Friday, October 31, 2014

Kelowna visit and new bathroom pictures.

Had a great visit with Mom and  Lisa and Richard.  In addition to Lisa's report we ate lunch at the gashaus, german, very filling and delicious soup Mom had. I enjoyed the nut farm some of the trees were over 100 years and huge.  I bought some fresh walnuts for Wilf

 and he says they are great.
We have mostly finished the bathroom and it looks great.
It is halloween and have had a few very cute kids and also some one from the church dropped us off hot chocolate, very kind. They do something for the neighborhood every year, once they raked leaves, then gaves us cookies at Christmas and now this very good neighbors to have.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Que tal?

 This means, "what's happening?" in espagnol. But I don't have Spanish keyboard set up on iPad, so I can't put in that upside down question mark. My espagnol really is improving. I've had a good number of basic conversations with people, as well as a chat about the environmental damage of mining in Peru (bad news; Cdn companies involved) and el racismo, which we agreed was a bummer. Although yesterday a man was helping me figure out how to take the bus from downtown Lima to Barranco, the neighbourhood in which I'm staying, and I could understand zero words. City people faster talkers?

Lima is about 11 million people, which is insane. Many areas are not great for foreigner ladies to go, esp. after dark. But Barranco is right by the ocean, which is lovely, and apparently you can hail cabs off the street here, which was more dangerous in Bogota / Medellin.

Hotel is boutiquey although basic, breakfast included, and $50/night. Peru is not expensive!

I went to Machu Picchu! You take a three hour train ride from Cusco to Aguascalientes, a rough around the edges little town which is closest you can get to the site. Many good foods, though. I ate chicken in spicy yellow pepper sauce, which was delicious. The restaurant had both statues of Inca warriors, as well as smurfs and Ice Age ceramic figurines. Watched Big Bang Theory on hotel tv. English shows for adults are subtitled in Spanish, which works nicely for me.

Guide picked me up at hotel at 6am, and we got on bus to the site. It's seriously just a long line of tourists on the street, and bus after bus pulls up, loads up, then goes. And this isn't even the high season! My package was a one to one tour guide, which was nice. I don't mind being in places where there are tons of people around, but I think I hate toddling along slowly with 25 other people. So we went all around the site, and guide talked lots about what they speculate re site purpose, what they know of inca history, etc. that took about two hours. Then I had bought a ticket for Huayna Picchu - this is VERTICAL mountain you can climb for great views. Except I really didn't realize how VERTICAL it is.

There are steps the whole way, so guidebook calls it "not technically difficult." But it was like taking the stairs up the Empire State building-- if those stairs were tall, uneven, had switchbacks, and only a steel cable as hand railing. Sometimes I had to stop after 5 steps to catch my breath. I drank two litres of water and did not have to pee--sweated it out. But, it was pretty awesome at the top.

iconic picture of Huayna Picchu
Me, exhausted but triumphant

Sunday, October 26, 2014

We do still exist...

               I know it is going to be hard to believe that we still exist, so I have included some new family pictures at the end of this blog for proof.
               So, as you all know, we had a baby, and I think that was about the last time we posted to the blog. haha. Then we got married, and most of you, if not all of you were there and that was really wonderful! Thank you all for coming, we had such a great time!

               Shortly after we got married, and because I am one of the coolest wives ever, I spent the last of my 'own' money courting Tim off to San Francisco to watch the Giants play ball. 2nd row, behind the pitching mound. And yes, at any time in our lives together, if and when he gets mad at me for some (probably silly) reason, I will kindly remind him of this great trip so he remembers how awesome I am. hahaha. just kidding. It was a really great trip, and I have to say Thank You again to my wonderful mother and father in law who so kindly paid for our hotel and to aunty Jude for the tickets to Alcatraz. Alcatraz was amazing, so glad we got to experience that. I fell in love with San Fran! The architecture is exquisite! It basically had me at hello... I asked to move there, Tim said No- he can be such a buzz kill. I booked a reservation at a famous restaurant down town and It was lovely! THE FOOD- oh lord it was so freaking delish! We had to dress formal and I am pretty sure the waiter knew we really had no business being there, as it was definitely out of our usual league, but he was great and made us feel at home, but I am pretty sure they got a good kick out of my excellent pronunciation of the crazy words on their menu, and my lack of knowledge in wine. Like always, Tim handle himself with grace- he truly is a chameleon where I am a fish out of water haha. Then Tim took me to this lovely, romantic, elegant bar called Toronodo. haha. It was a real classy joint with over 140 different kinds of beer to try and all they served was beer. This was right down in with the locals. And the man who let his dog repeatedly urinate on the floor and would wipe it up with magazines really added to the ambiance. Ah this place made me laugh. The people were truly great and it was actually quite adorable and the #1 place in San Fran to get a koubi was right next door. You went over, got your dog and brought it back over to the pub with you. The beer was good, and that's all that really mattered.
OOOOO- I also got to see my first stream of naked older men riding their pedal bikes- that was something I am certain I can go my whole life without seeing again. I just cant understand how that could ever be comfortable, or worth it. Word to those guys neighbours- NEVER borrow their pedal bike.
The ball game was awesome! so much fun! Needless to say, I would go back to San Fran in a minute!

            The day after we got back Tim went to Mexico for 2 months and I only saw him for 4 days from June 16 to August 15 and it was horrible. I dont think we will be doing that again any time soon. I passed the time heading to the lake and with friends and their kids. The boys and I had a pretty good summer, just wish Tim could have been more a part of it- but he's back now and we have lots of summers ahead!
            I guess I spent to much time alone this summer, and when I am alone, I am a thinker, and I spent a lot of time with my friend ( and now business partner) Nichole, whose husband usually works away, and I guess we thought to much together because we came up with this idea to open a business. So now we are business owners, and it is really awesome and also a lot of work. I enjoy it a lot for the most part, and there are days like today when I really don't want to see the inside of it. Nichole and I have basically been in this building every day since the beginning of  August getting things ready to go and then opening. The guys were a ton of help and I am very fortunate to have a great husband and an electrician in one! We have so many things that we are continually coming up with that we can add into our shop to keep in interesting, busy and fresh. Our newest project will hopefully turn out amazing (but if it does, you will see it on facebook).
             I am a little envious of Nichole right now, as she has spent the last few days in Vegas, and next week she leaves for mexico, but it sure makes me look forward to our trip to Maui in December.

             Okay- the boys.
         Kane: Kane turned 3 in August and he talks a blue streak and he is head strong and funny, and stubborn, and at this exact moment he is being a total brat- typical 3. But boy do I love that kid. He started pre school this year. He goes to flipz preschool twice a week and to cookie jar once a week- he loves it. he always asks 'how many more sleeps until school again?' I love the stuff he tells me that he learns at school! He was trying to tell me about the 'slolar system' when I picked him up the other day- so funny. He also started skating lessons, and I couldn't believe his improvement between his first and second lesson. This child is constantly blowing my mind.
         Grady: Grady is my sweet sweet little snuggly boy. He is slowly coming into his own and I cant wait to see what he is going to show us. Starting to do a little talking, and he rips around the house on two legs now and he is constantly making us laugh with his baby chatter and smiles. Love the age is at, they are exploring everything, and they look and sound like they have been drinking some vodka while they do it. lol. Its such a fun, entertaining age and the baby kisses are awesome, even if they are drooly and snotty. He is so rotten cute, he kills me. so cute, so fun, so great....cant wait to see what's next.

              Last but not least, Tim. Tim is great as always. Couldn't ask for a better husband, but if I give him any more projects, I might have to find a new one.... poor guy. But to be fair to myself, he had some time to get to know me before we got married, he knew what he was getting himself into. He is such a great dad and a great person. He has been playing volleyball and working lots. We have been very busy around this house, seems like we haven't had much time for us lately- thank god for Theresa and Geoff watching the boys so Tim and I can spend some time together because sometimes it seems like all we do is work work work, spin circles around each other when we get home from work with the boys, sit down for five mins after the boys are in bed and start snoring on the couch together haha. So its definitely awesome when we can just spend sometime together.

Well, thats all for now because I have to get ready to go put on a birthday party at the shop again today. No rest for the wicked. LOL

Hope you all are well and happy xoxo

Saturday, October 25, 2014


About to go shopping for supper, after cleaning the house a bit. Let's not talk about how dirty it was.
Had a good visit with Laura, went to the nut farm, which is a very nice way to spend a fall afternoon. Also went to wool shops.
Transcribing data, which takes a long time,but isn't hard, so not so bad. Need more people to interview though.
just discovered a cool new feature on this can speak to the tablet and it will right for you but apparently it does not differentiate between right and write.
Our nephew Nathan and his wife Janelle had a baby boy, Carter.
Am looking forward to seeing Gordon Lightfoot next week with Mom and Richard, several of his songs are going through my head.
Not looking forward to doing the next section of this educator's workshop I'm in. Doing a presentation that I don't care about. I'm all fine either presenting, but I feel like I don't want to waste time on things that are not necessary. Whatever.
Need to cut the grass one more time this fall. Also picked up some fall plants while Laura's was here.
Nick is sleeping all curled up in a ball on the couch, while Sebastian is staring at me, desperately hoping I will feed him.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A visit with "Uncle Jim"

Jim was in Red Deer last week and we went in on Friday to meet up with him. He had spent the week getting his house ready for selling. It is looking good. There are some upgrades since I was there last - new flooring and windows. Jim put in a new furnace (or was it a hot water heater?) and new appliances were being delivered as well as getting the driveway and front sidewalk recovered. He found a realtor who sounds as if she does not think it will take long to sell. That house is a lot bigger inside than it looks from the outside.

We went out for supper. Jim seems good and we enjoyed our visit.

Courtney's business partner has gone to Vegas for a few days so I have Grady today. Kane is at his dad's. We are having quite a nice visit, I think after lunch we will go out and rake some leaves.

I am starting to feel retired. Although I know I don't have to be busy I do a few things every day but only when I feel like it. It is a luxury to have lots of time to get the yard and house ready for winter.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Come on, Jaguars!

 The jaguar is a big pre-Columbian symbol in both Peru and Colombia. I've been seeing lots of ancient art and goldworks, and jaguar is prominent symbol. No badgers, though. YET.

I am in chiclayo, Peru today. Took bus from Trujillo, on the coast. I'm in the northern part of Peru, closer to the Ecuadorean border. Trujillo is a colonial town; vivid colours on buildings in the old city, and I stayed in an old colonial hotel. Shabby, but lovely. But I like my BRIGHT ORANGE hotel in chiclayo better--better bed. Grace might like it too.

Trujillo reminds me a little of New Orleans. I guess that is the NOLA Spanish influence? Also, yesterday was a cancer awareness day and so I came across a PARADE with marching band, and kids dressed variously as fruits and vegetables and cancerous tumours (?). Also very NOLA?

Two days in Trujillo: one to go see ancient ruins. Huaca del sol, and huaca de la Luna, and Chan Chan. Ppl lived there 800 years ago? The buildings have been buried by sand for centuries and raided by tomb raiders, but some of the murals and even colours remain. Some artworks found -- so very fine and beautiful.

And! I went to beach town huanchaco and took SURFING lesson! I did it with very nice German woman named Anna, whom I met on Chan Chan tour, and we liked each other right away. Both of us said surfing was not the kind of thing we were ever likely to do -- so I talked her into it. Instructor, Chicho, and his brother Omar were competitors 30 years ago and teach now. I *almost* stood up! Two hour lesson, but after 90 minutes, I stopped. Sore today! Need a lot of core strength. But I am excited I tried. Then we had Cuzquena beers and ceviche (raw fish salad with lemon and onion) on a patio. Watching the ocean and the real surfers go.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Well, Thanksgiving is over and I can't even begin to list what I am thankful for. I have so many blessings in my life.
We went to Bonnyville to have Thanksgiving dinner with the Alexanders. Drove up Sunday, stayed over and back yesterday. It is such a beautiful time of year for a drive. The weather was perfect all weekend so we could enjoy the fall colours and the different landscapes. We arrived at Betty Anne and Greg's to the happy news that Matthew and Kaley had just got engaged. So we started the day with champagne. 
They have a quarter section of land and have made trails through the bush so we went for a wagon ride later in the day. Had a delicious turkey dinner out on their screened deck (that's how warm it was) and played cards in the evening. Greg's mom and her husband were there as well as his sister and husband and her two sons, plus Kate and Matthew and Kaley. A good crowd of most compatible people. We were glad we went.
On the way home yesterday we went for brunch with Sam, Nancy and Jude. It 's kind of hard to get any chat out of Sam and Nancy but Jude got us up to date on her activities. I did check to see if Sam has any business trips coming up. He does not.
Went for supper to Tim and Court's and got some playtime with the boys.
Geoff is back at work today, turned out he didn't have to work last week at all. He's hoping they don't want him much longer.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


We are busy, but not doing anything exciting. Why don't I have more holidays?
Had a good visit with Theresa and Geoff, as they drove through.
The weather here has been spectacular for fall. Which means that we garden. The end is in sight for Jones though. At Armageddon, there will be cockroaches and quackgrass remaining.
Still hanging laundry up outside though it takes a while to dry. Not many leaves have dropped yet.
Have some interviews scheduled for my research! Two on Wednesday, and my boss has let me take the day to do it as I have to do them in kamloops. Am hoping I can do a third. Haven't heard back from the 3rd person. Feel slightly worried about getting enough participants, but it is out of my hands at this point. I only need 5-10.
Still busy at work, but we have a replacement for our PCC, which is great. She seems lovely, so am hoping all goes well. She doesn't start til mid November.
Mom is making turkey dinner, so we are thankful for that!
Other things I am thankful for: Richard, my family, my home, my work, and for being happy.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Me gusta Colombia

I've been here 11 days, and having very good time! I've only been in Medellin and Bogota, both places for conference. Medellin is a tropical area, and therefore very green; lovely linear park in La Provenza, the neighbourhood I stayed in.

I got there Oct 1, and my workshop was Oct 6, so I had days to acclimatize and poke around. First day I slept mostly, as my flights took 24 hours to get there (what happens when you book on points). Also, I felt overwhelmed at the idea of trying to order food / buy sunscreen / go on metro. La Provenza is upper middle class / wealthy neighbourhood, with many shops and bars and cafes. It's also safe to walk around as tourist, day or night; other parts of the city are day-visiting only.

I saw the big sights while there: the Museo Antioquia (historic and contemporary art), and the modern art museum. I also spent a day at Parque Arvi, above the city, in a neighbourhood above Santo Domingo, which used to be the poorest / most dangerous barrio in the city. But post-Pablo-Escobar, the city started to try and invest in poor barrios to shift the safety pendulum. They have built six or seven library parks, with huge beautiful buildings, and built better transit that is free for residents. So I want to Arvi, which takes a cable car above Santo Domingo, so you can see over all the shanty homes built up the hill.

Parque Arvi is very lush, with little markets and retaurants all along the roads, and long paths to walk. The earth is very red there, which made me think of Oklahoma. I ate empanadas and fresh fruit (they are big on strawberries and gooseberries here), and walked a few km before I turned back. Tons of families there (it was a Sunday) hanging out, chatting, etc.

I definitely read as a tourist here (blonde hair) but a few times people have just asked me questions in Spanish before I say, Lo siento. But I can get a lot of the gist of what people are saying by body language (I had a similar experience in Eastern Europe), and I am learning new words all the time. My most triumphant moment was figuring out where to get ipad restored after it crashed, and how to get there, and then explaining my problem and getting help. Showing the screen was helpful, of course, but it still felt like a victory. I feel for people who are just learning English in Canada.)

Now in bogota! Conference was all this week, and I learned some neat things. I had. The poster session, which is awkward because your poster is up, and you stand there hoping people will talk to you about it, but try not to put them on the spot. So someone might be reading the poster, and I try not to stare at them while still looking open to talking if they have questions. It feels like intellectual speed dating. At first, no talks, but after a bit people asked questions, and I would ask them about their research work, which made them talk more. And so it felt okay.

Today going to the Museo del Oro, and to a little cool neighbourhood called La Candelaria, with cafes and bars. Rained like crazy yesterday, and my sneakers got soaked -- street was like a creek! Today looks to be drier.

(Having issues posting pictures from iPad. Will figure out and do later tonight. But if you are on Instagram, you can see some: asivak.)


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Road trip finish

Grace told me I should make one last post about the last of our holiday. In the end we went to Kelowna after Victoria because we couldn't think of any reason to go the States except to shop and we do not need more stuff. We were glad we did, we had a good visit with Mom and the Wensinks. Went to the BC Tree Fruits store and got some stuff to take home.
It is good to be back, even though our lodger has left us for a while. The spring bulbs I ordered (which seemed like a good idea in August) were here waiting for us. So I have been out planting them for two days. It had better be worth it in the spring.
We are going to Bonnyville for Thanksgiving.
Had a happy reunion with the boys and their parents. It appears they haven't forgotten us.

Friday, October 03, 2014

hot off the needles

When we were in England I bought some wool, I was not sure what to do with it. I just finished this lap blanket and I think it turned out well.

On to the next project.  I have booked my ticket to Kelowna and I am looking forward to my mini holiday. I have been working a couple of days a week at Encana. ,the bathroom is coming along, it is a long process but soon I can have a bath in my new tub.
we saw Henry and Ally last weekend. They are moving into their own place, it looks nice from the outside a one bedroom condo almost in sherwood Park. Hope they like it. 

Grand Opening

A picture of Courtney and Nicole on their Grand Opening day.  I stopped by for coffee, and a Saskatoon Tart, both were delicious.  The place was really busy, and as I left the Sparkle Tattoo lady had a lineup of kids wanting tattoos.  So good to see that people are coming out.

I leave tomorrow for Edmonton, and as I am thinking about packing realized I have to pack for two totally different climates, Edmonton in October/December and San Diego in November.    I have started to send notes to people to let them know I will be in Edmonton, so I can get some visiting in while I am there.  I feel a bit sad about going away for two months, gonna miss everyone in Rocky, but on the other hand part of moving to Rocky was to allow myself more time to travel.

Tim, Courtney and Grady came over for supper last night, and we had a good visit.  Grady was playing with Tim's phone, when a call came in on it, and Grady got really scared, I guess it is one thing when he makes it work, quite another when it works all by itself.

I have missed T&G while they have been on their road trip, and won't see them until I get back in December. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

RT Pt 3

Tofino is a wonderful place. I appreciated that we got to see a different side than most visitors: What it's like to live there, due to hanging around with Will who is quite involved with the community that lives there all the time. We were walking home after supper one night when a kid came shooting out of an alley on his bike, then stopped and said, "Hey, Rev." Everywhere we went Will seemed to know someone.
 There was a pancake breakfast at the Legion on Sunday before church. On Monday Will and I went to the movie night at the town office, where he was the ticket seller and when you buy popcorn for the movie you get it in a stainless steel bowl.
We went to the beach a couple of times and watched surfers. And we went whale watching and saw three grey whales, which was quite amazing. Will got to go for free because that is the deal for locals if there is room.
Drove to Victoria yesterday and are staying at this motel which looks on the outside like an old-school dump but is extremely clean and nice inside. Butchart Gardens today. We both loved being there. We are leaving tomorrow and have yet to decide if we are going to head right home via Kelowna or go back through the States. No reason really to go to the US except that we can. After talking to Grady this morning on FaceTime we kind of want to get home. We are not that great on decision making.