Sunday, 24 November 2013

Craft Night at the Beavis House

Yesterday I went to UBC, but there's no heating in Buchanan Tower (where the English Department is) on the weekend, so instead I went to the Irving K Barber Library for a good old-fashioned study sesh with the general student population.

When I was shopping for degree programs, what really attracted me to the UBC English Department were the excellent facilities. And by excellent, I mean private. We have a private reading room, a private computer lab, and a private kitchen and lounge. (If you're teaching, as I was for some terms past, you also get a private office.) They're old and brown and unfashionable, but they're all ours. So my foray to IKB Library yesterday was a bit of a shock.

Yes, the high ceilings and stain-glass-filtered sunlight were nice. And the wooden furniture looked very American Campus Chic. But it was confronting to have to study cheek-by-jowl with a zillion undergraduates. Words got written, and I got outta there. I'm debating whether to get myself some earplugs and go back next Saturday, or whether to just bring a blanket and a hot water bottle to Buchanan Tower and tough it out, like they did in Victorian times.

Today was the most lovely day. It was mild (ie. above zero) and sunny, and Matthew and I walked to Main Street to meet his friend Harry for Dim Sum. Afterwards, we went vintage shopping. Natch.

This one of the windows in Front and Company, one of the most beloved stores on Main St. Hovering above the cakes are fat little bumblebees. Too sweet.
We rolled back home at 4pm and Matthew got crafting with his lino cut set. Matthew is, as you know from previous posts, quite a crafter. Whether it's Warhammer sculpting, or cookie decorating, he likes to get all up in there with the paints and the tools. I'm more of a big-picture, end-product, conceptual-vision person myself. Detailed oriented I am not. So the division of labour so far has been Matthew lino-cutting, paint-rolling and pressing, and Zoe writing. The Canadian Wildlife Federation (which has been sending us useless stationery at regular intervals since Matthew donated in the spirit of Christmas giving this time last year) finally sent us something useable: pre-printed festive address labels.

We were ready to go.
Matthew designed a linocut of retro warhammer robot heads, to make prints, to photograph, to digitally crop, to make his new Seasonal Blog Header.

Here they are printed.

While all this was going on, here's me, actually writing you a Christmas card. No, but really, aren't they festive? :)
Christmas has come early to the Beavis household. Next week is The Great Cousin Cookie Exchange of 2013, and the week after that is the Putting Up of the Tree...

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Where did that weekend go?

This weekend was a busy one. Friday night kicked off with our friend Martina's birthday at Original Joe's. I had a veggie burger because I'm still trying to be a vegetarian. Everyone drank a well deserved beverage or two.

Yesterday (Saturday) Matthew and I finally got the sleep-in we were cruelly denied last weekend (when our work alarms went off two out of three long-weekend-mornings!!), and then I went to UBC and submitted another chapter. Woohoo. I was so proud of myself for hitting the "send" on my email attachment, that I promptly left the office and met my friend Mary-Anne for a hot chocolate and a Nanaimo bar... and didn't write any more for the rest of the day.

Last night we went out for Greek, which we have not had in forever. Not that good. However, it was nice to go out for dinner, as a concept. And none of those snow flurries which were forecast ever actually eventuated, so that's also a positive of the evening.

Today Matthew and I hauled out of our warm and cozy and relaxing and comfy bed and went for a long run around our neighbourhood. 8 miles!! It's our third longest run ever. At one point, the sun came out and streamed upon us, so that we squinted at its brightness. It was transcendent.

We then did super important and boring things mid-afternoon, when we went for an almond latte and a vegan brownie at Heirloom (where we ran into Martina and Stu again!).

Things I'm currently fretting about:

1. Tomorrow I have a day off work (yay!!) and I've packed it full with administrative appointments to change my name, get a new passport, get a BCID (because I don't have a Canadian driver's license), and have AAAALLLL my documents notarised. I'm also hitting campus for a couple of hours of study as well. Wish me luck.

2. Christmas. Holy what? It's so close! I'm worried about gifts, cards, baking, shopping, parties, over-eating, over-drinking, everything.

3. My next thesis chapter. I'm plum tuckered out. I have no idea what this one will hold.

4. The cold weather. I broke down and bought some leggings. I loathe leggings, for the following reasons:
a) they are unflattering in the booty region
b) they bunch at the knee when you bend
c) they don't have feet, so if you want your feet to be warm, you have to wear socks
d) they are black, but that faded cottony black which actually doesn't go very well with any of your truly black little black dresses.
However, I have shredded so many pairs of stockings lately, I don't actually deserve another pair until I can care for them like an adult (see also: crystal stemware, porcelain teacups).

Time marches on, doesn't it?

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Things I'm looking forward to

Matthew and I are having a glass of wine at the dining table. It hasn't been the longest of Saturdays, because we slept in until 9:30, but it has felt long, since I was at UBC for four hours writing the thesis.

Luckily, my friend and study-buddy Adrianna joined me for some writing time with her sweet puppy, Slavoj (after Slavoj Zizek, of course). As with most dogs, Slavoj didn't really care about me. We were joined by another colleague, Cam, who Slavoj was wayyy more excited about. However, I got to hold Slavoj on my lap from a couple of minutes. He was tiny and silky and ginger. I miss having a pet.

This weekend is the Remembrance Day long weekend. I am incredibly thankful for this coming Monday off, since I really could use the time to write.

Things I'm looking forward to:

1. Baking for Christmas. We bought a new heavy-duty knife a couple of months ago, and I'm ready to make some rock hard pan forte. Bulk fruit and nut aisle, here I come. There is a family cookie exchange and a work cookie exchange on the horizon, and I still have last year's Canadian Living holiday sweets book to experiment with.

2. Running longer again. After a couple of weeks of down-time from sickness and general decrepitude, I am ready to tackle distances beyond 10kms. I wish I had some cold-weather gym gear, but in the meantime, if I run fast enough I'll probably warm up. Right?

3. Going to London. Since we're not going bloody anywhere until we leave for London in February, I'm a little bit fixating on all things British. By which I mean tea and scones. We have managed to get very reasonable flights which will get us directly there and back, and also no early mornings or late nights in airports. Could not be easier; cannot wait.

4. Dinner with Matthew this evening at Siena, just off Granville Street. This is as close to a  'local' as we have. It's right around the corner from the Stanley Theatre, which means that it is reliably empty after 7:30pm. Matthew and I have spent many a romantic evening in this empty place, eating pasta and drinking wine and generally pretending it's our own livingroom.

5. Sleeping in without being interrupted by a bloody alarm. Last night, at exactly 10pm, I was so tired that I fell asleep without turning my alarm off. So this morning, Matthew and I were most rudely interrupted from our deep and carefree weekend slumbers at 6am. What. The. Heck. If I could kick myself, I would. I'm looking forward to being totally unconscious until at least 10am.

Okay, that's enough positive thinking for now. Have a lovely long weekend, all.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Double Brunch

This post should be entitled Triple Brunch, because that's how many brunches I actually had this weekend.

Yesterday was blustery: leaves were off trees, pavements cascaded with rain, feet got wet. (Aside: after 5 years, I finally took my boots in to be topy'd and waterproofed. I suck at responsible boot ownership, I know.) Matthew and I braved the three-block-walk to the travel agent and booked flights to London!! Blighty, here we come.

After which, Matthew and I were so faint and famished from the amount of money we had dropped, that we went for brunch at Heirloom, the local vegetarian restaurant with a sign outside which said "open wood fire in here". Sold.

We talked about our week just past, the future in general, our holiday in particular, and everything. It was nice to catch up.

In the evening, we drove over to Stu and Martina's house and we all went for Chinese dinner on Fraser St, with the promise of boutique ice cream afterwards. There's a new ice cream shop, Earnest Ice Cream, and M&S had raved about it. We were suitably impressed. Matthew had lavender flavour, M&S had candy bar flavour, and I had a highly-recommended whiskey hazelnut. The hazelnuts were large and plentiful.

...And that's the last ice cream of the season, folks, because last night we licked goodbye the last evening of Daylight Saving for another year. It's going to be a long dark four months until it kicks back in. Sadface.

This morning, with that extra hour, I had time to attend not one but two brunches on Main St. Much like last weekend, the sun was so gorgeous and perfect, we just had to walk there. Overnight there had been a decent snowfall on the local hills. Every block had a uniquely picturesque view.

My UBC friend Rachael (she's graduated already, bless her), was having a birthday at a tequila bar on Main St called El Camino's. It was pretty delish, all the eggs had a mexican theme. Rachael's birthday was a ladies-only affair, so I left Matthew in the Bean Around The World (with All The Toddlers, poor chap), and caught up on Life After MA.

Then I swept up Matthew and we met Cousin Carolyn (birthday girl), the Kings, and Gramma, at East is East. Brunch is very popular on Main St. We sat in the window and drank very spicy chai, and heard all the family gossip.

By 2pm, we were ready for afternoon tea. I'm not even kidding. So Aunty Lorraine gave us all a lift to Gramma's house, and we ate fruitcake in a sunbeam, and listened to the Emperor Concerto on the radio. It was totally splendid. In the middle of it, my mum phoned, and although I did not get a chance to talk to her, we did receive an update on the health of their terrier, Milly, who got in a Situation with an Eastern Brown Snake over the weekend. She lived to tell the tale! Wonderdog!

So now it's another Sunday evening, writing another blog, getting ready for another week at work. Except this week, I will be leaving home in the dark and also getting home in the dark. Farewell, Daylight Saving. I will miss you singularly and passionately, and I look fondly forward to your swift return.