Monthly Archives: March 2009

Adventure Saturday: Fort Langley, BC

One year and 200 posts later, I celebrate my blog’s anniversary with a return to antiquing. You might recall last March when I came home with this champagne bucket from Mission. That seven dollar bucket still brings me great joy. It’s funny how far small wins can take us. I am glad I stuck with blogging – otherwise I wouldn’t have this circle to complete  and a few wonderful readers to complete it with. I really appreciate everyone who’s stopped by Champagne Wednesdays and I’ve especially loved when you’ve left your comments. I’m pretty certain a few bottles of bubbly have been cracked as a result- and that is the ultimate reward.

This March, we headed to Fort Langely, in part to peruse the Antique Mall, in part to go to the Fort Langely pub, and in part to try and ride the Albion Ferry before it closes forever this July. Here is what most Vancouverites know about the Albion Ferry: 7 to 10 sailing waits. You hear it everyday on the radio and it makes you really, really happy you don’t live outside of the Vancouver-core – at least that has been my experience.

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Unfortunately, Fort Langely was very rainy and very cold. So we cut short all the hustle and bustle of Fort-life, skipped the obligatory gelato, reminsced quickly about the days of yore and headed fairly directly to the pub. But even in our rush to be seated fireside with beer, we saw a few gems that are worth returning to on sunnier days:

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1) Coast Perrenials – a pretty little garden shop with every variety of well-marked herb you can think of at growers’ prices. Next to the hardware store.

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2) Summer house: a charming, weathered atilier with modern fashion and bohemian antiques. Perfect for finding the quintessential white summer dress.

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3) Admittedly hard-to-spot through a jungle of trinket-hell, a few fine antiques at good prices. This Medalta stone pot was a steal for $92.

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5) A little puppy love along the Fort to Fort trail linking Fort Langely to Derby Beach Regional Park. It’s not the prettiest trail but you can walk forever along a riverside path with no cars. What more can a dog-owner ask?      

6) And finally, the pub itself.  A pint of Rickard’s Red and a colourful meat draw between 1pm and 2pm. It’ll have you singing, I’ve been working on the railroad before you know it. I would stick to your standard beef dip, burger, french fries fare. I saw a shrimp melt. It wasn’t pretty.

Oh yeah…and there were hats!

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PS: We did not ride the Albion Ferry afterall. There was a long line-up.

Noted in the margins

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Perfect spot for blog strategizing with beer: Post Restaurant & Lounge, Seattle.

Patricia Gray, I am so glad you are from Vancouver. I am also glad you told me about these.  Spring picnics anyone?

And this snippet, from the poem Marginalia by Billy Collins and found on the blog Wide Open Spaces. It made laugh heartedly:

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written “Man vs. Nature”
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

Good Husband – check.

Climbing on Santorini 

I am one of those lucky women who can say they married well. Very well.  Look how he saved me from falling over this steep and unruly cliff. 

Ok, maybe he didn’t save my life, but he made my life. Even better.

Today’s proof: a smorgasaboard of muffins delivered to my office (in-person) from Fratelli Bakery – the centre of all things good, Italian and buttery on Commercial Drive.

Thank you, love.

J

Being Jennifer

Jennifer Bradford

As I clumsily move forward into the skin of a new last name, I am reminded of the formative powers of my first one. 

From the Jen11 show:

More than a million of us were dubbed Jennifer within the span of just fifteen years. From a place of relative obscurity, the name grew on a wave of sudden and unprecedented popularity. We’re starting to learn that the effects of this phenomenon were not entirely trivial. Now as an adult, Jennifer has become targeted as the highly sought after demographic of Generation X. In the business press, we are actually known as The Jennifer Demographic or Jen-eration and are told that “focus should be almost entirely onJennifer right now as habits of all other segments pale in comparison to hers.”

Most of us have some desire to feel unique, as though we have some authentic expression that is exclusively our own. So when the culture spins out the next trend based on you and your name, it is difficult to make sense of what is genuine. Maybe one truth that my Jen-eration makes visible is the simple reminder that we act collectively, often without even knowing it. Done with the right spirit, this can sometimes be the only way to act.

Ground Control to Vitamin V

This morning Vitamin V (or is it D now?) sent me my regular morning hit of spend-more-money, get-more-beautiful, we-are-fabulous. Given that I usually open their e-shout-out about 7:00am, on my way out of the shower, with a ratty towel twisted impossibly on top of my head and various creams covering various areas of concern on my face, I am usualy fairly receptive to their suggestions.

This morning, though, I emerged from the steam of my windowless bathroom….well….steaming. I sure hope they were halfway through a bottle of Cristal when they put together this list. Otherwise, it’s just cruel.

Vitamin AIG’s Spring-must-haves (you can view the actual items here):

  • Dress, $628
  • Dress, $555
  • Pullover, $338
  • Leather Jacket, $2,065
  • Boots, $360

Here’s what irked me most. They asked five Vancouver boutique owners to name their must-haves for spring. Fair-enough these would be pricey high-fashion items, after all, these are fashionable ladies. But editorially-speaking, would it not have made more sense to list the top 5 must-have items FROM Vancouver’s small business owners? Must-haves that willing disciples like me might actually be capable of running out and buying?

Now what am I supposed to wear?

Re-memory

This photo from Pia brings me back vividly to the brief time I lived on a sailboat in  Brentwood Bay.  The soundtrack of that memory is something I wish everyone to know. Imagine the most satisfying of yawns stretched out across a nighttime; sleep with more movement and stillness at once. Shhhh listen:  the small, charming music of sails in the rain.

Strawberry fields forever

I’ve been reading a lovely book titled “Cultivating Delight” by Diane Ackerman for the past week or so.  It’s the kind of book you wade through with your pants tucked into your boots. A wild, hairy field of fact and latin names and rich descriptions you must pick over once or twice before ingesting.  It’s far less depressing than Revolutionary Road, which should NOT be read in the winter and especially not if you traverse any bridges on your drive home. No, this book makes you notice life. The best part of my read has taken place when the book is closed, examining the yards of the houses I pass on my walks home, taking note of the varying degrees of whimsy and neglect. And despite the cold (which broke the first green fuses of the daffodils in our courtyard), signs of new growth are abundant. Despite whatever monotomy the 9 to 5 might bring, there is a current of life surging benath it, a contstant factory of change that can be just as satisfying as any drama one can cook up.

I picked you these phrases to enjoy:

“There is an ecology to every life, and each family a garden, where sensitive family members grow in varying degrees of harmony.”

“There is nothing like wide thoughts in a small garden.”

“Unfortuantely the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t include all those wonderful words in other languages for which we have no English equivalent, words we desperately need, such as Tierra del Fuegan mamiblapinatapei, which means two people ‘looking into each other’s eyes, each hoping that the other will initiate what both want to do but neither chooses to commence’…Or the Russian word ostranenie, which is when an artist makes the familiar seem strange, so that it can be seen freshly. Or aware, the Japanese word for the special poignancy one feels while  enjoying ephemeral beauty. Or the Indonesian phrase bolopis kuntil baris, which summons extra strength for carrying heavy objects….”

PS: Last night’s Champagne Wednesday was marked by a visit from the flooring man (we had a mini flood) and a bottle of Blonde De Noirs. It’s the one with Marilyn Monroe oozing hints of strawberryhigh-notes and toasted scandal on the front label. Let me say this loud and clear: YUM, YUM, YUM, MORE PLEASE.  As this particular bottle was a gift from the Sambrooks, we had a harder time than usual opening it. At least three or four times it came out of the fridge and then went right back in as we wagered: did we deserve this bottle? On a Wednesday? With frozen Costco french onion soup and tator tots? Thankfully, we came to our senses and then “pop” went the evening. The rest is all happy birthday, Mr. Husband from there.

PS: photo via Design Sponge

Favourite Dessert

My nephew has this very cute post-dinner habit of saying, “favourite. dessert” repeatedly until ice cream with chocolate sauce arrives on his plastic dining tray. Sometimes I know how he feels.

This weekend my favourite dessert came Sunday. After dropping a birthday present of magnolia branches off at my friend Kari’s house, Ash and I hiked around the beach at Cate’s Park and then settled onto the sunny patio at Arm’s Reach Bistro in Deep Cove.  With gloves, scarves and a wet dog (but no jackets), we felt sun on our faces , read books and watched a live “man-on-a-wire” demonstration in the park. 

I had: potato and leek pottage with crispy pancetta and white truffle oil.

He had: Bistro salad with seared sirloin, red grapes, pine nuts and balsamic magic.

We had: a nice time. Highly recommended day or night, but especially on the patio, whatever the weather.

J

Hi. I am returned.

From Little Brown Pen

Edit: Conversation continued at www.christinacrook.com

I come out of my blogernation (that’s the words blogging and hiberation conjoined like wiggly newborn twins) to bring you this article.

Is writing for the rich?

To me, it often seems  like more of a luxury than I can afford (whether that be with the riches of time, energy, currency, etc). My fellow blogger Christina, on the other hand, meets the sacrifice with devotion, and makes it all look very glamourous in the meantime (yes, even in a green barista apron). Her practice works – and career-wise, seems to be working very well for her. That is not to say, however, that writing isn’t still a huge struggle even for the successful – and living off of it a whole different story.  I write without expectation of pay. Mostly in private, but sometimes (here) very publicly. I can only imagine that if you were willing to fundraise for my employer for free, I would be ousted in no time at all.  

So I ask then is writing now purely for the hobbyists? Do I dillute the efforts of the truly brilliant with my on-air ramblings?

I wonder. I wonder. I wonder…out loud.

Thanks for reading.

Jen

PS: Photo borrowed from LittleBrownPen – an American writer living in Paris.