Just a quick update before I head to my work Christmas party and then back to Whistler.

It’s been a busy few weeks since the NAC races. I went back to Whistler for a couple days to volunteer for the ICC races, which was pretty fun. The volunteer crew is a great group of people who do a lot for me as a slider, so I try to help out when I can. Plus watching all the good athletes is very inspiring and exciting. Can’t wait for World Cup (January).

Then a couple days after that I went back up with Lauren (C.) so she could watch me slide. It snowed A LOT. I thought we were actually going to get stuck up there because the highway got closed right as we were about to leave but they actually managed to clear the accident pretty quickly. It was a slow drive back to Van though (THANK YOU LAUREN FOR DRIVING). I missed the dinner part of Scott’s work Christmas party, but he saved me a plate of food. Tru luv.

We played games with Lesley and Ruana (and partners) and Lauren stayed with us for a night on her way back to Ottawa. Her and I had a delicious breakfast at Jethro’s on Fraser.

I’ve been working here and there, but not a lot, to be honest. Bit of a slow month, but it’s kind of convenient because it’s such a crazy time of year.

So thanks to Rosemarie being assertive/complain-y, 14 of us got free lift passes for Whistler (long story), so we skied last Saturday and it was FUN. There is SOOOOO much snow up there compared to last year. It was pretty windy, so a lot of the lifts were closed, but it didn’t matter because the snow was so soft and fluffy and lovely and we all had a great time. Lauren (B.) is a better skier than me now!! He is braver and has more stamina than me, haha. Anyway so Rosemarie, Lauren, Scott and I are not THAT different in skill levels now so we can all go together, which is pretty awesome.

The drive home that night was awful though. OMG. It looked like this all the way to Squamish:

I think it was Scott’s first time experiencing snowy warp drive. He said “THIS IS THE MOST AWAKE I HAVE BEEN IN MY LIFE”.

Scott’s birthday was last Sunday. We had a quiet day, but I made breakfast and we relaxed all day and then went out for a drink at Alibi Room and then to Ask For Luigi’s for a delicious Italian pasta dinner, which I’ll post about later.

This weekend is BC Cup 1 & 2, and I am busy tonight so I did my 2 official training runs last night. Well actually I did 2.5 runs because I crashed on my first run!! I haven’t crashed in over a year!! The first crash since I changed sleds last year. I think what happened is my first 5 corners went so well I thought the track was slow, so I understeered in corner 6, and ended up rising too high and falling off my sled. The track wasn’t slow at all!! It was a fairly smooth crash though, I didn’t hit my head or anything and I only slid down 2 more corners before I was able to stop and climb out of the track. I saw my sled right beside me after I fell off but I didn’t decide quick enough to try and grab it and get back on. I don’t know how people do that. Anyway so then I had to break my personal rule of only doing 2 runs a night and after checking my sled and talking to my coach I went back up to the top to try and do my 2 OT runs. I definitely did them a lot more cautiously. The drive home last night was terrible again, it was snowing all the way to West Vancouver!

I feel a lot more sore today than I thought I would though. I must have jammed my thumb/hand somehow because my right hand is quite sore, and my left hip/thigh area is pretty tender. I think I’ll take it easy in the races this weekend.

Tomorrow is Santa Day, so the gang is getting back together and skiing tomorow. I’m pretty bummed I won’t be able to do it this year since I’m busy with my skeleton races, but it should be another good weekend anyway. Just wait until you see Rosemarie’s Tree 2.0 costume, it is SO AWESOME!!! Fingers crossed the drives tonight/tomorrow/Sunday are better than the last few drives.

This is going to be long.

Whistler North America Cup official training started on November 17th.

November 4th I asked Ivo if I could possibly be in the races since Janelle couldn’t get the time off [SCARY]. November 6th he said I would be on ‘stand by’ and should fill out all the paperwork in case I did get to race [COOL]. November 12th I was told that they had picked the team and I would not get to race [SAD]. November 14th I was told that they had made a mistake and that I would get to race [PARTY]. It was a roller coaster of emotions.

The first week of OT was okay. I was nervous to slide with such a big group of athletes that I didn’t know, but everyone was really friendly. There were a lot of really experienced sliders this year, including Olympians, World Cup, and ICC athletes. The ice was only medium fast, and I had some good runs. I even got a new PB downtime and speed (57.98 seconds, and 131.54 km/hr). Corner 16 was giving me serious trouble though.

Second week of OT was a different story. The ice was speeding up. The problem with corner 16 was getting worse instead of better. I kept slamming down out of 16 and hitting the same spot of my jaw against my sled, which was extremely painful. Disfiguring face wounds are not fun. My start times were embarrassing. I wasn’t getting any feedback from our NAC coach. I questioned why I was even there.

I cried at practice one day after a terrible out of control painful run. Embarrassing.

After much consolation from Matt and Mimi and Snowy and Nick and Diana (:’) thanks guys) I decided to not take a second run that day and take the next day (the day before the race) off. I just needed some time away from everything.

I relaxed the whole day before the race and was nice and calm. In the evening Matt and I met up to polish our runners and chat. As I was putting my sled on the ground to get ready to polish I realized that my sled was actually really quite broken. A weld had snapped and my saddle was completely unattached on one end. AHH!! I was so nervous to call Scott (Ballard) to tell him that I had broken my sled (AGAIN) and hadn’t realized until the evening before the race, after I had wasted away the whole day doing nothing. Thankfully he wasn’t mad and we were able to fix it later that evening. How convenient that our BCBSA coach knows how to weld and stuff.

Anyway I got back to my room, tried to remind myself of all the good runs I’ve had before, all the people that are so supportive of me, and that I did belong there. And sleep.

Race day. I put my rock down a mm to try and get a bit more control (sacrificing speed, but I would rather not break my jaw). Warmed up. Tried to block out everything else that was happening in the start house.

There were a lot of people watching at the start which was nerve-wracking, but also motivating. I tried to run a little quicker and farther than usual and managed to have an ok run. I did NOT smash my face on the end of 16 so I was happy. When I got back to the top I found out that I was in last place (expected) but had pushed a tenth faster than usual (5.64)!! (By the way that is a TERRIBLE start time, but for me it is an enormous victory). I was first off for the second run and again tried to run faster and farther. Run 2 was a little crazier at the bottom, a bit face-smashy at the bottom, but only 0.10 seconds off my PR downtime, and I had pushed another personal record (5.61).

All in all I was VERY happy with how the race went. Sure I came in 12th place out of 12, but I had pushed TWO PR push times, not destroyed my face, and had completed my first ever international race!! (Which happened to be my goal for this year of sliding).

That afternoon I went to the Scandinave spa (Scott told me to treat myself) to relax. It was lovely and did the trick. I polished my runners again, hung out with friends, went to bed early.

Second race: perfect weather and ice conditions again so the track was quick. Both my runs were sloppy and hard to control but I made it down. I pushed another PR time at the top (5.57) on the first run, and despite getting a little off balance, matched it on my second run. COOL.

I came in 11th place, out of 11. The three time Olympian (seriously) won, quelle suprise. But anyway, I did it. Another race. I was so happy that it was all over.

Anyway, I haven’t felt that much stress since like… exams or something. It was really really hard, but I’m glad I got to be part of it. I met some really great new people. It also made me realize that I have some really amazing support from a lot of people up in Whistler, and I’m so happy that my first race experience was with all of them around. At least I got that comfort from being in a place I knew, with familiar faces all around. A big thank you to Scott and Rosemarie too who were only a text message away when I needed it, and everyone else who sent me encouraging messages throughout the week. It really did help. <3

Another kind of neat thing is that I have an IBSF athletes page now, and I’m ranked! At the moment it says I am #42 in the world!! Kinda cool.

Canadian Thanksgiving is long over, but I still think about the turkey we made all the time. It turned out SO GOOD. And it only took 80 minutes to roast a 16 lbs bird! Rosemarie declared that she’s never eating turkey again unless it’s spatchcocked, hahaha. Anyway since American Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming up, here we go.

Look how beautiful it turned out!!

I used the Serious Eats set of instructions. They promised that spatchcock (aka butterflied) would ensure that the breast AND thigh meat would cook at the perfect rate and result in a perfect flavourful juicy turkey.

They recommend a dry brine, which is excellent because it’s stupid easy: Wash & dry your (defrosted) turkey, mix up 1/2 cup kosher salt & 2 tbsp baking powder, sprinkle the mixture over all sides of the turkey. Leave the turkey uncovered in the fridge for 12-24 hours. That’s it.

Thanksgiving Day I picked up Leslie and some shears and we got to work. Warning! Gory raw meat pictures ahead! This slideshow was extremely helpful for the prep and the carving.

First cut up one side of the spine.

Then the other side.

Remove the spine and cut off the plastic leg holder thingy.

Flip the bird over and press down hard on the sternum to crack it so you can make the bird as flat as possible. I was not strong enough to do this so Scott jumped off a chair and did a sweet wrestling drop. It cracked.


Just like this.

Cut off all the extra bits of skin around the neck and the… butt?

Flat Stanley. With tucked in wings.

Pop it onto a wire rack on top of vegetables on top of a baking sheet. PS I love our enormous baking sheet. I sprinkled on a few herbs. No butter or salt. And bake! At 450ºF.

There wasn’t much drippings, I guess because we removed a lot of the extra skin and didn’t use any butter. Healthy!

We baked our 16 lbs bird for 80 minutes and honestly it probably only needed 70 minutes, because when I checked the temperature in the breast it was already higher than 150ºF. Whatev it still turned out extremely moist and flavourful. Like a 9.7 out of 10. Rosemarie said she ate 4 times as much meat as she usually does.

Next time will be 10 out of 10. :D :D Can’t wait.

It’s been an incredibly busy fall. I’ve been working almost full time, weightlifting at Terminal City Training twice a week, training on my own, push training at the Richmond Oval about once a week, walking home from work when I can, working on a really complicated project, meeting up with tons of visitors, and more! OMG.

Everything is going really well though. I am not complaining about being busy at all.

It’s actually the one year mark of me joining Al’s weightlifting gym. I’ve added about 30 lbs to my press and benchpress, and 60 lbs to my deadlift and squat!! Sweet sweet noob gains. Group training is the highlight of my week, tbh.

Push training is also pretty fun. It’s a flat track with a metal skeleton sled on wheels and an emergency crash pad at the end. It’s fairly realistic, although the sled is quite heavy, and there is no chance of popping the groove. We can run as far as we want basically and then you drag your toes to slow down. Running bent over, while trying to accelerate a sled without actually putting much weight on it is very difficult!! I don’t think I will ever be a very fast starter but hopefully it’s still helping me get BETTER.

The Whistler skeleton season starts November 4th, by the way.

Scott walks home from work almost every day now. It takes him about an hour. It’s saving us a lot of money, and he gets his daily exercise. Win win! I walk sometimes, but definitely not as often as Scott. I did walk home from UBC once though, haha. It suddenly started taking 5ever to get home on the bus when the university students went back to school so out of frustration I decided to just walk home. It took 3 hours and it was quite boring and my knees hurt. But I will probably do it again if I’m at UBC again on a Friday.

We’ve been super lucky to have lots of visitors lately!

  • I met up for bubble tea with Anna, one of the German girls I camped with in Bowen, Australia while we packed corn and beans. She had been living in rural Saskatchewan trying to get her Canadian PR but the restaurant laid her off and she had to go home. What a bummer. She came through Vancouver on her farewell Canada tour and it was really nice to catch up after 6 years.

  • My friend Chris, from Halifax stopped through Vancouver too, on his way to his next WWOOFing place. I hadn’t seen him since 2007!! We went to the Richmond Night Market and ate takoyaki and fish sticks and deep fried cheesecake that made our teeth hurt. I was too scared to sit on the Throne of Rotato.
  • Leslie visited from Victoria (so nice that we at least live in the same province again!) for Thanksgiving. She helped document the whole spatchcocking the turkey project (more about that later), and get ready for our potluck Friendsgiving Thanksgiving dinner. We made tons of food and delicious cocktails (hello Automnal Cinnamon Apple Whiskey Sour!!) and had a really nice dinner. I love hanging out with old Ace Gang members.
  • And last night I met up with Catty and Samir who were in town for a conference. Again, I hadn’t seen her in years too! We went out and watched the Blue Jays game with Scott and then went out for ramen with Rosemarie and Lauren. All was good except for the Jays losing, and a super long hair in Samir’s ramen… blech.

Rosemarie is doing her last semester of uni now so she’s very busy these days, but we still try to squeeze in as much hanging out time as possible. We spent one afternoon making 9000 dumplings: some pork and some shrimp. We’re not very good at being able to seal them when the dough is thin so they ended up pretty pudgy… but very very very tasty.

We also went bouldering for free at The Hive, because we voted. They were supposed to offer more free days too but apparently it’s again election law, ha oops. I struggled because my hands are in such bad shape (dry and cracking… gross and painful), but Scott climbed A LOT!

How about that election eh? I watched the election results like Scott would watch the rugby world cup final, hahaha. So relieved we have a non-conservative government again. Scott was pretty happy about being able to vote in Canada for the first time too!

What else what else…

GE randomly threw a free nuclear medicine conference, which a bunch of us from VGH went to. They had a wine and hors d’oeuvres and we… had fun. Closed down the bar. The talks to the next day were pretty entertaining, and I learned a few new things too. It was fun to see a lot of techs from other hospitals that I hadn’t seen since being a student as well.

Scott won tickets to a Canucks pre-season game from work. We actually got to sit pretty close to the ice for once! They Canucks lost and the security people confiscated my bag of cherry blasters I tried to bring in. :/

We had another games day with Marjorie, Latif and Phil. We played King of Tokyo, For Sale (a super simple real estate card game), Galaxy Truckers, and an epic long game of Lords of Waterdeep with both expansions, which I won by 1 point. :D That’s my favourite game lately.

I got a haircut. It’s nice to not have so much hair. It took the girl 2 hours and 20 minutes hahahaha. Fun times at the Aveda Institute. At least is only cost $21.

Oh and like other years, we watched the AFL Grand Final at Moose’s Down Under. We had 20 people this year! Mmm those parmas were delicious. The game was not super exciting, but it was still fun, as usual.

Alright! I think I’m caught up. Until next time my friends!

Rosemarie and I went white water rafting with Liz and Tom on the Thompson River (near Lytton, BC).

It was lots of fun. It wasn’t that XXXXXXTREME, I was the only one who unintentionally fell out of the raft, but we still had perma-grin the whole time. It was a nice hot day so we jumped in and swam at every opportunity, and took turns sitting right on the front for maximum splashability. There was even one rapid we got to go through in the water hanging on to the rope on the sides of the raft.

Liz gracefully getting back into the raft, probably after Tom pushed her in.

A classic Rosemarie picture on our lunch break. +1000 points for them having dinosours for dessert. :D

Like I said, I was the only person that fell out of the raft… out of the whole group of rafts… hahahha oops. I swear it wasn’t on purpose, I just fell out! It wasn’t too scary, at least I felt like I really got my moneys worth. ;)

We camped at a BC Parks site for the night and then drove home to Vancouver the next day, via the Othello Tunnels near Hope, and Hope Diner. Another very hot drive home with no AC, ack.

Jill and Joe had a long stopover in Vancouver on their way back to Adelaide so we met up with them for dinner downtown at Forage. Everything was super delicious and it was awesome to catch up again. I had seen Jill a few months ago when I went to Adelaide, but I hadn’t seen Joe in a LONG TIME!

The waiter suggested the cheese puff for dessert and it’s a good thing we listened to him because it was SO DANG GOOD. It was a profiterole with neufchâtel cheese filling, with ice cream, gin soaked blueberries and some kind of cordial sauce all around. MMMMMMM. The other dessert there was berry adult jello panna cotta that was also very good, but almost forgotten after the cheese puff.

Forage is cool because ALL their ingredients are locally sourced. We really enjoyed all the dishes we tried… octopus, carbonara, stinging nettle risotto, mushrooms… highly recommend.

Thanks to the Dafoe’s to treating us to a great meal!!

Forage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I redeemed by birthday voucher for a Picasso pedicure at Bloom. Those are hand painted lemons!

Lesley, Stephane, Scott and I went camping for one night at Cultus Lake. We played many games of Settlers (of which I lost all of them), and ate tacos and burgers and generally lazed around. We took the party island out for another spin. Cultus Lake is so warm!! Camping is weird when there is a fire ban though, you sort of run out of things to do when it gets dark.

More skeleton push practice at the Oval. Note to self, bring bug spray for twilight sessions because there are SWARMS of mosquitos. Who’s bright idea was it to have so many still water features around the facility, yeesh. I seriously got about 30 bites in half an hour. But this was a useful session, I now have a few new technical things to focus on for a bit.

Other unpictured fun stuff that happened:

  • We went to Charles and Ankie’s wedding at the fancy Terminal City Club downtown. Open bar, woot!! It was a fun wedding, although we couldn’t understand a fair chunk of it because we don’t speak Cantonese.
  • Our board games group tried an escape room, and failed. It was hard!! We got through the first two rooms but ran out of time trying to figure out the half dozen puzzles in the final room. The operator guy did say we got further than average though (does he say that to everyone?). We also came back to our place to play a few games of Seven Wonders.
  • Stephane made bacon wrapped cheddar stuffed burgers for Burger Friday. I thought they would burst into flames on the BBQ but they were fine!
  • Mary Ellen and Paul came over while they were in town for a wedding. Mary Ellen wanted to try purple yam and cheese ice cream but unfortunately Shoppers Drug Mart was out!! They only had plain purple yam, so Scott got that instead. It is Barney purple and tastes like… those cheapy styrofoam cones imo. The debate of the month is what type of cheese it would be in the yam and cheese variety. So far Kraft Singles type is leading. EWWW.
  • Work drinks at Tap & Barrel. We have to make this a more regular event!
  • The worlds smallest blogger meetup. We ate yummy tacos from La Taqueria and then went to Rain or Shine for ice cream. I had malted milk chocolate honeycomb in one of their delicious homemade waffle cones. Yum.