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Matters of the Heart in Story Format – Tales of a Vancouver Girl

Luddy loves licks …and sleeves

During my San Fran trip, I got to meet another one of my online friends, Joy. She even brought her adorable corgi, Luddy.

Took a photo of Luddy by some lotus at Golden Gate Park.

Took a photo of Luddy by some lotus’ at Golden Gate Park.

Joy and I have been online friends for about a decade. That surprised me. It means I’ve been on the internet for way more than 10 years. Scary.

Luddy got to sit in my lap in the car as Joy drove us to Land’s End. Luddy loOooves to give puppy kisses. He kept licking my hands at random moments. When I hid my hand, he moved onto the sleeve of my sweater. Too adorable.

Land’s End was breathtaking.

Breathtaking Land's End

Breathtaking Land’s End. It was a bit overcast-y when I took this.

Then Joy drove us to Golden Gate Park where I snapped this cool shot from outside of the Japanese garden.

Taken from outside of the Japanese Garden

Taken from outside of the Japanese Garden

While at Golden Gate Park, I almost stepped on this little guy. Joy pointed him out to me.

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I’ve captured you with my camera, lil groundhog!

He was looking at us with his peripherals and kept popping his head in and out of the ground.

After the lovely nature walk, we headed into Chinatown where we found a Vegetarian Restaurant called Loving Hut. It was so good! I forgot to take photos of the food, but here is one of Chinatown at night.

Chinatown at night

Chinatown at night

It was really nice to meet Joy. We sat around dinner and talked about things we’ve read in each other’s old blogs. I think it was revealing. We learned much about ourselves as we did each other.

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Two Peas in an iBff Pod

I spent the past week in San Francisco (thus, the lack of posts). The next few posts will be about my lovely time in Fog City.

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Snapped a pic of the golden gate bridge. Not so foggy here!

One of the highlights of my trip was meeting up with my iBff, 6pence2life, who I have been chatting with for seven years. It’s more than just chatting. It’s…

  • reading each other’s blogs.
  • going shopping and texting each other photos of ourselves in an outfit from the change room.
  • leaving random hilarious comments for each other on Facebook.
  • sending each other care packages.
  • taking an interest and trying each other’s hobbies (i.e. knitting, running, cooking, etc.).

We were taking this online relationship into the “real” world by meeting. We met in San Francisco, and terrorized our wallets with Market Street and Japantown. You may be wondering what it’s like to finally meet someone in-person when you’ve only known them online. The best way to describe it is that it’s like making friends with someone that you’ve already made friends with. Nathan thought it was interesting to watch because he had never seen me so extroverted.

I have learned all about 6pence2life’s online ticks from our many years of chatting. From the way she types (and a million other factors), I can tell if something is bothering her even if all she has typed is, “Hey!”. However, I haven’t learned her physical ticks yet, as I’ve never hung out with her in-person. It’s like a movie script coming to life. That’s the best way that I can describe it.

6pence2life and I are very similar in our styles, mannerisms, and humour. We stopped by a  shoe store in hopes of finding a pair of shoes for Nathan. She and I would simultaneously point and suggest the same shoe for him.

When she and I converse, I would catch a look of marvel on Nathan’s face. I later learned that he was admiring our connection.

We are two peas in an iBff pod!

2 peas in an iBff pod

2 peas in an iBff pod

Hopefully we will meet again soon!

Firefly Pose: As ridiculous as wearing a faux fur coat while balancing a pizza box on your head

I know I’ve been blogging quite a bit about crafty things, but worry not, I am still running and doing yoga.

The last few yoga classes have been interesting. For the first time, we tried Firefly Pose. It looks like this:

firefly pose

Taken from Yoga Journal

It’s sanskrit name makes me laugh: Tittibhasana. There’s a dirty joke in there somewhere.

I was trying this pose, and kept falling on my butt. That is, until Sveena told me to use my core, and keep my shoulders above my arms. Well, that did the trick. I’d have to use my core and push my weight forward onto my hands.

I got my legs up although not straight like in the photo above. I’ve got tight hamstrings. My legs were out, but my big toes were touching. I’m sure I didn’t look ridiculous, but I certainly felt silly. I may as well have been wearing a faux-fur coat balancing a pizza box on my head. You start off in a squat, if you’re wondering how one even ends up in this pose.

I feel that it’s very easy to push yourself too far in yoga class. The point is to listen to the limits of your body. However, I apparently have the opposite problem. I think I have reached my limit (which isn’t my true limit). Sveena observes me in Warrior 1, and tells me to widen my stance. It goes something like this, “Widen your stance.” So I do. “More.” So I do some more. “More. You’re strong enough!” At which point, my feet are apart at practically the length of my mat. She wasn’t wrong though. I think I just feel I’ve hit my limit because my hips, quads, and hammies are tight from running.

Warrior 1

Warrior 1. Photo from Yoga Journal

I went out for a 5.5 km run earlier this week and was sending good vibes to the runners in Boston. I was running hills, and it was a bit brutal.

I almost took an extra walk break because I saw a cat that I’ve petted before. It’s a friendly fluffy grey cat. However, in the past when I have stopped to pet it, I would get up after 3 seconds and say, “I have to run again now” and it would look somewhat confused and disappointed. I saved us both the heartache this time around.

I felt like I was super slow during my run, but apparently, my fastest kilometre was 6’07”, which isn’t bad, I suppose. On my cool down (which was walking up a hill, go figure), I snapped a shot of some tulips I saw.

Pretty tulips!

Pretty tulips!

I love how they planted so many different colours next to each other!

Sewing Adventures: My iron committed suicide

I own a vintage sewing machine that I scored for free from Craigslist a few years ago. When I got it, it was covered in grime, and was missing its motor. When I finally got a motor for it, I didn’t really use it other than for hemming curtains and sewing random stuffed bunnies. You know, practical things.

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Oh lopsided stuffed bunnies. You are in party mode!

The machine is a beauty! All metal construction, baby-blue and cream in color, and not a dent.

After I cleaned my vintage sewing machine

After I cleaned my vintage sewing machine

Here’s a video I took of it sewing: Vintage Brother Model 280

Well, I finally took that machine out this weekend and made myself a polka-dot single-pleat skirt. I got the tutorial from here (although I can’t say I followed it that closely). I got the fabric from Dressew downtown for $9.99 a yard. I only needed a yard although I bought two.

I sent the following photo over to show 6pence2life, and my ibff of 7 years says to me, “I didn’t know you could sew!” Well, crap, neither did I!

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Teegan took this photo of me wearing my polka dot single-pleat skirt.

Actually, my mum came over on the weekend and she talked me through the fabric cutting part and we talked at length the order in which I would sew the pieces. My mum is a very experienced seamstress (for hobby). She can draft patterns, and can whip out high quality dresses, skirts and even coats. This woman is also a skilled crocheter and knitter. I learned how to crochet and knit from books, but she corrected the way in which I hold my hook/needles and yarn. This explains why I never get hand cramps, have even tension, and can get a projects done in record time.

While putting together the skirt, my iron died. No joke. It committed suicide and nor I or Nathan can get it to turn on. I think the iron was about 7 years old. What baffles me is that my sewing machine is probably 40+ years old, and it hasn’t even thought of failing on me. Anyhow, because my iron died on me, I couldn’t really prepare my hems properly so I basted (more than once) before putting my fabric through the machine.

This made me think about how I could get a vintage iron. Or perhaps, I should heat up cookie sheets and rub it against the fabric. Desperate time calls for desperate measures.

Side view

Side view

Unlike the tutorial, I sewed up the sides first using french hems, and the elastic goes around in the casing at the top. The reason is because, if the elastic ever wears out, I can easily change it and don’t have to take apart the whole skirt. I also added a blind hem at the bottom by hand (although my machine has a blind hem option).

I’ve fallen in love again with my vintage sewing machine. I’m itching to sew more things!

Take a chance: Put that toilet paper roll in backwards

I was in a three-day managerial course this past week and one of the bigger lessons was that every person has a threshold of what they consider to be an acceptable level of risk. My instructor recommends increasing our risk tolerance via baby steps. If we make a intentional choice to take a chance on something in life, it’ll make us a little more bold and vulnerable (in a good way). Don’t be afraid to fail. Clearly, don’t do anything that would harm yourself.

Change it up. Change my route home.

Change it up. Changed my route home and snapped this lovely pic.

Well, I can identify with this lesson. I am the type of person that will rip apart inches and inches of knitting just because I’ve twisted a stitch. Nathan has left the house with me quietly knitting on the couch, only to return to me with unravelled work in my laps and an explosion of ramen-like yarn all over the living room.

When I was knitting Nathan a sweater a few years back, he and I decided that I should put in an intentional mistake in the sweater. It made me crazy knowing that an intentional mistake was there, but you know what? I have no idea where it is now.

So go out there and increase your risk tolerance. Put your toilet paper roll in backwards, change your route home, buy a coffee for the next person in line…who knows what it may bring. Meditate on that.

Core: As challenging as walking and eating a burrito

I was sweating all over the place in my Flow yoga class this morning. I woke up at at 20 minutes before class was supposed to start, and almost gave up on going. Nathan said he would drive me though. So NICE! I was still groggy  when I rolled into class with my bed head. My meditation felt good though since I was rushing and anxious. I do not recommend rushing to a yoga class. It made me feel uneasy and almost neurotic.

I think my body was pretty tired this class as I threw in running, swimming, and another yoga class earlier this week. Both yoga classes were focused on core, but I don’t mean core-specific poses. It was more like, Warrior 1? Where’s your core? Warrior 2? Where’s your core? Handstand? Where’s your core? You get the picture.

I don’t think I really knew what someone meant when they said, “Engage your core!” I do now though. It’s like your core is in Angry Cat in all your poses, but you have to keep your shoulders open and relaxed. I find it’s as challenging as walking and eating a burrito at the same time. Salsa ALL over the place.

This is angry cat pose

This is angry cat pose

What’s funny is that I feel like my body is curving in like a C…but it’s not actually the case, I’m just so used to having my body curve the other way where open shoulders is my priority, and core is secondary.

My hamstrings are tight, I think from the running + swimming. When we did our shoulder stand and moved into plow pose, I could feel my hammies pulling more than I’m used to.

This is plow pose. Does it look like a plow to you?

This is plow pose. Does it look like a plow to you?

When I left the studio, I walked by this quaint little courtyard that looks like it needs some Summer or something.

Quaint little courtyard

Quaint little courtyard…but it looks like it needs some Summer or something.

Soon enough, little courtyard! Stay in the moment. Namaste!

Like a hen revolting

I finished knitting my Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater during the last Stitch ‘n Bitch! My sweater held my fellow stitchers hostage until I seamed up the sleeves (I crocheted the seam) and weaved in the ends. Basically, the stitchers starved with me (living off vending machine food) or fended off a husband until I was 100% finished. We were on the brink of madness.

If you don’t know who Elizabeth Zimmerman was, she was essentially a knitting guru who always had an awesome tips about sweater proportions, construction, and more. This particular sweater is called the Hand-to-Hand sweater.

Wearing it proud!

Wearing it proud! This is the back of the sweater…if you can’t tell.

If you’ve never knitted from an Elizabeth Zimmerman “pattern”, what you should know is that it isn’t your typical pattern. She speaks more of general construction of sweaters, and she might give you stitch patterns, but she basically lets you figure out specific techniques. It’s akin to someone telling you how a bridge is constructed but it’d be your job as an engineer to figure out the appropriate materials, techniques for creation, etc.

fisherman's front

Front of the sweater!

I actually have the “pattern” to this sweater in one of my Elizabeth Zimmerman books. It is only two or three pages in large font. I think I read those paragraphs for 4 hours over the span of a few days before even starting because I am paranoid about failure.

I was like a proud little hen walking around in my sweater. I was like a hen that has somehow taken over reign of the yard by wrestling the rooster to the ground and revolting. I basically feel as though I stuck it to the man in some way.

It was a wet spring day in Vancouver today and this sweater was all I wore. I mean, I wore pants and all, but I didn’t wear a jacket. I’m really glad it’s made of Fisherman’s Wool. It’s slightly water repellant, and I know it to be wet-dry-warm.

I am clucking over here.

That duck’s gonna pop some tags

I took Easter Monday off from work and decided to hang with Mother Nature. She’s been complaining that we do not spend quality time together. She’s been waking me up by putting the sun in my eyes, flaunting her fantastic weather and not caring if I notice (but really hoping I notice)…actually, I think Mother Nature might be a cat.

I headed out for a morning run. It was HOT out and I nearly melted because I was running hills. When I say “running”, I mean, “sluggishly putting one lead leg in front of the other and knowing that an ant is probably beating me.”

I spotted plenty of cherry blossoms on my “run” and the trees are starting to look like they have been frosted with pink icing.

Frosting on tree-shaped cupcakes

Frosting on tree-shaped cupcakes

Are you sick of hearing about these cherry blossoms? Well, gotta warn you, they will likely last for 2 more weeks. So hold your breath until then, and then make a wish.

I also ran by this house which I think is amazing.

EASTER!

EASTER!

During the last leg of my run, I ran into some squirrels playing. They were chasing each other across the street and back again. I actually laughed aloud. Probably looked like a crazy person since I was sweaty, dishevelled and laughing to myself. I ran into the house to get walnuts, but they were gone when I got back outside. I kept the nuts in my pants (ha ha – I’m immature) but I never did run into them again.

Come back! I have nuts to give. No, not that kind.

Come back! I have nuts to give. No, not that kind.

After lunch, Nathan and I loaded up the car with our lawn chairs and headed to a park by the river. He took a nap in the sun while I knitted. The ducks were floating by. One of them was quacking loudly and yelling at its posse. I could be wrong, and it could just be floating by and singing Mackelmore’s Thrift Shop. It’s gonna pop some tags. I am having a heck of a time getting that song out of my head.

knitting by the river

Take me to the river, drop me in the water…well, actually, don’t. Wet clothes are not comfortable.

Also stopped by my father-in-law’s house. Look at the size of the flowers on this plant.

Amazing blossoms

Amazing blossoms

The man has a green thumb.

The Glory of Spring with Taco’s and Woodward’s

At lunch on Thursday, Mofia and I went for a walk in lovely Gastown and passed by the old Woodward’s building. This old building holds many memories for me. Three generations of my family had been going to Woodward’s until it closed its door in 1993.

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Snapped a shot of Woodward’s in the glory of Spring

Christmas at Woodward’s was a big deal. Its windows were decorated with automated bears, reindeer, elves, Santa and more. On the floor with the toys and children’s wear is where you could visit Santa and tell him what you wanted for Christmas. I don’t remember what I’ve asked for, but I do remember getting my grape-flavored lollipop.

There are still bits and pieces of Woodward’s floating around. My mom has yarn in her stash that she’s bought from Woodward’s. Those are some old skeins. Maybe when I see her next, I’ll give those skeins a big whiff and take a trip down memory lane.

After our little walk, Mofia and I sat ourselves down underneath a cherry blossom tree, basked in the glory of Spring, and ate taco’s.

Basking in the sun underneath cherry blossoms

Basking in the sun underneath cherry blossom

House Elephants are only allowed to Play on the Carpet

Nathan meditates in the morning, so typically, while he’s going to his Zen place, I am in my pre-work frantic mode. I am running around the house like a mad woman looking for my keys or some other much-needed-item…like the nacho chip I found shaped like Jesus. Hey, it’s good for work show-and-tell.

Sometimes I am doing a marathon between two floors, and there is no carpeting in our place. As you can imagine, there is a lot of thumping about.

This morning, Nathan lamented from the meditation room, “Are there ELEPHANTS in the HOUSE?!”

Next thing Nathan saw was this…

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Wood elephants on parade

A little wooden elephant squeezing its way into the meditation room, “I was just playing. Brrrraaaaarrrr (<- elephant noise).” To which Nathan replied, “Well, go play on the carpet (i.e. rug)!”

Yeah, that made me a little late for work.

**Little wooden elephant was a gift from Teegan. It’s from an Antique Shop in Delaware.

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