24 November 2005

Ready to paint!

Yay, our drywall is finally ready for painting. You see, Ed and I took out a couple of wall sections in our house last April. Yes, last April. With our friend Brian’s help, we tore out the old dry wall, removed the sections we didn’t want, put up the new drywall, then Ed and I started mudding. Suffice it to say, we didn’t do a very good job. Well, not good enough to start painting. Mudding is hard! Making the wall smooth and even is not as easy as they make it look on HGTV. So finally, two weeks ago, I called the Handyman Connection and hired someone to finish it.

Michael Ilyin was the contracted who came to fix our wall. After three visits in one week, he was done. The wall is smooth and even. The corners look good, not jagged. Wonderful! Just like that, the wall that was sitting there unfinished for over 6 months was done. Yay! Ok, so it cost us money to get it done. But at least, it’s done. Plus Ed and I wouldn’t have been able to make it look that good. And that in itself is worth what we paid.

So now, we can go ahead and finish painting out living room and dining room. And we can start painting our hallway and foyer. Just in time for the Christmas season!

Next up, that damn bright yellow flowery wallpaper in the kitchen.....

15 November 2005


I’m so proud of myself! Eight months after Ed and I moved into our townhouse, I have finally cleared our second bedroom of the unpacked boxes left over from moving day. Last February, we placed boxes we didn’t want to deal with yet into the second bedroom, closed the door, and promptly ignored them. Once in a while, I would rummage through the boxes looking for a specific item. When Ed asked me where something was, my answer would be “in a box”. Our second bedroom has been the storage room since move in day. But last weekend, I decided enough is enough. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work, unpacking one box at a time. The bin pile slowly got bigger. And every time I emptied another box, the better I felt. It’s amazing how cathartic cleaning can be.

Now we have our second bedroom back. It’s no longer a storage room! So I put a little desk and a little bookshelf in there (because we don’t have a bed to put in it) and I’m thinking that this room will be my craft room someday - when I actually get crafty.

For now, I am just thrilled that it’s not a storage room any more.

10 November 2005

Visiting Eric, Ruth, Andie, and Ally in Virginia

We flew to Reagan National on Sunday, Oct 16. Vancouver to Toronto to DC. The security check in Toronto was pretty tight. They had a special line for people going to DC. They opened up all our bags and checked our feet and shoes. It was additionally stressful because we only had an hour and a half layover and we had line up after line up to go through. I felt so violated after the whole ordeal. I was very happy to finally get to the gate to board the plane.

Ruth, my sister-in-law, picked us up at the airport in DC. Ruth’s friend Betsy, Betsy’s mom Juliet, and Betsy’s aunt Lita were also staying at their house for a few days. Eric,my brother, is on call at the hospital so he wasn’t home until Monday morning.

My last visit to Virginial was backin 1997. Eric and Ruth lived in an apartment in McLean and Andrea, their daughter, was just 4 years old. So the visit was certainly overdue. Forward to 2005, Andrea is now 12 and even has a little sister, Ally, who is 6. They have a beautiful colonial style house in Vienna, VA which is about 15 to 20 miles from DC

Day 1:
Ed and I had big plans for sightseeing. We planned to wake up early and catch the hop-on/hop-off tour trolley in DC to see the sites. However, the three hour time difference was enough to screw us up. We ended up sleeping in until 11am. So much for those plans. But I finally got to see Eric! It was really great to see him again.

Ed and I decided to still head to DC to get some sightseeing in. We spent the afternoon in the Museum of Natural History and the sculpture garden in front of the Hirshhorn Museum. Highlight of this visit for me: the gems and jewelry collection, and the plate tectonics exhibit.

Day 2:
I found a place that sells half-price tickets so Ed and I decided to catch a play this evening. We chose Othello, primarily because we don’t have a professional Shakespeare theatre company here in Vancouver. By the time we took care of purchasing the tickets and buying coffee at Starbucks, it was almost noon. We decided that the trolley tour wouldn’t be worth it starting so late, so once again, we didn’t get on it. Will we ever get to go on that damn trolley tour???

Anyway, we decided to go to Air and Space Museum. This museum was full of engaging exhibits and the tour we joined was really good because the guide told very interesting stories about Charles Lindbergh, the Apollo missions, Amelia Earhart, and so on. I love joining the tours because the stories behind the exhibits make it more stimulating. We also watched two IMAX features - Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag and Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon. Both were excellent films but I especially enjoyed the Fighter Pilot because I love fighter jets and in another life, I wish I could pilot one of those planes.

We had dinner at District Chophouse and Brewery then watched the Shakespeare play Othello starring Avery Brooks (from Deep Space Nine) as Othello and Patrick Page (Scar from Lion King) as Iago. The acting was outstanding! We thoroughly enjoyed the 3.5 hour long play.

Day 3:
Ruth drove us to DC in the morning and we finally got on the trolley tour. Third try is a charm, I suppose. There were two loops available - one around the Mall area and the other going to the National Cathedral and Georgetown. We decided to do the Mall loop first. We hopped off/on at Union Station, Jefferson Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial. We also visited the Vietnam and WWII memorials too. Afterward, we transferred to the other loop and hopped off at the National Cathedral and then Georgetown. Eric came to pick us up in Georgetown and drove us around a little bit. We then went for dinner at his favourite restaurant, Cactus Cantina.

When we got back to Eric’s house, I sang karaoke with the Andrea and Ally. My nieces sing very well! They play the piano and do gymnastics... So talented! Yes, I am the proud aunt.

Jenny (Ed’s cousin and my good friend) arrived from Toronto tonight to spend a few days with us. We haven’t seen Jenny since the summer. This is turning out to be a great reunion.

Day 4:
Ed, Jenny, and I drove to DC. We went to National Gallery of Art - west building (old stuff) and then the east building (modern stuff). The gallery’s collection is amazing! I love going to galleries, although I have to say i enjoy the old stuff (especially the impressionists) more than the contemporary stuff. Renoir, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh. Name the painter, they had the painting. So cool to see these works of art with my own eyes.

After the galleries, we went to Georgetown. Ate a late lunch at Martin’s Tavern where JFK apparently proposed to Jackie O. Then walked around checking out the shops. Definitely lots of shopping around here.

For dinner, Eric and Ruth treated us at a restaurant called Coastal Flats located in Tyson’s Corner. I have to say that it was quite enjoyable to hang out with Eric, Ruth, and the girls. They obviously love each other very much and more importantly, they get along very well.

Day 5:
Shopping! Spent hours and hours, and lots of money in Potomac Mills which is a factory outlet mall. Poor Ed! Stuck with two shopaholics (at least for this day). I bought four pairs of shoes, three pairs of pants, some sweater tops, a purse, a couple of jackets, and some other stuff here and there. Boy, it was fun to just buy, buy, buy. I never really allow myself to do that - except during this once in a few years shopping spree.

Day 6:
Eric and the girls drove us around. We visited the Torpedo Factory located in Old Town in Alexandria. It is a building that used to be a torpedo factory but is now a place where artists have their studios and can sell their work. Kind of like Granville Island here in Vancouver. Then we were off to Arlington Cemetery where we visited JFK’s grave and the eternal flame, and the tomb of the unknown soldier, where we caught the changing of the guard ceremony.

That night, we just hung out at Eric’s palce and sang karaoke with Jenny, Eric, and the girls. Then it was time to pack and do laundry. I can’t believe we’re going back to Vancouver tomorrow. This week just flew by. I wish we had more time to spend with Eric and his family.

Day 7:
Travel day back to Vancouver. Batman Begins during the flight - nice to have a good movie to entertain us.