2011 Ten New Things – Part 2

Continuing with the new things I have done this year…

6. Tofino

On the May long weekend Dave and I headed out to Tofino for the first time.  We didn’t do anything exciting while were were there, but we really enjoyed the ferry ride, the drive and the big fireplace in the lounge at the hotel we stayed at.  We explored the town of Tofino (I found a nice little yarn store), ate at a great restaurant called Shelter (try the warm salad, it was amazing!) and walked along trails and the beach to look at surfers and starfish.  It was a really nice, relaxing weekend and we can’t wait to go back again this year.

Tofino in May
Tofino in May

7. Going to a NHL Game

Dave is a big Canucks fan, and this year they made it all the way to game 7 of the Stanley Cup.  I went to one regular season game this year with a friend, but Dave was insistant on going to a playoff game to experience the excitement.  We went to see game 3(?) of the San Jose series and it was pretty exciting.  Dave get’s right into the game.  The Canucks blew the Sharks out of the water (ha ha, lame I know), and everyone was happy.  We also got free towels to swing around (not as easy as it looks).  Towel power!

Dave and I at a Canuck playoff game.
Dave and I at a Canuck playoff game.
Playoffs Canucks vs San Jose Sharks
Playoffs Canucks vs San Jose SharksDave and I at a Canuck playoff game.Dave and I at a Canuck playoff game.

8. Galiano Wine Festival

My friend Meaghan has a tradition of going to this wine festival on the small Golf Island every year and this year a group of us decided to join her. We walked on the ferry and we were on the island in time for their pancake breakfast and market. While we waiting for the festival to set up in this park we all laid around in the grass soaking in the sun. The festival was great, it was $35 for all you can drink wine. They also had ciders, beer and cheese stands, and the whole time there was finger food being passed out by little old ladies from the area, so you knew that they would be good and you would be forced to stuff yourself whether you liked it or not. How do you say no to grandma? By the end we were all giddy and ready to walk to the ferry in the late afternoon for our ride back. It was a great day and I’m all in for doing it this year again.

Galiano Wine Festival with friends
Galiano Wine Festival with friends

9. Driving through Algonquin Park in the Fall

Dave and I went back to Ontario to visit his family and mine in October, part of the trip involved renting a car and driving to Petawawa through Algonquin Park. I had never been to the park but know lots of people who have gone for camping and portaging. It was a perfect time to go as the leaves were changing color and the temperature was comfortable. We stopped at lots of nice little places on the way. I remember as a kid my parents taking us to places a couple hours away and they would want to stop and look in little towns. I thought it was the most boring nothing ever. Now I’m totally into it. I guess I’m getting older.

10. Snorkeling (in Grand Cayman)

This just happened last week when I was in Grand Cayman visiting Dave’s mom and step dad.  We had a morning to ourselves and we decided to go to Cemetery Beach so I could go snorkeling for the first time (I had been to the Cayman Islands once on a cruise already). When we got there we went for a run first.  However, about five minutes in we realized that it happened to be the rockiest part of Seven Mile Beach and that Dave had forgot to lock the car doors and his wallet was inside.  Needless to say, we turned around and went back.  Next we got our snorkeling gear on and headed into the water.  We could see out in the water where other snorklers off the boats and in the water. As we worked our way out I noticed that I was getting stung.  It felt like a bee sting, but it was happening over and over again.  Then I noticed that there were little jellyfish in clusters in the water and we were swimming right into them.  Dave was getting stung too, so we turned around and headed back. When we stepped out of the water we were covered in red spots and Dave had even swelled up all over his arm.  However, I did see a stingray and some fish in the coral, but Dave was said it was the worst snorkeling he had ever done.  I would definitly give it another try though…without the jellyfish.

Since our morning was a bit of a comedy of errors, we went to a open beach bar and had a pina colada to make everything better.  This went down smoothly.

There are several other firsts this year, or places I have returned to to spend more than a couple hours in, including Portland, Grand Cayman and Montreal. I also went to a CFL playoff game in Vancouver,finally went to the Festival of Lights at VanDusen Gardens, ate at several new restaurants in Vancouver, had conch fritters in Cayman, ran a 1/2 marathon in Portland and visited several new airports (Washington, Winnipeg, Denver, Cayman, Ottawa, Hawaii, Seattle, etc.) . I think the only thing that I had really wanted to do this year but did not do was create a knitting pattern, but I have resigned myself to be okay with that, I have learned so many new knitting techniques and things about yarn and gauge that I’m okay with just learning right now and becoming better at it, before trying to tackle designing something.

BC Lions playoff game
BC Lions playoff game

Next year already has some great adventure set up, the biggest includes a trip to Europe to do the Paris Marathon with Dave and visit my sister in Germany. The plan on this trip is to also visit Spain, but we will see how much we can pack in. It has been 6 years since my last visit and I’m really looking forward to it. So, cheers to a great year past, new adventures and love found, and here is to an amazing 2012 full of new adventures and challenges to come!

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2011 Ten New Things – Part 1

Almost unbelievably, another year has passed.  I was thinking about the time I have been living in Vancouver, and it has been almost 3 years.  I tried to think back over my time here and I almost couldn’t think of what happened in my second year here.  Of course it happened, but it happened so quickly.

Thinking about this past year, I continue to be surprised how fast things are moving.  I have been dating a lovely man named Dave, who is the love of my life, and no one has made me happier.  I have traveled to Hawaii, the Caribbean, parts of the States, and all over Canada.  I have never spent more time on a plane in one year, but I continue to find it my favourite place to be.  No phones, computers, work, people to talk to, just me and my knitting or reading or catching up on movies.  True time to relax that includes mini servings of pop and pretzels.

Mmm, now with that thought in mind, let’s take a little trip.

2011 The Year of Travel

1. Snowboarding on Mt. Baker

 
Snowboarding at Mt Baker
Snowboarding at Mt Baker

You can catch up on this experience in my blog from March.  It was something I always wanted to try, but turned out not being something I enjoyed.  However, that said, I think I might try it one more time, in a different location and with better snow conditions and see if that changes my mind.

2. Hawaii
 
Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii
 
Hawaii was always on my list of places to see when I moved West and it didn’t disappoint.  It was a great place to visit.  The weather was wonderful, it was easy and safe to get around, and personally not as expensive as everyone says (as long as you do it right). I traveled with three friends and we went to Maui for 5 days and Oahu for 5 days and during this time I has several firsts.
 
3. Surfing
 
Surfing in Maui
Surfing in Maui
 
 

Dylan and I with the Surf Board
Dylan and I with the Surf Board
Surfing was awesome, I really feel like I found something I would want to continue to learn.  And this is coming from someone who doesn’t care for beaches or water that much.  I had a great ‘dude’ of an instructor that helped me one on one.  The waves were really mild and I got up on my first try.  Being the adventurer that I am and having a teacher that was ready to see what I could do, we tried everything.  I surfed backwards, did my yoga pose and even did a quick handstand while riding a wave.  Everytime I got back to Dylan, he would be like, “I think you could do a triple axle on your board this time.”  Sadly, the photographer that took pictures only took them for the first 45mins of the lesson and not the last part where I was building up the confidence to do all the fun and crazy stuff.  Either way, it was fun.  I think I still have a lot to learn about timing the waves though, but hopefully I can do that on my next try.
 
4. Whalewatching
 
Whale Watching
Whale Watching
 
While on Maui we also went whale watching.  It was the end of the season, so there was a chance that we might not see anything, but it turned out to be the best outing that one of our guides had all year.  There was only one whale out, a teenager sized while, but like any good teenager he loved attention and taking risks and he came right up to our boat and swam under and around us.  In the whale watching world, we had been taken hostage by the whale, since you can’t move your boat while a whale is a certain distance from it.  It was a pretty incredible outing, even though it was bloody early in the morning, but it was well worth it.
 
5. Drive a scooter
 
 

Scooter Gang
Scooter Gang
 
Once we got over to Oahu, we rented scooters for a day and set out to drive around some of the island.  Before we left we asked for helmets and got the strangest looks.  In Hawaii you don’t have to wear helmets on scooters or motorcycles, so the scooter place managed to find two helmets for us to use which we shared.  I can see partially why people wouldn’t want to wear them…it is HOT! 
 
I’m pretty sure we weren’t suppose to go on highways or as far as we went, but our fearless leader Michael led us out anyway.  The sites as we drove along the coast were incredible and the beach we stopped at had perfect sand and a great view of the ocean with surfers and some small little rock islands.  If I remember correctly, there was even a bride and groom getting their pictures done there.
 
To be continued…

Ten New Things: Snowboarding

Yesterday, Dave and I went to Mt Baker in Washington State to go snowboarding.  It was his second time and my first.  I had been wanting to try snowboarding since I moved to the West Coast.], but last year the snow was minimal and the Olympics created a distraction for all of February.  This year, however, I was determined to try it and my boyfriend was super keen on taking up the sport.

Dave was worried that I would hate snowboarding, but decided to let his worries go.  He was hoping that it would be something that we could do together.  I convinced him to take a beginners course when we got there and it proved really helpful for both of us.  I really enjoyed it and didn’t find snowboarding all that difficult.  After the lesson we went for lunch, where I proceeded to treat myself to a burger, fries and pop, a combination I haven’t eaten in a long time…I quickly realized there was a reason for that.

As soon as I started locking my boots into the snowboard, I was frustrated and uncomfortable.  Next, it took me forever to stand up.  Suddenly my patience was spiralling out of control.  Dave started off down the hill and I followed.  It only took about 3 mins for me to take a hard fall forward and land in a painful position where I heard my neck pop.  The pain shot through by back and head.  I could actually feel my jaw and tongue throbbing.  It hurt and I felt like crying.  I managed to hold it together though and laid on the ground, with Dave beside me, for a few minutes.  I think that was the moment I started to give up.

I forced Dave to go on without me, he was doing far better and I couldn’t even manage to stand up. (My greatest difficulty.)  I stuck to a small little slope and Dave did a more difficult loop of hills.  After about the 5th time going down the small slope I was done and called it quits.  Dave’s fear came true, I did hate snowboarding a little.

By the end of the day I was sitting in the lodge reading my book while Dave snowboarded.  It was obvious this would be his sport and not mine.  I am happy that I tried it and that it didn’t cost much ($30), but my fear of hurting myself further and my frustration with getting up on the board did me in.  (I actually wasn’t too bad once moving.)

Bright points in the day:  Going to Applebees in Bellingham, where I had a Mud Slide, going to Trader Joes, where I bought some Warre’s Port for $13 and stocked up on my trail mix for work, finishing knitting Dave’s slippers during the drive, beautiful scenery and realizing just how patient Dave really is.  :)

 

 

Pretending to be having fun.

 

Dave actually enjoying himself.

 

Lots of snow on Baker still, judging by the amount on the sides of the road.

Time to get back to XC Skiing.

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?

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!