking I know), but I took on the planning of long runs on Saturday morning for our Kit’s church running club as we prepped for the Victoria Half Marathon in October.  It was fun and great to run around the city in the morning with good friends.  Marathon long run group next?

Victoria Marathon
Rach and I were a little hungry after...who am I kidding, I'm always hungry!
Beer Reward
One medal and one beer. Mission accomplished.

8. The River website – A friend of mine heads up a great youth outreach program called The River, which is a branch of Living Waters Canada.  I helped him from start to…well we are almost done, working on it creating a site map, content, mock ups, SEO, etc.  It took a lot of time, but it will be a great site and resource for youth.

9. Spud Patrol – My amazing friend Rachel had a great idea to serve potatoes on the East side for her birthday.  We joined up with an organization called Spud Patrol, which Rachel had helped with as a kid, and we handed out hundreds of baked potatoes.  It was real interesting serving at the toppings table or walking around the area handing out wrapped potatoes at hand warmers.  Most people were happy and smiled, some gave us lively conversations that I couldn’t keep up with and some were clearly in desperate need of rescue from their place in life.  What I loved seeing the most was that people knew eat other and looked our for each other.  There was a real sense of community down there that was so evident you couldn’t ignore it.

Spud Patrol
People lining up to be served. I have never seen such huge amounts of cream cheese and butter on a potato.
Rach and I
Rach and I at Spub Patrol

10. Christmas Hamper – My small group donated money this Christmas and put together a Christmas hamper for a Chinese woman and her newborn who had to flee China because she was pregnant with her second child.  Her husband and first child are in hiding in China still and we were happy to be able to show some of God’s love to this woman through meeting her needs.  I think we spent almost $300 on diapers, rice, clothes and other goodies for her.  Welcome to Canada!

Honorary 11.  I financially donated more than I have in any year past to a variety of projects that are of particular interest to me.  I hope to continue to keep this number growing as years go on.

Others: Visiting Whistler and Vancouver Island, creating book covers for my dad, taking salsa lessons, attending a sledge hockey Paralympic event and a curling Olympic event (and seeing The Great One there), getting my first permanent job (no more contracts!), ate sea urchin and did the best parallel park ever.

Here are some almosts, but not quites: food eating contest, knitting for someone in need.  The first one I came very close to a couple of times, but I was pretty sure all I could eat deep-fried Mars bars would kill my long run the next day and the cupcake eating contest fell on a Feast for Friends day.  Next year my little cupcakes…next year.

What is next year going to be like?  Hoping to get to Hawaii and Tofino at some point, find a cause to knit for, go to my first NHL (Canucks) and MLS (Whitecaps) game and maybe, just maybe, snowboard.  Not sure of a theme yet, but you don’t need a theme to do awesome new things.

What did you do this year that was new?  Any plans for 2011?

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The Crazies (aka The Sloans)

A friend of mine told me that he was watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and he thought of my crazy family.  Funny enough, he is pretty accurate to say that and I don’t think anyone in my family would deny it.  There are certainly quite a few quirky characters that get into trouble on a regular basis.

Can you guess which one hasn’t happened to my family?

1) Grandma getting picked up by the cops

2) Aunt Binny stabbing grandpa in the leg for holding a cold beer to it (you got to know Binny to understand this one)

3) Aunt Sharon capsizing her sail boat as it collided with a bridge in Florida resulting in a T-shirt that said Boat -1, Aunt Sharon – 0

4) A blow up doll with band-aid covered nipples given to my brother at a family Christmas

5) My non-commital cousin Jeremy getting in a near-death car crash and marrying his nurse

6) Grandma cleans her closet out, puts everything in a garbage bag and, at Christmas, makes all the grandkids pass it around and take things out until nothing is left. She was very adament about it emptying.  Nothing says Christmas like a 1956 book on birds, or 10 year old candy canes…remember the candy canes?

7) Wedding shivarees including: a goat tied up on a front lawn, walls built over a hall entrance, lobsters in a tub and holes cut into someones floor to get into the house to prank it.

8) Grandma rating an old boyfriend of mine an 8 out of 10…while he was sitting beside me.

9) My cousin running over his brother with a tractor (it was an accident and he’s okay)

10) Me almost taking my grandpa’s thumb off with a shovel while taking stumps out of a field

Answer?  They are all true, of course!

I could go on and on about naked grandma stories, inappropriate gifts at Christmas including a sound enhanced reindeer speedo and a very inappropriate T-Shirt given to my mom which would horrify her if I shared, scenes in restaurants or theatres with my grandparents or nursing home stories, but I’ll save those for another day.

I hope your family has a couple nuts in it too, no family is complete without one or five.  I leave tomorrow to go back home for a visit and I’m highly anticipating some new stories to share with you all.  I love my family!

d.

Feel free to share any of your own stories, or, when you see me, ask about the ones above.

Ten New Things 2010 – 1

I’m sure most of you are familiar with my Ten New Things project, where I do… well, if you can’t figure it out I’m not going to tell you.

I’ve started basing each year around a theme, 2009 was the Year of Adventure, this year was the Year of Others.  I tried to do most of my Ten New Things for people in need, or my friends or family.  Here is how the year played out:

1. Kiva – This website lets you give over and over again to small businesses in third world countries.  You don’t make any interest off your loan but you do get your money back once they pay off what they borrowed over a scheduled amount of time.  I turned my initial donation of $100 into $250 in donations by relending each time I was payed back. I helped farmers, shop keepers, and other entrepreneurs expand their businesses to provide a better life for their families.  I highly recommend trying this.

2. Feasts for Friends – At the start of the year I had hoped to make a new meal for a friend every month.  This worked out for a couple months,but as the year went on it fell apart, so I switched to a couple of dinners for large groups.  My friend Meaghan and I love to experiment in the kitchen so we put on a couple big feasts.  We called it Dana and Meaghan’s Grocery Bag.  We bought all the ingredients the week of and gave ourselves a limited amount of time to cook on the day of the dinner.  Some of the best things we made were a Bailey’s souffle, red wine risotto, lemon pudding cake and an amazing couscous.  Just don’t ask how the yorkies turned out.

Prepping dinner
Our first feast for the salsa group.

3. Hotel Sloan – Over three months I hosted 14 people at my apartment.  July was almost fully booked, but I loved taking my family and friends around Vancouver, showing them all my favourite places and letting them in on the secret as to why I can’t move back to Ontario yet.

Sam and I
Sam and I taking our first diving into the "ocean".
Sheena and I
Sheens and I at Calhouns
Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad by the Olympic Torch. First time west of Ontario and I think they liked it.
Shane and I
My brother Shane and I at the top of Whistler mountain.

 

4. TOMS – TOMS is a shoe company who donates a pair of shoes to someone in need every time someone buys a pair of shoes.  I bought a pair and they are amazingly comfortable and it is nice knowing that someone else is walking in comfort too.

5. Oregon and California Trip – This wasn’t giving, but it was a big experience I had this year.  My friend Meaghan and I drove all the way to San Diego stopping in Portland, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and LA on the way.  We had an awesome time going biking around Napa, doing hill repeats in San Fran, making out with Mickey at Disneyland, and buying up the farmers market in San Diego.  I had a couple great runs in Santa Barbara on the beach and along the waterfront in San Diego as well.

Welcome to California
Finally arrived!
Getting crazy on the bike.
Biking around Napa looking for wine...or perhaps I already had some wine. Hard to tell. :)
San Fran San Francisco
Kissing Mickey
Getting a little fresh with Mickey...he didn't seem to mind.
Because I know this is a lot of reading in one sit, I split this post in two and will post the other half in the next couple days.  Stay tuned!

Trip Home

I am one week away from heading back to Ontario to see my family. 

Things I am not looking forward to:

1. Having to fix all my parents computer problems

2. The revolving door of people and endless phone calls at my parents house

3. Visiting my grandpa (cause it might be the last time)

4. Cleaning goober off my iPhone from the kids blowing up balloon animals on it

5. The ridiculous amount of food temptations all around (also see things I’m looking forward to)

6. Answering the question: How are things in Vancouver?  over and over again

7. Trying to stay out of arguments between my sister and my mom.  “Dana, you tell me if Breanne’s bathroom is clean enough.”  – Ma  “Oh no, I am not getting in the middle of this!” – d.

 

Things I am looking forward to:

1. My grandma’s baked beans (and other food temptations)

2. Snuggles and hugs from Abby, Caleb, Morgan, Mikayla, Kole, Gwen and Baby X  (also known as Doll, Little Boy, Morgy-Porgy, Mik, Koley-Oly, Gwennigans and my sisters stomach)

3. Sitting by my parents big picture window with my sister, knitting and drinking tea

4. Dinner at my sibling’s homes and catching up over The Farming Game

5. Christmas morning breakfast with my grandma, her friends and my family

6. Catching up with Card, Bork, KB, Sam and all my London friends 

7. The smell of Christmas trees at my parents house 

8.Visiting with my future brother-in-law and eating the chocolate from Germany that he brings

9. Green, pink and white jellos that my mom makes

10. Taking my Aunt Binny out for a donut…on her

There are so many things I love about the holidays at home, but this post would go on forever. 

What are some things you are looking forward to or not looking forward to.  Leave your comments!

d.

Sick Day

I went in to work today feeling a little under the weather and ended up driving home 50mins later with stomach pain.  Later in the day my cold started coming out in full force and I was pretty laid up for a while.  However, I was tired of being stuck in my apartment by early afternoon and decided to get some exercise.  Yes, I do like to exercise when I’m sick.  I feel like I can sweat any bad bits right out of my body.  Usually I go for a run, buttoday I opted for a walk in my neighbourhood to enjoy the sun.

While I was walking, I came across a beautiful Holly tree and thought I should take a picture of it.  However, pictures of trees on my iPhone 3 don’t usually look that great, so I thought I would add my mittens.  These aren’t just any mittens, these are my absolute favourites.  I bought a whole matching set of mitts, scarf and hat about 4-5 years ago (promptly losing the hat) and I just love them.  They are soft, warm and ridiculously cute with their knit flowers and completely acceptable for a 30 yr old.  I came very close to losing one of the mitts last winter and actually teared up.  Yeah, lame, I know.  I had to take the picture quickly because someone was coming down the street and I feared looking like a kook, so bare with the unprofessional photo displayed.

On a side note, tonight was also my last visit to the dentist.  I think that makes at least 10 visits since May.  I have had pain in my teeth for the past month, but I’m hoping that will go away now that my mouth isn’t being assaulted by drills and death rays every couple weeks.  Did I mention that my dentist is called Dr. Au (pronounced Ow) and my family doctor is Dr Payne?  Yeah, I should have guessed things were going to go poorly.

Off to stop a runny nose and do some Christmas tree decorating!

d.