Happy Garden.

August 31, 2010

In the final hours of finishing the thesis I needed nourishment. We made a communal trip over to pick up some Chinese take-out at Happy Garden.

Don is leading the charge with Dexter in the trailer and Dougal running alongside (we took a residential and path route so Dougal wouldn't be scared of traffic).

Sable had come over after her afternoon meetings to help distract the baby while I was editing.

And Richard is visiting! He is now very bearded.

The Happy Garden is an old Parkallen institution. It is very popular and busy... but is it wrong to say this? It doesn't strike me as a real Chinese food restaurant. It's the kind of Chinese that is catered to people who aren't Chinese. But that doesn't change the fact that it's still tasty, so every now and then we'll order out.

You know, I haven't actually looked closely at the menu so perhaps there are other more authentic things to be had. Usually when I go eat with my parents we frequent the Golden Rice Bowl or Buddy Wonton. If you're looking for something 24 hours and more in the diner style, you can try the Garden Bakery, which has its restaurant upstairs and an assortment of amazingly priced cakes and buns downstairs at the bakery.

So back to the Happy Garden. It's old. The dining room has much to be desired so I haven't gone back to eat on location after that first time. But like I said, it's a neighbourhood favourite and the regulars swear by it.

We called our order in ahead of time, rode over, and waited. Richard took Dexter over to the park across the street while Sable, Don and I took turns riding each others' bikes .

And it occurred to me that we haven't had any photos of Dougal in the basket in a long time.

We hurried home with our dinner and devoured it quickly. As the evening stretched on there was more editing while Dexter was being taken care of by others. And finally the paper was at the point where it was ready to send.

Thesis, Complete!

(Unless it's terrible in some way and I have to do it again, if that's even a possibility)

But for now? I'm going to enjoy the final days of summer before work begins for me next week.


Flower Delivery.

August 29, 2010

So I'm in my yoga pants and an old t-shirt for most of the day trying to work on my paper and take care of Dexter.

Then Don arrives at home with two bundles of flowers (one for me, one for his mom) and I remember that we have a casual dinner with his parents in about a half hour.

Had to get dressed! Threw on a pair of jeans and the nanette lepore top I scored while vintage shopping in Chicago.

Sandal season is pretty much well over here. So it's back to pumps.

I carried the bouquet in my basket. It was for Don's mom, since she just had her birthday a few weeks ago.

So pretty! There was one huge flower that sort of looked like an artichoke heart.

The thing that attracted me to the blouse (actually, I think it was Dottie who found it first) was the delicate little flowers. Also, it's a wrap top and it came in my size. Done!

We went to Rick and Alice's Grill, this mom and pops sort of diner a few neighbourhoods over. I say it's a diner because you can get really good burgers and fries and milkshakes, but they also do satay, stir-fry, surf and turf, ribs, etc. It's not big on ambiance, but there really is something for everyone. Home cooking!

We usually get the sweet potato fries but they were all sold out tonight. They're the best sweet potato fries I've ever had.

By far the best thing about the place is Rick (who cooks) and Alice (who serves). They speak Cantonese like me and I love overhearing their loud Chinese conversations from inside the kitchen. Fantastic people.

Dexter will basically play peek-a-boo every chance he can get.

When the menus were taken away he continued to peek and reveal with his hands. I feel as though this photo looks as if Dexter is pontificating emphatically.

Little dude loves to self-feed the spaghetti and meatballs.

And totally off topic, check out the glass bead bracelet my mommy gave me from her trip to Italy!

Even though I'm drowning in my paper (where I read it and read it and hate myself) I'm glad I had an excuse to put on clothes and ride the bike. Gave me a fresh brain for my evening session with the dreaded writing.

Annual Block Party!

Here is a great shot (taken by Chris) of Dexter on his first tricycle ride at last night's annual block party!

But first, here is the scrutinizing little dude earlier that day, enjoying a cracker while waiting for the train to the market.

I wore the new dress I got from my Anthropologie run the other day.

It has birds and gives off a very woodland nature vibe.

We're getting fall weather now and tights were a must. As was a wool blazer and a scarf.

It also has this fluff thing along the collar.

Met with Sable and other friends. It was a particularly busy day for running into people this week.

Later that day we made our way across the street and twenty paces over to the annual block party! This is one of my favourite parties to go to each year. We were first invited shortly after we moved in 2008 and it made us feel so welcome to the neighbourhood. Although we're not officially living on that specific "block," we are honourary members.

The street gets closed off and people bring out their BBQs, tables and chairs, and lots of tasty food to share. This year there were lots of balloons and a pinata that the kids went gaga over.

When the thing finally broke open (after many concerted attempts to destroy it) the kids pounced on and ravaged the candy on the ground. Never have I witnessed a group of individuals descend upon treats in such a way that so accurately mimicked a zombie hoard devouring brains. It was pretty shocking.

Since it gets so chilly now, we brought our fire pit to warm things up.

Don instructed the kids to gather kindling and let them help with the fire building.

Various neighbours took turns watching over the baby.

At some point Dexter discovered the tricycle and he was REALLY into it. I think it becomes him very well.

Oh, and those fancy green trainers? Gift from grandma.

Little Zoe was so kind to Dougal the pirate dog.

At one point it rained and we feared for the party, but it passed. Nevertheless, Graham was prepared.

Dexter with neighbourhood friends.

And then... BBQ!

Followed by home made ice cream and other treats. I think I ate 6 rice krispie squares and 3 brownies on top of the ice cream and oreo cookies. I love dessert.

Such civilized dining. I was much more savage and ate half my dinner while sitting on a curb.

As the evening got colder we put more logs on the fire.

And had boisterous conversation into the wee hours.

So biking and taking the train out for food and friends is always wonderful, but walking up the street to meet with friendly neighbours is an excellent thing. Regardless of where you live, having good neighbours is priceless. I know a lot of people lament that the fact that neighbourhoods aren't as friendly and safe as they used to be. You know, people don't say hi and you don't get to know them very well.

Perhaps that is true, but it takes good people to get that going and to inspire others to come out of their shell. Luckily, there already seems to be great neighbourly momentum happening in my 'hood and my little family gets to reap all the benefits of these fine people living all around us.

Block party!


August 27, 2010

Today was a big public transit day! Dexter and I went via train then bus to reap the benefits of a 40% discount off of everything at Anthropologie (even sale). A friend is currently working there and has graciously made me her "partner" in fashion. I am super lucky. Super super lucky!

Dresses and shopping aside, we came back via bus and train too. And after coming home to do boring stuff like organize my kitchen island (Zzzz) and prepare invoices for the coming school year, Don and I hopped on the train again to get to a rib dinner.

Have I mentioned how great it is to have friends who also live near the train?

It's so convenient to get your BBQ fix.

But first there were snacks and sparkling wine.

Snuggling with the giraffe toy I got Dexter earlier that day.

The table was set.

Dexter is actually getting a little bit of attitude lately. He is crazy adventurous and needs to touch everything and go everywhere. When he comes across obstacles he just gets so frustrated. And when he is prohibited from touching certain things he also gets upset. Life as a toddler. Such discovery. Such limitation.

I like how in the first photo he is looking back to check and see if anybody is watching. Then he begins to crawl onto the balcony.

Back inside, we await the feast.

RIBS! Chris has been making ribs throughout the summer and has developed a pretty good technique by now.

Treats for me.

The Master with his craft.

After dinner we retire.

To the living room where we have dessert! Apples dipped in dulce de leche and mascarpone cheese.

After a nice visit, it's just a short walk and a train ride, and we're home again.

Public transit isn't just for people who can't afford cars (we have one, but we choose when we want to drive instead of defaulting to it). It's a quick, active, and convenient way to enjoy your evening featuring ribs. On nights when we prefer to take Dexter out in his sweet stroller and we don't feel like riding with a headwind? Meh, just hop on the train.

Back to the "Grind".

Since we've arrived home from our Chicago vacation things have been a flurry of Dexter-care, laundry, thesis-editing (which is near impossible with a toddler who can't stay away from a keyboard), and nursing the cold I got on the airplane. Aches, pains, and congestion... be gone!

Being out in the city and blogging took a break.

But today I got back into my "grind" by having some bikey family time at Fort Edmonton Park. I say bikey because Don took me down a path in the river valley that I've never been on. We were at the park in 10 minutes!

Everything there is so quaint and period specific.

I would actually highly recommend going to the store at the Midway for presents for kids! They're all 1920s themed and well-priced. I saw two bike-related toys. Both are designed to clip onto your handlebars. One has an airplane with a propeller that will spin once you're pedalling and the other was a big spinning wheel.

Speaking of the Midway, they now have a little amusement park that emulates what a 1920s Midway would have looked like here in Edmonton. It was complete with rides, games, and freak show.


And of course, a carousel!

It was Dexter's first ride.

Here is a very Pashley-looking tandem.

Then we left the Midway and took a stroll on the boardwalk.

Lots of people have their weddings down here and I can see why. There are so many great photographic opportunities and running around entire streets accurately themed for 1885, 1905, and 1920 is pretty fun. We were here for an event last year (for the ICLEI conference). People from governments all over the world were down in the park for a big party night and one guy from Finland said he was expecting a theme-park for Edmonton to be cheesy and artificial, but that Fort Edmonton Park was actually really authentic. It's not cheesy at all. Many of the buildings are still original but I believe they have been transported from their original locations within the city.

We looked inside the little telephone museum and noticed the Frank Lloyd Wright influence. Hello, picture rail!

Then we caught the street car! Judging from the sign on the front it looks like one that use to run in my neighbourhood of Belgravia.

Dexter and Dad causing trouble in the back.

Then it was time to head home. The ride down was so fun because it was crazy downhill. The way up was crazy UPHILL. It was a workout but I saw it coming and rode the Amsterdam instead of the Pashley. Phew!

Came home and quickly changed out of my sweaty dress into a non-sweaty dress.

Rode out and met Tom for dinner at New Asian Village.

We had mango lassis and mango pudding in addition to our savoury stuff.

Originally we were going to go swing dancing for a friend's birthday, but it got really windy and started to rain. By the time we finished up with dinner, the dancing in the park had wrapped up. We parted ways as he went to partake in the drinks portion of said birthday celebrations and I came home to see Dexter before bed.

Love the quiet ride home at night on tree-lined streets.

Managed not to get caught in the rain.



Nice to be back in the saddle. Family and friends via two wheels? Yes, definitely getting back into the swing of things.

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