Three cakes and a beer. (a rather wordy update with no pictures) you’ve been warned

Well, I have been a naughty blogger haven’t I.  We’ve been busy doing stuff and I haven’t been updating. The crush is finished and main ferment is done too.  We have to rig up heaters so I can start some malolactic as the wine is getting pretty cold.

We’ve been doing wood, yes late but at least we are doing it.  I’ve been plotting out our land shaping for the upcoming year with the new toy, also hemming and hawing about a couple of greenhouses I want to buy, Ben had his vasectomy about 3 weeks ago and was he ever a baby about it… well not really but he looked rough coming out of his appointment!

We did go to Vancouver and I hadn’t been to a city for so long, really not since Japan I think, I had forgotten the energy of one.  We had been to Victoria but we usually stay with friends so we miss out on the “city-ness” I guess.

In Vancouver we stayed right downtown in the Westin Grand which was located at Robson and Homer across from the library, so it was super convenient to food and sight seeing. We were there for 3 nights and it was fun.  The first day we headed out early which worked great for Ru-chan’s first nap, she slept all the way to the ferry in Nanaimo.  After we got off the ferry we headed to Coquitlam to visit J and M and their delightful daughter E. J was in the same engineering program as Ben and was also the reason he got the job at Catalyst in the first place.  We hadn’t seen her for a while so it was nice to visit them in their beautifully renovated home, which I failed to get a picture of.  E and Miwa hit it off like a house on fire and they disappeared into E’s playroom and we didn’t see them for probably a good hour.  It was pretty funny.

After we left them we headed downtown and checked in.  One benefit to Ben flying back and forth the Fort Mac is all the aeroplan miles.  They paid for our 3 nights in the hotel and 2 nights for my parents who were coming down a day later to visit friends and go to the Emperor’s Birthday Celebration put on by the Japanese Consulate. He wasn’t there it’s kind of like Victoria Day where we celebrate the Queen’s birthday.  Anyhow they got to go to a swanky party at another hotel downtown so we thought it would be nice for them to stay at a nice hotel downtown, it was also their 40th wedding anniversary.  However, that will come up later.

Miwa was super excited about staying in a hotel again.  Since this one was right downtown we headed back out, to just up the road to the Korean supermarket building and I had…. Japanese curry at Zak Zak and Ben and Miwa had ramen.  So funny, we get to the city and what do we do, go have Japanese food.  We did walk out to the London Drugs at Granville and Georgia  so that was fun just for the people vibe. The reason we ended up having Japanese food was because neither Ben or I could face sitting down in a restaurant with Miwa, we’d rather get take out and go back to the hotel room and eat.  Anyhow, as it was later than normal for us to eat, almost 630, Miwa was being silly and playing on the chairs at the take out place while we were waiting and she fell over crushing her finger between the chair and the floor.  She ended up with a black fingernail, and juice because the ladies working saw it happen and felt sorry for her.  Now, normally we don’t let Miwa have juice because she goes NUTS. It’s like we’re shooting her up intravenously with pure sugar, but she was pretty sad so she drank the entire bottle….. hmmmmmm, not so good.  By the time we got home after a stop at the liquor store (for our coping mechanism) and Beard Papa, a Japanese cream puff store for dessert, she was humming.  Thankfully she was fully contained in the hotel room.  The rooms at the Westin are all one bedroom suites with bathroom having 2 doors so it’s like a loop.  Miwa was this bundle of energy doing laps around and around stopping only briefly for her ramen and some water.  She finally crashed around 930 and Ben and I recovered by drinking wine (2009 Ravenswood Zin, ok)  and watching some Clone Wars (excellent especially on a big TV, not on our little 13” laptop screen). Ru-chan was good and slept as she should for which we were both grateful for.

The next morning, we ordered room service for breakfast because we couldn’t handle the thought of Miwa-wrangling in a restaurant and then after breakfast Ben and Miwa went to the pool.  Really, Miwa jumped in the pool and played a bit then hopped in the hot-tub.  And there she stayed.

After this lovely little interlude we were off again to visit our friend S and C who we met back in our first year of university at UBC.  We all lived in the same dormitory and had played together throughout our university careers.  We had lost touch after we all graduated from our respective programs and moved on with our lives but they had heard my letter being read on North by Northwest on CBC when I had randomly written in in the spring and had found our website and gotten in touch.  It was so great and unexpected that I  wrote back and luckily when we headed to the city we were able to get together with them for lunch.

They had gutted an old character house in the Commercial Drive area and completely renovated it.  Beautifully I might add.  I was silly and forgot to take pictures but wow!  Such a job well done.  We visited with them and their lovely children H and I. Miwa was a bit shy but eventually warmed up as H is only about half a year older than her.  I personally can’t believe that they were able to have kids, work jobs (he works for the government and she’s a doctor) and they renovated this house…. That is a lot to take on.  Anyhow, all results are beautiful and I really wish I had remembered to take pictures.

However, moving on, it turns out S’s brother is the head brewmaster for a new microbrewery, Parallel 49 not far from where C and S live, so we bundled up the children and walked to it.  It was down on Triumph Street where oddly enough we had looked at an apartment when we were buying one right after we had graduated from UBC and decided to stay in Vancouver. It was super fun and very different from winemaking.  Also they may be a microbrewery but they are about 1000 times bigger than we are, so it was fun to look at their filters and their bottling line and the tanks!

After a mini meltdown by Miwa who subsequently fell asleep and Ben had to carry her back up the hill in his arms (good thing he had been hitting the gym at work, is all I can say) we said good bye to C and S and the kids and headed to South Granville for ME:)

Well, and Ben.  We stopped at Anthropologie (which I love but so expensive) and West Elm (which I am rather ambivalent about but was curious) before going to Rangoli for take out Indian.  Rangoli is the take out arm of of Vij’s which has  got to be be both Ben and my favorite restaurant in Vancouver, but again,taking Miwa there may have been tempting the fates.  So off we went, back to our hotel room that had a little kitchenette to make our food and veg in front of the TV again.  Which we did, but to our dismay found that the dishwasher was really only for show and did not work.  However, there was also no dish washing soap so we just left the dishes in the dishwasher and I left a really big tip on our way out.

The next day we headed out to IKEA, my favorite, bright and early but also to meet my Ikea enabler Ferry Godmother A, who was going to haul our take home for us as we only have a Matrix and we wanted to buy the entire store…. For those who don’t know , A basically is like a personal shopping service to Ikea, for a fee you send her your list and give her your money and she goes all the way to the mainland, buys your stuff and brings it home for you!  So much cheaper than getting it shipped!

We had a pretty nice breakfast there (and so cheap!) and sat and had coffee while we waited for A (and L and U) to get there.  We plunked ourselves at a table by the children’s toys so Miwa could run around after she ate and we could sit and watch her.   We connected with A after breakfast and proceeded to shop. We were replacing our vanity with a dual sink vanity, so that was our mission.  After a few hours there and getting our stuff and A’s stuff into her van we headed to the Aquarium where we had a snack and watched belugas and sharks.  We then met my parents and my Auntie R.  who is a family friend from before I was born for the Stanley Park Bright Light minitrain ride. I have to admit I was skeptical but my mom really wanted to take Miwa on it, and you know what it was really fun for all.  There were really loud Christmas carols, a disco reindeer, lot’s of lights and a whole lot of excited kids!  After that we headed back to the hotel, where my parents checked in and we had a bit of a rest.  Then my parents went to their soiree and we walked to the Vancouver Christmas Market at the Queen E Plaza with Auntie R.  It’s basically a German themed market but there was also a carousel.  We got 3 free carousel ride tickets when we got in and we thought that each ticket was for each person so Ben and Miwa got into line.  Auntie R. and I had a nice visit and after Ben and Miwa got off they came to find us.  We got food and it ended up it was 1 ticket per ride so they went on 2 more rides before coming to eat.  During which time someone gave me 2 more tickets.  So after those rides when Ben thought he was done riding the carousel, someone commented on how much fun Miwa was having and gave him one more ticket…. Miwa was delighted:)  At least Auntie R. and I had a nice visit.

It was getting late so we said bye to Auntie R. and headed back to the hotel and started getting ready for bed.  My parents got back and phoned to see if they could kiss the girls goodnight.  My dad came up, they were staying in the same type of suite one floor below us, and told us that the hotel had left them 3 cakes and a beer in their room.  Ben and I both thought that was weird so went downstairs to investigate.  Well, I had told the front desk that it was my parents wedding anniversary because sometimes hotels do nice things for their guests for special occasions.  3 cakes and a beer ended up being 3 chocolate covered strawberries and a half bottle of champagne! So funny…..sometimes I worry about my dad.  After a good laugh with my mom at my dad’s expense we all went to bed.

The next morning we had breakfast with my parents before heading to the pool, then checking out.  Then came the real reason we went to Vancouver in the first place. We went to visit a place called Fresh Tap.  They keg wine which is what we are hoping to start to do with our wines for Tsa-Kwa-Luten and other restaurants we have.  Better than bag in a box and easier.  We are pretty excited about it because it has the potential of getting our wines into more restaurants for a reasonable price. After that visit, we headed out to Bosa grape to pick up a few supplies and then headed home.  Ben left then next day for work and I proceeded to put in that stupid vanity….

You know no one told me that Ikea faucets are non standard and I would require adapters to make them work.  4 days and 2 trips to the building supply and 1 trip to Home Depot in town where I was very bitchy to a poor sales guy and sheepishly apologised to afterwards because I thought he was being condescending but he was just trying to be helpful.  I finally got that sucker in.  There was a desperate phone call to my mom to come get Miwa before I lost my temper and smacked her (which I would never do but I was close to snapping) but it’s in and damn does it look nice.  And it’s a dual sink so it’ll be great when the girls get older.

During the week Ben was gone I’ve been getting Christmas presents together, which could have added to my stress as I’m trying to hand make quite a few things.  So the house was a mess, kids were trying and a stupid mink got 8 chickens one night then another the next night. The morning it got the one chicken, I looked in the coop and it was still in there.  I thought I had trapped it but somehow it got out and Griswold was too slow to get it, so I mink proofed the other 2 coops the best I could and so far so good.  I was sad because the chickens are just starting to lay again after a lengthy hiatus.  We’re still getting eggs as it was mostly older hens and 2 roosters that were killed…. Still so sad. Also the rats are back, there were at least 2 nesting in our ceiling but we are being diligent about our trap line so I think we’ve gotten 9 so far from all our buildings (our house, chicken coop, winery, my parents house and the battery shack).  The stupid things love to gnaw on our telephone wire too that passes through the battery shack on it’s way to our house. We’ve had to repair it a couple times, of course this time it was the last wire I repaired that was the problem.  Caught at least 2 in the battery shack so that’s good.

This week off we put up one more sheet of plywood on the ceiling, made sure the generator is still working, .fought off a cold and fever with strange hallucinations on Miwa’s part, went to a birthday party (adult not kid but for Miwa’s favorite uncle Q), got immunised (Ru-chan), got a deep freeze for Christmas from Ben’s parents and discovered a lot of food from the little freezer up at our house.  A big box of blueberries from Nature’s Way was hiding at the bottom of the freezer, and we still have some sockeye left!  The new freezer came with partitions so it’s way better.  I think all we need to buy now is fruit because we are set for meat and pesto (hooray, we still have some left) and the garden still has kale, beets, carrots and parsnips in it.  We also booked our vacation for February and somehow Val and Ken are coming along.  After that phone call I got off the phone and asked myself “What just happened, did Val just invite herself on our vacation?!”  Too funny, it should be fun though.  We’re going here🙂

I’ve also come to figure out what I want to do with my life so far, I think.  I guess I’ve been having a bit of an existential crises as I feel I used to have ambition and now not so much.  Maybe it’s my midlife crises but I’m not quite 40 yet and I have lot’s going on but i feel like i’m just existing rather than living.  It could also be sleep deprivation but really I don’t have that as both kids are pretty good sleepers. Maybe it’s just having young kids, I don’t know.  Anyhow, I’ve made a few decisions on what to do and am feeling better about doing that.

Now we are in Victoria visiting friends and going to the WIGA Christmas social and staying here.  It’s quite lovely, hopefully I’ll post and update with picture tomorrow. Oh yes and Nono, my sister comes home in 5 days, yay!  I miss her.  She also did this, 85th in this marathon!  So proud ( and a bit jealous).  You go girl:)

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