Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This "old" blog is old!

Time for a new one!

I'm jumping ship because apparently in 4 years I've exhausted this blog's photo capacity. Clearly, you're wanting to continue following along with my adventures, so click on the link below to whisk you to my new home, Sarah's Adventures!


Monday, October 8, 2012


I was juuust about to start another post, but apparently I've exceeded the 1G photo limit. Let's see what I can do, because I have some gems from the vault!

All About August!

Honestly, I don't remember much abotu August - so I'm glad I kept a tidy journal and took plenty of photographs! Here goes:

At the start of August, I finally got my hands on the custom tea set that I'd comissioned for my friend Callyn's nuptuals - in 2010. To make up for the extreme delay, I took her out for a wedding tea party at The Urban Tea Merchant. I've really loved their high tea service, and I was glad to share it with a friend. Seeing as it was August and quite warm, we opted for fruity iced teas. Nom.

Trés delicieux!
Later in the week, Mike suggested he take an extra long lunch break in order to meet with his "mental health professional" (me) and to check out a tour of the Orpheum Theatre. Always a theatre-rat, I obliged. I was not disappointed...

Before our guide opened the door, he advised us that what was behind it was prized by the architect, and that we should all come up close to see it. A vampire with strobe lights greeted us and I'm sure I jumped!
I'm up where they keep the spotlights! behind me is the Orpheum's stage.
This dungeon-like doorway was in the theatre's underbelly. the Hallway led from a space underneath the seats (which was used with large fans to propel cool air up and into the auditorium like early air-con) to the bowels of the backstage.
Around Mid-August (the 13th, to be exact), it was time for a little excursion to celebrate our first year off matrimony. It was a Monday, and with Mike working 'normal-people' work-weeks, I was busy trying to figure out something fun an memorable that could be done in an evening. Picnic at the top of the Stawamus Chief? Bottle of Champagne (leftover from the wedding) whilst 'taking the plunge' at wreck beach? What I really wanted to do was take a canoe out somewhere remote and enjoy the bounty that the lower-mainland has to offer...but on a Monday?

Clearly, I've got a man that loves me, because he played hookey for Monday and Tuesday! Our adventure was a two-day trip from Deep Cove, up the Indian Arm and to a campsite about 18km away at Granite Falls.
We met about a dozen seals along the way. On the way in we paddled with the tide, so the 3.5hr paddle went smoothly....It took us a while longer to get home (against the tide, with plenty of waves)

In order to lure Mike to the Dark side (aka, wilderness camping), I ensured that we would have a spectacular 1st anniversary meal: Jamaican chicken jambalaya, wedding cake, and champagne! Delish!
Our campsite at Granite Falls. After wiping off the sweat from the journey, I was thrilled with our location.
I woke up early, but let Mike sleep in the next day while I cooked oatmeal for breakfast.
On the 20th, I hopped on a red-eye flight from Vancouver to Toronto, rented a little convertable Fiat500, and drove to Stratford for a week of thespian bliss. The goal was for 10 plays in 6 days. I was successful, of course - though I have my doubts that many of of friends would have the same stamina, and I'm glad I left them all at home. I love you, friends, but ain't nobody rainin' on my adventure!

Made the requisite stop for lunch at Anna Mae's for a 1/2 sized hot lunch, and a full sized slice-o-pie. Mennonite slice-o-heaven, if you ask me!
I took a Dutch Apple pie home, too. Carried it on the plane on the seat next to me. I had worries they were going to confiscate it at security, but I mused that if they tried to take it, I'd find a fork and eat it right there. There would be no pie wasting today!
Another requisite stop in Millbank was at the Cheese Factory. I loaded up on a few blocks, but made off with 3 or 4 bags of fresh cheese curds. They were so fresh, I saw the lady seal them up for me from this freshly opened batch. mmmm.
But, though I spent time puttering around Stratford, Millbank, and Perth County, the majority of my time was spent inside a theatre. All told, I saw
  1. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
  2. Cymbeline (Shakespeare, set a few hundred yrs ago in the woods)
  3. The Matchmaker (the precursor to Hello! Dolly)
  4. As You Like It (Shakespeare, set in 1900's colonized South America)
  5. Wanderlust (a musical adaptation of Robert Service's poems)
  6. 42nd Street (a musical about becoming "A Staaar")
  7. The Best Brothers (a new Canadian work. Sad & hilarious)
  8. Henry V (Shakespeare. Reminding us of the discord between English and French speaking Canada)
  9. The Pirates of Penzance (an english Opera, with silly, silly pirates!)
  10. A Word or Two (one-man show written by and starring Christopher Plummer)
I took some covert photos. Don't tell anyone!!
Its name in lights! Where's my name!?
The poor fellow hung at the end of the first half of Henry V was left haning there for 10 minutes into the intermission! Poor guy. They hauled him up into the ceiling, and everyone cheered!
While I was back East, I managed to squeeze in a visit with some old friends (haven't seen them in 13 years!) Much has changed, but plenty is exactly the same - and the brunch table was loud and bustling!

L-R: Isabella, her mum Catherine, Marilyn (Jaimi's babe) and me! Fun fact: Isabella, Catherine and me all have the same birthday!!
The gaggle of gals! (and their little girls) It was a quick brunch, but it was really, really fun to hear their stories.
Another adventure of mine in Stratford was to visit all of the hottest eateries. The Prune is on the "must-go" list. Delicious food, and they wrapped up my leftovers in the shape of a swan!! I ate at a few excellent places - hard to imagine in a town which only boasts an official population of 31 000 people.

The swan was cute, but also great marketing as swans are iconic to the Avon river which runs through Stratford.
Not one to mind eating alone, I found dinnertime to be great for catching up on my travel writing and reviews of each show.

And seeing as how it was the Stratford Festival's 60th Season, I made sure to stop by the special exhibition featuring costumes and memorabilia from the first (and subsequent) seasons)

headdress and reconstruction of the original dressing table from Richard III
I can't even remember what show this is from, but I love this costume.
Last remaining bulk piece of the original theatre tent. The other bits were given away as souveniers (glued a to a special card) upon donation/patronage
I took a tour of the Festival Theatre, too. (I'm wearing my Bard on the Beach Volunteer jacket!)
I was going to be seeing (the very long) Henry V at the same time that Christopher Plummer was scheduled to be signing autographs at another theatre. The gift shop was adament that they were no longer allowed to pass Mr. Plummer pre-purchased books for signing. Apparently he took offence. Shit luck for me, but I still wanted a copy, I fashioned a poster to stick to my hostel-room door lure in a friend to help. (I should mention I stayed at the nurse's residence/hostel at the Stratford General Hospital) The poster reads:

Dear fellow Nurses and Hostellers;
I'm looking for a little help, and in return
I can give you - 
Rheo Thompson
a helping hand means being available on
SATURDAY, at about 3:30pm,
meeting Mr CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, and having
him sign a book for me while I am 
otherwise unavailable.

*I'm offering chocolate, but offers are negotiable (i.e, kinship and beers!)

My poster. Alas,  no takers.
Here are some other bits and bobs from my trip and around town:

the local shops have plenty of Bieber Fever merch.
...I stopped by a favourite toy store of mine, Family and Company, where I found:

"Name That 'Stache Game." This game should be sold in Vancouver for sure. 
An entire display devoted to tea sets!!
Maybe rather than "Bathroom-Neo," this toy should be called "Benny Hangs Himself in the Shower."
Paino's around town. All are painted with "Play me, I'm yours"
Eatin' lunch on the Avon river's man-made island.
A view of the Avon. The Festival theatre is just beyond the trees on the right.
But, alas, my trip had to end sometime. I packed up my fancy dresses (a girl must pack fancy shoes and dresses for a theatre adventure!), bought a delicious sandwich at the York Street Café (I highly reccomend 'The Mennonite'), and headed back home on another red-eye flight. Had to be home quickly - I was scheduled for work the next morning!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Would Martha Do?

So I had friends over last night - nothing crazy. I ordered in Memphis Blues BBQ and we played some board games. Thing were going well until about 930 when what I would think the most embarrassing thing that could ever happen to a dinner party host, happened to me.

I got sick.

But it wasn't the "I've got a bit of a headache and I'm feeling quite tired" kind of sick. It was the "excuse me while I evacuate everything I've eaten all day and take a few minutes to lie down on the bathroom floor" kind of sick.

It would have been my own fault - and I certainly wouldn't be so innocent - if I'd done it to myself with too much punch. But I'm 100% sure this was brought on by food. I'm 80% sure it's because I was nibbling on the fresh raspberries I bought yesterday morning from Granville Island without washing them (the other options were a spinach bagel or a bowl of mini-wheats), too.

So there I was, laying on the bathroom floor feeling terrible x2 for leaving my guests not only alone, but feeling obliged to take care of me. Don't get me wrong - when you're sick like that it's nice to have company - but I hated thinking that my guests were out there a) running to 7-eleven for Pepto, and b) tidying up the remains of supper!

What would Martha have done? Even if she HAD somehow allowed herself to get food poisioning on an evening she was hosting friends, what would she do to manage the whole situation? Is there etiquette with this sort of thing?

Here's what I'm thinking:
1. Send thank you notes.
2. Host another game night to make up for it.
3. Never get food-bourne illness ever again.

The good news is that even though I brought the Pepto back up, after I woke up on the cold bathroom floor shivering, I tucked myself into bed and slept really, really well. Chammomile tea for breakfast, and I have plans for a long day involving pajamas. Good prognosis.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Way Back in July....

 Back in July, Mike and I took an adventurous road trip through Alberta and southern BC. I came home with a few hundred photos, a sunburn, a green Coach bag from one of those Hurtin' Albert'n outlet malls, and miniature cowboy hat for puttin' on the Christmas tree this year. Why don't I tell you all about it!?

Our first stop was an unplanned roadside detour to Craigellachie - the location of the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Michael is attampting to steal the last spike. Though unsuccessful, I applaude his efforts.
 Stop number two (Still day one of road trip) was after we entered Glacier National Park.We'd been hiking plenty around Vancouver (lately, we'd done the Chief and Moutn Seymour), and Michael picked out the Hermit Trail as another one we might try...

At the top! It had been bright and sunny (and hot!) all the way up until just about the time we took this photo...
There was only one sign...it was near the bottom and indicated that we'd hiked 0.8km. The trail is just over 3km. Michael failed to mention that the incline was "brutally steep" according to Parks Canada. In this photo, we're nearly back at the bottom again. I'm both sweaty and wet from trying to cool off in a glacier stream.

 I nearly lost my sunglasses, too. Just as we were metres from the bottom of the trail, I realized they were no longer in my pocket. My first thought was "well, if I've left them up there near the top, they can stay there." Luckily, I remembered that 'nature called' only about 50m away and they'd only recently fallen out.

 We were aiming for Lake Louise on Day one, and we drove on to meet it. Our photos are from the next day because it started to rain miserably. Mountains really aren't as nice in the rain.

Cooling my feet in the glacial waters of Lake Louise. Contrary to how this photo looks, there were at least a hundred people milling about nearby. But it was a lovely spot to sit for a while.
I managed to pursuade Michael to take a paddle upon the famous Moraine Lake, nearby. It was absolutely the most perfect day a girl could ask for. Clearest skies, snow-white glaciers, and that green, green water. This is where I got a sunburn, and it was worth it for sure.
No biggie. Just Canadian wilderness at its most perfect.
 Day two had us continue on through Banff. Honestly, after seeing Lake Louise, we weren't as impressed with Banff. Mostly, it was because the entire town was crawling with tourists. I much preferred the peacefullness of Lake Louise (still had plenty of tourists, but not nearly as bustling)

 A good shot of the area surrounding Banff.
 At the end of day 2, we checked into our hostel in Cangary for the Big Shoe - the Stampede! As an aside - the hostel was in an excellent location. We were within walking distance of the Stampede grounds. The real downside of it, though, was their lack of a/c. Add to that only one small window, a second storey room, and 6 people trying to sleep and you and up with sleeping quarters so stifiling you may as well just call them awake-ing quarters. But our roomies were nice, anyway....

I can't remember if Mike's putting on his "I'm a rough cowboy" face, or if he's generally unhappy that I made him put on my straw hat. But really and truly, the hat was my saviour during those 30 degree + days!

We went to see the miniature pony show!

In the cowbarn, I (literally) tried my hand at "Guess which cow is pregnant!" The cow back end is fake. They had me put cornstarch (or chalk?) on my arm and feel around for a bit. I guessed right.

This poor miniature pony... We decided there were two options for him. #1 - Superhero. #2 - he's thoroughly embarrassed that he has to wear a skintight suit in public. He woudn't look at us.

The rodeo! I love rodeo. We had nosebleed seats, but this time it was a bonus because it meant that we got to sit under the shade of the arena for those three hours. My favourie even - hands down - was the Junior Wild Pony Racing! And then once the event was over, an 8 year old boy on a miniature pony did the rounding-up!! Most adorable sport in the history of ever.
We also spent some time in the sweatiest beer tent I've ever seen - Nashville North. But it was still awesome.
This is one of my favourite pictures from the rodeo. I've got my face in a cutout board, and I feel as if I look like a Little Person giving it my all on that bull!!
Riding a giant missile. Giddy up!

 But after three nights at the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," it was time to move on. We stopped at the outlet mall between Calgary and Edmonton, and paid a visit to the most countrified, Albertan shop I'd ever seen - Bass Pro. I tried to take plenty of photos, but there was just so much going on! Check out their website for more. I was tempted by the giant mailbox in the shape of an open-mouhed fish. eew, and awesome at the same time...

THREE taxidermied moose greeted us at the entrance.
In this photo: three bears, a cougar, an airplane and three mountain sheep. And that was just in one corner of the enormous store...
 That evening, we stayed with Michael's good friend Mark. He showed us around town, and we found a great deal to see an Edmonton Eskimos game for $30!! (through Boston Pizza. Included a free beer at the restaurant, a ride to and from the game, and our seats!)

Did I mention the "ride" to the football game was a yellow school bus?
 We also visited some friends we show make efforts to see more - Greg and Meg! One evening, we all went for the most beautiful, wonderful steak dinner at Lux. If you ever end up in Edmonton and want a steak, go to Lux. Order a steak and the Truffled Lobster Mac 'n Cheese. You will die of deliciousness. We nearly had a brawl between the 5 of us for the last few morsels of the Mac.

On the last Edmonton day, the guys went out for beers, and Meg and I went for Pedis at "The Mall." We all rejoined later for a rainy dayfull of indoor waterslides!

 Leaving Edmonton, we moved on to the "see the awesomeness that is All-Natural Western Canada" portion of the road-trip. Stop number one was the Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site. It was interesting, but it didn't have nearly the wow factor that some of our other stops gave us.

Honestly, I think the entire site is flavoured with tonge-in-cheek jokes. Their logo includes buffaloes jumping to their death.

This is the jump itself, 150 years after it was last used. Weather, erosion, and centuries of use have turned a once deadly cliff into almost a rolling bluff. Archaeologists discovered that there is a higher concentration of arrowheads on the upper layers of soil. Why? Because in its later use, buffaloes were more often surviving the fall and needed to be killed manually at the bottom. oops.
But it's a fantastic view of the plains!
Again, I see the humor all around. This carpeting was all over the interpretive centre, but it just looks like dozens of buffalo tumbling down the cliff (or stairs, in this case) here. A little morbid, no? Who thinks of this!?
It appears I was also a casualty of the Jump. Ow.
The jump has plenty of cultural heritage and I'm glad we visited. I wondered more than once about how important HSIBJ is to the survival of the Plains Aboriginal Peoples. About 150 years ago, they could not longer use the jump, mostly because European settlers killed off the Buffalo herds in droves. But really, the jump is still an important source of sustinence for them, and in almost the same way! Read about how the jump was originally operated here. Read especially about the drive lanes. But now, the drive lanes herd tourists, and there are little paths with markers (rather than fences), like cairns telling us not to tread off the path at all. We look at the site, and give them money! The only real difference now is that (luckily) we don't have to die at the end of it. Legend is that any buffalo that was driven to HSIBJ had ot die, or else they might tell other herds about it and so they couldn't be duped into getting herded over the cliff. Nowadays, they'd much rather we tell our friends to come visit it, too!

The rest of the trip has us drive through Fernie...

Big Ski Pole at the Fernie Ski Hill!
 ...Trail (where we stopped for meatballs), Cranbrook, Castlegar, Penticton, Christina Lake....

It was raining and we needed gas badly. Rather than help me out in teh downpour, Mike decided to take a picture. Nice guy.
 ...Grand Forks, Midway.....

Midway has a plaque to "Commemorate the Installation of Their Sewew System"

We stayed in Osoyoos overnight and took a tour of the Nk'Mp winery. Delicious!
...and made a stop in Kamloops to visit the fam before we returned home at last. I was so ready to get back into my own bed, and my own shower again. It was absolutely a memorable trip!!

Later in July, I used up my voucher for a walk-on role in a local production of RENT, by Fighting Chance Productions. I was allowed to hang out backstage with the cast until my triumpant return to the stage as a participant in the AIDS/HIV therapy group. We gave hugs, I said my name out loud, and then we sung a little. Easily the best part was arriving just before showtime, being told that I would be on stage long enough to be a part of a song, and realizing that I knew all of the words already! (they told me I could just mouth the words, but I killed it, FYI). The cast was warm and welcoming (beyond the fact that I'd brought them homemade brownies!), and I made friends with one cast member who is also a nurse. I couldn't believe it! Now, he said that this was his first show, but he also went to UBC for it's opera program, so he's not a newbie. At any rate, I had a fabulous time! (And thanks to Mike and Christa for sitting through the entire show just to see me on stage for 3 minutes!)

Me and the cast of RENT!