Camping!

We recently went on our first trip of the year. There are a lot of stories from the trip, but most of them involve me being drunk and talking in a Russian accent for 2 hours or me talking to animals, so instead, I just want to share some photos.

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It didn’t rain on our trip, really, just sprinkled a bit. We were left with a happy double rainbow, if you can see the other part.

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I didn’t take this photo, but I caught a toad. His name is Wilkinson the third. All around us, every night, was the sound of frogs (and cattle), so I was determined to catch one. I kept walking down to the water, but couldn’t find any, which means they were probably in the reedier areas… then I randomly came across this guy. He was my friend.

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This was from a random walk I decided to go on.

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This is what we got to look at for a few days… it was pleasant. Lots of dragonflies, ravens, frogs (and toads!), and loons (can you do a loon call? I can!)… it was a good little trip, and I miss it already. The city life just ain’t for me!

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Christmas Party

My Mom has been with the same company for many a year now, and my Dad started working with them this year, getting hired full-time after his trip to the Yukon. Almost every year, they have a Christmas party, and since there’s 2 of them working for the company now, that means there’s 2 extra spots… so my parents invited the Boyfriend and I! 🙂

I rarely have excuses to dress up, so this was a real treat. I wore one of my favourite dresses: a white and black strapless, with these nice grey boots I found that actually worked on my feet! I did my makeup (which lasted most of the night), gave myself bangs again (snip, snip, snip…), and wore some of my favourite perfume.

We had a bunch of people to pick up, so we went to get them. We got Linda, and two people I’d never met before. I liked them both, which is odd considering I hate everyone! Ha!

After leaving the City of Abb, we went to get the Boyfriend! He wasn’t lying when he said he cut his hair, lol. But I was happy, he made a good attempt at dressing nice. He looked pretty snazzy. Okay, he looked pretty damn hott if you ask me. I hadn’t seen him in over a month, so just the fact I could hold his hand made me feel happy.

We got to the place (after a lot of freeeeaky conversation)  and I was already weirded out. I had never been to a Hilton hotel before. Ever. Even the main lobby is fancy. What the hell? Am I in the right place? Well, I guess I was dressed properly, but holy! We were all dressed pretty snazzily. Seeing my Dad in a suit and my Mum in a dress kind of blows my mind.

So we went in… hello ballroom!
First thing I do? Look up.

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There is a chandelier. A freakin’. Chandelier.

I suppose this is why they call it the “Crystal Ballroom”, the lights are crystal.

We sat down at a table, they sat 10. There was my parents, Linda, the Boyfriend and I, the two never-met-before people, two other people I’d never met before, and Lorraine. There was some conversation that went on, but it was mostly amongst ourselves. My Dad kept disappearing and being social… did I just type that? My Dad hates everyone! It made me laugh! The Boyfriend and I ended up talking a lot, which is something I needed. I talked to Linda a lot too, as well as the husband of the never-met before people. He was pretty cool.

We each got 3 drink tickets. At least, would have… if your father didn’t steal yours! 
I’ve never been to a club, the only time I ever went to a bar was for my 19th birthday, so I was really unsure of what to get. They have names for things? Usually it’s “a little of this, a little of that, oooh, that looks good, add that too!” I got a great Asian lady that made me drinks throughout the night though. I didn’t catch her name, but she kept me… hydrated. It was her “specialty”.

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Firstly, there’s cloth napkins… CLOTH FREAKIN’ NAPKINS!!!!
It was a weird mixed drink. I know they make them elsewhere, but I was paying attention so I could make it myself! It has some vodka (they were using Smirnoff), Bacardi, and Lambs, then cranberry juice and orange juice. My goodness, it was delicious… and I’m sure it got me quite, err, what’s the word? Oh yeah, intoxicated. Didn’t even realize until I went to get up. And people kept giving me drink tickets, so instead of the 3 2 that I had, I ended up having 5 or 6 of these bad boys, and that’s not including the wine I got with dinner. 

Don’t ask the Boyfriend about it, heeeee said I was slurring my words, but I tend to disagree!

Every table had numbers, and ours was high, or low, depending on how you look at it. We originally had the number 25, but they made a person from each table go up to play musical chairs to see who ate first, and our person got out early on. So now instead of 25, we were the 26th to go.

It was a buffet style with an assortment of foods; my favourite were the prime rib and rice pilaf. There was all sorts of neat stuff: buns and butter balls (they were so NEAT looking), salads including potato with my favourite purpley blue potatoes, muscles and shrimp, cheeses and cold-cuts, ravioli, salmon and mackerel, prime rib, roasted potatoes, and rice… there was a lot, that doesn’t even begin to describe what was there.

I didn’t take many pictures because I was having a good time… and all of them were with my phone because even though I brought my good camera, I didn’t want to keep taking it out.

After dinner was dessert. Holy moly, dessert. There was so much to choose from! Fruits and puddings, brownies and cookies, cakes and pies… mmmm, dessert. It took a lot of work to make room for these delicious goodies. The Boyfriend didn’t eat any ’cause he’s not much of a cake eater… he likes Jell-O!

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Sooo good. My favourite was the mint chocolate one. Actually no, it was the one that was already partially eaten. Bwuahaha! The one lying down was ucky!

It was so bizarre having people waiting on you too. They got out of your way, even if they were busy. They cleared your dishes without being asked… am I the only one that said “thank you”? I can’t help it! I’m polite!

Eventually, the entertainment had arrived. We got to watch a hypnotist. I’m usually really good with figuring out what they’re doing and so on, but I was a bit intoxicated by that point, so I wasn’t paying much attention. Some of it was fun. There was one part where every time an Austin Powers song played, a man would get up, put a poncho on thinking it was an invisible cloak, and go find something red and stare at it thinking it was a bad guy. I’m not sure it was real, despite believing in crazy things. I know there’s illusions to that stuff, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Neat though.

Afterwards, there were prize draws. My Dad won one automatically, having a yellow ticket. Gift cards always come in handy.

Soon after, there was dancing. I told my parentals that they should dance! They didn’t at first, but a slow song came on, and my Dad drug my Mum up there. I laughed… then got dragged up for laughing. Thanks.

I… can’t dance. I wish I could, but I can’t. I’ve never slow-danced with someone (at least, I never HAD), and I just kept laughing. I didn’t know where to put my hands or my head or anything, so I just kept laughing every time I screwed up, lol. But it was nice. Now I can say I’ve officially danced with someone (who isn’t Tie Guy, thanks Friendly Giant), but I think I’d like to try again when I’m slightly more… sober.

By that point, it was 11 something at night, and most of my group was ready to leave. It isn’t as though we live down the street, we live a bit away. It was going to take longer with it raining and having to drop people off.

On the way home, I got to cuddle up to my beau. I’m pretty sure kissing him is amazing. Now there’s something I missed doing… that’s an incredibly weird statement coming from S.
I hope I get to see him more. Little P too.

Well, I’ll leave you with a picture of me and the Boyfriend.

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♥♥♥♥

Ahem… evil natural blonde hair!!!!

Impromptu Camping

Friendly Giant brought up the idea of camping probably a week before we actually went. Yes, fall camping, why the heck not? We chose a lake, did some research, and on Saturday, went on our merry way. We didn’t want to go too far (like we normally do), so we chose something quite close.

We decided we were going to go to Weaver Lake. Driving along, we ended up going too far and missed the turn. It didn’t matter though, we were kind of screwed. The tailpipe of the 4runner decided to fall off and was dragging. The CCCGGGRAHHHHGCRRR noise wasn’t too pleasant, nor was it good for it to be dragging, so we stopped.

Our first solution was to duct tape it and rope over it, hoping that the duct tape would melt and the rope would keep it strapped up; unfortunately, it didn’t work too well and within 5 minutes, it was dragging behind us again.

We stopped again.

Mistress and I got under the truck and Tophat brought up something we were thinking about (because nobody had a coat hanger!). We threaded ratchet bits through a piece of rope and tied the pipe up as tight as we could, having the metal touch it so it wouldn’t burn… it worked, and that’s currently what’s holding it up.

We made a joke about it though. 4 men and 2 women and the women are the ones working on the truck while the men stand around not knowing what to do. It was funny.

Eventually, we found our lake, BUT… it was closed due to some sort of construction? What the hell? Everything said it was open! So we decided to go look for Chehalis, after all, it couldn’t be that far away. We went down a road that we found in a map book that was supposed to connect, but it didn’t. It was pitch black. We ended up going past some sort of correctional facility (we have those here!?) and ended up in a weird place with ghost lights and power lines. Holy crap, power lines. Getting out of the truck, my arm was killing me. When we got home I actually had hand prints on my arm…

Since we couldn’t find the road to Chehalis (at this point, it was BLACK), we followed Fisher’s directions to get to Elbow Lake. We couldn’t really find the pull-off he was talking about, but we did find something near a creek, which obviously flowed into the lake, and camped there.

The weather was pretty good. We had a nice fire, some food (hello, smokies on a stick), and some good conversation… and probably a drink or two… or five. I don’t drink very often, but sometimes it’s interesting.

We kept hearing flutes… they said they heard harps. We believe in “supernatural” stuff, whether it’s spirits (“ghosts”), Bigfoot, fey, etc. And normally, things aren’t scary, we’ve dealt with so much over the years, but the darkness seemed to creep toward you, so it was a bit creepy. Perhaps one day I’ll write about those experiences?

The next day, we decided to go for a trek to see if we could find the lake. Apparently we drove further than we thought, but it was cool. Walking through a creek, trekking through the woods (thank you, waterproof boots!). On the way back, Mistress and I stayed behind and went through the woods instead of back through the rocks. We kept looking at all the different mushrooms and fungi. We’d never eat anything we were unsure of, but just looking at how many different types of fungi there was was neat.

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We didn’t really take pictures because it was just an overnight trip, but look how awesome this looked!

We left a few hours later. The drive home was nice and quiet.

Oh, camping. We need to do you more.

Thanksgiving

For those unaware, Canada does celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s generally celebrated on the second Monday of October, but my family has always celebrated on the Sunday. Originally, it was celebrated in late October/early November (with the harvest). After WWI, Armistice Day (now Remembrance Day) and Thanksgiving were to be celebrated on the same day; however, they felt like they should be different days, so now we celebrate on the second Monday of October.

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(Thank you Mr. Schulz!)

I like history, let’s have some fun, shall we?

  • Many relate Thanksgiving to the United States, but long before Europeans set foot in North America there were celebrations of thanks and harvests in Europe.
  • We can trace Thanksgiving back to 1578 when Martin Frobisher (from England) voyaged to find the Northwest Passage (sea route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic). They experienced freak storms and ice, losing a ship in their trek. When they arrived in what’s now known as Newfoundland, him and his men gave thanks for surviving such a treacherous journey.
  • With the aforementioned fact, it shows that Thanksgiving was celebrated here 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts!
  • Why is Thanksgiving in Canada in October, otherwise? We’re farther north. Our crops tend to be ready in October, and it’s more about giving thanks for a bountiful harvest than it is a bunch of slaughtering pilgrims.

A lot of people view Thanksgiving as a time for food and that’s all, but it’s so much more than that.

I get so upset when people have friends with nowhere to go and families turn them away. Thanksgiving isn’t a time only for family, it’s for everyone. My family has always been incredibly open about that. If you don’t have anywhere to go, you’re coming over for dinner and entertainment!

This year, there was my Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, W, Artist, me, Boyfriend, Little P, Tophat, Mistress, Tim, and even my parents’ neighbours showed up for a little while. There was supposed to be more people that showed up, but they didn’t make it for whatever reason.

We like to cook. There was two turkeys, a ham, potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, honeyed carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce Mistress and I made, and homemade buns… oh, and pie. I’m glad there was so much food, it means I get to eat leftovers! Yum, yum.

But it isn’t all about the food… I got to spend time with people who matter to me…

What am I thankful for?

  • A wonderful and supportive family.
  • Friends I can be myself with.
  • A boyfriend that loves me.
  • Freedom…
  • Being able to walk.
  • Having everything that I need.

I’m thankful for a lot, I only mentioned a few (and quite vague) points. I reflect often.

This past year has been nothing but change, and it’s been, more than likely, the best change I’ve ever had in my entire life. I don’t always act like it, and I don’t always notice everything (who does?), but I’m thankful for everything, big and small. And to anyone that’s made such a positive impact in my life… I love you! You make life worth living, even when I don’t want to anymore.

What are you thankful for?

The Caribbean Days Experience

One day, I really hope that I get to go to Trinidad… for now, the closest I can get to it is the Caribbean Days Festival.

As I stated before, it has been a tradition to go every year we possibly can. My Poppy originally hailed from Trinidad and so my grandparents and I would always go. After they passed, the tradition was passed to my Sister and I.

This year, unfortunately our good friends couldn’t accompany us, but they did thankfully drop us off at the skytrain! And that’s where the story begins…

I have never seen so much security at the skytrain in my entire life. There were police making sure people had paid for their tickets, and before the train actually departed, they checked to make sure everyone had tickets. There were at least 5 police and security guards in our one car alone. I was raised incredibly honest, and I’ve never not paid, but I know that a lot of people used to not pay. It was just insane to see that.

The skytrain is always an interesting ride… I’m a people watcher, so i find it entertaining at times. To get to North Van, you ride the train all the way to the seabus, and take it over. I still remember riding the seabus as a little kid with my grandparents. I’d always look out the window and be like, “look, Nana! It’s a shark!” or “look, Poppy! It’s a giant squid!” Those are memories that stay with you.

When we got there, we immediately went to go eat. I’m a little upset, my sister didn’t want to eat the cultural food (mostly because of the line ups), but in a way I’m thankful because I forgot to wear my braces and walking around so much was a major pain… literally.

We then walked to the other side, looked through the stalls… they sell a lot of cool things. But after that, we finally got to go see some entertainment! I love that the music is so loud, you can hear it everywhere you go, but watching it is incredible. I wish I would have gotten better pictures, and actual videos, of the Kara Kata Afro Beat Group, because they were great! But I sadly didn’t… they sounded really good though… and they had saxophone!

We also got to see a woman called Sarah K. She actually had a really strong voice.

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We then got to see the AMED Dance Group; they do Middle Eastern stuff. They’re great dancers though.

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I’ll upload a video of their dancing after everything uploads… there’s quite a few videos to show you! 🙂

I needed to sit down a lot because I was in so much pain, so I unfortunately didn’t get many good pictures, but I thought I’d upload some anyway.

We decided to walk around for a bit and look at some more stuff. I got that awesome pineapple drink that I showed you in my previous post. I absolutely love pineapple, so having it was a real treat. I ended up buying a jerk chicken sauce which I’ve always wanted to try. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll let you know how it turns out. I know you’re only supposed to use a little bit… it’s flavourful and spicy. Plus, who are we kidding? Who doesn’t like chicken!?!?

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We went to sit back down and watch more of the show after looking around a bit. Usually there’s a lot of dancing, some people just didn’t though. I danced! Well, I sat-danced, it’s kinda what I do. We got to see these great girls from Diversity Performing Arts in Calgary. I know they were all younger, but I find it great that people want to dance… I never could. A lot of people find it wrong that young girls are dancing like they are because it’s “sexy”. The thing is… western culture has skewed everything. They deem everything as over sexualised when in reality, it isn’t. Dancing sexily isn’t a bad thing. In other cultures, it isn’t seen as “hey, I want sex, do me!” it just… is, and a lot of people don’t understand that. Western society has just made such a huge deal out of things.

Anyway, these girls were great for what they were doing. 🙂

We also got to see the Trinidad & Tobago Cultural Society Steelband. I love hearing steel drums, I’m not sure why, I just do.

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I do have video of this that I’ll also share when it uploads. 🙂

After looking around a bit more, we decided it was probably about that time to go home, so off we ventured. Again, there was security everywhere. We were walking to the seabus and we saw people in luchador masks, and the “leader” in a pig’s mask. We’ve seen people in the luchador masks out here too, but seeing a large group of them was interesting. One man asked them what they were doing and they said it was a secret. I do wonder what they’re up to…

If you’re in the Vancouver area and are interested in joining the fun, Caribbean Days is in North Vancouver every year at the end of July and is easily accessible. If you do go, try to donate! It’s put together by volunteers and people in the community. Keep the festival alive! You can find more information here: http://www.caribbeandays.ca/ 

Caribbean Days!

Caribbean Days in Vancouver has been going on for 26 years. It is full of culture, fun, and memories.

I never realized that Caribbean Days had been around for 26 years. I’m now 21, and I’ve been going since I was 5.

My ancestral lineage is… interesting to say the least; I’m a complete and utter mutt. My grandparents would always take me to expose me to the culture – my Poppy was Trinidadian.

It was a tradition to go every year we possibly could. After my Poppy passed away, the tradition continued and my Nana and I kept going. One year, my Nana took my sister when I couldn’t go. After my Nana passed away, my sister and I continued the tradition and we go every year.

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(It was delicious)

We had a lot of fun this year and I’m going to write about what happened probably later tonight.

If you ever get the chance to go to Caribbean Days (or Caribbana!) – GO! You won’t regret it.