Fiona

One of the things I hated growing up, is parting with friends. It was in elementary school when I first realized that not everyone lives exactly at their current address forever. It sucked. Even as an adult, I always feel like the wind gets knocked out of me when a friend moves away.

Just over 10 years ago, I met this biker chic when she broke her bike’s shift lever. We became friends because we went on a 5-day motorcycle trip together. We spent the next few summers doing rides in and out of town, or sometimes just up and down Cypress making stupid videos. Over the next 10 years, sometimes she lived in town, and sometimes she didn’t. Sometimes we saw each other all the time, and sometimes we didn’t. She helped me paint our house when we moved, and I helped her pick up new furniture when she moved. Josh and Savanna are in love with her because she’s so much fun and builds Lego with them. She’s one of the coolest and smartest people I know. Now she’s moving away to a tropical paradise for a new job. While I’m super happy for her for getting one step closer to her dreams, I am feeling a little sorry for myself.

Fi, bon voyage. I’m gonna miss you like crazy. Riding and snowboarding without you will never be the same.

2005 California trip.

2005 California trip.

Check out this vid:

Fiona out of oil

In 2005, Fiona helped me paint our house. The roller handle broke and she almost face-planted right into fresh paint.

In 2005, Fiona helped me paint our house. The roller handle broke and she almost face-planted right into fresh paint.

2006 snowboarding at Mt Baker.

2006 snowboarding at Mt Baker.

Josh loves to play with Fiona.

Josh loves to play with Fiona.

Savanna snuggles up with Fiona in Whistler.

Savanna snuggles up with Fiona in Whistler.

Savanna playing with Fiona.

Savanna playing with Fiona.

2014 San Francisco bike trip.

2014 San Francisco bike trip.

2014 Diablo Dam

2014 Diablo Dam

2014 San Fran bike trip.

2014 San Fran bike trip.

2014 snowboarding at Whistler.

2015 snowboarding at Whistler.

2014 snowboarding in Whistler.

2015 snowboarding in Whistler.

Last, but not least--the same spot, same great friend, and same immaturity--10 years apart.

Last, but not least–the same spot, same great friend, and same immaturity–10 years apart.

My favorite place

If I have to name my favorite places in the world, Cannon Beach would be one of the top 3. Cliff and I used to go there at least once a year to relax, and my mind is filled with memories of Sammy running up and down the level beach and sniffing everything. The last time we went was our babymoon, while I was 35 weeks pregnant with Joshua.

It is quite a long drive from Vancouver, which prevented us from taking that trip again while Josh and Savanna were little. This year, we feel that it’s about time to take them on a road trip, and see how they do with all the travel training they’ve had so far. As it turns out, they did so much better than I expected, and I am ecstatic (and planning more trips)!

We rented a little cottage a block away from the beach. Every morning we would go to the beach after breakfast. We would make sand castles, dip our toes in the cold ocean, fly kites, and throw our beach balls around. We would then go back to the cottage for lunch, or walk to the town for pizza, then back to the beach again to tire ourselves out.

We had a little farewell ceremony for Sammy, because I think that Cannon Beach is probably his favorite place as well. Cliff and I had a good cry. We just miss our pup so much.

I can’t wait to go back.

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Blue Sailors

We were down in Oregon for our family vacation a couple of weeks ago, and one of the coolest things we saw were the blue sailors. Their proper name is velella velella.

They look like some sort of jelly fish, but they are actually a free-floating hydrozoan that lives on the surface of the ocean. The little sail catches the wind and gets blown all over the ocean. When the winds are strong, they get blown and stranded on the beach, where they die and give of the smell of dead fish.

I was fascinated by these things, as they were just stunning to look at. Savanna stepped on one and it was stuck to her foot, and she didn’t like that. After that incident, every time she approached one, she jumped over it. It became a little game we played.

blue sailors

After sitting in the sun for a few days, they become transparent.

After sitting in the sun for a few days, they become transparent.

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Cannon Beach had stretches covered by stranded blue sailors.

Cannon Beach had stretches covered by stranded blue sailors.

I am rich

Today, I turned 28 (for the 11th time). Har har.

When I look at my life today, I have nothing but gratitude for everything I’ve been blessed with. I’m married to the love of my life, we have a pair of healthy kids, I have family and friends who would do anything for me, I live in a gorgeous city, and have a great career and a business. My bucket is so full that it is over-flowing.

I don’t mind getting old. I feel like I’ve finally gotten old enough and comfortable enough in my own skin to own up to who I really am. I no longer try hard to impress or please others.

Today, I feel so rich.

Cliff made my fav--chirashi don.

Cliff made my fav–chirashi don.

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After dinner, we hung out at the beach.

After dinner, we hung out at the beach.

Savanna picked out this iPod Shuffle for my birthday present. I love it!

Savanna picked out this iPod Shuffle for my birthday present. I love it!

Rustic no-knead bread

Lately I have been on the hunt for a good bread recipe. It has to have simple ingredients I can easily buy, and it cannot be time consuming. I think I have found THE ONE.

In terms of ingredients, it can’t get any easier than flour, salt, yeast, and water. Prep time is 5 minutes, if that. No kneading! Then you let it sit for 12-18 hours, and bake. It’s so good that I baked 8 loaves in 10 days.

You do need a cast iron pot with a lid. I used my 5Q Le Creuset dutch oven for this, and it’s perfect.

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3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F with the cast iron pot in the oven.
Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
Tonight I tried adding shredded oka cheese in the dough, and it turned out divine. I think you can add shredded cheese (whatever you have left over), likely some chives or green onion, or other chopped fresh herbs.
This is so simple that there’s no excuse to not make it. Caution: This thing is very dangerous while it is still warm. I cannot stop at just one slice.

I’m alive

That was a record. I didn’t blog for a whole month.

It wasn’t intentional, of course. I mainly blame the lack of time on work. Mid-January to late March is traditionally the busiest time for me at work. This year is no exception.

In the past month, other than work being crazy, I also started walking to work everyday. Well, let me back up a little bit. I got into a competition with a girl at work with our step counters. She is a fierce competitor. To have a chance to win at all, I decided to give up driving and just walk to/from work everyday. Luckily I am only 4.5 kilometres from work, so each way is only about a 45-minute walk. Just walking to/from work gets me at least 13,000 steps a day, exceeding my goal of 10,000 steps a day. Then sometimes I also go for a jog after the kids go to bed. Thanks to the competition, I’ve lost 8 pounds in 6 weeks so far.

In the little spare time between work, walking, and sleeping, I try to spend it all with the kids. While the amazing cherry blossoms were still out in March, I set up the tripod and remote for a few family photos.

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The kids are growing like weeds. Josh has been peddling around the neighbourhood with his bike (with training wheels), and he is all set for kindergarten in September. Savanna is a champ at using the toilet, and she will be going to preschool in September.

I have tried out a couple of new recipes in the last little while. I’ll try and find time to share them here in the next few days.

 

Sherry

It’s always an awesome problem when I open up a set of photos to edit and find too many good ones. That’s what happened with Sherry’s photos. I think I’ll be editing for quite a while.

While I’ve known Sherry for many years in her professional career as the friendly, helpful, and cheerful type, I never knew she has this hidden sultry side. She rocked her session and we had a blast.

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