Wednesday, December 30, 2015

travelogue: venice, we go

Stop # 4 of euromoon: Venice, Italy

Somehow, it feels like cheating to put up a post for a trip you did not like.

So many people love it! We met a woman on this trip that has summer-long vacations in Venice every year.

Every. Year.

We didn't last 48 hours before we were imploding and exploding in a furnace of sweat and rage.

Everything smelled like pee.

Very, very hot pee.

(I should mention that I can't handle extreme heat)

(I sort of melt like a wicked witch. Very dramatic and yowly.)

Who knows, maybe this post will be a nice change of pace! You're so used to my over-the-top fawning at all the places we go to; all these adjectives involving magic and light and impossible beauty.

Why not a post about pee instead.

Before I get too cynical, I must admit that looking at these photos we took, makes me second guess myself. 

I mean, Venice is a city FLOATING ON WATER (this may not be the exact, er, engineering term for it.) That's pretty neat. The architecture is stunning, given the modern landscapes we hail from. And even in spite of the fact that I am not the biggest fan of Marble Statue Things, I stared at some of these stony faces and stony fingers and stony lions for a long time. 

This was my second time in Venice, and Bry's first. I had gone a decade or so prior, when my family and I took a five week trip around Italy. I remember being fond of Venice. This may have been due to reasons such as:
  • air conditioning 
  • staying in a super ritzy hotel for free (parent-journalist connections)
  • being well fed
  • pleasantly mild weather

That is my jaunty 21-year-old self in Italy in 2005. She seems very smug to me. Also, she is not sweating.

On the other hand, 31-year old-Joann was full of sweats as Venice experienced a heat wave at 35C for the two nights we were there. Staying in the city centre is expensive, and we had opted for a room in our host's house that was up four flights of (very steep) stairs. Hot air rises. Suffice to say the nights were not much better than the scorching days, and we lay in bed with the pitiful desk fan trained on our bodies, while feeling like we were being slowly prepared in a sous-vide cooking contraption. Leaving the cool mountains of Cortina felt a bit like a mistake.

After one night of this, I decided that we would go to the Peggy Guggenheim museum the next day--yes for the incredible art collection she amassed, which I was impressed with on my previous journey here, but moreover, for the air conditioning. 

I love you, AC.

The museum was solid, just like I remember. It's worth the admission fee even without the promise of cool, artificial air. We spent the rest of our last day wandering around Peggy's collection of Dali's and Picassos, before heading off for dinner (where we got swindled to pay $90 CDN for a baked sea bass, AKA our new inside-joke / warning of staying away from "basshole" situations where we may get charged an arm and a leg for no reason. Usage in sentence: "Should we add gravel insurance protection to this rental?" "No, we're being basshole-d.")

I'm not used to being so candidly negative about any city, so after this paragraph I am going to use an internet gadget that will give you amnesia as your look at the rest of our photos. You deserve to look at these canals with wonder.

Imagine it when it was old and ancient, with no threat of gelato-frenzied tourists. Get lost in the labyrinth of passages that seemingly make no sense.

Go walk around a city where water is your sidewalk.

Just make sure you bring nose plugs if you go in the July/August heat! Kekekekekeke.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Of late: November Musings


1/ Sunny walks in Port Moody   2/ Snow dappled mountains at Joffre Lakes

3/ Sablefish on date night with momma    4/ Ninja Turtle! 

5/ My favourite tree    6/ I stare at these during all the stress of life 

7/ A week later, toe broken :(   8/ The wise fox at Savio Volpe

Of late...( Late again. Let's just say these may be late for the next two years. )

November was// a Richter scale 7.

It was up
and down
and zig zags
and anything but linear. 

November is historically a pretty tough month for many people in my life: it gets so dark out, you're fumbling out the door when the sky is still pitch blue for work, and then slumping back home under that same but different dark ceiling. Not to say that nothing good happens in November (so much did!), but it is something to take notice of, the way that the outside world influences our present biology. 

You're not crazy. It's just dark. And cold. Your body responds.

I really try to resist saying "so busy" when someone asks me "How are you?", but sometimes that is just the wide open truth. My month continued on from October, and it was full of end of term Things. Due dates. Deadlines. 1" margins, or two marks taken off. School Joann is a slightly different creature than the usual one you see here. Same soul, different intensity.

Take me to the Goods!//  Okay. Yes. Remind yourself of what was gold, ponyboy, or you do forget.

♥ The newest member of our family: Ninja Turtle, the forest green Subaru. We love him. This means        freedom! This means the ability to venture out into wide open spaces! 
♥ Sunday adventures: leaving the city for nature, three weeks in a row. Getting out of my head, and out from behind my desk, and ignoring my assignments in favor of sanity. Discovering the peace of snow again on the Joffre Lakes trail, and having birds land on our heads and hands. 
♥ Binge watching Master of None and seeing diversity on screen 
♥ Kisses from nephews-in law
♥ Witnessing the play Nirbhaya, based on the incident of the gang rape in India. A reminder that keeping     silent serves no one. Powerful, chilling stuff. The most intense play I've ever seen.
♥ The loveliest date with Husb at the newly opened trattoria, Osteria Savio Volpe: Tavern of the Wise Fox. A stone's throw from our house. A killer farro/squash/parmesan salad. 
♥ Finishing my last class of the term on the last day of the month. PHEW.

Body// is elastic. Did you know, it walks alongside you when you're struggling, and then again when you soar? It listens and responds. It can bounce back, and it does. This is something I didn't know for a long time, and not knowing would send me to the land of Doubt. I'm so glad that I know to say to myself now: Everything passes.

Recipe this month: when feeling overwhelmed, sneak out for air as often as you can. Even in a full day of teaching, you can find time for some cold against your face.

On juju//  On the way back from Pemberton and our wonderful day, we hit a set back. Somewhere along that black stretch of highway home, B's wallet and phone had gone missing. The detour to go back and find it was windy, and dark. A bit harrowing. I discovered driving at night in a speeding bullet with a bend called Suicide Hill is... not my favourite. The phone was found smashed on the side of the road, the wallet lost. 

A week later, B broke his toe. This is very not good. I know, you think: that's like... the smallest thing on your whole body you can break. Is it that bad? And yet, you can't walk with a broken toe. And if you can't walk, that means your hands are preoccupied with crutches. And if that's the case, then: mobility. Autonomy. Snowboarding. Sunday adventures. Asking for help for little things. 

It's not about the break; it's about the loss that comes after it. 6 weeks of being off your feet seems like a long time when the snow reports are epic. So.

Please send good juju, care of a pigeon or just a beam of healing vibes, to Bryan Green's right pinky toe. Thank you. 

Wearing// Black. Sometimes all black, head to toe. Blue. Brown. I'm not gravitating towards colour as much as I used to. A product of living in East Van, of feeling more quiet lately, I don't know. It possibly means nothing at all. What is new to report is that I continue to buy very little in the way of clothes, which would surprise two years ago Joann very much. I buy doughnuts instead.

Best bites of the month// 
Deli sandwiches from La Grotta del Fromaggio on the Drive, drizzled with oil and balsamic vinegar. Get them to pack them up, grab some Italian pastries from next door, and go for a hike.

The meatballs at Savio Volpe.

The miso sablefish at glowball. 

I usually get the vegetarian burrito at Sal y Limon, but one time this month, I had the chorizo con queso con huevo burrito (which B usually gets) and it was stars in my eyes.

Erin Ireland's coconut lemon poppyseed loaf. I order it through SPUD.


MY FAVOURITE TIME OF THE YEAR! Let me find an almond milk egg nog! Let there be white twinkly lights! Let me hold babies and hug friends and eat everything and sleep past 7am! Let me skype all those people that matter. Let me do nothing at all, and possibly love it. 

One month in 2015 to go. Have you chosen to learn the lessons of this year yet?

With all my love,

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