Tag: happiness

Everything is awesome!

Every single bit of me aches.

BUT THE COFFEE SHOP IS OPEN!!

We are back to 13s again. I left the Sensible Office Job on Friday 13th Feb, and today, 13th April, we opened the doors officially! So, I have only been working on this full time for two months. I’ve already blogged about the mysterious recurrence of thirteens in Canada – arriving during the year of our thirteenth anniversary, Miranda’s date of birth, and at the time, living on 13th Ave and working at 13th Ave coffee shop. Actually, if I remain pragmatic, none of that is anything other than coincidence or deliberate design; really I am trying to justify the significance of my 13 tattoo!! df5fb54a2120fec79f46bcb044a4e6ff

Including tackling a few social media explosions and replying to the daily onslaught of emails in the evenings, I am putting in 13 hour days as well. This is to be expected, especially in early days, but I had forgotten how tiring being on your feet all day is, compared with that comfy office job where your arse eventually ends up the same shape and size as your swivel chair. Or maybe I’m just older now. I have three wonderful part time staff at the moment, but I am still there myself all day, every day. Despite the exhaustion and achey feet, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it too!

And people are so lovely. Whereas our first official day (and the three “dress rehearsal” days last week where we put the open sign up on the off-chance that people would actually notice) – were not amazingly busy, it was enough to feel successful. The supportive friends gradually gave way to interested Twitter followers, who in turn were joined by hopeful caffeine-hungry local office workers. Word is getting out! We’ve received so many positive comments and well wishes that I can’t help but feel crazy-confident about the whole endeavour. Our new neighbours even arrived with bunches of flowers for us! As with Wheelie Good Coffee, the response contrasts so sharply with my experiences in Darlington that I’m convinced I must be on the right track finally.

That goes for everything else recently as well. I have my cafe business again, my wonderful hubby and brilliant beastling daughter, there is another Timbit daughter booting from inside my belly, my fantastic friends are all rooting for me from both sides of the atlantic, the Parents have just booked another trip back here for the summer, the sun in shining and all is right with the world! And I am very, very lucky.

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The Best Neighbourhood

I may have said this before: I love Regina, and Cathedral Village is definitely the best bit of it!
I have definitely said this before: It is frigging FREEZING. Eyelash-freezingly, thigh-numbingly, frost-bite-inducingly, Thermos-coffee-mug-thwartingly painfully, dangerously cold!! Sunday had a high -31 celcius.(-24 fahrenheit for American imperialists) and that was without the windchill. With the wind, it was -48, which is -54F. Yep, you guessed it, colder than the surface of Mars. Again.

I am not going to do another post about coldness though, I promise.

My parents came out here for Christmas again, and they now expect a white one – well, they certainly aren’t going to get it at home, are they? We had a lovely holiday, (as always) but it definitely wasn’t long enough. We did have some excursions, including a fantastic trip to Moose Jaw to Temple Gardens Spa, where it’s possible to bathe in hot, natural spring waters, (on the third floor, I might add), but then swim outside and steam in the sudden rush of the minus-ridiculous temperatures of the snowy roof patio. Amazing experience!! Dad’s hair froze, so we spiked it up for him….

Water: 43C Air - 25C
Water: 43C
Air – 25C

We also spent a while SKATING. I LOVE skating!!! Miranda loves it too! I was a bit wobbly at first -I didn’t actually get very good at it last year, but at least i can remain upright and propel myself along. Miri is getting very proficient on her little bobskates. We found there’s a rink at the park on McTavish st in Cathedral so we went there until we were joined by a junior hockey crowd and were humiliatingly overtaken by 6 year olds…. never mind, the Victoria Park rink, ten minutes walk in the other direction, is now open and is relatively hockey-free. Best of all, they hire out skates (for free) and even Mum was (almost) brave enough to have a go!

Not sure if we're holding Miri up or whether she's pulling us along...
Not sure if we’re holding Miri up or whether she’s pulling us along…

The rest of the time, we went for Cold Walks around the neighbourhood, being Beer Elves and making deliveries to Amy, or bringing the Christmas Octonauts magazine to Jeff and Bryony all the way from the UK. Miranda got a SLEIGH from Granny and Grandad for Christmas, which is absolutely brilliant – so much easier than negotiating the pushchair through the snow. Of course, we had to test it, so we bundled her up and went out to admire everyone else’s Christmas lights , most of which were considerably more impressive than our own!

Not our house
Not our house
Madam's carriage
Madam’s carriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, on our last weekend together, we went to the 13th Ave Records Rendevous at the Artesian. Loads of local bands, several with interchangeable band members, and seemingly trying to play “how many musicians can we fit on stage at once?” It was an excellent night (possibly not as good as the previous year’s – too much of one band, not enough tubas involved?!), and so good to see so much live music all from one small area. There was an after party at the German Club afterwards, which is a long way from Cathedral. The solution? Get the host, a hipster-with-a-megaphone to usher people on to a (free) bus, along with half a brassband and a country singer who stole the aforementioned megaphone, and get the Music Bus all the way across town. Wonderful!!

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13th Ave Records operates out of a shop called Buy the Book, two blocks from here. Very sadly, the owner of both, Chris, announced at new year that Buy the Book is closing down soon. Next came the news that my very favourite coffee shop is also closing. What is happening to 13th avenue?? This is Cathedral! If small businesses and community-minded,sightly hippy folk can thrive anywhere, it is HERE. I have a feeling I will be writing more about Cathedral coffee shops soon though, and I refuse to get sad about this. I am staying positive. Cathedral is a beautiful, fantastic neighbourhood and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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Getting all Googloid and festive!

I have a very new, very shiny, Google/Android gadget, courtesy of Carl. It does manymany thing that I don’t understand!

I turned it on this morning, and Google has made me a little video of my year in photos, all by itself, which is fun but a little creepy.

Also, my year appears to stop in September because I messed up the settings on my camera and apparently all pictures since then read as being taken n 2012! But never mind, enjoy!

Canuckiversary Part 2 – Silliness

Look what we found!!!

The Giant Coffee Pot of Davidson. Suitable for my usual Monday intake.

We had a lovely trip away this weekend up to Saskatoon and beyond, and the car survived the whole journey with nothing falling off it. We passed the Giant Coffee Pot (7.2m high) in Davidson as our halfway point to let a moaning-Miri out of the car for a stretch, spent the night in a nice B&B in Saskatoon and attempted to visit one of my Twitter friends in a coffee shop there (and missed him, but the coffee was still good!). The next day we went to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, followed imaginary  bison around the river valley, played Pooh sticks in the river, Miranda got fascinated by different shapes and sizes of animal poo, we ate bannock bread and bison burgers, and then had a go at hoop dancing! And finally, finally, Spring has Sprung, and it was warm and sunny all weekend. Perfect! [ed: that was, until this morning when we woke up to another 3 inches of snow and -4 degrees AGAIN aaaaaaargh!]

It was good to have a little trip away, even if it was just one weekend, and one night outside Regina. Other than one trip to Moose Jaw and Regina Beach when my parents visited last June, we haven’t left Regina since we got here. I love this city but I still want to explore a little more!

So, we have officially been here a year – actually, a year and three and a half weeks now. The week of the actual Canuckiversary (I still love that word) we arranged a Skype party and managed to talk to most of our friends in the UK. The “conversation” ranged from madness, flat unicorns, Thor/monkey porn, phantom cement mixers, skeleton motorbikes, noisy typing, Dave’s Mum’s TV, Eric the parrot and Rodney the raven, brownie-making, “giving Carmen’s thingy a quick pump”, marmite beer and Bronies.

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My beloved collection of geeks and weirdos.

I do miss them all a great deal – they generate the best sort of collective silliness! But then I meet up with Tamara or Lorena or other friends over here with their split tongues or talking microwaves or poets in bikinis or the beer-making Raspberry Pi, and realise that it is not just confined to Darlington and surrounds!

Year One has been a complete rollercoaster; part of me still doesn’t quite believe we made it, or that we survived all the stress and dramas that went with packing up our entire lives and transposing them to another country where we knew no one, had no connections and no history. I think it beats starting my coffee shop from scratch as The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Attempted, certainly it was harder than my PhD, but it has proved more worthwhile than all of them.

And Year Two? I have Plans and Schemes and Ambitions as always, but for the first time in many years, I am happy to just sit back, enjoy life and stop just bouncing on to the next Mad Project and pushing myself to find a new challenge the second one finishes. My PhD is finally, finally, completed and I’m comfy staying at home with Miranda at the moment. Now the work permit dramas are sorted for a few years, I am in no hurry to find a job that will mean uprooting Miranda’s routine yet again, it’s enough to know that I can get one if I see anything. (That said, I am not *just* staying home with Miri, I’m also Coffee Consulting, writing lots, making Ugly Cakes with the kids, attempting to get some academic journal papers sorted, and absent-mindedly selling coffee t-shirts!)

*Waves a bottle of homebrew in the direction of The Future*

CHEERS!

Sigue Buscando!

That means, “keep searching” in Spanish….

The other day was my birthday. I am 30, and I am HAPPY.

It is a bit crazy to think back, but this time last year I was on the beach (!!) in Redcar eating lemon tops with the Chapmen, with Miri and Nyx in pushchairs waiting patiently outside the tattoo shop. The year before that, I was trying not to freeze in my very new cafe in Darlington. Before that I was throwing up a lot with Miranda-related morning sickness and probably commuting to Sheffield on the train. February 2009, I was on a boat crossing Lago Nicaragua on route to the coffee lands of Costa Rica. Four Years…. gees!

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My birthday, 2009, in Picoteo cafe, Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The sign says “Sigue buscando” – keep looking.
(with Andie Reynolds, Emma Navarro and my personal one-man mariachi band! )

I did once write a sort of bucket list, or rather a “30 Things to do before I am 30” list. I do still have it, and I am not going to publish it on here (to protect the guilty) but I can say that it contained things like opening a cafe, getting published, having a baby, and moving to Canada. In fact, I’ve completed 28 of the 30 things. The missing two were “Visit Laos and Belarus because they have funky names” and “learn Welsh or Finnish”.

For my thirtieth, much beer was involved as usual, only mainly homebrewed stuff! We saw some friends, Miranda proved herself a hardcore party girl and stayed up until 12.40am and I learned a lot of weird and wonderful things. For example, over here, heather (as in, the plant) is an exotic, hard to come by luxury; “nh bashtr sardyn” is “no more omelettes” in Farsi (Persian); I know somebody geeky enough to have programmed a Raspberry Pi to accurately measure and adjust the alcohol content of his homebrew beer, and that talking microwaves not only make great flatmates but also keen babysitters. Just the normal sort of conversations then…

It got down to -49 degrees celcius (with windchill) the other week. When I posted this online, I was instantly set upon by a friend calling it INSANE and therefore I must be insane for *wanting* to move here. Well, it was a bit cold, I admit. But I get into work every day feeling very proud of myself for having survived walking in it. In all seriousness though, I couldn’t be happier here.

My mood was lift greatly (yep, it was possible) by having gotten myself a new job of sorts. I took great pleasure in quitting the restaurant as soon as I was able (work permit renewals allowing!). Keen readers may well have read between the lines of this blog, or at least, read meaning into some conspicuous absences. I have not written much about my job here for good reason: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. That place will not get any more free publicity from me, negative or otherwise, so I won’t go into too many details. Suffice to say, one of the sillier conversations recently was about co-authoring a book with a friend who endured a similar situation, called “Vampire Jobs: Sucking the Life out of Employees”! But now, I am back behind a fantastic espresso machine in a proper coffee shop, and also starting a little venture into self-employment again. See link in my blogroll>>>

So, life is generally brilliant, and Regina is definitely cathartic (*snigger*). But even though I am now thirty and therefore OLD and my list is complete, ‘yo seguiré buscando‘. Life is good, but it is not over! I will continue searching… This is just the start. Who knows what I’ll find next?

[The following song is included for relevance and to fulfill your daily CanCon requirements!]

Good ol’ nekkid Alanis!

All Together Again!

Daddy’s back!!!!

Miri’s gleeful reaction at the airport

So good to see him again!! Unfortunately for Carl, there were numerous last minute dramas involving the ferret-shipping company utterly screwing up with the import papers, meaning that the Furry Children are still in the UK and our little family is not quite complete yet. Poor Carl had to do an epic re-routing session and ended up driving a ridiculously long way all over the country the day before his flight, then due to the social skillz (ahem) of our dear friends in the south, only got a few hours sleep before the flight anyway. And then his connecting flight from Toronto was delayed by two hours. And then Miri and I tried to walk to the airport, and were late meeting him because we spent 20 minutes going round in circles trying to figure out how to get across Lewvan Drive.

– Rant alert:

Seriously, Regina, WTF?? How exactly are you supposed to get to the airport if you don’t have a car?? I cannot afford to pay $20 for a return cab fare when I can walk the distance in under half an hour. Yet there’s no bus, no pavement – sorry, “sidewalk” and there isn’t a pedestrian crossing within half a mile of the airport in either direction!? I had to run for my life across a major highway with the pushchair/stroller just to get to the terminal driveway! Even Darlington has a shuttlebus to the local airport that is actually smaller than your Walmart!!! Sort it out!!

– Rant over.

But Anyway. Carl is here. WOOOHOOOOO!

Today has been pretty stressful as on top of everything else, we are trying to move in to our lovely new house this weekend before Carl starts his new job. No time to relax for Carl! But even despite that, I still feel almost relieved. I’ve kinda had it etched into my brain that Everything Will Be Easier When Carl Gets Here. As anti-feminist as this may sound, I just feel more confident with my husband with me! He’s SUPPOSED to be here, and it’s not right for us to be apart. I also feel like We Have Officially Emigrated now. The last few months on my own didn’t really count since I still had so many ties to and loose ends in the UK. But now we are both free of all that finally!  Certainly his arrival will help with Miranda too, (though she is SO EXCITED to see Daddy again that she got herself all wound up, refused to sleep and has been an over-tired, grouchy madam all day and resorted to the kicking-howling-throwing-things-laying-on-the-floor type tantrums when we refused to put Shaun the Sheep on for the fourth time! But other than that she’s a darling sweet thing, of course!). Having a spare pair of hands with her gets me my evenings back so I can actually do things I want and need to do. I may even be able to Go Out Past 9pm!!

The new house is indeed lovely too; I feel like I can actually make it mine, which is something I’ve never felt in this apartment. It makes me that much more independent from work too. Carl seems impressed with it too, as he hadn’t actually seen it yet! Good thing too really. He also seems to be quite excited about work, even volunteering to buy new shoes for it! GASP. For the first time in at least a decade we should actually have some disposable income soon, and that on its own is a huge relief  as well. Saying money has been tight since I got here is like saying Canada is a fairly big country – massive understatement. No more just eating my tips. Woohoo!

I was going to do a sort of introspective post about the last three months, but Carl is already snoring so I’d better turn off.

Have to share a bed again.

Doh.

 

but YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!! My Carly Warly is back where he belongs!!!!

 

Canada Day!

I have my computer back!! It is still sadly lacking in a space bar and it has no memory of its former life, but at least I can function again. Many many thanks to CBAS computers for reanimating the “toast” that was my hard disk!

I am still ridiculously tired because the computer-wrecking beastling is still refusing to go to bed in the evenings, meaning I inevitably don’t have any time to myself. And then she wakes up at stupid o’clock, thrashes and kicks and wails, then goes back to sleep approximately 10 minutes before my alarm goes off. GRRR.

I cannot wait for Carl to arrive so I can off-load the babysitting duties!!! heehee. The grand reunion is less than a month away now, which is very exciting, but 26 night’s worth of sleep deprivation still sounds an awfully long time to me!.

Despite all Miri’s Beastlingness, we enjoyed our first Canada Day. I will happily celebrate this country: we are very lucky to be here. There were lots of celebratory events down at the park, but typically the first thing we stumbled upon was a bunch of tents in Victoria Park. Now, Miranda likes tents and gets to play in one at the daycare, and she insisted on going to investigate. It turned out to be a bunch of anarchists, (group? gang? what is the collective noun for anarchists? ‘An Oxymoron of Anarchists’ maybe?) protesting about Canada Day with a banner claiming that “Government is Tyranny!”. Well, quite. The little I know of Harper’s style of government here makes me inclined to agree, but despite them complimenting me on my blue hair, I didn’t think it wise to get into serious debates about the alternatives at that point in time. I also assume they didn’t spot my maple leaf tattoo.

Wascana Park had plenty more patriotic goings on though: an enormous turn out and the usual ubiquitous doughnuts and hotdog vans and beer tents, (no coffee!!! HOWL!) people handing out flags, loads of free balloons for Miri, the local radio stations ‘live at the event’, facepainting, an area where kids could draw things that reminded them of Wascana Park on big easels (guess who loved that!), and so on. The Science Museum had a tent containing large blocks made of foam rubber, supposedly teaching kids about balance and structure, but actually  great fun to push over and jump on -which Miranda did with great glee. There were also fireworks later in the evening which I wouldn’t let Miri sit up for, but they were severely upstaged by the fantastic lightning storm that night anyway!

The highlight for us though was the Plywood Cup. Apparently this happens every year, teams get 90 mins or so to build a boat out of plywood and gaffa tape and precious-little else. Then they have to get in the boat and row/paddle/somehow propel themselves across the lake and back in a race! It was BRILLIANT!! I was amazed how many of the boats actually made it across, I think there were only three that sank and had to be rescued. One poor guy broke his paddle halfway across and was half hand-paddling, half bailing water at the same time, but he still made it! As did a boat named “Piece of Ship” The Mountie team came in third or fourth I think, but they were very pleased to beat the Navy crew.

After all, what better way to celebrate the birth of the Canadian Nation than by falling into a lake from a home-made plywood canoe???

I tell you, these people have it sussed.