Over the last 15+ years I have been to Pike Place Market in Seattle many, many times. I've had coffee at the original Starbucks, bought flowers in the market, eaten the oh so yummy goodies at Piroshky Piroshky, Confectional Cheesecakes, Daily Dozen Donut Company, Chukar Cherries and Sosio's Fruit and Produce to name a few. I've sat on the pig, watched the guys through the fish, walked the steps down to the waterfront (and then climbed back up), had more than one beer at Pike Place Brewery and made just a few purchases at other stalls and shops. So how come I've never seen the Post Alley Gum Wall before?
The Post Alley Gum Wall is about about 1.5km long and 4-5 metres tall and I'm guessing several inches thick with gum - bubble gum, chewing gum, lots of gum. It runs along side the the box office for the Market Theatre.
I did not put that there!
The story goes that people queing up for the box office started sticking their gum to the wall. The theatre staff scraped the wall clean, twice.
Is that a teenage mutant ninja turtle?
They gave up, and market officials declared it a tourist attraction, back in 1999. Some of the gum is over 10 years old!
Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck? I'm not touching that penny!
So either of my new jobs is dependant on passing the preemployment medical. So what does that involve? Basically a lot of money! Yes I have to pay for the medical, no it is not reimbursed.
Prior to going for the medical I was sent a bunch of paperwork that had to be completed before going to the clinic. They wanted to know my medical history:
If I have any allergies, haveI ever been hospitalized, doI smoke or drink, what medication I take, my menstrual history:
Have I ever been refused a job or lost a job due to a medical condition:
Monday May 6th I had an appointment at a clinic in downtown Vancouver with a Doctor to ensure all the paper work was completed and to get requisitons for all the tests that needed to be done.
That same afternoon I went for a chest x-ray.
The next morning May 7th I went to the medical lab in Sechelt to have a lot of blood drawn. Seriously. A lot. They took 7 vials of blood. It could possibly have been more, but I started to feel dizzy at the point and lost count. I had to fast from 10pm the night before, and of course they were running late so it was 12:30pm by the time I had went it. No wonder I felt faint. I also had to give a urine sample. So why all the blood? Because of all the tests they had to perform. I wasn't even sure what half of them were, so I had to ask. Some of the tests seem to duplicate each other, but they asked for them all so they got them all:
HbA1C - indicates level of blood sugar (gluscose), shows if you have diabetes.
CBC (complete blood count) - checks for level of red and white blood cells and hemoglobin.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel - shows how your kidneys and liver are working
Lipid Panel - levels of good and bad cholesterol
BUN (blood urea nitrogen) - checks kidney function
I'm working two part time jobs right now, have been since October. I'm working at the B&B and I'm collecting data for various traffic surveys. Both are temporary jobs. I am looking to return to full time work, but I'm being picky. I have, or more accurately had, some savings socked away for emergencies which is giving me a bit of a safety cushion. I don't want to take a job just to have a job. Although I may have to do that eventually. I want a job where I enjoy the work, like the company, and my day to day varies.
First step was to update my resume. I had a resume or CV that had everything on it. It was 3 pages long. That's too long. Most career counsellors, employers etc will tell you to keep your resume to 2 pages at most. Anything else is too long and won't be read. I had been applying for positions but getting no response. I sent my resume to a friend to give me some feedback, which she did - thanks Steph. Now I have 3 resumes! One that is hospitality/tourism focused, one that is retail focused and one that is customer service/administration related. I also have about 6 pages of paragraphs that I use to create cover letters.
Did changing my resume help? Yes. Now when I submitted my resume I was getting responses. That's when it became daunting. Interviews vary so much.
Mon - Initial phone interview with HR-asking a few general questions about the position I was applying for and to set up a phone interview for the next morning.
Tues AM - Phone interview lasted about 20 minutes - questions about my experience and my goals
Tues PM- An online personality quiz to ensure that my personality fit the job. It did.
Wed - A behavioural interview by phone. You know the questions... tell me about a time when you had to deal with an angry customer, how did you resolve it? Has there ever been a time when you didn't agree with your boss, how did you handle it? There were about 20+ questions. The interview lasted around an hour.
Tues - In person interview with Direct Manager - lasted about 30 minutes
Tues - In person interview with Manager of Direct Manager - lasted about 30 minutes.
Mon in October - Workshop (industry familiarisation and interview skills) with hiring agency
Thurs 21st Feb - 5 minute Skype interview with hiring agency for Guest Services position
Fri 22nd Feb - online English language test! Took about 30 minutes, was surprisingly difficult.
Tues 26th Feb - received notification that I passed English language test
Tues 26th Feb - invited to attend interview on April 3rd at 9:30am
Spent a week getting all the paperwork in order for the interview - copy of photo page of passport, updated resume, criminal record check, copies of diplomas (this required a trip to storage locker and help from a friend to dig out the box with the diplomas in it), have passport size photos taken, get two written reference letters from people who have known me for more than 2 years, complete the two application forms emailed with the invitation.
Wed 3rd April - Interview. This was a group interview. 30+ applicants and 1 interviewer. The day started at 9:30am and ended for me just after 12:00 noon. The first 1 1/2 hours was a presentation by the interviewer about the company, the position and what is expected of the guest services team. He also encouraged everyone to ask questions throughtout the morning. At 11:00am he started individual interviews. On average they lasted about 5 minutes each, mine lasted 20 minutes. He checked all the paperwork and then asked a few questions about my previous jobs - which I enjoyed most, which I liked least and then he talked more about the actual job and then I was done.
Mon 8th April - received the following email, "We are happy to tell you that you have been successful and xxxxxxxx would love to have you on board as a Guest Services Associate! CONGRATULATIONS!
Mon in October - Workshop (industry familiarisation and interview skills) with hiring agency
Thurs 28th March - 15 minute Skype interview with hiring agency for Retail Sales position
Thurs 28th March - invited to attend interview on April 24th at 9:00am
Spent a week getting all the paperwork in order for the interview - updated resume, complete the two application forms emailed with the invitation, copy of criminal record check, complete premedical form, complete uniform order form, get two written reference letters, get copy of passport and prepare 2 minute presentation.
Wed 24th April - Interview.
The day started at 9:00am and finished at 6:00pm. Longest interview I have ever been involved in! It was long enough we had two coffee breaks and a lunch break. Again there were about 30 applicants there and 1 interviewer (Mr X). He started with a presentation on the company, the position and the expectations. Mr X was very open at the beginning of the morning, encouraging questions and participation, letting everyone know that by the end of the day before he began the individual interviews he would already have made is decision do don't be a wallflower.
Throughout the morning there were interactive 4 activities
Introducing yourself to the group. You had to say your name, where you are from, your retail experience and one thing about yourself that was unusual.
A group activitiy where in groups of 4 you had to come up with something you all had in common. The trick was it had to be detailed. You couldn't just say you all liked to travel. It had to be we all liked to travel, we had all been to Germany, in December, to the Christmas market, and we had all bought a straw christmas decoration and drank a mug of gluhwein
A role play between 2 of us, one as customer and the other as the retail sales associate to sell the item given to us and overcome the objections of the customer
Finally a 1-2 minute presentation promoting an item to the group. The idea was to show you were comfortable speaking in front of a large group, that you could introduce the product (in my case a day tour), mention the features and the benefits, mention the price and special deal, interact with the audience, get them involved and use creativity to attract attention to the product.
At the very end Mr X met with everyone indiviually for 5 minutes or less. Basically he collected all your forms, and asked when you could start.
Mon 29th April - received the following email, "CONGRATULATIONS, xxxxxxxxx would love to offer you a position on board as a sales associate!"
So now I have a decision to make. Both positions are dependant on passing a pre employment medical exam, which I tell you more about later. Neither position will start until much later this year, possibly even early next year. I'd love to do either job, both have their own set of pros and cons and I am no closer to making a decision. I think it will come down to a) passing the medical and b) the start date.
Lesley's sketch - a very good attempt at putting my words into a design
Contouring band (image courtesy of Finlayson Goldsmiths)
Notching, fitting together (image courtesy of Finlayson Goldsmiths)
Checking diamond placement (image courtesy of Finlayson Goldsmiths)
Same diamond channel set in woven 18k white and rose gold bands
Left side view - rose gold band on bottom
Right side - rose gold band on top
I took my wedding ring off almost 15 months ago. It was sitting in a pouch in my jewelry box. I offered to give it back to Dave, he declined and said to keep it. As much as a liked my wedding ring I couldn't continue to wear it as it was. I had taken it to a couple of jewelers in the lower mainland, but no-one really seemed to able to put my words into a design. Most jewelers suggested putting the diamond into a prong setting, but to me that was too much like an engagement ring and that I didn't want.
So the ring continued to hide a way in a black drawstring pouch in a jewelry box in my storage locker. Dave and I didn't have any children, so there wasn't a daughter to hand it down to. Such a waste. I thought about selling it. But I am quite like the diamond. I also thought about resetting it as a pendant rather than a ring. Then a new friend here on the Coast suggested Finlayson Goldsmiths in Gibsons and I made an appointment with Lesley.
Weeks later after an in person meeting and mulitple emails back and forth about what I did and didn't like, we agreed on a design, I took a deep breath and left my ring with Lesley. Lesley and Ian then proceeded to turn my works and Lesley's paper sketch into reality. Lesley sent photos throughout the process and I met with Lesley and Ian about midway through to approve the work that had already been done and give the final go ahead to permanently set everything in place.
I think the whole process took about 2 months, may be a little longer. But I am really pleased with the result. The ring is a little thicker, wider, taller and heavier than I am used to wearing, so it was taken a few weeks to adjust to wearing it. I like that I can still see the whole diamond, not just the top. I like the one rose gold band in amongst the white gold. I like that the band is wavy. I like.
Way back in April and May I stayed a few nights with my friends Loraine and Bob. As a mini thank you I wanted to bake some treats but they needed to be gluten free. I didn't want to have to buy xantham gum and a whole bunch of different gluten free flours. It took me a while to find a recipe that sounded doable with the ingredients I had on hand.
Melt butter and chocolate
I finally found one I liked the look of on Martha Stewart. It only needed 4 ingredients:
6 tbsps (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
8 ozs bittersweet chocolate or 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used chocolate chips)
6 large eggs. Yes, you read that right. 6 larges eggs! Separated and room temperature.
1/2 cup sugar
Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form
The instructions look a little intimidating, but really it's just a case of reading them all they way through before actually getting to work.
Add 1/4 of egg white mix to chocolate mixture
Preheat oven to 275oF
Line cupcake pan with paper liners
Melt butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over (not in) a pan of simmering water
Stir to combine, remove bowl from heat, and let cool slightly
Whisk in egg yolks, all 6 of them!
Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form
Gradually add sugar, beating until peaks are stiff and glossy (do not overbeat)
Whisk one quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten
Then gently fold chocolate mixture into remaining egg whites
Divide batter evenly into cupcake liners (about 2/3s full)
Bake, rotating tins half way through until cupcakes are just set in the centre, about 25 minutes
Transfer tins to wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes
Fold chocolate mixture into remaining egg whites
My verdict? They were a little bit of work to make. I have a habit of overbeating the eggs. Still it was better than having to combine a bunch of different flours and a stabiliser. I also think they were a little bitter tasting, but then I'm a milk chocolate girl, so I think that's just personal preference. They are really good served warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream.
All done - the tops are supposed to crack and sink like that!
Will I make them again? Maybe, but not for a while, there are other recipes I want to try first.
Richard Wagamese was part of the line up for the 2012 Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, and the author of Keeper 'N Me, a book that's been on my to read list for a while now.
Nicola Campbell and Zaccheus Jackson were completely new to me.
Each author spoke about what story telling meant to them and their culture or told a story or performed poetry they had written or all of the above. For me, Zaccheus Jackson, Michael Kusugak and Richard Wagamese were the most engaging and interesting speakers. I could have listened to any of them for hours. I've added more books to my never ending "Books to Read" list. I love learning about new to me authors and finding new books to read. It was a good night and I'm glad I went.
Today was a gorgeous day on the Sunshine Coast. Blue sky, sunny and warm. It was also my birthday. As a birthday present from my Nan I spent a good chunk of the day at the Painted Boat Resort.
It's a few miles up the road from here. I arrived at noon for my 1:00pm appointment. Why so early? Because they have the Spa Garden that you can use before and/or after your treatment.
At reception I checked in, signed my life away, collected a locker key, was given a quick tour and then left to enjoy the hour before my massage. In each locker there is a clean bathrobe and towel. I think there were about 12 lockers so I can't imagine it ever being really crowded. The change room was nicely stocked with extra towels, face washers, cleanser, moisturiser, body lotion, razors, shaving foam, hair spray, hair dryer and curling iron. I changed into my swimsuit and head out to the spa garden.
The garden has a huge firepit which was on but not really needed today. Beyond the firepit are a salt water floatation pool, hot tub, sauna and two glacial rain showers.
I chose not to partake in the glacial rain showers today (we have no hot water at home right now, so I've had enough glacial showers for the month). I did float in the salt water pool for a bit, but spent most of my time in the hot tub or laying out in the sun reading my book.
Just before 1:00pm I went inside to dry off, cool down and grab a glass of water or two before my massage. I love getting massages and the hot stones are just awesome, they make the knots feel like they are just melting away. It is just so relaxing. I might even have dozed off for a minute or two.
After the massage was done, I spent 15 minutes in the steam room. Michelle gave me a fresh glass of water and a small tub of glacier clay to rub on any dry areas (elbows, knees etc) before heading into the steam shower. The clay is really moisturising, I didn't think it would be. I felt so good when I was done.
After the steam room I headed back to the change room to take a hot shower, something I haven't been able to do for the last 5 days! I thoroughly enjoyed the hot water. I wrapped myself up in the bathrobe and headed back out to the garden to read in the sun for a little bit longer. Then it was finally time to get dressed and head back to the real world.
It was a wonderful way to spend my birthday. Thanks Nan.
Duration? I arrived at noon for my 1:00pm massage. Massage was 60 minutes. I left at 3:00pm. 3 hours in total. I could easily have spent longer. There is no restriction on how long you use the spa garden for.
Atmosphere? Beautiful, quite, relaxing, clean, and the staff are friendly and unobtrusive.
Worth it? It's definitely a splurge. Way more expensive than just having a regular massage but you are paying for the spa experience. For me, I think it was worth every penny. I'd love to go back. It would be a great place for a girls weekend.
Would I go back? Yes. I'd like to try the exfoliating body scrub or the Signature Ritual, but I'll have to save my pennies for those. A pedicure might be more doable for now.
Back in October 2012 I grabbed a map and my wallet and visited some of the local artists that were participating in the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl. The art crawl is an annual three day event that allows visitors access to artists and studios along the coast from Langdale to Lund including some that are not always open to the public.
One of the places I stopped at in Roberts Creek was Creek Clayworks. In a cute little workshop in the woods.
The potters behind Creek Clayworks are Elaine Futterman and Mike Allegretti. Their work contains no lead and is dishwasher, microwave and oven safe. I knew I was in trouble the minute I saw all the blues and greens. I was good I didn't buy anything. Not during the Art Crawl anyway.
Not yet glazed:
Elaine Futterman at work:
You can buy from the studio year round, and I think you can sometimes find them at the Sechelt Farmer's Market on Saturdays from April to September.
You know how I said I was good and didn't buy anything during the Art Crawl in October? That didn't last. Can you guess which piece I bought as a Christmas present to myself during their Annual Creek Clayworks Christmas Sale back in December?
Lemon is almost my favourite flavour. After chocolate, of course. Lemon meringues, lemon curd, lemon tea, slice of lemon in water, sour cream lemon pie, Michelle's BBQ lemon chicken, lemon green beans, lemon chicken from the local Chinese restaurant, lemon ricotta pancakes...
These were a little time consuming to make, but only because the dough needs to be refridgerated for an hour. I ended up getting side tracked and the dough stayed in the fridge for about 90 minutes. Maybe because it was in the fridge for so long, the dough was quite hard to roll out. It just kept cracking and tearing. I didn't have any cookie cutters so I used an upside down water glass. The recipe says it makes a dozen cookies. I cut out 24 cookies, and they were huge. It also said the cookies would spread due to the baking powder, mine didn't. The baked cookie was the same size as the unbaked cookie. Which is a good thing. Next time I'll use a smaller glass and make more cookies.
These were soooooooo good. They were soft and fluffy and very lemony. I inhaled two while waiting for the second batch to bake. The sugar rush was not good. At this size, one cookie is more than enough. That said I will make these again. They are too good not to. Just typing this out is making me drool. Maybe I'll make them on Friday for my birthday treat.