Saturday, December 05, 2009

1st pics of Thing Thornington!

We had our first ultrasound yesterday.. exciting!

I waddled in there, desperately trying not to sneeze or laugh for fear of peeing my pants.

And then I was told I was "definitely overbloated" and had to empty about half of my bladder before we could see anything clearly. I was only too happy to oblige :)

The best was seeing the heart beating, a bit like a strobe light: bright, strong and fast. Recorded at about 179 beats per minute, this is a healthy rate for a 9 week 5 day old fetus.

Matt's first reaction to the arm and leg buds frantically waving and kicking: "Hard to see on the still image but we got to see the leg buds moving strongly, I sense a great soccer/football player in the making and just as the technician was about to turn off the scanner the arm buds gave us a wave, seeming to say, "See you in July!", or maybe "Come on England!"

Due date was confirmed as July 4, 2010, and as I'm reminded everyday by my hubby, still perfectly in good time between the semi-finals and finals of the World Cup. Thank goodness for that!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Miracle of Life

A lot of parents say they can hardly remember their life before their child was born.

Well, I can hardly remember my life before I was pregnant. It's only week nine but no matter where I turn, it seems everything is about babies, pregnancy, labour, parenthood.

We tested at home on October 23rd at 10pm and as the stick showed the unmistaken 'pregnant' symbol, we stood in the bathroom in disbelief and relief. I was not surprised I was pregnant, just surprised it all happened so fast. And yes, there was a bit of mild panic mixed in there somewhere. I mean, this is something that can't be reversed or erased. Right?

I have the best support system right now from a very caring and sympathetic husband (he's so good he even snacks and naps with me) to the bunch of women (all moms and some even grandmas!) at work. Working in an environment that is surrounded with young children, babies and new parents, I am constantly bombarded by the goodwill of people, their sound advice and their generous gifts and encouragement.

'Morning sickness' is a misleading condition. It is fact that it not only strikes in the morning, so why continue calling it 'morning sickness'? These past few days, the nausea and sickness has struck me hard. At first it was mainly the incredible bouts of fatigue I would get and I thought that was bad enough - I have never been as inactive in my life as I am now!

But since the gag reflex in me is showing its strength in leaps and bounds, I have had absolutely no desire to do anything except lie in a horizontal position and rest my body. If I could put the world on 'pause' i could sleep for a hundred years, I'm sure of it.

But I am told this too shall pass. But first it gets worse before it gets better. I have within arms-reach at all times, a box of Ritz crackers, the sodium-reduced kind so it's a bit better. At any slight notice of dizziness or nausea, I pop one of them in my mouth and the feeling subsides.

Still, I make time in my day for at least one, if not more, naps. And by naps I mean a nice long relaxing sleep that can last from half an hour to several hours. There is no shame in how lazy I've become.

Despite the physical maladies, I am in an increasing feeling of awe and admiration for my body who seems to know what to do, without any direction or urging from me. And the thought that a little person is growing inside of me is just indescribable. It is truly a miracle.

I read in my pregnancy guidebook(s) that today the fetus is about the size of a green olive and its features are verging more on the human-side, versus alien-form a few weeks prior. Hooray!

Upon announcing to the world our pregnancy and expected due date (July 4, 2010), Matt put his creative talents to work and drew a fairly 'realistic' representation of what my belly will soon resemble. See photo.

Tomorrow we see our family doctor for our first prenatal appointment. Apparently the heartbeat can be heard now, I wonder if we should be so lucky...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

september is just one of those months you barely remember

Since returning to work, it's been full on!

Besides doing a variety of different programs this year (adult workplace literacy, Mother Goose Goes to School, First Nations play-based groups....), I'm enjoying the fact that everything is somewhat familiar.

No such steep learning curve like last year, but just a committed head-first dive onto this treadmill we call 'Building Learning Together'.

As always, I just love my coworkers and we keep each other sane and happy and creative and silly all in one go.

And just to prove how much i really care for them, i'll even squeeze into my already- busy programming day to rescue them at the store when they've locked their keys in the car (today) or lend them my car when theirs has just conveniently decided to take early retirement (yesterday).

I wonder what's in store for tomorrow? I'm car-pooling so at least my vehicle is safe.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

on the move again

I'm back blogging on: Travelpod
You can follow our motorbike trip across Canada on that site. Leaving this morning!

UPDATE (Nov 2019): Travelpod has since been stopped working. But we have saved all our Cross-Canada Motorbike Journey blog entries here. 
If you want to read about it, click here:

Friday, April 24, 2009


Tonight, my friend Tess and I saw the Syringa Tree play performed by Pamela Gien. Incredible.

A one-woman act who plays various characters in a complex story of childhood innocence, racial tension, and lifelong discovery.

It has been a long time since i've been so thoroughly impressed by a performance such as this one. A rare gift and a must see!

Yesterday i had the delight of meeting Mr. Grimsey, the father of one of my longtime childhood friends. He was here on the Island on business and had the evening free.

I picked him up in his posh resort and we went to Little Qualicum Falls for a lovely hike.

We then had a nice dinner on the beachfront. We chatted the entire time and it was really the first time that i can remember having had such a long conversation with him. We would only ever really exchange pleasantries, and growing up, it would be "Oh, Bonnie's here!" or "It's Bonnie on the phone!"

So what a pleasure it was to share some time with him and listen to some thoughtful wisdom from someone who has been a part of my life, if only on the periphery, but who has seen me grow up. Thank you.

It has been a strange week without Matt.

After his last exam, he took the opportunity to be with his family on a narrowboat canal holiday in England. From what I've heard and the few pictures I've seen, it looks like quite the relaxing kind of holiday, slow-paced and serene.

Our home was quiet at first with just me in it, but when i look around me, I see how we have filled it with our memories and joy and it is just simply brimming with loud declarations of our love.

Matt returns to Canada on Sunday and I will be waiting anxiously at Victoria airport, arms wide open.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

my birthday already?

What a great sunny birthday weekend!

Matt gave me a reconstructed print of our Taklamakan rally picture (the original one that was given to us by the rally guys for our wedding was ruined by the bubbles in the print and some leaky ink)... it looks amazing, just like new!

He was so excited to give it to me that just a little past midnight Friday night (while i was doing my reading-and-falling-asleep-in-
bed routine) he woke me up so i could open it :)

He had some professional photographer take a picture of the picture and then commissioned Anice
to do some magic with it on photoshop. Thanks Sis, you did a great job!

Friday night we played rec soccer at the community centre behind our building.. we go every Friday usually and that night i scored my first goal - yeah, it surprised me too!

To continue the scoring theme, i scored in the hockey game during Saturday's class. Matt scored his first in Wednesday's class! Dare i say we're improving..?

We went for a motorbike ride yesterday after I got two new tires changed, a new chain put on, a couple of new spark plugs and a general maintenance tune-up.

I can't believe how much i love riding, more than i thought i would actually. What a feeling!

We even got our walkie-talkies working so we can talk to each other while we're riding. Now i want some headphones too to listen to some music!

Now full of chocolate birthday cake and chocolate ice cream, it's time for bed.

Work for me tomorrow and Matt's off to Vancouver to get his medical checkup done, and then he can finally send off his Permanent Resident Application off!!! What a process it's been! I'll spare you all the details, I don't even want to think back to what it took to get the whole package together!

I'm dropping him off for the 6:30am ferry so goodnight for now!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the road is mine

I'm feeling beyond ecstatic right now.

I passed my MST (Motorcycle Skills Test) this morning! I was so nervous and visions of past skills test were haunting me (I failed twice in Hong Kong, although it was slightly different and I didn't quite understand the whole concept about shifting gears).

After an intensive 4 day course with Ziggy's Driving Academy, 3 hours of theory on Wednesday and Thursday each and then 8 hours of riding on Saturday and again on Sunday, i was practically living and breathing in my new jacket and helmet.

I would highly recommend anyone who wanted to learn how to ride a motorbike to learn how to drive a shift stick first. It is so much easier, so fewer stalls... which then translates to much less stress and headache.

Anyways, now i'm qualified to ride solo on the road!!

The only restriction i have is I can't ride at night and i can't carry a passenger. When i pass my final road test (i've got a year to do it), then i'll have my full Motorcycle license, or a Class 6 License as they call it here in BC.

Matt has instituted an 'in-house' rule that he still comes along with me whenever i ride... "You know, just because I want to be with you."

I don't mind, really.

It really is more fun to ride with other people, and it just shows he cares. I just tease him about how he'll be even more paranoid if and when our kids want to take up a powerful two-wheeled motor vehicle. I will definitely be enforcing the 'in-house' rule alongside Matt then.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

introducing the new hockey legend!

To go along with the hockey fever that has infected us, I got Matt a personalized hockey jersey for his 35th birthday today.


Here he is minutes upon waking up and opening his present, all dressed and ready to play!

Happy Birthday lovely!

May this be a year filled with many goals and few bruises.

Monday, March 16, 2009

a break in march

My March Break back in Ottawa and Toronto consisted of snowshoeing with Mom and Dad, skating with Dad and Allison, going to the gym with Dad several times, catching up with Mikeypoo and Hoinoi over Timmy's apple fritters and Indian curries, learning how to knit from Popo and getting told off how short-term my memory is (the truth hurts, especially from your own grandma!) and shopping at Pacific Mall with Mama - just like being back in Hong Kong with very typical Hong Kong fashion (hideous) - and sizes (miniscule)!

At night i spent my time in front of the camera phone chatting with Matt on Skype.

With the amount of time we spend on the phone, you would think we were hormonal teenagers in love.

At least being 28, i don't get nagged by my parents anymore to get off the phone - with my husband!! :)

Monday, March 09, 2009

I'm motoring, Baby

Today I passed the first level of becoming a qualified motorcyle rider: the written test!

It's a 40 question multiple choice test on a computer. I was so nervous and the guy in front of me failed (you have to get 80% for a pass) and was quite angry which made me even more nervous.

Anyways, imagine the relief when the screen displayed "PASSED"!

I went to pick up Matt so we could run some errands afterwards and he had surprised me by arranging a visit to a guy's house who was selling a Honda Rebel 250.

I saw it, Matt test-rode it, and we made him an offer. It's got over 300,000 kms on it for a 2000 model, but it's just right to begin with. Apparently this guy's daughter learned on this bike too and also took lessons with Ziggy's Driving Academy (i'm starting mine in a couple of weeks, hopefully the snow on the ground will have melted by then...)

I feel really comfortable on it, both my feet are able to touch the ground and it is not very heavy. Hopefully i can graduate to a bigger, more powerful, bike when i get used to riding.....

A few trips to the bank, to the insurance company, back to the seller's house again, and a couple hours later, we were owners of FOUR vehicles - two SUV's and two motorbikes. Yikes!

We've been trying to sell the old Nissan Pathfinder for weeks now and just this afternoon, while arranging insurance for the new motorbike, a guy called asking to buy it outright. He came by tonight and after an inspection and test ride, he bought it. So now we're back to owning just one truck and two motorbikes.

With this learner's license, I'm only limited to riding during daylight hours, no passengers allowed and i can't go more than 60 km/hr. Once i pass my skills test, some of those restrictions will be lifted. And by then it should be nice spring-summer weather!!

We are still entertaining the idea of riding across Canada to Ontario in the summer. But i shouldn't get ahead of myself. Before i hit the Trans-Canada highway, i gotta start in the mall parking lot first and practice steering and shifting gears. Baby steps, eh?

Oh yea, and speaking of 'Baby', that's the name of my new bike. It's engraved on the side panel: "The Baby" in nice cursive writing. It's so cheesey, I love it.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

hooked on hockey

Tonight was our first Intro to Adult Hockey class, well for us at least. We missed the first session last weekend because we were in Ucluelet.

Even though we arrived a half hour early, we were the last ones on the ice after struggling to figure out how to get all of our gear on.

There's your underlayer, a jack (for guys) or jill (for girls), padded shorts with suspenders, chest and shoulder protector, elbow pads, knee and shin pads, long thick socks, hockey jersey, skates, helmet, neck protector, gloves and of course, the stick.

I literally just guessed at what went on first since the one other girl in the class was already on the ice and i was all alone in the female washroom. There's an order because say, if you put on your socks first before your shin/knee pads, you won't be able to tape them down to your leg. Or if you put your skates on first, forget about getting your shorts, knee pads or socks on.

But once we got out there, it was fantastic. We did some skating drills, some passing, shooting and defense work.

Then the last 15 minutes we played a mini game - hard work!!! And very very sweaty! No wonder hockey locker rooms smell so ripe!

A great workout, my heart was racing but only because i was so pumped.

Matt did really well, and even managed to score a goal during the first exercise!!! :D

We are going to make a point of going to the leisure skating sessions at the rinks during the week so we can practice our skating and stopping.

For me the hardest part to get used to was the hockey skates, i'm so used to figure skates that i kept forgetting there wasn't a toe pick for me to stop with. Instead, i would pick my 'toe' to help me stop and thus, instantly fall forwards. But having all that extra heavy gear has one benefit: it doesn't hurt at all when you fall. I can't believe i waited all my life to try this game i grew up watching!

We had a LOT of fun and are already thinking about signing up for a second intro class after this finishes.

Clocks sprung forward today so it's bedtime!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

western shores

We're back from our very relaxed weekend in Ucluelet!

Friday and Saturday were relatively peaceful with no rain and no major swells in the sea.

We did the lighthouse walk and visited Long Beach and Radar Hill Lookout point.

Our resort had cable TV so naturally we watched our yearly quota's worth, and then some.

We both agree it's a good thing we don't have cable at home.

The unit also had an outdoor hot tub overlooking the marina! I know what I want when i grow up!!

One night we ate at the Eagle's Nest pub, it has a reputation of having the best fish and chips on the west coast - it certainly did not disappoint!

The pub/ restaurant had about 8 tv screens in the whole place, showing curling, hockey and the poker game which you can play along with if you buy a card.

There was truly a small-town Canadian feel to the place!

The next night we ordered the seafood supreme pizza from a local pizzeria that delivers.

It had shrimp, fish, crab, scallops, artichoke, sun dried tomatoes - divine!

Yesterday we went to Tofino as well, driving through the Pacific Rim National Park, about 35 minutes north of Ucluelet.

It has more of a touristy feel to it, more cafes and restaurants and a huge number of fishing charter companies, as well as bear/whale watching and hot spring adventures.

Oh, and not to mention lots of surfing shops for rentals and lessons.

Since last night, it started pouring and this morning we went back to the lighthouse and Long Beach to see the amazing waves.

It feels, smells and looks so different depending on the weather.

On our way back home to Nanaimo, we tested out our 'new' car by taking her on a few logging roads towards Kennedy Lake.

We had to turn around twice because the road was impassable.

We also stopped at Cathedral Grove, home of the biggest/tallest Douglas Fir trees on the island.

Poor Matt had irritating muscle pains in his shoulder and neck (possibly from the awkward tv-watching position that was practiced all weekend long) and couldn't look up.

It's nice to be home again. The snow has melted from last week, it's just wet and rainy now.

Thanks Mom and Dad for the special RCI vacation points.

It was the perfect engagement anniverary trip!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

yoga - ergized

It was a beautiful sunrise today.

Last Friday I went to the early - read 6 AM - Bikram hot yoga class. I came out feeling alive and ready to face the day.

I went again on Monday, but the instructor never showed up (something about miscommunication amongst the staff). I woke up at 4:14am this morning unable to fall back asleep, waiting for my alarm to go off at 5:15 so i could get up and go to yoga again.

I'm hooked. It's addictive and the feeling of euphoria lasts all day.

Right now I'm in my office watching golfball-size hail pour from the skies. They glimmer like pure white marbles; what an incredible sound they make!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The sort of Vday weekend i would've asked for

Yesterday we celebrated Valentine's Day with a session of Ashtanga partners Yoga.

It was based loosely on the yoga that i normally do, but with a partner.

It actually requires a lot of balance and communication and TRUST, and it gave us some good ideas for stretching exercises too.

We even managed to successfully complete "The Airplane" move, where one person lies on the floor with his/her legs up in the air holding up the other person by the hips.

Matt held me first and we even managed to let go of our hands so it was just him holding me up with his legs... !

Then it was my turn and if i wasn't actually holding his entire weight with my legs/feet, i would've burst out laughing - it was easier than i thought!

After connecting spiritually, we had to counter that balance and headed over to Walmart to satisfy our McDonald's craving. We spent the rest of the night assembling a 500 piece puzzle of a tiger.

It was good brain-training work and after a few hours, we both remarked that doing a puzzle together is probably the one time where we've spent a single extended period of time together where we didn't speak because we were so engrossed in what we were doing.

Today we were going to head up to Mount Washington to do some snowboarding but woke up too late to go up and make it worthwhile.

So instead we took a hike to Ammonite Falls, just a 10 minute drive from home.

We hiked through the new forest and then lowered ourselves down on ropes to the bottom of the falls. Very pretty and very muddy!

We then took our picnic lunch to Westwood Lake and watched as kids slid around on the not-so-frozen ice... it's a beautiful 6km walk around the lake and a great swimming place in the summer.

To top off our Valentine's weekend, last week we bought our selves a second-hand 2000 Nissan Xterra.

The previous owner kept it in such good condition it looks brand new. Roof rack, tow bar, 4 wheel drive, snowtires (and it also comes with a set of all-season tires!), ELECTRIC windows and locking system!!

I have to admit I love driving it, despite the gas-guzzling beast it is and the fact that my hubby is a student on the "Green Building and Renewable Energy" course; my dream of owning a big red honking truck is now fulfilled.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

happy engagement to us!

Today we celebrated our 4th engagement anniversary at the local Thai restaurant in Nanaimo, The Amazing Thai.
Every year we try to have Thai food in honour of getting engaged on the beautiful shores of Koh Yao Noi. Has it only been four years? Wow.

I presented Matt with his surprise weekend getaway to Ucluelet (on the west coast of island).

We'll be there from Feb26 - March1. Luckily there were vacancies during his University reading break and i'm taking one day off work.

My parents had some extra RCI Points (vacation time-share plan) so I took the opportunity to snatch them up - thanks mom and dad!

Apparently it's storm watching season on the west coast and the waves and wind are legendary, oooh!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

"O Canada, our home and native land..."

It's early February and it seems like spring is already upon us!

How strange it feels to be in Canada and yet so far away from what i know as 'Canada'.

It is a bit confusing and lonely at times but the natural beauty and easy lifestyle is hard to beat.

My heart is restless and perhaps what i need is just a big hug.

I'm feeling well challenged and immersed at work, indulging in the many smiles and energy that transmit through those darling children.

I will make a more conscious effort to be more present here on this space. Promise.

* picture of a lovely our lovely walk on Jan 18th at Westwood Lake in Nanaimo - a short 5 minute drive from our home!

sweet 'n sour road tripping

Today we ventured further north than we ever have on Vancouver Island - Gold River and then north/west to Thasis.

We almost made it there (Thasis) but had to turn back because we had tickets to a Chinese New Year dinner and music performance in Cumberland, a little town of 2,100 just north of Nanaimo.

It's been a while since we've been driving all day for 8 hours and we both got a bit nostalgic for long road trips....

Gold River we spoke to the guy who runs the sea float planes, Nootka Air.
He runs a tour which basically allows you to follow him on his 'mail route', stopping in different fly-in villages and harbours. Definitely on our to-do list!

We made it to Cumberland just in time.

Although the Lunar New Year was a couple of weeks ago, this event was advertised online and we thought it would be fun to attend, given we didn't really do anything special to celebrate.

Apparently Cumberland was a huge mining town with a lot of Japanese and Chinese immigrants and many here are 3rd or 4th generation.

There was a guest band called Silk Road
, a husband (from Montreal) and wife (from China) team who tour the world, giving concerts and educational seminars to school-children.

We didn't know anyone there but met quite a few nice folk from around the area. The local chinese restaurant, Panda Gardens, catered the event.. it's been a while since we've eaten sweet and sour pork and fried rice and deep-fried jumbo shrimp!! Once in a while, it doesn't hurt to have a heavy dose of MGS eh?

The duo even did a piece from Xinjiang province, although neither of them have been there before (we went up to talk to them afterwards), and she showed us some 'uygher dancing' which involved some neck twitches and chicken flapping... either they've drastically changed their dancing style or we totally missed out when we were living there.

Overall, it was a really interesting evening and we even bid and won a silent auction item - two bamboo mats for beach use! $5 for both, well we were the only bidders, but all the funds raised are going towards a big Chinese pavillion that they're building for the community.

Ok, bed now. I've got to work tomorrow afternoon. There's a special community info event happening in the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre where our organization is putting up a booth to attract interest in our programs and to get volunteers in to come and help us get our new centre opening up in March..... and anyways, it means we're all working a half-day.