19 December 2007

New floor!

No more shag... Kind of sad, but not really. Instead we have this -

The wood is Acacia, which is a common wood in the Philippines. Very hard and dense. We like the distinct wood pattern and are quite happy with our choice.

Next up over the holidays, painting and new curtains for our room. When will this home reno business end?!?!?

7 December 2007

Topsy turvy

Last weekend, Ed and Brian added a cable outlet to the east wall of our living room. The existing outlet is on the west wall and I wanted it on the opposite wall so that we can utilize the space in the room better. Here's what the room looked like with the TV on the east side of the room:

I am very happy with this layout. But I will have to wait a few days to enjoy the room again. This week, we are getting new hardwood flooring installed upstairs, hence, we've had to clear out all our stuff from up there and spread it around other parts of the house. As of this morning, this is how our living room looks like:

A small price to pay for getting this beautiful, original 70's shag carpet replaced with hardwood:

Pics of the new floor to come next week...

19 November 2007

iPod touch surprise

I came in to work on this wet and gray Monday morning and found a very nice gift on my desk. An iPod Touch! It's a thank you gift from Navarik for all the hard work that has gone into creating and building our product - Navarik Inspection.

I've been with Navarik for seven years (longest I've ever worked in one company) and it remains such a great place to work. I truly am lucky to have a job that I thoroughly enjoy and to be in a company that makes me feel very much appreciated.

Go, Navarik!

16 November 2007

New toy

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new software for my Garmin 301 GPS system. Ascent organizes the data collected by my GPS while I’m training and I can use it to study how I’m progressing.

The main screen shows a calendar of the activities downloaded from my GPS. When I select a specific activity, it shows the speed, pace, distance, time, heartrate, etc. Every little thing I’d like to know about my run or paddle. The map is really good too because if I click on a particular lap or distance in the list below the calendar, it highlights on the map where that lap or distance was.

There is a full view of the just the map. Very entertaining to see how far (or not) I went. In this one, I was in an OC6 and we paddled from Burrard Marina to Stanley Park past Siwash Rock and close to the Lion’s Gate Bridge. The view of the city from the water is fantastic. As you can see from the image above, we paddled around 10 km that morning.

The activity detail graph is what I find really useful. I can study my speed or pace over time or distance, which is really helpful when training. Or for races, the coach can see how the team did at different legs of the course. Pretty neat tool. The green line graphs the speed and the red line graphs my heart rate.

I like my new toy. I could spend hours just analyzing the data collected by my Garmin. Geeky fun!

8 November 2007

Silvia Dotto pottery

When “someday” becomes today...

For the past five or six year, I’ve attended Circle Craft every November. And every year, I go to Silvia Dotto’s display to admire her work. And every year, I tell myself that someday, I will have a few of Silvia’s serving dishes. Someday. Two years ago, Yvette had the bright idea of asking Ed to get a flat platter for my birthday. I absolutely loved the platter and have used it many times since. (Thanks, Vet and Ed!)

A few days ago, I got an email about the up-coming Culure Crawl from Silvia and she announced that after more than 10 years of making them, she will be retiring her serving collection. She will be putting her creative energies into new endeavours. My initial reaction was NO!!! Her pottery is so beautiful. But I can understand her need for more artistic challenges.

I decided that I have to get one more piece before they go away. (Ed agreed!) So last night, I went to her studio to pick out another platter. Well, I ended up buying a bowl (in aqua) AND a platter (in espresso brown). It was just so hard to pick just one. Totally not budgetted whatsoever but I didn’t really care. These pieces are what heirlooms are made of. And they will be put to good use.

I parked them on our dining table last night and just stared at them with a smile on my face. Someday is today. And it felt really good.

4 November 2007

Neo going for a walk

Whenever I mention that I take my cats out for a walk, people chuckle. They think it's weird. Well, both my cats love going outside for a little stroll. Of course, they would love it more if I just let them roam by themselves but they are indoor cats and the only way I would let them out is if they have a leash on.

Here's a photo of Neo on our evening stroll. So cute!

Navarik Halloween

Navarik Halloween, originally uploaded by Liezel&Ed.

Several Navarik folks donned their costumes in hopes of winning the best costume award, plus to have some Halloween fun. Congratulations to Dave K. (winner) and Randy R. (runner-up) for the win.

My faves were Noel's Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andy's samurai. Noel's wife actually sewed the robe, with lining so that it's not itchy to wear! Thumbs up from me.

22 October 2007

More babies

In July 2006, I made a list of the people I know who have had babies since April 2005.
Kai (Cathy and Carl)
Elise (Kari and Nathan)
Darren (Janet and Orvin)
Olive (Lou and Ryan)
Madison (Lynn and Don)
Adrian (Darren and Amy)
Matias (Mel and Nick)
Keaton (Veronica and Jeremy)

Since July 2006, there have been even more babies:
Joshua (Yvette and Brian)
Owen (Susan and Mike)
Elijah (Erin and Gary)
Senna (Leah and John)
Keira (Sharon and Norm)
Isabella (Mark and Linda)
Layla (Mubina)
Justine (Andrew and Monica)
Kelly (Elaine and Elton)
Lucas (Marty and Christine)
Luke (Shelley and Mark)
Selena (Shirley and Len)
Madelin (Monica and Josh)

And three guys at work are expecting babies early next year, too. Must be something in the water....

15 October 2007

A lesson in budgeting - or not

I’ve never owned a TV. Ed inherited his family’s TV, which they bought in the early 90’s. It’s served us well until last year when the top part of the screen started to show lines. And then the bottom part joined in too. If you bang the TV repeatedly, the lines went away. But sometimes, it would ignore the banging and keep showing the lines. Since we can still see 90% of the picture, we just let it be.

Then a few months ago, instead of the lines showing up, the picture disappeared, the screen turned black and a white horizontal line appeared in the middle of the TV. We banged on it; nothing happened. We figured out that we had to turn off the TV for 5 to 10 minutes and try again. Sometimes doing that once did the trick. Sometimes we had to do that several times.

We started shopping for a new TV. A friend of ours bought a 37“ LCD TV for $1,200. So that set our budget. I thought a 32” would be fine (and we can spend less than $1,000) but Ed said that in order to have a picture that’s the same height as our dying TV, we needed to get at least 37“. Fine. Then Ed said we shouldn’t get anything below 1080p because blah, blah, blah. Whatever. Fine. Budget is now $1700. As we compared different brands, Samsung and Sony became the top two choices. I said I prefer Sony. Budget is now $1900. Aiya! Where is this going to end?

Last Friday, I saw a flyer that advertized a 40” Sony TV for $1688 at The Brick. The same TV at Future Shop was selling for $1,900. Wow, it’s a great deal! So off we went to The Brick. Get there, buy the TV, and get out, right? Nope. There’s this Sony home theatre system that’s HDMI blah blah blah that if you buy it with the TV, the package will cost $1,998. $300 for a $1,000 home theatre? How can we not buy it? So we did.

So much for having a budget! We suck.

3 October 2007

House stuff

Ed and I haven't done much home renovations this year. Too busy with paddling, too lazy to do anything when we're not paddling. But now that race season is over, we're catching up on some stuff.

First up, the lovely wallpaper in the kitchen. We actually started stripping the wallpaper last July. The wall sat bare for a couple of months. I sanded it a couple of weeks ago and this week, Ed put primer paint on it. It is now officially ready to be painted!

Do I miss the yellow flowers on the wall? Not really.

The other thing I did was hang framed prints on the dining room wall. Next thing for the dining room is to replace the massive light fixture that dominates the room currently.

For the living room, I purchased pillow forms for the throw pillow covers I bought in Manila a year ago. Yes, it took me a year to buy pillow stuffing. And I found out that they sell pillow forms in even sizes - 14 x 14, 16 x 16, etc. Well, the throw pillow cases I have are 15 x 15. So they do look too big for the 14 x 14 pillow forms I bought. Probably will take me another year to fix that.

Our big ticket item this year will be the new carpet for the upstairs. I really am looking forward to replacing our 70's shag carpet. Although I'm not looking forward to Bob and Neo clawing away at the new carpet. Darn those cats.

Next year, maybe we will renovate the kitchen. Maybe... We have asked for a quote from one company already. We'll see how much they quote. At the rate we're going, probably will take us five years to get that new kitchen.

20 September 2007

End of summer

Signs that summer is ending:
- The dock at False Creek is very quiet now; dragon boat season is done.
- I’ve had to turn on the heater in the house.
- Air is crisp and cool, even when the sun is shining.
- New episodes on TV.
- NHL is back on.

Summer just zoomed by. I’m kind of sad it’s coming to an end.

11 September 2007

Cooking for friends

Last weekend, I cooked for my friends. Every other month, we have a dinner date with a group of our friends. We call it “dine in/dine out“. I got the idea from my friend, Lizza, who does a similar get-together with her friends in Spokane. There are eight of us (four couples) in our group and we each take turns organizing what the group will do or where the group will eat for that get-together. This is our way of ensuring that we all see each other at least once every two months, since our schedules tend to be pretty busy. Most of the time, we eat out or order food in.

But I was in a cooking mood. Ed and I have not been home a lot the last month or so. I don’t think I cooked a meal at home the entire month of August. So I found myself missing my kitchen and wanting to do homey stuff. Like cooking. I chose dishes from the Wild Rose cookbook that I can prepare for our friends. Simple, healthy yet delicious dishes. I made salsa, rice pilaf (basmati), steamed vegetables, lemon tahini dressing, lentil dahl, and baked herbed red snapper. I quite enjoyed preparing the meal for Ed and our friends, and I was proud of it (I don’t normally cook). I felt quite happy having friends around the table, enjoying the meal I prepared. But it can’t all be healthy stuff - we balanced it out with some cake from Pine House bakery.

29 August 2007

Too long

Wow, summer has certainly zoomed by. It's been too long since I last posted here. The days since I went go-karting seemed to have started and ended with me always in a rush to get work done, to meet deadlines, to get to paddling on time, etc, etc. Rushing. That's a perfect way to describe the last month.

What have I been up to since my go-karting evening...
- Ed and I attended Paul and Teresa's wedding (wonderful celebration!)
- We went camping at Green Lake - actually cabin-ing is a more appropriate description
- We went to Vernon with our DB team for the Vernon DB Festival
- I went to Vernon (again) with the FCRCC Outrigger team to compete in the 45km Fresh Water Challenge
- I volunteered to be a timer for the novice and womens races during the Outrigger Nationals in Kits
- Ed and I went to Calgary with Without Warning to compete in the Club Crew qualifiers
- And in between all the paddling and road trips, I worked and worked and worked.

Yes, it's been a busy summer. Regrettably, I have not been in touch with family and friends much. But with my paddling season winding down, there will definitely be more time for that.

I'm looking forward to a lazy weekend where I can just sit at home and hang out with Ed and our cats. I'm crossing my fingers that weekend will come soon...

12 July 2007


I’ve never gone go-karting before, until last night. I went with my workmates and we had a blast. I didn’t expect to have soooo much fun driving a little, speedy, noisy go-kart around and around a track, passing and bumping (not on purpose) other go-karts. I started out very slowly and tentatively. I just wasn't sure how to handle the car in the turns and how fast it can go without me losing control. We got to race four times and with each race, my confidence grew and I got faster and faster. I even finished second in one race. I still can’t believe how much I enjoyed it. Definitely have to do that again!

Gibsons race

July 7, 2007
27km! I actually did it. I raced with the FCRCC outrigger womens #2 crew - Jen, Sandra, Cathy, Lela, and Barb. I carpooled to Gibsons with Cathy on the Friday. On the ferry, we bumped into a couple of paddlers from Victoria. Mick started pointing at landmarks - this island and that island - and how we’re going to paddle from the island over there to the island over there and then to Gibsons over there. Like, far points over there! That was when it truly hit me that this race is freakin’ long! My heart started pounding and I started to feel very anxious. What the hell did I get myself into?!?

I had a restless sleep. The anxiety of the race made it impossible to sleep well. Woke up at about 6:30am and had a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Filled up my hydration system and got my energy gels ready.

Time to race. The first leg of the race had big waves. I still find it awkward paddling in big waves but I concentrated on getting into the forward lean position to plant my blade and catch. I guess paddling in big waves is more fun and interesting than flat water. I just need to get more comfortable doing it. We finally got calmer water once we turned around Hut Island and paddled the length of Bowen Island. The boat also sagged at that point. But we battled through it and got some power pieces in there. I set my Garmin GPS to beep every 15 mins and also every 9km. I started thinking of the race as 15 min pieces and that helped a lot in keeping my focus. I could do a 15 min piece, no problem, and focusing on the task at hand that way was a big help. I focused on my technique - keeping my back tall, swinging my hip forward as I reach it out, leaning forward solidly for the plant, burying the blade fully, and using my legs for the pull. I thought about acceleration through the water. But as I got tired, the harder it was to do that. But really, all I thought about throughout the race was keeping my form solid and doing what it took to keep pulling hard.

The third leg of the race, we turned away from Bowen and started heading back towards Gibsons, was wavy and windy again. This last leg was pure adrenalin. I think all of us got a second or third wind because we got the boat to glide a lot better. The most tiring part for me was around km 20 when Barb had me paddle on the left side for a while to help keep the boat stable through the waves. It must have been around 6 hut-ho’s that I stayed on the left. It was like dragon boating but after paddling for 20 kms first. That one hurt.

Our time was 2 hrs and 42 mins and we came in 5th overall (out of 11) in the women’s category. I think that was a good showing for a crew that had a newbie who had never paddled 27 kms before. I was very happy with how I did and how my body held up. Staying hydrated did wonders and eating properly before the race helped, too. When we crossed the finish line, I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that I did it! What an amazing feeling that was. I think that’s what people who finish a marathon for the first time feel. Disbelief and pride, all rolled into one big emotion. It was great!

21 June 2007

Paddle, paddle, paddle

In years past, I would start training with my dragon boat team in late January in preparation for the Alcan Dragonboat Festival in June. Alcan was always the focus. After Alcan, our training tapers off until the next festival - sometimes it would be Victoria in August, most times it would be Kelowna in September. But training for these festivals would never get as intense as the training for Alcan. I always thought it was a shame that we put in months of work in the first half of the year in order to compete in two or three festivals for the year.

This year, the summer will be different for me. Alcan was last weekend and instead of it being the start of tapering off, it puts my racing season into full gear - for dragon boat and outrigger. Looking ahead to July and August, I have two more dragon boat festivals and three outrigger races to compete in. If my dragon boat team decides to go to Kelowna, then that's another one I can race in come September. It's going to be a busy summer...

The other thing that's different is the amount of paddling I'm doing. In years past, the week after Alcan was spent off the water. This year, after racing in nine races during the Alcan weekend, I went out in the OC1 to practice for an upcoming time trial the day after Alcan. On Tuesday, I had a coached session in an OC1 and paddled around 8km. On Wednesday, I had a practice with the OC6 crew and we paddled over 12km. That's a lot of paddling. Tomorrow and Friday will be rest days. It's time for some rest.

So, if you're wondering what I've been up to lately, there's your answer. Paddle, paddle, paddle.

6 June 2007

Radio station

Z95.3 closed it’s radio station last Monday. Just like that, Nat and Drew were gone. I wake up every morning to Nat and Drew. I wonder what happened.

In any case, I started looking for a different station while driving to work and stumbled across 107.9. They played alternative, some rock, a little pop. It’s a good mix and hardly any ads or contests and sh*t like that. Found out today that it’s a station run by BCIT students who are in the school’s radio programming and management program. Pretty cool!

5 June 2007

Big Navarik

This morning, I introduced myself to someone we hired a month ago. Navarik has gotten this big - that we can hire somebody and not get to meet or interact with them for an entire month. Very strange. I kind of miss the days when there were just a few of us and we all knew each other well and you could feel the camaraderie the moment you stepped into the office. It’s not that it’s bad now, just different. I guess that’s just part of getting bigger.

27 May 2007

Mexican? No, Mediterranean.

On Kingsway and Fraser, there is a restaurant that has on its awning...
Super Burrito
Meditteranean Cuisine


26 May 2007

Jericho Iron race

Last Saturday, I raced my first ever 15km OC6 race. My shoulders were tired, my butt was sore, my legs felt like jello, and my mind went numb. I kinda wondered why people do this! In a weird, sadistic, painful way, it was fun. How far can you paddle before your body gives you the boot?

It was a little cool and cloudy but the water was fairly calm and the wind just slight. Good paddling conditions. I always feel nervous before a race and that morning was no different. I did my yoga stretches before I left the house and I did a quick jog to get the blood flowing once I got to Burrard marina. Met up with the other paddlers and we made our way to Jericho. Just before 12:30, we boarded our OC6 and made our way to the start line. Except that nobody seemed to know where the start line was. We were moving up the boat to where we thought it was when we heard the start gun go off. Oh shoot! We’re going? I was on my off-side but what the heck, let’s do a start, shall we? So off we went and we actually did a pretty decent start. Ready and reach, I heard, and I settled in to our race pace. It’s a long race and I wanted the rate to be low and steady so we don’t burn out and fizzle midway. I was sitting in the first seat and my job was to set the pace for the rest of the team.

All the mens teams sprinted off ahead of us and behind us was a pack of the mixed teams. We were in the middle of the two packs, basically by ourselves all the way through. It was hard to gauge how fast we were going or if we were holding up our pace. I just kept the rhythm pretty steady and hoped that we were doing okay.

We finished third out of eight mixed teams, clocking in at 1 hour 28 mins. This was a very good result for us and we were all pretty happy with how we did. We could hard walk after all that paddling but we were happy.

1 Lotus Mixed Open 1:19:33 1
2 Pacific Reach Mixed Masters 1:24:35 1
3 FCRCC Ke Kumu O Ka La Mixed Open 1:28:49 2 <- that’s us!
4 Ocean River Mixed Masters 1:34:00 2
5 Powell River Mixed Snr Masters 1:37:45 3
6 FCRCC Mixed Masters 1:39:54 4
7 FCRCC Mixed Open 1:40:19 3

21 May 2007

Huli drill

Last Saturday morning, the OC6 race development crew went for a long paddle - 17km long. We are preparing for the Jericho Iron race this coming Saturday. We paddled hard, doing about four race pieces. We were paddling back to the dock when Norm, the coach, instructed all the boats to turn back towards Kits beach to do a huli drill. A huli is when the outrigger canoe capsizes and a huli drill is when we deliberately huli the canoe and practice getting back into the boat. Everybody in the boat has a job to do to get the boat back upright and going again as fast as possible. But after paddling 17km and with the water being cold, we didn’t really do the drill very fast. But we did it and we’re just happy that it’s over and done with. Hopefully, there will be no huli this Saturday during the race....

7 May 2007

Start of the week

Halfway to work this morning, I realized that I left my work laptop at home. Ugh! Turned the car around to go back to the house. Not a good way to start the week.

4 May 2007


I’m getting on the Google bandwagon. My Google experience has mainly involved the search engine and Google maps. But now, I’m trying out iGoogle and it rocks. It is the page you get when you sign in to Google and iGoogle lets you customize it by adding tabs and widgets into it. I have my top news stories, the google reader, google talk, the calendar, gmail, and as of today, I added the Flickr Nugget. Pretty cool stuff...

1 May 2007

Getting faster

I took the OC1 for another 5k loop last night. Actually, according to my GPS, the route from FCRCC dock to Science World and back is 4.73km. Anyway, last February, I clocked in at 39:42 mins. Last night, my time was 37:37 mins. Gotta get to 35 mins by end of summer...

25 April 2007

Brains in the family

My niece, Andie, was recently admitted to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) in Alexandria, Virgina. And my entire family is so very proud of her. Getting into this school is difficult, to say the least. This year, around 3200 students applied and only 500 were admitted. Certainly, only the top of the top students in Fairfax county and surrounding areas have a chance of getting in.

And my ultra bright niece is one of them! Wow!

We always knew she was gifted. When a 6 year old reads all the Harry Potter books and actually understands them, it’s pretty clear that she’s gifted.

When Andie was in the sixth grade, she wrote the SAT exam. She scored high enough to be close to the score expected of geniuses. Sixth grade! In the two years since, she has learned algebra and trigonometry. She has practiced her writing skills. All in preparation for the admission test into TJHSST. There was an essay portion and a multiple choice portion in the admission test. She nailed them both!

Come September, Andie will be joining the other gifted students in this school. What an exciting opportunity! I am so thrilled for her. More important than her academic achievements, Andie is a sweet girl, a caring big sister, and a loving daughter. What an amazing person she is. Congratulations, Andie!!!

And kudos to my brother and his wife for being such diligent and supportive parents! Congratulations to all of you!

16 April 2007

Official time

My official Sun Run time is 58:18! Yay!

2007 Sun Run

For the second straight year, I signed up for the Sun Run. Last year, I clocked in at 62:30 and was pleased with that time. My target last year was 65 mins. As a first year runner, I followed the training program religiously as I built up my endurance and got used to running. Well, jogging. During last year's race, I had a "I should walk for a little bit/No, keep running" type of conversation going on in my head by the midway mark. I remember just feeling so tired and my legs felt so heavy.

This year, my goal was to beat last year's time. But I was worried because I didn't train as consistently as I did last year. I travelled for work in January and February and these things tend to play havoc with my routine. So I really only started following the Sun Run training program starting in March. That gave me six weeks of running 2 to 3 times a week. I was not feeling so confident about achieving my goal until the Monday before the big race. I ran for 50 mins and covered 8.8km. Hmmm... I started thinking that I may actually do 10K in 60 mins!

This morning, the weather was cool but dry. A good day for a run. Over 54,000 people were participating and the energy could be felt everywhere. My favourite part of the run is the downhill stretch from the start time to Denman St. It's a great way to start a race and get the blood flowing. I kept track of my pace on my GPS monitor and by the time I hit the 4km mark, I knew I was ahead of my target pace. That gave me good energy to tackle the hill going up to Burrard Bridge. The stretch on 4th Ave didn't seem so bad this year. That was where I struggled last year but this time, I felt pretty good and not once did I think of walking to rest. Reaching Cambie Bridge, I kept telling myself to keep pushing because this is the difference between being under 60 mins and being above it. I crossed the finish line and I stopped my timer. It said 58:24! I was very happy with that time. I hope the official time is not too far off. It was really fun this year. It felt easier. I didn't feel like I was going to keel over or my legs were going to fall off, like last year.

I think I will sign up for another 10K run this year, just to give me incentive to keep running and training. Crossing that finish line below the target time is turning out to be addictive!

27 March 2007

New hairdo

I haven't changed hair style in a while - I went from long hair to a bob cut around two years ago. I decided recently that it was time to grow my hair again. So yesterday, my fabulous stylist, Sylvia, suggested I go for the hot look of the season - the blunt bangs. I was feeling adventurous so I said "sure!".

There you have it... A new look. I like it! I hope you do, too. :)

23 March 2007

New desk

This is my fourth desk location since Navarik moved to this office in May 2005. Just an hour ago, I moved my stuff from desk #3 to desk #4. It’s creepy how dusty everything gets around here. One good thing about moving is you get the chance to wipe the entire desk down and catch all those dust bunnies lurking behind the monitor.

I’ll have to check if my new desk is feng shui approved.

20 March 2007

Scary ATM

I went to visit my mom and brother in Richmond last weekend. Hung out at my mom’s place for a few hours, exchanging stories, catching up. We started talking about my dad and she said that my dad relies on my older sister to withdraw money from the bank for him because he’s afraid to use the ATM. I found this absurd. I mean, before retiring in the 90’s, my dad was a top executive at a bank. How could an ATM scare him? But my mom was insistent - it’s a machine, a computer, and we “older people” don’t know how to use it, she said. Then she admitted that she was scared to use the ATM, too, but she forced herself to do it. Her first two attempts, she made mistakes and got so rattled that she just strode off, leaving her withdrawn money in the machine. Good thing she withdrew just $20 each time.

I didn’t know what to say. I felt compassion for her and I was proud that in spite of her fear, she forced herself to keep up with the times by learning to use the ATM. But I also could not say that I understood, for I did not. I tried to think of something that would make me feel that way and I drew a blank. Maybe when I am my parents’ age I will know what it’s like. I hope not, though. I’d like to believe that my desire to figure things out will always overcome any fear of the unknown. That’s my hope, anyway.

5 March 2007

Warrenville, take 2

Been in Warrenville, IL since Feb 25 and tomorrow, I finally get to go home. I miss my boys - Ed, Neo, and Bob.

Like our visit here a month ago, this has been another food-fest. We have been eating very well and the portions here in the US is gigantic. So all that weight and fat I lost during our D-Tox cleanse are back, for sure. Oh well... Once again, I spent money on clothes. But this time around, I got to walk along the Magnificent Mile, and drive around the neighbourhood near Wrigley Field. We visited an area called Old Town, just north of the Chicago Loop, as well as a place called Geneva which is about a 15 min drive from Warrenville. Geneva is a quaint and picturesque village situated by the Fox river. Very pretty town. On a warmer day, walking along its pretty streets would have been a lot more enjoyable. As it was, we had to walk briskly because of the biting cold. But the thing that struck me the most was the blue, blue sky. Not a cloud in sight. It was a beautiful day.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my luggage will not weigh over 50 lbs or else they will charge me extra. I think it is in the high 40’s. I hope I’m right.

19 February 2007

Finally done

Ed and I are done with our Wild Rose D-Tox program, finally. The last day was last Friday. We have slowly started to eat the foods not allowed in the program. We both feel pretty good physically and overall, it was actually a good experience. I’m glad and proud that we did the cleanse. I think initially, we were nervous about it since we didn’t know what to expect but we proved to ourselves that we are able to be more organized about planning our meals and more importantly, we are willing to make the healthier food choices.

I’m certainly more aware now when I eat sugary or processed foods. I don’t deny myself but I also monitor how much of it I consume. I lost some weight during the D-Tox but I’ve gained some of it back already which I’m happy about. The big highlight for me during the twelve days is the meal I whipped up without a recipe. I actually invented a dish!

11 February 2007

Day 7 and counting

We’re on Day 7 of our D-Tox and so far, so good. We’ve tried new recipes and have been very diligent about sticking to the meal plan. I feel pretty good. I feel hungry more often, though, so it feels like I’m constantly eating. The downside is the more I eat, the more I need to plan ahead because I can’t just grab any convenience food. But aside from that, it’s been smooth going.

This morning, Ed and I joined our friends for dimsum. We had congee and some tofu but none of the really cool dimsum stuff. But it was not as traumatic as I thought it would be, sitting there with all this yummy food that I can’t eat within reach, just tempting me. Instead, I enjoyed my friends’ company and didn’t focus on the food. Come to think of it, I was slightly dreading going to dimsum but I ended up having a really good time.

8 February 2007


Tonight, I did my first ever non-stop 5km loop around False Creek. Usually, I rest when I reach Cambie Bridge and Science World. But tonight, there were no rest stops.

I started at the dock in Alder Bay, then out to False Creek and headed east towards Science World where I made a U-turn to go back towards Cambie Bridge. I continued west until the buoy across from the Granville Island Hotel where I turned left to cross False Creek to head back to Alder Bay.

My time: 39 mins and 42 seconds. My target was 40 mins so I’m happy about coming in just below it. It was a very calm night and the water was so still. On a windy, choppy day my time would have been above 40 mins. But still, it’s not bad for my first 5km loop. At least, I have a benchmark to work off of. By the end of the year, I should be closer to 35 mins. That’s the goal anyway, something to shoot for.

6 February 2007

A milestone

I am attending a seminar next Friday, Feb 16, which is Day 12 of my 12-day D-Tox program. I just called the company hosting the seminar to inquire about the lunch that will be served. I need to know if I’ll be able to eat anything they will serve.

I never, ever imagined that I would be one of these people who would have “special needs” for their food. I have certainly reached a new milestone for myself today. Too funny.

5 February 2007

Winter cleaning

Today is Day 1 of our 12-day Wild Rose D-Tox program. Ed was keen to do it and I volunteered to do the D-Tox with him since the diet is the big thing about the program. If I was going to worry about the food, then I may as well to the whole damn thing too. Plus after coming back from Warrenville, where I consumed restaurant food for 13 days, I felt really yucky inside.

So, here we are, eating super healthy meals with no additives or processed anything. We’re allowed to eat as much as we’d like but from a list of allowed and recommended items like buckwheat, brown rice, beans, fish, vegetables, etc. Unfortunately, chips are under the “not allowed” list. Rice cakes with almond butter just doesn’t sound as enticing as cheese puffs.

The biggest adjustment is the planning for meals and snacks since we will not have the luxury of take out or granola bars. But, it is only for 12 days. Totally manageable! At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself until we’re done.

12 January 2007

A taste of the life

This whole week, I’ve been in Warrenville, IL working at a client’s office. Every day was spent in meetings, going over software requirements line by line. Long, tedious meetings and discussions that were very useful to us understanding better what the client wants and needs. It’s been a really fruitful and insightful week, but very draining.

This has been our routine. We arrive at the client’s office before 9am and the morning session goes from 9am to noon. We eat lunch at cafeteria, which is pretty nice and serves good food. The afternoon meeting goes from 1pm to 5pm. Then we check our email, make phone calls to the office, etc. Then we head back to the hotel and we partake in the happy hour at the hotel lobby. They serve a different treat everyday (chicken wings, mozzarella stick, etc) and we can enjoy some wine. After happy hour, we either rest up or work out. Three times this week, I managed to head to the gym and run on the treadmill for 30 mins. Kind of feels weird doing this after having even just a few sips of wine. Then we meet up for dinner. We’ve had Korean, stir fry, pizza, seafood, pasta, and so on. I have a container of Ben&Jerry’s ice cream in the fridge in my room. Eating is such an easy pasttime when there’s nothing much else to do. Scary.

After getting back to the hotel, we do more work, send more email, watch TV, then go to sleep.

This is the life of a contractor who travels to the customer’s office. Work, work, work, eat, eat, eat, then work some more. Once I get to my hotel room, I can’t seem to stop myself from going to the computer to review the notes for that day, to add more things to my to do list, and do more work. And even when I manage to close my laptop, my brain still doesn’t stop. It’s churning away, going over the discussions we had that day, thinking of what should be done and what will be coming in the next few weeks and months. Thinking, thinking, thinking. The only time my brain would stop thinking about work is when I watch TV. No husband and cats to distract me. No home to be my retreat.

This week has been a great learning experience and this will really help me do my job better. This business travel life, though, I can’t imagine how people do this week after week. I’d get really fat if this was my way of life. Especially with the size of food servings here. Even the salad is in a massive bowl.

Anyway, I miss my home, my hubby, my cats. Here, it’s me and my Mac. Not quite the same.

Tomorrow, though, Randy and I get to explore downtown Chicago. Yay, it’s a break from working all the time and living in a hotel. We plan to visit the Art Institute, Michigan Ave, and Museum of Science and Industry. I’m looking forward to it very much.

8 January 2007

Are you over 25?

When Randy and I picked up the rental car at Hertz at O’Hare airport on Sunday, we informed the lady processing our rental that I will be an additional driver. She looked at me and asked if I was over 25 years of age. 25! I actually was speechless for about two seconds because I was mulling whether she asked that question all the time or if she actually thought I was around 25. Then Randy blurts out “25 years old?!?” and I realized that she didn’t ask him if he was over 25. Oops. I told her that I was, unfortunately, over 25. Randy asked her how old she thought I was and she said “hmmm, around 22 years old”. 22! Hahahaha.

4 January 2007

That went fast

It’s 2007. What happened to 2006? We celebrated the coming of 2006 at Paul Chung’s house and that party seems like it was just last weekend. Has it been a year? Lot of things did happen in 2006 but time sure just sped by. Let’s see... The highlights are:

• Training for and running in the 10k Vancouver Sun Run. I really was not much of a runner prior to that but after the first few painful runs in January, I began to enjoy it. By April, I was going on 10k runs after work. At the Sun Run, I finished in 62:30 minutes and I was happy with that result.
• Training for and competing at the Vancouver dragon boat festival in June. I took my training more seriously - running, weight training, time in the marathon canoes, and of course, our team practices. The hard work felt good.
• Trying out paddling in outrigger canoes starting in July. I joined the novice program at FCRCC and by August, I raced in my first ever outrigger race. It was in Vernon and it was a 27km long race that required water changes. It was a lot of fun!
• My first ever admission into a hospital’s emergency room. Interesting experience.
• Our visit to the Philippines. Definitely the highest of highlights for me and Ed. Spending time with family and old friends, visiting new places, experiencing new adventures. It was a wonderful trip.
• Christmas with Lizza and Pat in Spokane, WA. An excellent way to end the year.

Other very notable notables:
• !Dop Van Dop (aka Joshua) was born. Cute little sweetie.
• Josh and Mon got married. (and 5 other couple friends tied the knot and we got to share their special day with them)
• Introductory flying lesson. Thanks to Ed who gave the lesson to me as a Christmas gift, I spent an hour in a two-person plane and I even got to take the controls for a while. It was a little bit of a dream come true.

We had one lowlight - our house got broken into in late April. Bastards!

I’ve been thinking that 2006 was a humdrum year for me but after thinking back and recognizing the highlights and notables, it actually was a good year. There were some disappointments, definitely, and many things for me to improve on but I continued to have excellent health, a job that I enjoy, great friends, two very adorable cats, and a loving husband. I also spent more time with my family here in Vancouver and my sister in Manila. And these are really what matter. I look forward to being blessed with these gifts again in 2007.