Archive for April, 2010

The lake

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Beddis Beach

At the spa the massage table that Steph was laying on collapsed, pitching her naked onto the floor and the table landed on top of her. The staff were mortified and all crowded in to help at once, which is maybe not the most relaxing thing to have happen to you when you’re feeling kind of naked, vulnerable and stunned.

We laughed about it in the hot tub afterward. She has a big bruise on her leg. She expressed surprise that they insisted that she not pay for her spa treatment, which I found weird.

There was confusion as to whether it was a hot tub or a jacuzzi.

While we were in the hot tub we all decided that we would run and jump in the lake and then run screaming back to the hot tub. We ran down to the dock and tried to mentally prepare ourselves for jumping in. Everyone called out “One… Two…” but before we could say three, Mye had already jumped in.

Cusheon Lake

Immediately she began flailing about. “You forgot to take off your glasses,” Mary-Lee shouted, but the look on her face was unmistakably the one you see on small children who are drowning in public pools. Shit, she doesn’t know how to swim. Luckily she wasn’t very far away from the dock and got herself out.

She was a little annoyed that we hadn’t jumped in with her. “Well, if you’d stayed in there any longer I probably would have jumped in to save you,” I said.

The experience had reawakened her fear of water so she decided to cook dinner while the rest of us went canoeing on Cusheon Lake. In boats I have a habit of going into coaching mode where I boss people around with enthusiastic constructive feedback. Luckily Steph isn’t the sort of person who gets annoyed by all this so our canoe was doing really awesome. The other canoe was experiencing control issues. The sun set so Steph and I canoed back in but we couldn’t find the other boat anywhere. It was pitch black out so we were a little concerned.

They made it in finally for dinner, which was excellent. We had pasta with garlic goat cheese, zucchini, mushrooms and bacon sauce. I love traveling with foodies.

Ganges and Beddis Beach

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Centennial Park, Ganges

Ganges Market

really good cheese at Ganges Market

Saturday morning we headed down to the infamous market at Ganges, which I would imagine would be a pretty happening place in the summer.

It’s a bit early for a lot of local produce to be available yet but we picked up lots of cheese, some bean sprouts, mushrooms and a big loaf of grainy bread.

Mye obsessed over a really cool mug that she found and eventually bought, but it was torture getting to that point. I had hoped to find some interesting wool there because there are several farms, spinners and dyers on the island but no such luck.

No one consented to being dragged to the yarn store so I didn’t go. We were running out of time anyways. The girls had booked spa treatments for the afternoon so we headed back to our cabin.

Beddis Beach

While the girls were away, Wesley and I walked down to Beddis Beach. It seems to be the place where the locals walk their dogs. While I was looking for shells a lady approached me with a daschund and asked me what I was looking for. She said that sometimes she found agates on the beach. I told her that I’d found a bunch of jaspers. She gave me a handful of stones and we parted ways.

Beddis Beach

Onward, to Salt Spring!

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Swartz Bay

clouds breaking

The beginning of our trip was plagued with logistical problems as plans changed intentionally and unintentionally, no one really seemed to know what was going on.

Wesley and I ended up leaving early. We wanted to take a different route to the island and then walk to where we were staying. That was the plan. I made a mistake with the bus schedule that cost us valuable time. We missed our ferry and consequently spent a lot of time hanging out in ferry terminals.

Fulford Harbour

By the time we got there it was pitch black. “You really want to walk?” I asked, “there are no streetlights.” Turns out we didn’t have to walk though. Shortly after we started walking up the street a nice couple wearing Norwegian sweaters stopped and offered us a ride.

They were really nice. The lady told us all the horror stories about wild animals on the island. Apparently someone was trying to raise giant frogs for frog legs at some point but gave up on the venture and released them into the wild where now they roam free and terrorize small children who have to take the compost out.

Some of the deer are also pretty aggressive. One rammed a guy on a scooter one day and he really hurt his knee.

From where they dropped us off, it was a short walk through the dark to find where we were staying. The owners were asleep so they’d left us a handwritten note on the door telling us how to find our cabin.

And now we get to the real reason why I wanted to get there early: I love hiding in places so that I can jump out at people and startle them. Wesley and I hung out in the cabin for a few hours before everyone else was supposed to arrive then stashed all our stuff in a bedroom and carefully put all the furniture back the way it had been when we arrived.

We speculated as to where they could be and how long it would take for them to get there. Our phones got zero reception so we could only hope that they’d gotten on a ferry. We began to calculate the time they would arrive down to the second, thinking up variables… revising… revising… We were bored and we didn’t have a TV.

Finally I heard a car door slam and we hid in a bedroom. A couple minutes later they entered the cabin, sounding very confused that we weren’t there. We jumped out of the room and they shrieked in a way I found most satisfying.

Writing papers

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Things are kind of quiet over here right now. I’m a little bogged down with some school work, and planning to run off to Saltspring next week where I will be sans internet and electronics for a while. I’ll take lots of pictures though, so you can expect them sometime next week.

I’m writing a paper. First things were:

status report: erin v. paper from hell

And then they were:

status report: erin v. paper from hell

And then words started to come. This is always how it works. It may surprise some people that I’m a very slow thinker. When I’m writing papers, I have to gather all the information together and ideally sit around doing nothing for a couple weeks. It’s kind of like composting. You throw all the stuff in and then you just have to let it do it’s thing.

Sometimes it takes time, but it always works.

Sure, they tell you to write a thesis statement or an outline and then research around it or to start writing early, but with me this is an exercise in futility. Crappy words get written down that never survive the edit. No point.

Security questions

Thursday, April 15th, 2010


We’ve been hearing stories about a scam where someone phones you claiming to be from a hospital or something and asking you to wire money to them to help out your family member who is out of the country. A lot of people fall for this, apparently, because they panic, it’s an emergency, their loved one is in another country.

People suggest that you should have a code word or a security question to ensure that you’re sending money to the right person. Sounds like a good idea to me, seeing as we’re shipping my sister off to Fiji for a couple months.

All the standard ones are boring. I get tired of reciting my mother’s maiden name and my dad’s middle name and the city my high school was in. I do this fairly often with the Visa company because my mom is forever accidentally putting payments on my card instead of her own and then I have to call to sort it out. *

So consequently we started coming up with new, more interesting ones:

What is Erin’s super special nickname for her cat Lou?

Which papier mache animal did Erin take as her carry-on baggage through the Calgary International Airport?

What am I referring to when I say the phrase “black butter”?

And speaking of butter, what is the ideal kind to pair with myzythra cheese?

How long did One-Eyed Riley the fish live?

Erin spent her 16th birthday in a hardware store. Why was she there?

Who was Alfonso and what disability did he have?

If you know the answers to all these questions, feel to extort money from me to your heart’s content.


* No, my mom does not pay my Visa bill. It’s a long story involving my sister owing me money and my mom owing her a similar amount so she made a payment on my account online and we called it even. Now that she’s set up to pay on my Visa online, she sometimes clicks the wrong box and then I end up with a couple thousand dollar credit on my account and I have to phone the company and explain what went wrong. This seems to happen every couple months.

Last few days

Monday, April 12th, 2010


I headed downtown to class to find that it had been cancelled last minute so I wandered around for a bit. It’s gorgeous outside. I wish I had the time to take pictures.

The paper that’s been giving me hell for the past couple weeks suddenly got a lot easier. Suddenly resources have materialized out of nowhere and I actually have stuff to write about now. I don’t know how that happened. I’m not going to question it. I’ll just write.

Maybe this new development will help my insomnia. I’m not a good sleeper at the best of times but the past two nights have been awful.

I can’t wait for the semester to be over. I have a huge backlog of ideas for things I want to do that I don’t have time for.

Weekend recap

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

BC Rock and Gem Show

This week has thrown one thing after another at me, some planned, others unplanned that have eaten up time that I had set aside for working on a paper that in spite of my best efforts is just not taking shape.

Beyond that, I spent today at the BC Rock and Gem Show. It was pretty much the same as it is every year, though gradually a lot of the exhibitors are getting younger and the population of the old rockhounds, the grandparently people that always reminded me of my grandparents, is thinning out.

There was some interesting work in the display cases but overall I didn’t see much that really excited me this year. My ever-tightening belt meant I walked out without really spending any money, except for buying a couple new bristle sanding discs which should be fun to use.

Before that I also spent some time at the Reel 2 Real Film Festival which is on until the end of this coming week. I’m not entirely sure why I don’t mention this organization more. I think it’s that I have a complicated relationship with my blog where I want to tell the world about all the wonderful things I do but sometimes I write stuff on here that makes me uncomfortable about outing myself.

Anyways, it’s a cool little organization that I’ve been involved in for a very long time.

My other cat, Lou, is lonely without Sal around. She’s been fussing a lot. The other morning she fussed until my mom put some milk down for her, but she didn’t drink it. She never drinks milk in the morning; Sally does. Lou’s kind of autistic. She doesn’t like this change to her routine and it freaks her out. They’ve been talking about getting another cat.

BC Rock and Gem Show

Sal, 1991-2010

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Sal, 1991-2010

I was going to knit her a sweater. I dreamed up the idea one night. She had gotten really skinny and she was old so she got cold easily. Every day she liked to go outside but it’s cold out so I was going to knit her a sweater. It was kind of a stupid idea but I don’t always know what to do.

I want to be able to do things, to fix them. I rarely can.

Over the Easter break she started having problems. One night she started howling for no particular reason and she seemed to be having trouble breathing. After a few hours she rallied and was back to normal, but the laboured breathing returned that night and the next day and it didn’t get any better so we put her down today.

I wasn’t there, but I heard that she had a nice morning – a dish of milk, a walk outside. I’m not sure why but hearing about that was harder than hearing about how she was dead.

These sorts of things happen to me all the time; I’m used to it.

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Indian Arm from RCB

I ran for the skytrain at Metrotown and got caught in the doors while they closed. Usually they open again when things get caught in them but this time they didn’t. I managed to force myself in but the doors closed tight around the strap of my messenger bag and would not let go.

I stood there for a moment in disbelief as the train began to move. The wind picked up the bag and it began to flap around while I held onto the straps so it wouldn’t fly away.

People were whispering to each other that my bag was stuck on the outside of the train. I took the time to turn around and introduce myself to the people in the car. I laughed self-consciously, announced that the next stop was Patterson Station and waited for the time to pass. Metrotown and Patterson are not very far apart but the distance felt huge.

Things were fine until my bag collided with the train going the other direction. There was a huge thump and one of my notebooks went flying off into the abyss. “Something fell out…” a man said. He then repeated it another two times. Maybe my “yes, I noticed, thanks,” was too calm and not enough acknowledgment for him.

Finally we made it to the station and I was able to pry my bag from the doors and assume a really nonchalant position.

When I got to class I surveyed the damage. A jar of beads had smashed inside and my clipboard was a little bent. It wasn’t until I started unpacking it that a bunch of beads began to fall out onto the floor through a brand new six inch long gash in the bottom. I needed to replace my bag anyways. Though given the placement of the large hole, if I’m careful about how I pack my bag it will probably last another 4-6 months.

It could have been worse. I could have lost my phone or my wallet. My computer or my camera could have been in there, but they weren’t. All the expensive and important things emerged unscathed.

But why my notebook? My notes and sketches were in that book and it left me lost. All through class I didn’t know what to do. My instructor kept asking me what I was working on and I didn’t have a good answer. I just filed the edges of a silver sheet flat, made a lot of dust. I’ve been a little spacey all day.

I went looking for my notebook afterward but I didn’t see it because it was very dark and the area between the two stations is full of bushes and ditches. In all likelihood the book is still up on the tracks somewhere. I doubt I will see it again.

Pudding eggs

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

pudding eggs

It’s Easter! That means it’s time for pudding eggs, affectionately known in our house as little balls of shit. The recipe was torn out of a magazine in the early 90s and has dwelled in the bottom of my mom’s recipe box ever since. The photo shows some rather beautiful looking truffles with smooth coats of chocolate, piped-on designs in alternating colours of chocolate, sprinkles, sugar rosettes…

Yeah, I don’t know how they make them look like that. Every time we make them at home they just look like turds.

The best flavour is pistachio with a chocolate coating. Now I find them a little too sweet for my taste, but it doesn’t really stop me from eating a lot of them the one time of year they get made.

For the past week one of my roommates has been asking me all sorts of technical questions about Christian practices around this time of year. I keep telling her that I’m not Christian so I don’t know but this doesn’t seem to register with her so she keeps asking.

Stat holidays are always for yardwork. Around Easter time that means turning over beds in the garden and adding manure. There’s not much difference between Easter and any other stat holiday, except for maybe the pudding eggs.

pudding eggs