Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Ah food... cooking is a passion which I'd let slip of late. I'd get home and be in no mood to even think of planning a meal, much less actually making it... this week, I've been better... and I think my inspiration for this was the following meal, cooked by my lovely wife Yo-chan:

Tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) with fried kabocha squash and brocoli.... mmmmmm!

So this week, I've found myself back in the kitchen. Last night, I slapped together some great shrimp pasta, it was fantastic!

Tonight was Pad Thai, an old standby, and tomorrow will be my version of shepherd's pie. Glad to have gotten my (cooking) groove back!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Summer drawing to an end...

And just like that, it's September and Labour Day Weekend is over. Oh where oh where did the summer go? As far as summers go, this certainly was not a toasty one out here in Ottawa, with very few nights staying above the 15 degree mark. This of course made for some good sleeping, but also cold mornings. In retrospect, it was quite a busy summer. Spent some time at the cottage, out on a couple of camping trips, and getting to know Ottawa again after two long years away.

We're rounding out our fifth month here since arriving from Japan. I've found myself thinking about my time over there more and more, and in many ways, I do miss Japan. We've even begun to discuss a return trip some time next Spring\early summer while the baby is still young and (relatively) easy to travel with. I'm glad I can look back on my time in Japan with a certain sense of accomplishment and longing. The ride got pretty rough at the end of my contract, and I'm glad I didn't let that negativity shape my time there too much. Leaving Japan after spending 2 months off traveling and relaxing was certainly a big help.

We've kept busy these past few weeks, me learning the ropes in my new job, Yoshiko studying with the LINC program, and of course both of us busy thinking about and preparing for the arrival of our little baby in less than 4 months! All is going well on that front, the little one is quite active and gives us an acrobatic show on an almost daily basis.

Another event which is just around the corner is the Canadian version of our wedding. We've gotten everything booked up and organised, just have to get those invitations out there (don't be angry if you don't get one, we've got VERY limited seating) and that'll be that. We're having it out at Les Fougeres, a quaint little restaurant out in Chelsea which serves some amazing down-home French cuisine and a good assortment of other fare. In a matter of weeks now (Oct. 14th) we'll be celebrating our 1st year anniversary surrounded by family and friends, including a contingent from ol' Nihon! Yoshiko's parents and brother are arriving on the 13th for a short stay with us to partake in the festivities, much as my mother did last October for our actual wedding.

Other than that, we've been keeping a low profile. Couple of activities this weekend filled out the time, though the highlights fizzled due to weather. Labour Day Weekend in Ottawa is synonymous with the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival, the last festival of the summer. Unfortunately for us, who shelled out for tickets for last night and made a point of driving out to see the balloons tonight, everything was called off on account of the windy conditions. So a balloon festival without balloons... though in all honesty I do believe they made it up once or twice over the weekend, we just weren't privileged enough to see them. So here, the only balloon we saw all weekend... as seen on the festival's site across the Ottawa River from the lookout where we waited for the balloons tonight... grrrrr!

I don't mean to make it sound like a total wash, because we did somewhat enjoy our time on the festival grounds last night despite the cold wind, and today was a great day. We headed down to the market to walk around and enjoy a beavertail, Yoshiko's first. Then we hopped on over to the Canadian War Museum and spent a couple of hours exploring everything from native to modern warfare. Quite the museum, a must-see for sure. Then, after our failed attempt at balloon viewing, we headed down to the Kitchisippi lookout to check out the statues which are built up every year by a local artist. Here is Yoshiko checking a couple out.

And here is the artist in question, I guess he must spend a lot of his time out here stacking these rocks, as nothing holds them together but gravity. A very popular fixture in the city these have turned out to be, one of those unique things Ottawa has to offer.

We were treated to a nice warm glow from the setting sun, and even saw a paddler float on by with his dogs.

Fiddling around a bit with the camera, I tried to get a silhouette effect going, and I think it turned out nicely... don't you?

With Fall starting to poke its nose at us here, and the Winter coming right on its heels, I'm glad we're still able to enjoy these lovely late-summer evenings. Good nights!