Sunday, 30 December 2012

out and about, stuffer and travelers

1 It's time to get outside and do a bit of hiking. The park looked much bigger on the map but it's really a small little bit of land with lots of interwoven trails. Perfect for a quick dog walk or to get the feeling of nature in the city.

2 Stuffing his face with grapes he smiles this silly smile and pretends his mouth isn't full! He lifts an eyebrow in a question and I smile back. 

3 They make it to Hangzhou after many many hours of traveling and still take the time to send us voice messages to let us know they have arrived safely. She's factual and straightforward and probably extremely tired. He uses a Darth Vader voice and says, 'Hello Mother, I'm home." 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

dec 24 - 29 and we're home!

1 It's the night before Christmas eve and we have changed our alarms so we can be up nice and early for the ferry. After all it is Christmas eve and ferry traffic could be heavy. But as luck would have it, his clock was never reset after the power outage and mine, well let's just say the time was right but the alarm button didn't quite get selected. So we are late risers but oh so grateful for the couple of hours of extra sleep.

2 There is a warning sign on the freeway letting people know there may be dense fog sections on the road we are traveling on. I thought I knew what that was until we actually drove into a wall of fog.  It's so thick there is zero visibility and we slow to a crawl. The car in front of us has obviously been in this type of fog before because he put on his hazards and slowly kept moving and we followed. Just an aside: We had been politely snacking on potato chips but as we moved behind the fellow and were deep into the fog, suddenly we were stuffing it into our mouths like popcorn while watching a scary movie!!

3 We are treated to a family dinner of Classy Chicken and Caesar salad when we arrive. After dinner, it's apple and pumpkin pies. Good to break bread with our loved ones. So grateful they waited for us.

4 Christmas morning and we wake in a hotel. It's a first for me and it was kinda fun. The kind of moment when you realize, a holiday vacation might be really fun one of these years. 

5 Present opening is wild, fast and the little ones are overwhelmed. Kes stays with his momma but Izzy comes to me and we find a spot and play tea while the others make chaos. Grandpa is the picture taker today.

6 We take Nick, Sara and Izzy to the school hill for some sledding. I had planned to be an observer in the car but before I knew it there I was sledding with Izzy and pulling her in her sled all over the hill. As soon as the sled went down the steep parts she would let go and just barely hold onto my legs and scream with wild abandon. It was so much fun!

7 What's a Christmas day without fun in the pool and water slide. Well, that's what we did next. So fun to play with my little fishie! She swam to each of us and wouldn't come out until we saw blue lips... then it was a warm up in the hot tub and up to the room for some quick cuddles and chocolate.

8 Christmas dinner is a turkey extravaganza. They put a lot of effort into the whole meal, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, potato salad, gravy, and veggies. Delish! Thanks to Chris and Michie for the amazing dinner, and for hosting such a wonderful Christmas for us all. 

9 Izzy is very interested in Grandpa. She is constantly saying, hi Grandpa, Grandpa, what's going on Grandpa and he loves it. She helps him at his truck and wants to spend lots of time with him.

10 It's a relatively early morning and we are on the road by 11. It's a four hour drive but with snowy roads lasts a bit longer. We make lots of stops, eat lots of junk food and take turns napping along the way.

11 A visit with my sister and brother is perfect for this holiday. Nick and Sara are with us too and we have another present opening, dinner and this time we play hearts. Sara is just learning it but just like the adage goes, first time lucky and wow she's caught on darn quick. She and Nick win.

12 We visit Nelson and our good friends there. They put on an amazing dinner and we have the best of visits. Short but so very glad we had the opportunity to see them. Some people will always be in our lives.

13 Our ride back to the coast is fun fun fun. Sara gets her picture taken on the summit, jumping off of a snow bank, we have a snowball fight in the restaurant parking lot and we all nap except our driver thankfully! Russ did a great job of getting us through the mountain pass safely.

14 We meet our niece for dinner at the hotel in Vancouver. She is busy with her life and work and yet makes time for us. Grateful for family.

14a Heights are something that have been difficult for me in the past. It's been a goal to try to desensitize from the fear and so this is the time. Hotel one and our room is on the fourth floor and it feels surprisingly comfortable.  Hotel two and we are on the eighth floor. It has floor to ceiling windows and it's good too! On the ferry I look over the side of the boat...we are on the highest level and it's good. hmmm Feeling good about this success! 

15 Well, it's their last night in Canada so they want to play the board game Monopoly. Everyone is doing relatively well, but soon Nick is going bankrupt and he gets hilariously dramatic. He pulls out his imaginary violin, begins playing and says he's busking and passes around the box for donations. It felt so good to laugh that much and that hard.

16  Nick says to Russ, "I call you Russ but I always think of you as my dad" 

17 At the airport it's time for goodbyes. We take a few photos, hug and it's so hard to let go, knowing it will be another year before we see them again. I hold back the tears because I want it to be a happy moment. As they walk toward the gate Sara let's me know he is crying. He is tender sweet man. She's  a sweet girl. We can see them on the other side going through the metal detector and getting organized. We wave and wave and wave until they must walk down the hallway towards their gate. One last wave and they are out of sight. Time for us to leave. My tears come later. Grateful for the visit and blessed to have such a wonderful family. 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

the run, rims and dinner

1 We begin our day with what we think will be a quick 30 minute run but it turns out we meet a neighbour who's out for a run too and soon we are on a trail far from where we expected to end up. With wet feet and snow flurries mixed with rain coming down on us we decide it's time to head for home. We say good bye to the neighbour but less than five minutes later we hear him calling for us to wait for him. When he catches his breath he tells us he's called his lovely wife for a ride because he's too darn cold and wet to keep going. As soon as the car arrives we all pile into the car and zip home. Something to be grateful for, for sure.

2 He gets the rims he's been eyeing up online and gets them for a steal too. 

3 Pizza and chicken for dinner with enough leftovers to take with us on our trip to the interior tomorrow. Sometimes those are the best leftovers aren't they?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

twos, housing and winners

1 He goes to to see his trainer and I go for a run. Both are great ways to start a Saturday except that he is dry when he gets home and I am soaked to the skin. The rain changed to snow partway through the run so my attire was a lovely white colour instead of black.

2 The kitty has an official house now. He's created one out of Styrofoam panels and lined it with a soft cushion and a warm wool blanket, both of which she had in her old bed. We put some treats in it for her but so far she only goes in to get them and scoots right back out. Hopefully tonight she will enjoy her new digs.

3 A late lunch at an ocean side resort means we get a double win. First the menu is amazing and second our friend is the chef there. The three of us take time to eat, visit and catch up on all the wonderful things going on with them. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

long day, his turn and Emma Fillipoff

1 That was a very long and trying work day. It's a good thing there is someone to check the work that's been done. When you don't work so often it is a real challenge to do things quickly and when software is flaky the challenge escalates. Still I am grateful for the work when it's available.

2 Tonight it was his turn to make dinner. Chipolte burgers with tossed green salad with feta cheese. Later he brings me tea. It was nice to be waited on.

3 Emma Fillipoff is still missing. Still we never give up hope she will be found safe and sound. Here's a clip from a recent radio broadcast with Emma's mom.

To Emma: "Emma, if you're reading this, please just let someone know you're safe."

Thursday, 20 December 2012

luncheon, no stranger and i like this kind of normal

1 It was the perfect day to have lunch with a friend. We have soups and share a sandwich, exchange Christmas gifts and she even gave me a lovely scarf for my birthday. We have lots of things to chat about and decide that next time it will be a visit on her day off so we can stay longer.

2 Kosha has made herself right at home on his desk. She stretches out full length in front of his monitor and her chin hangs off the edge of the desk.

3 The house is back to normal. The guest room linens are sorted, washed and put away, the wrapping paper, tissues and bows returned to their respective drawers and the Christmas tree has been given some fresh water. We lounge in front of the fire chatting and snacking on ice cream covered with blackberries and strawberries while we watch the Christmas tree lights twinkle and sparkle as the ceiling fan brushes air softly on the branches.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dec 16 -19 What a wonderful visit...xo

1 She's enamoured by the Christmas season. The lights and busyness is something that she is enjoying very much. She takes it all in and is constantly asking what things are or why and wanting to see it all.

2 She opens all my big Rubbermaid boxes and puts Christmas all over the house. It's rather amazing to watch her childlike excitement. Soon we have garlands over the door, pictures on the walls and lots of candles everywhere.

3 Our cat is officially spoiled!! Nick and Sara have lots of fun feeding her treats, wet food and more treats. Is it any wonder when she comes inside in the morning that she heads right for their room? 

4 We watch two movies. Skyfall which is the new James Bond movie and we are disappointed in it and Inside Man with Denzel Washington which was thoroughly enjoyable. 

5 She makes us an authentic Chinese dinner. Sweet and sour pork, stuffed peppers and prawns in garlic/soy sauce accompanied by a giant pot of rice. Excellent. Note to self: take notes.

6 The snow comes in like a lion and we are soon in a winter storm. The power goes out in our town and we are soon lighting candles and finding flashlights.

7 What do we do when is snows on an island in the Pacific? Hot tub of course and soon the two kids are challenging each other to make snow angels in the snow.

8 We don't find any board games but we did find lots of his boxes of things from when he lived at home. He has a lot of fun finding clothes, books, stuffies and computer games and music. He smiles from ear to ear when he finds the special ones.

9 Boy do they love to shop! They gather items that are difficult to find in China and soon the third and extra suitcase they've brought is full to the brim and they are taking the heavier things out. We get full refunds on it all and no extra fees will be charged at the airport for overweight baggage.

10 Nick and Sara are headed to the interior this morning but a winter storm has delayed seaplanes, ferries and flights from the island to the mainland. They finally go through security but  then spend another couple of hours waiting. Eventually, we hear from them and they are in Vancouver but now trying to make alternate plans to get them to their destination. 

11 She says they are in the 'customer shit on you line' at the airport. Too funny! They finally get on a plane at 8pm and are headed to see family in the interior. Yay for babies and brothers and sister in laws!

12 The truck now has a new white canopy, winter tires and new rims. Merry Christmas to the Mr.  Men really do love their trucks don't they?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

a little catching up to do dec 13, 14, 15

1 A trip to the airport yields us a wayward electrician. He is weary but his tired lines fade as he sees Nick and Sara. There are big hugs all around followed by lots of chatter, a good meal that culminates in naps for the three of them. 

2 The sushi restaurant brings him the biggest bowl of miso we've ever seen. It's hot steamy and full of goodness for his tender tummy.

3 The two of them spend ages in the hot tub talking about what's been going on with them both. There's a lot of catching up to do after a year and a half.

4 We tackle Costco and they are like kids in a candy store. They like to take enough of the harder to find things back to China with them. It appear they just might need to buy another duffel bag for all the treasures.

5 Our Christmas tree came from the woods this year. It seemed like a good idea to go out and do the real deal for Sara. She's never seen Christmas so it's all new to her. The tree they pick out is just the perfect size and shape. She even gets the honor of carrying it out of the can judge for yourselves how big the tree was if a wisp of a girl can carry it and lift it up shoulder height!

6 I had just gotten a pedicure so my toes/feet were in flip flops from the salon, so Nick carries me across the muddy road to check out the trees. They find one but I suggest they look further, so off they go but I can't follow. Good lord my feet are warm and now my flip flops are frozen to the ground. When I lift my foot they break and suddenly I am stranded to that very spot! Lucky for me Nick lifts me up and carries me back to the truck and deposits me right into the front seat. What an adventure!

7 There are horse pulled trolley rides through the center of the old part of town. It's  fund raiser and we thoroughly enjoy it, especially when the horses decided to make a run for it.

8 The two of them have decorated the tree for us. Lights, lights and balls of all kinds. The special touch is a red velvet garland my mom and dad purchase for my very first Christmas.

9 What a wonderful family I am blessed to be a part of. I love you all. Thank you for making this day special in every way. And to my beloved husband~ best love.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

home, hugging and masks

1 He sends a text message that asks, 'has the eagle landed?' Yes the kids have arrived from China. The trip was long and they are happy, fed and now in bed sleeping. I should do that too.

2 Oh but it feels so wonderful to hug him. 

3 Sara and I spend some time on our own because Nick is too sleepy so we have a hot tub and then do a Chinese facial. It's a moisturizing mask that is an actual paper cutout and feels cooling and soothing. I will let you know if a miracle happened and I look ten years younger tomorrow. So fun whatever the outcome!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

busy, grumpy for good reason and sharing

1 Today is a busy busy day. Lots of little things to take care of and prepare for. The house is smelling like peanut butter bars, fire is roaring and it's a night of present wrapping.

2 He is a bit grumpy but when he says it's because he just wants to come home how could I not feel for him.

3 The neighbours are using my gardener as well. Seems like he's gotten a few of us on his list and we are thankful, oh so thankful for Rudy. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

wednesday, thursday and get into it

1 It's Monday night. Wednesday N & S will arrive from China. Their room is ready, bed made, towels put out, little candies on the pillow. 

2 Thursday Russ is home, this time for three wonderful weeks. We have a little bit of everything lined up. Time at home with the kids, time with all of us at Christmas, time with my brother, sister and best friend in the interior, and time together, just the two of us.

3 It's time to get this house decorated, tree trimmed, baking baked and songs sung. Yup, time for the spirit of Christmas to invade us all. S has never experienced Christmas...this will be so much fun to share with her. Note to self: take lots of photos.

You won't see many photos here due to Google photo limitations. If anyone has an free alternative please let me know. I think it might be time for Flickr or Tumblr. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

wrapper, big boy and lights

1 This year there is time for fancy wrapping of Christmas gifts. I love finding the perfect wrapping paper, ribbons and bows and adding my own special touches. 

2 Kes's birthday is December 12. He is turning one. He is a love bug and we are missing his big day but sending lots of love his way and a giraffe pillow for his sweet cheeks to rest when he's napping. 

3 I wonder what he will think of my unique way of putting up the Christmas lights on the back patio. It's dry and under cover so I use clear packing tape and darned if it didn't work! They're up and twinkling~ 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

cleaned, over and already all ready

1 The house is getting a cleaning makeover! Isn't it great how we can find the energy and enthusiasm to get these tasks done when company is coming?

2 Adventures at the Dollar Store. Actually it's the $1.25 Store but seriously. The woman in front of me in the check out line decided to have a hissy fit over her items today. It was rather shocking in its intensity and how it was directed to the cashier but he was the perfect gentleman, kept his cool, never raised his voice and it was over sooner than anyone expected. 

3 My Christmas shopping has been done for quite some time and it is great to not have the stress and pressure this year. It's not about presents it's about the people we love and being with them.  On that note, time to get back to my baking....

Friday, 7 December 2012

faces, advertising and in the sleep zone

1 Tonight despite the circumstances we had a chance to reconnect. People from the past joining forces to support each other and look for ideas and solutions.

2 After a long day of photocopying and being on my feet it's time to go home. For some strange reason this old commercial pops into my head. "Calgon take me away." 

3 The reclining, heated lazy boy chair and fuzzy throw conspire against me and soon I feel myself nodding off. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

pruners, barkers and sleeper

1 The rest of the trees are pruned and waiting for the gardener to come clean up the mess. It's nice to know he'll be here to get the branches and blow off all the pine needles yet again. Winter storms seem to bring batches of pine needles.

2 The dogs bark and yowl when I run past. One little one races back and forth along his fence. Eventually he tuckers himself out and when I look back he's already forgotten me and is rolling around on the grass, on his back!

3 My body has a sleepy heavy feeling after soaking in hot healing water. Trying to stay awake is fruitless.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

laughter is the best medicine, laptop and I washed that gray right out of my hair

1 A catch up phone call with a friend lasts much longer than anticipated. We did however talk about everything and anything and she got to do a little venting on the side.  It's all good when us girls stick together and in the end we laughed til our sides hurt.

2 My laptop recently died a slow and painful death. Because I'm not working as much and didn't get the job it just didn't seem right to spend money on a new one so I told him I'd use the big PC. Meantime he'd gotten a second hand laptop (e series Sony VAIO) for himself from a fellow at camp and was pretty happy about switching from him little compact laptop. The little compact didn't work for me because the screen was just too small. Imagine my surprise when out of the blue he says the new laptop was for me! What a great guy! Thanks hon xo

3 A trip to the salon and the grays are history. Highlights and low lights and a nice trim and it's good for 4-6 months before the next colouring is required. Trims yes, colouring (the expensive part) no.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

he did it, busy place and we are family

1 I don't know quite how he did it all but the Mr managed to get everything done on his list this week. We seemed to find so many other things to do but he did it.

2 The airport terminal is busy and there are a lot of flyers today. He decided to go in early and get the check in over with so he can relax before his flight. He looks over his shoulder, sees me still there, gives a smile with a big wave and off he goes.

3 Emma is still missing in Victoria. Just seems to have disappeared into thin air. People are putting up posters all over the city and now we're putting some up island in some of the smaller towns. Please help our family find, Emma Fillipoff. 

Missing since the evening of Wednesday, November 28th
Emma Fillipoff - 26 year old woman, five-feet-five, slim build with
long brown-blond hair
Please contact Victoria Police at  250-995-7654 if you have any information.

Monday, 3 December 2012

lunch, phase one and noam

1 Lunch on Gabriola. Coconut curry soup and bun for me, and a corn tortilla with black beans, egg and spicy salsa for him. 

2 Phase One complete. We have started the change over to new faux wood blinds, 2 inch wide. Love them. Today we did the bay window and two others. Next  we will tackle the french doors and the kitchen followed by the two bedrooms. 

3 Noam Chomsky is a favourite of ours. He speaks on politics in a way that encourages critical thinking. It might be time to watch Manufacturing Consent again. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

putterers, lights and deciding

1 Our day is spent puttering about. We are hoping to get to some of the items we have put on the white board but puttering is fun too.

2 The christmas lights are up and twinkling in the wind. Timers would be helpful so I'm not running about each day turning them on and off.

3 It's good to step back and use your eyes to really see if the results are what you really want. Yup, visuals always help decision making, well at least it helps me.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

menu items, Grandma Vicky and slow but steady

1 Freshly made chicken vegetable soup with gluten free buns. Tonight's fare is simple and yet so very satisfying. Perhaps it was just one of those rainy Saturdays where it just was the perfect meal.

2 It's time to get some fresh local eggs so we head to a farm up the road and I get to meet the owner. Grandma Vicky she calls herself. She tells us she used to have school tours through the farm and used the name for years. She is full of life and stories and we make an agreement to visit at her home in spring when the weather is warm and her flowers are blooming.

3 Our run was wet, wet, wet, but we did it. Today was almost 4km in 40 minutes. We aren't breaking any records but we had fun. 

Friday, 30 November 2012

missing, blessed and make a plan

1 My cousin's daughter has gone missing in Victoria BC. Her name is Emma Fillipoff and she's 26. . She is going through a tough time and we think there are mental health issues so we need to find her as soon as possible. Emma has been missing since Wednesday November 28, 2012. Please pray, hope or support their family in whatever way you can. Let's get her home safe. You can read the police media release here.

2 It's a day of contemplating how very blessed we are despite the chaos that surrounds us.

3 We make a plan to hike tomorrow rain or shine! It's time to do some fun things with the Mr while he's home.
Rosewell Park is the choice so far.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

what's in a name?, done and successes

1 There are no words really to describe this but yes, he's flying the remote control helicopter in the house! And he's given it a name. T40

2 The island home is finally cleared out totally! The clearing out and cleaning up just never seemed to end. It's clean and ready for a new family. Here's hoping the kids find great tenants.

3 We ate out last night and our gluten free dinners were amazing. Blackened chicken salad for him and fish tacos with salad for me. My salad was awesome with lettuce, spinach, jicama, feta, sweet walnuts and a lovely mustardy dressing. Gluten free peanut butter cookie for him and granola bar for me today with coffee. We just might be getting the hang of this!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

order, remote controlled and up late

We'll take one order of exercise to go, please, with a side of rain. Fun words to think about when it's pouring rain and we're contemplating a run. Should we wait til it lets up or just go for it?

2 He gets a remote control helicopter and we get silly about what we could do with it. What about shining a light above us onto the road so we can run at night? Much nicer than a headlamp.

3 Our discussion on 'critical thinking processes' takes us into the wee hours of the night. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

tom, catch up and truth

1 I'm a Tom Hanks fan. Recently it's been fun to watch some of his earlier work, Sleepless in Seattle, Castaway, Forrest Gump and tonight it was The Terminal. Wonderful film that focuses on the spirit of man and how we can triumph over adversity. Some of the subplots are implausible of course, after all it is Hollywood. Nonetheless, it was worth the watch.

2 It was a fun online chat with an old friend. We were such good and close friends when we lived in the interior and even though we are far away we every now and then have a chance to catch up. I miss him raiding our fridge, settling in on the futon and telling stories while drinking red wine. 

3 This little saying rings true for us. "It's not what's under the tree that matters, it's who's around it"

Monday, 26 November 2012

movie time, one more week and sunny day

1 The fire is lit, the house is warm and it's the perfect spot to cuddle on the sofa and watch an old black and white movie.The Americanization of Emily (1964)

2 One more week. The office emails to let the candidates know that the selection process for the job won't be completed until sometime next week. Oh more practice in patience.

3 The weatherman predicted a rainy day but once again the sun is shining and the clouds have moved on. It's all guess work isn't it? Still, it's nice when the nice weather is here.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

praying, baking and waiting

1 Finally I find two pairs of jeans that fit and don't need to be hemmed. It's a challenge when you're in between sizes! Please God don't let me grow into these!

2 The gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and power bars. There's enough to last him a few days. He likes his sweets with tea. 
Power Bars
  • 2 cups almonds (raw)
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almond butter 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 drops stevia
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup  chocolate chips
  • Place almonds, hemp hearts shredded coconut, almond butter and salt in a food processor. Pulse briefly, about 10 seconds. In a double boiler, melt coconut oil over very low heat. Remove coconut oil from stove, stir stevia, honey and vanilla into oil. Add coconut oil mixture to food processor and pulse until ingredients form a coarse paste. Press mixture into an 8 × 8 glass baking dish. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens. In a double boiler, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously. Spread melted chocolate over bars; return to refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chocolate hardens. Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve

3 One more sleep. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

post, cat and recipes

1 The blog post was entitled, "winds of change". It  reminds me of how fear can sometimes strangle us in its icy grip unless we are brave enough to embrace it. Then that fear loosens it's hold and melts away. When that happens there is opportunity, challenge and that's when we can really grow.

2 We have a cat. A very typical cat. She is snobby, meowy, standoffish (unless it's Russ), she prances about and can be very demanding but we love her because of all that. Recently she's decided to weave in my ankles again and again while I'm in the kitchen. She thinks she'll get soft food if she tries hard enough. She's right.

3 The fridge is stocked with fresh vegetables and the freezer has some organic chipolte burgers and lamb. He's home Monday and I'm not working so it'll be fun to have someone to cook for. We are trying to eat gluten free. I'm looking for a good cookie recipe if anyone is willing to share....yes please!

Friday, 23 November 2012

port, two men and pancit

1 We drive through the torrential rain to the west coast and have a bit of a look about. The harbour  is old and run down but the workers still have smiles on their faces as they go about their business.

2 One man slaps his friend on the back and they share a private joke, then turn and go their separate ways.

3 Somehow  eating with chopsticks just makes it fun and it takes longer to eat especially when you try to pick up the mini bits.

Pork and shrimp pancit

1 (6.75 ounce) package rice noodles
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups cooked small shrimp, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked pork
4 cups shredded bok choy
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 green onion, minced
Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 20 minutes; drain.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a wok or large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Saute noodles for 1 minute. Transfer to serving dish, and keep warm. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet, and saute onion, garlic, ginger, shrimp and pork for 1 minute. Stir in bok choy, oyster sauce and chicken broth. Season with pepper flakes. Cover, and cook for 1 minute, or until bok choy is wilted. Spoon over noodles, and garnish with minced green onion.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

waiting, I helped them and the wood pile

1 They say patience is a virtue. Still waiting to hear about the interview and the job posting. I'm not sitting on pins and needles but it would be nice to get some feedback for next time.

2 It's a warm feeling when people are thankful for the little things. A few members are in a flap about various things and when they hang up the phone after our conversation it's obvious that they're feeling calmer and have what they need.

3 There's always a storm brewing in winter on the island and tonight is no exception. The wood box is empty so it's two trips to the woodshed to get topped up for a couple more days. He did such a great job of splitting and stacking the firewood and even put in a light in the woodshed that it's an easy job even in the wind and rain. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

silly tv, brick by brick and curiosity

1 It's fun to watch some old tv shows now and then. Tonight it's Ally McBeal. She is some kind of crazy and I actually laugh out loud...pure silliness!

2 Exposed brickwork in buildings. It inspires and evokes a feeling of history. I like to imagine what the original building might have been like.

3 We have some giggles and spend some time wondering what the renovation will be and why she didn't get more details....can't wait for pictures to have the puzzle solved. Soooo curious!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

more, 'the interview' and simplicity

1 Rudy returns for part two of the cleanup. He makes it look so easy. He's fast, efficient and when he is done the gardens look amazing. What he can do in five hours, I do in 5 days! 

2 The interview. It's an hour and a half long, 20 questions some with multiple parts and yet the two women who did the interview made it much less stressful than I'd anticipated. Many thanks to them for that.  It was a good experience regardless of who gets the job.

3 A simple dinner of steamed potatoes and carrots with a garden salad. Nice and refreshing after a stressful day.

Monday, 19 November 2012

new coffee maker, smiling and lips

1 Keurig coffee makers are the best! Little pods that just make one cup at a time. Different flavours, regular, decaf each cup is different. 

2 The yoga class is a combination of older and younger women focusing on self nurturing. The classroom is warm and welcoming and each face seems to have a hint of a smile. 

3 49 cents for a Dr  Pepper lip gloss. Lips are soft, shiny and it adds a hint of colour. Who knew ?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

oddball, winds and for her

1 The man in the shop is putting away his shopping cart so I offer to take the cart from him and open my purse to look for a loonie. He says in no uncertain terms, "I don't take quarters." It flusters me but I manage to find one and he snatches it from me and bolts. I wonder if he was rethinking his words. I couldn't help but smile at his quirkiness.

2 Starry, starry won't last long another storm is coming tonight with winds 70-90km/hr. 

3 Sending my love and warm thoughts her way for tomorrow. Best love.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

bigger than expected, done and sent and kitty

1 The storm hit with a vengeance later in the evening. The screens and gutters were rattling and the wind chime sang all night long. 

2 The paperwork is filled out, scanned and emailed to the vision specialist. The appointment is this coming Friday. Fingers are crossed they'll give me some exercises to strengthen the muscles and avoid prisms in the glasses.

3 Kosha is cuddly tonight. I wonder if it's the storm or she's just in a mood. She prefers being outside even in storms and she prefers Russ. Tonight it's my turn. Best ever.

Friday, 16 November 2012

gifts, two and Rudy

1 A very busy day at work today. It seemed like I was putting out fires all day. Lots of unexpected things that in the end were 'handled.' The rep gives me some kudos and my guy virtual hugs.

2 There are just two of us being interviewed. She's got much more experience and seniority so the job will go to her but they'll know I'm interested and willing to do the interview which hopefully will get me more work down the road.

3 He says, 'I guess we have a gardener." How lucky we are to have found a handyman who does excellent work. When I come home today he's been here and done an amazing job. The yard is cleaned up, mowed, branches taken away, grapes pruned, driveway blown free of pine needles and leaves and best of all, all the waste is gone. So very very thankful.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

time, walk and spiders

1 It is time to study for the interview. They say to study the union structure and scenarios. 

2 A great walk. The dogs bark, birds sing, leaves fly and wind blows. It was a great walk.

3 She gives me some spider plants cuttings and they're finding a new home on the corner shelves. Some of the plants already have babies hanging from them and look older than they are.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

no hurts, perfect and interview

1 After all the pruning, raking and piling I thought these old bones would be aching but it's a pleasant surprise that they're not!

2 Yoga class was full but at the last minute a call comes from the teacher and there is an open spot. When I arrive the spot is perfect, in the sun and near the heater so it's extra warm. Practice was perfect.

3 Well, wow! A call comes today inviting me to a job interview at the union office next Tuesday at 1pm. It totally caught me off guard and it is unexpected because the last time the job was posted no one told me and my supervisor even said I'd never have gotten the job. I am embracing the invite and feeling happy to be asked. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

trees, wants and fun stuff

1 It was great watching the videos on pruning, so informative and practical. Today was the day to try out that knowledge and it was pretty successful if I do say so myself. Tools used were snippers, reciprocating saw, hack saw, ladder and gloves. Two trees done and 3 to go. Just waiting for the leaves to fall off  of those ones first.

2 Toasted bacon, lettuce and tomato with baby dills on the side. I had one but I wanted more!

3 A fun run today. Songs were running through my head, a silly conversation with a barking dog  and toadstools that looked magical but not touchable.

Monday, 12 November 2012

igloos, listen and the perfect cup

1 They look like leaf igloos all over the yard. Once the rain stops they will get dumped into the back of the pickup. Next year we'll have a compost and make rich soil but this year he's away and it's a project beyond my scope....or is it? 

2 The hip is healed! It's been over a week of rest and it's ready to go again. This time more listening to the signals to rest, walk or run instead of the endorphin's that say, "you're a rock star don't stop!" 

3 The cup of coffee is luscious, delicious and just perfect for the afternoon break from leaf raking. I notice myself sighing and smile knowing it's a sigh of contentment.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

partiers, what happened and the browser

1 The young lady living next door loves to have parties when her parents are away. It's loud with screaming and yelling, rap music and silly attempts to jump on their trampoline while inebriated and in the rain...oh and the random car alarm. But they never damage anything or come to our home and tonight it ends abruptly (the wee hours mind you). Thanks to the parents or police for stopping this one earlier than most.

2 It seems like it happened overnight. The green leaves in our yard turned yellow and dropped. A bit of raking in the rain never hurt anyone. The piles of leaves are against walls and in spots where they won't be blown around all over again...hopefully!

3 I find lights for the kitchen and almost purchase them but don't. The light over the sink won't match up even closely so it's back to browsing again. Never know what you'll find or what will find you when you're not really looking.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

burlap wraps, Rex and winterwear

1 With a cold front on the way I rush to find out what needs to be done to protect the two new palms we planted this summer. It's a burlap wrapped trunk with burlap pushed into the pockets where the limbs meet the trunk to protect the plant from snow or ice forming in there and hurting the plant. Note to self: the palms fronds have sharp edges, wear gloves. 

2 A dear friend gave birth to her first child today, a sweet baby boy named Rex. Feeling warm thoughts for her today and wishing them all the love in the world.

3 It's an addiction...closet cleaning. Summer shorts, shirts and skirts are in their respective plastic containers and the woolies, sweaters and warmer socks are on the shelves in their place. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

sign, listener and almost there

1 We do our morning walk and end up on trails and through some woods to get where we want to go. Signs of bear are on the trails but nothing that says it's near so we go on our merry way. 

2 She loves to talk and her stories get retold but I'm happy to be her ear today.

3 Two vegetable gardens are cleaned up and the tulips and garlic are planted. It's not enough spring bulbs so tomorrow it's time to look for the discounted ones and get this job completed.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

inside job, warm yet? and w's

1 The sun is out but it's still very cool and the ground is damp from all the rain. Gardening will have to wait. Today is for inside jobs.

2 It was impossible to get warm after the walk until I layered up with three layers of clothing and started a roaring fire.

3 Some running around online!? Yes, it's much easier to look online for who, what, when, where and how. They why is up to us.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

changing of the sheets, application and going back in time

1 It's time for warm flannel sheets on the bed especially when the windows are open while we sleep. The softness against my cheek invites me to snuggle in deeper for a few more minutes of sleep.

2 I apply for the union position knowing full well the job isn't really available to me because I lack the seniority and the experience. However it was good to apply anyways and make it know to management my interest and hopes for more work in the future.

3 The house heats up quickly once the fire is roaring in the wood stove. It snap, crackle and pops and just those words make me laugh and think of Rice Krispies! Yikes I think that makes me sound OLD!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

reasons, clean and time

1 Even though we made the list for today we get none of it done and scramble to get to the airport on time but we do! A lie in, and coffee were our biggest culprits.

2 Two clean desks. I love it when there is a sense of organization in our work spaces. It doesn't matter that this is usually short lived, it's how it feels right now that counts.

3 I'ts time to watch some Grey's Anatomy and eat popcorn. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

workload, tartness and tomorrow comes too quickly

1 A productive work day despite the fact that there are more questions than answers. It's a challenge when I only get called in every few months. Now there's a flurry of work coming up for me so I'm hopeful I can learn on the fly!

2 Little lemon cookies with fresh coffee for afternoon coffee break. Oh and those cookies are lemony and tart!

3 Planning for tomorrow. Breakfast out, getting burlap sacks to enclose the palm trees, perhaps we'll even finish up raking and piling the pine needles and make a dump run before he's off on the plane again.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

reclined, she thinks positively and hip hop

1 The coffee shop has an urban chic feel to it with steel panels and two garage doors that lead to a patio outside. Inside there are comfy chair and cozy seating areas. The upper level has a fireplace with two luxurious black leather sofas. We smile at each other when we realize the woman sitting on one of the sofas is not seated by actually lying down! Oh wait there's more, the old man reading his book is sleeping sitting up in his chair! 

2 We try a new Vietnamese restaurant and although the food is mediocre the lone server is excellent with an amazing attitude. She definitely earned her tips tonight.

3 The hip is happy for a few days rest from running. I miss the endorphin's but know I'll be back on the run in the next few days.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

toe warmers, emergencies and documentaries

1 Warm toes from extra special home made socks. Not wool because that's itchy but a toasty yarn that is also a lovely shade of red. Yay for red socks!

2  With the recent earthquake north of us we know it's time to actually get an emergency kit together. It's a list of what we need, what we currently have and where it currently lives and we'd better put it altogether. This could be a fun project.

3 We watch a youtube documentary on spies put together by the BBC. BBC makes some of the best documentaries. Ya gotta love a man with a british accent.

Friday, 2 November 2012

first and last, desserts, steamy

1 A trip to Gabriola is in order and we get the majority of things done with a few things to come back to repair. We race to the ferry with no time to spare. Wednesday we were first on, this time we are last on!

2 He's polished off 3 dozen cookies in 3 days, so it's a blueberry/apple pie with crumble topping for dessert.

3 Hot tub time with blustery winds and rain pelting our faces. The steam rising off of the water mimics the clouds moving over the moon in the sky.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

somebody, doing it wisely and oldie but goodie

1 Lots of running around to do with errands and appointments. It's nice to have someone to do that with.

2 The woodshed is full of split and stacked wood making it so easy to pile wood into the wheelbarrow and bring to the house. Two wheelbarrows full will fill two boxes and leave some extra so that it only has to be brought over every few days.

3 The  dog living next door is a very old Shepherd who loves howling at any siren he is able to hear. He's a sweet old boy.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

quote, itinerary for day one and none

1 Love this quote from Lululemon: We'll take one order of exercise to go, please, with a side of rain. Winter days are too short for treadmills.

2 The hublet is home for a few days and we make the most of day one. After picking him up at the airport it's sushi, ferry ride to Gabriola Island, shopping at Costco and now tea and cookies. 

3 We had no trick or treaters at our home this year. The neighbours fireworks sound like fun though.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

work, leaves and cookie monster

1 The union office calls and there are more shifts for me to work in November. The job has been re-posted and even though I don't have enough  seniority to get the job, showing interest is important. Perhaps even an opportunity for the one day a week temp might come open. Possibilities.

2 The rain is not letting up at all. The trees and grass are greening up and leaves on some trees are finally turning yellow. Seems like those leaves should be raked and gone by now. Isn't it almost November?

3 He loves cookies. So what better way to welcome him home than 3 dozen peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal and 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies! 

Monday, 29 October 2012

finished, planning and morphing

1 Finally finishing the fictional book "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." Initially it was difficult to get involved in but in the end it was excellent.

2 Making a plan for a new home based business idea is not as easy as it seems. Lots of research and decision making and commitment. Okay the last one is the biggest hurdle.

3 The white board is morphing again. It feels good to prioritize and reorganize and when he's home we can do a bit more.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

newt, saga and soaking

1 We see a newt on our walk today. Unfortunately it's dead but we know that lots more are in the area and hope this is a one off. Originally we thought it was a european wall lizard but upon further investigation, nope it's a newt!

2 And so the saga of the pine needle raking adventure continues. Seven more piles and about one quarter of the area left to rake. Hoping the Mr will help me load into the trailer when he is home this coming week. 

3 Hot tub heaven after an afternoon of raking and piling. The water is steamy hot and more than welcome. So very grateful for this luxury.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

poppers, crafts and thinking ahead

1 The wood crackled and popped so loudly in the wood stove it reminded me of popcorn popping so I make some! 

2 Lots of people are out shopping for Halloween things so the Christmas aisle in the dollar store is relatively quiet and empty. I find some unique ideas for wrapping gifts for the little ones and am lucky enough to find a shelf with house, shops, trees, skaters and even a Santa. It will be fun to make a Christmas village with lights and snow.

3 There's enough wood already piled outside the back door that it's unnecessary to go out for more in the pouring rain. So grateful that I did double duty the other day.

Friday, 26 October 2012

the challenge is over, normality and tootsies

1 The 90 day running challenge has come and gone and I'm still loving the run. Today the wind blows in my face, the droplets of rain tingle as they touch my skin love running in the rain, and the fresh air is invigorating. Loving the run.

2 Ever have one of those headaches where even your hair hurts? Isn't it divine when it's over with and   life returns to normal; whatever that is.

3 It's a challenge being accident prone. Today a large metal umbrella holder drops down when the umbrella is lifted up and lands on my toes. They're a bit swollen, black and blue but nothing is broken or sprained and walking is no problem. Ah so very grateful to have toes.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

musical, image and picture show

1 The rain takes a break in the morning and it's sunny with blue skies. As afternoon comes so do the clouds and winds and by evening the wind chimes let us know the next storm is on its way. 

2 The last of the arbutus branches are in a big burn pile. The evening light casts odd shadows and the branches eerily look like deer antlers.. 

3 Our grapes have not been the best producers. After watching the video it's obvious why and now we know the 'right' way to prune. Thank you YouTube. and

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

accidental art, tickets for two and plaid

1 The colour printer is a little wonky today. The photograph that it prints looks like some sort of abstract work of art. Greens, blues and shades of yellow. The cartridge probably needs changing but that can wait while art is created. 

2 A little rearranging of plans and they can purchase their plane tickets for Christmas. So looking forward to the holidays this year. Our fingers are crossed that she gets the visa and there are no more bumps in the road. It will be her first Christmas so we'd like to make it extra special.

3 It's time for a plaid shirt. Yes. It's time for a red plaid shirt; very Canadian.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

pears, musical and drizzle

1 Just when you thought it was safe to go in the garage there it is...another pail of pears! They're all chopped up and frozen. It seems this really is the end of the fruit factory.

2 What does outdoor productivity sound like in Lantzville? A symphony of chainsaws. 

3 Running in the rain and feeling the mist on my face.

Monday, 22 October 2012

that feeling, new neighbour and traits?

1 Monday brings with it that Monday feeling...know what I mean?

2 Joanna is in her 70s and is out for a brief walk. She's been in the neighbourhood for 37 years and has the scoop on anyone and everyone. She gives me some good tips on hotels in Cuba. Apparently she and her husband (recently deceased, bless him) went every year since the 80s!

3 The woodpeckers are loud, noisy creatures and this time of year are extra busy. The females appear to be doing the bulk of the work. Is that a bird trait ?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

productive, flowers and chili bowl

1 Sunday was a productive day: raked about 1/4 of the yard where the pine needles and branches are. Picked up and piled the big branches (they'll be burned later), thinned the raspberries and pruned about 1/4 of the grapes. Oh and transplanted a blueberry tree.
2 A few flowers are giving their last hurrah. 
Such beauties.
3 The bowl of chili is piping hot in to the touch and in the mouth. Melted cheese and toast are the perfect with it.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

distracting, mess it up and and the winner is....

1 There's a distraction out there and I'm drawn in part way through my run. A garage sale! But I manage to escape without buying anything and meet some more people from the neighbourhood.

2 Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup are perfect on this cool and blustery day. The cheese is so gooey it spills out the sides and as the pieces pull apart, it stretches and gets stringy, forcing me to get really messy. Totally worth it.

3 There's a list of ideas still dancing in my brain but for some reason it's difficult to decide which one to start with so I put them down on paper and then into a bowl and pull one. That's where to start when there are too many options for creativity!

Friday, 19 October 2012

trees, lunch and birds

1 The trees come down and sunshine pours across the street. As people drive by most of the men stop to ask the owner what he's doing with the wood. The owner takes it all in stride and continues his cleanup.

2 Lunch at a new restaurant with a friend today was a lot of fun. It's called Jar Restaurant and the chef is a winner of many awards and it shows in the cuisine.

3 The hummingbirds are still here and thoroughly enjoying the fresh syrup in their feeders. Here's hoping they will stick around all winter.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

over, in the nick of time and ahead of time

1 The air is finally cleared. She explained and apologized and the issue is put to rest. It's good to know for future. 

2 Just as I'm rounding the last corner home the rain clouds threaten to burst and pour out the rain. Even though my legs are tired, they manage to get me through the door in time to stay semi dry.

3 The desk is covered in Christmas gifts and there isn't too much left to pick up. Imagine being done Christmas shopping in October? Of course there's always little bits of bits to get  and a few knitting/sewing projects to finish but the big stuff is done!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

leaf dancers, found and perhaps it's true

1 The rains didn't come as promised instead it's a cool blustery day. The leaves swirl in patterns, settle then rise again. Eventually one group of leaves makes it way to a wall and dances no more.

2 The mystery of the missing plants is solved. A neighbour took them and has created a lovely hedge in her back yard. The leaves are massive so she'll have a lot of privacy.

3 The yoga instructor tells me, 'you're a beautiful yogi.' What a lovely compliment considering how much of a struggle is was to do practice today. Perhaps that's part of the learning component of the yoga practice. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

empty trees, cleaned up and ready

1 The apples are finally picked and either given away or preserved in one way or another. The majority of the apples are at the bottom of the trees so there's little ladder climbing.  It remains to be seen if the bears will find the rotting ones that have been tossed into the utility trailer to be taken away. A dining room on wheels! Hopefully they won't take it for a spin if they get inside it.
2 The two raised beds are cleaned out for winter. It's time for planting garlic. Is it best to plant the garlic in the green house or outside - thoughts?
3 It's mild enough that there's no need for a fire tonight. But the fire is laid and ready for tomorrow because more rain is on the way and all that's needed is a match. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

candlelight, vision and the picture is the same

1 Monday brings with it stronger winds and heavy rain. When the lights flicker it's time to get out the candles just in case the power goes out. These candles probably should stay out for the season now.

2 She puts into words the story that she sees. It's only been a few years yet she often is very intuitive and encouraging. It feels honoring and humbling.

3 We see each other through different lenses yet often the picture ends up being the same.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

zoned out, smells and what a surprise

1 It's a blustery morning and running in it is a challenge. The sound of my feet pounding the pavement is rhythmic and soon I get in the zone.
2 The apple caramel butter is coming along nicely. I add cinnamon and nutmeg and the caramel scent softens and deepens filling the house with its' goodness.
3 There are hardly any booths at the farmer's market. Perhaps it's because of the cool rainy day or maybe it's just that time of year when everyone is finishing their gardens and want to spend time doing other things. Potatoes were on my list but no vendors had any except the bread man was listening and said he'd bought a huge bag at a different market and would share his with me. So for a dollar he gives me a huge bag of lovely yukon golds. What a kind and sweet gesture. Note to self: pay it forward.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

not quite what was planned, raindrops aplenty and sweets

1 It was one of those days when things just didn't go exactly as planned but managed to work themselves out regardless. It seemed like a good time to go for a run and as I run past our home for the second loop a car pulls into our driveway. An apple picker has arrived so the run must wait until the apples are picked and she's gone but then it's loop two and it's done!

2 It's the beginning of the rainy season here on the island and tonight the forecast is for 50-70 km winds and 20-30 mm of rain! I suppose it takes a special kind of person to live on an island in the must love rain.

3 A rich strong cup of coffee and peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for dessert. What a great way to  quell the sweet tooth that's acting up.

Friday, 12 October 2012

list lover, jet plane and Christmas visitors

1 Our magic whiteboard is setup into sections now. Short term, long term and current goals. It's awesome to see things get erased as they are done. There's just something about lists that is inspiring to me. It's not for everyone but for list people a whiteboard is a must.

2 And he's gone again. This time it's a wee bit longer and a shorter time at home. We try not to think about that as we say goodbyes at the airport and make sure to get one or two extra hugs in before he has to go through security.

3 They're coming for Christmas! We hear from our son in China that they've made a decision to come to Canada for the holidays. We've been hoping they'd come and now we have loads of things to plan for!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

dry, sad and hard worker

1 The roof has been transformed from dusty worn cedar shakes into sleek dual black shingles. The crew worked hard and quickly and did a great job. It's all cleaned up. We have a few old flashings to paint out black if weather permits otherwise it can wait until warmer weather returns. Meantime we are dry and cozy.

2 Sad news today that our friends' beloved dog has passed. Grateful to have had the chance to be a part of his life. Beautiful love.

3 He worked hard today getting the yard winterized; hoses put away, sprinkler system blown out and odds and bits put in their place for the rainy season to come.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

holiday prep, treats and fall fashion

1 The paperwork is finicky but it's done and sent away. Six weeks from now we'll have our renewed passports. Time to seriously consider a tropical holiday for January when the weather is dreary.

2 He wants peanut butter rice krispie treats so badly he heads to the grocery store for ingredients at 8 pm! Serious sweet addiction here!

3 There's something about fall and corduroy pants. The thin weave is my favourite and the ones I have on today are a soft luxurious fabric in a tan colour. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

new roof, fire and applesauce

1 The roofers are here to do their magic. They tackle the back of the house, first removing the old cedar shakes then laying plywood, felt and finally the shingles. Dual black is what we have chosen for a colour to go with the grey siding with white trim. Pictures when it's done! Patience now...

2 He gets the new chimney installed and we have our first fire of the season. It's much more efficient and will have less smoke leaking and no creosote odour. 

3 I bit my tongue rather badly today so it's a quiet day for me and him. I'm thankful for the applesauce in the freezer and think more should get made regardless of how much is already in there!

Monday, 8 October 2012

hiking, eating and skyping

1 This afternoon we walked 6.5 km around Westwood Lake. It's a man made freshwater lake and had some very lovely spots. The view from the bluffs was the best part. 
2 Warmed up turkey dinner leftovers 
3 A skype chat with the family in the interior. Little Kes was crawling and standing up on his own and Izzy was bouncing off of the walls! Good times.