Monday, May 08, 2006

weekend whirlwind: roommate road trip

Great roommate road trip this weekend! Thanks to Dilys clicking into "Yes, I'm a tourist and I'm going to take a ton of photos because that's what tourists do!" mode, I also snapped a few pics. Here goes...

First, there was the necessary task of killing time in the car at the border crossing. When our turn was up, the American border guard apologized that we'd been randomly selected for a car check. Funny to encounter an apologizing American -- it's usually Canadians who are the ones who are constantly saying "sorry." Funnier still was when he asked us what kind of music we were going to see live in concert. Dilys simply turned up the volume in response so he could hear for himself!

Then we grabbed some lunch at the main mall in Bellingham. Dilys and Becki had Taco Time, (since we don't get as much Mexican food up in Vancouver), while I had a sandwich from Subway (uninventive I know, but I couldn't bear the greasy feeling of those temptingly yummy mexi fries). Took some goofy photos in a photo booth (will scan shots in later).

Did a bit of shopping at Ross (like Winners, but cheaper). That was a bit chaotic. What a mess. Not worth photo documenting. Got into a short and slightly amusing conversation with the Filipino family behind us who had a garden-sized dwarf from Snow White. It made Rebecca want to get a "garden gnome" for the patio.

And whaddaya know, it's dinner time before we realize it -- time for more Mexican food! We found this great little restaurant. It was a gorgeous old building, with vintage decor, funky atmosphere and service. Tasty home made salsa (token food shot in honour of my shutter-bug sister). I thought it was great that Becki basically had Jack Daniels ice cream with checkerboard shortbread cookies for dinner (with a side salad).

After dinner we had to kill some time before the doors opened for the show we came to see in the first place. Bellingham is quite the quaint little town. I totally loved (and was impressed!) how there was children's art displayed in windows of all kinds of businesses that we walked by (complete with artist's descriptions of their works), even in the window of a billiards club! The artwork really went a long way in bringing colour, cheer and life to the town's streets.

We closed the night out taking in the beautiful melodies of Over the Rhine (I found their piano arrangements were especially simply fabulous and moving). Their tunes are generally more reflective and sauntering in tempo, but they played a couple of new tunes that were a bit more upbeat and "optimistic" (in their choice of words) and quite fun. The only thing was one small observation that struck me a bit strange. I've never been to a show where people were sitting on the floor watching quietly like the folks who were there. I was standing up swaying to the music, trying to let it get in my bones a bit. I would've gotten into it more, but it seemed out of place with everyone else so mellow.

On the way home we radio-surfed and car-danced at times to "lively" music to help with Becki's driving concentration. Somehow that same choice of loud music just didn't seem to be appropriate when we stumbled into the car on Sunday morning to drive to church with the car radio still on from last night...

All in all it was a fun night but man I paid for it on Sunday. I'm so ready for bed. G'dnight!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

facing our apprehensions

Phew! After way too many hours, I finally just finished my taxes for this year. And only a few days late (compared to 3 months late some years)! I am so proud of myself!

I was particularly apprehensive this year as there were some changes in 2005, including the complications that come with purchasing and renting out property. I was determined this year to do the paperwork myself with the goal of actually understanding what was going on, to the best degree I could.

Working through a couple of fairly frustrating moments, with the patient help and good teaching of my dad (thanks to technology as we relied on the phone and some scanned PDFs of the documents), I learned a few tricks to maximize my return. Thanks Dad! That was much more helpful than trying to motivate me by saying, "Your sister finished hers weeks ago!" :) I can't believe I actually created a little spreadsheet to help me figure out the best configurations of various things to claim. I hope I can remember the logic behind everything next year....

It feels good to confront our hesitations and get through it. I was talking with my roommate about that recently. We both agreed one of our unspoken personal creeds was that anytime we identified thoughts of "Oh, I'm afraid of doing that..." we would aim to just do it and get over our hesitations. It's a natural high when you come out the other end.

On that note, on Sunday at the beginning of this week, I was excited yet apprehensive about a week-long course I would be taking at SFU's Centre for Dialogue. The feeling of dread was greater than the feeling of anticipation. I have a lot of distrust of the academic environment and how it triggers the switch deep in me launching me into "performing-to-prove-myself" mode.

I made it through the course with flying colours - literally! The course was on Dialogue Education in Adult Learning and employed all kinds of colourful activities using markers, music, drama (overcame my hesitations drudged up from elementary school activities), playdough, etc. It was so enjoyable to see the brightly coloured diagrams and activities posted on the walls all week.

But the highlight was most definitely getting to know all kinds of colourful people who are doing all kinds of world-shaking work around the globe. When I finally got over my awe of everyone (hard to shake that Asian unquestionning respect of teachers and elders), it truly was a gift to spend the week with them, truly co-learning with them. I learned so much about life, people, the world and myself this week.

I'm so jazzed now about applying all I've learned to the stuff I'm working on now. My friend Renae was so right in offering her suggestion of taking courses to help boost those "hitting the wall" times in work.

Three cheers for how great it feels to confront and make it through the other side of our hesitations! Looking forward to a great way of celebrating by a road trip with my roommates for some cross-border shopping and a concert tonight in Bellingham. Woo hoo!