Friday, December 20, 2013

Lauren Takes to the Airport for the Last Time

Well, this is it. I no longer have my fancy security pass and I'm playing the role of passenger today. I've been at the airport for the past 14 hours, since I came in for my last day of work today and decided I wasn't going to leave!

We had our Christmas luncheon today, where we all dressed up in ugly Christmas sweaters, ate lots of tasty food and participated in a gift exchange. Since I had nowhere else to go, I got to spend time chatting with some of the other engineers, directors and even the vice-president of engineering!

In case you haven't heard, I was also selected as Co-op Student of the Year for 2013! I'm thrilled about this and I'm sure that the airport is breathing a sigh of relief that their experiment in hiring me worked out so well. I even got to chat a bit with our new CEO at the luncheon, since he had also heard about the award!

I have a replacement coming in for January, so hopefully the student will be able to find as much value in this experience as I did. I think that the biggest thing I took away was the confidence that was reinforced in me to actually believe that I'm ready to be an engineer (well, an EIT), once I graduate.

I spent my last few hours at the airport with a few of the (female) engineers that I had become close with. We sat around in the Fairmont lounge, which felt pretty classy, even though I was wearing a sweatshirt. I think my uncle would also approve of the beverage I enjoyed before heading to security.

So, you might have seen the WestJet video where they asked passengers for their Christmas wishes and then there were gifts waiting at the destination. WestJet also gave me a bit of a gift this evening too. Although I'm convinced that my stuff has been multiplying in my suitcase because there is just way too much of it, apparently I've just accumulated too much stuff since moving here. My three bags weighed in at 51lb, 58lb and 61lb. Since the overweight limit is 50lb, they were going to be nice and only charge me overweight for two of the three bags. Today was a pretty busy travel day (apparently the busiest of the year) and the payment system was on the fritz as I was going to drop my bags. So, the agent said "Merry Christmas!" and told me that I didn't have to pay because they didn't want to deal with it. Thank you WestJet!

What else have I been up to this week, other than packing? Well, I decided to go to the Hannah Georgas concert last night at the Commodore Ballroom (she's really great live!) and passed marketing with flying colours! I also made these lovely candy cane reindeer because I'm just so crafty (and really like glue guns).

So, here it is. This will be my final post, since I'll hopefully be boarding soon (since the unusually massive amounts of snow are melting just fine) and landing in Toronto in a few hours (if the freezing rain can hold off). I am taking to the airport for the last time . . . for now, at least!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Still Holding Down the Fort Out Here!

So, I might have done that thing where I don't blog for a really long time again. Oops. I've been up to a lot though, between Sparks (we went to the firehall and the library!), school (been doing lots of 41X and have finished marketing, I believe, successfully!), work (I coordinated the building of a can sculpture and we had our Christmas party on Saturday night, which was awesome!) and adventuring around Vancouver (the aquarium, Science World and this crepe place that I found!) with the boyfriend.

Just to make things easy on you, I'll post lots of pictures, so those of you who are writing exams can save your brainpower for that.

The Vancouver Aquarium

We just really love it here. We probably should have just bought season passes because this is the third time I've been here since May and the fourth time this year. We saw the penguins (who never swim, ever), sea otters (they were feeding them shrimp treats!), the dolphin show and a sloth. The jellyfish exhibit was also on, so we had fun looking at that!

Science World

We hadn't made it to Science World yet, so we thought we would head over there one weekend. We went through and explored all of the exhibits (I might have also been very sore the next day from trying to beat the boyfriend in a jumping contest) and saw a movie in the IMAX dome, which was at the top of the facility. We had to walk up this long and winding ramp to get there, which was pretty cool! I created some energy in the running machine (which lasted about 10 seconds) and saw conveyors (I think work is getting to me) and a Pelton wheel (applied fluids and thermodynamics will never let me forget because this is the second Pelton wheel picture I've had in my blog!). We also saw a dinosaur (skeleton) and played with some fun machines.

Trixi's Crepes

I found this place one evening on my way to Sparks and have been going every week all month. I sit in there and have a crepe dinner between work and Sparks, since I don't have time to go home, and I work on the crossword or sudoku (usually I'm done this already because I've become a sudoku master while commuting to work) or read the newspaper. So tasty!

Can Sculpture

I coordinated and executed the building of this can sculpture at work during the airport's big charity blitz for the same food bank that we volunteered at earlier in the year. I drew up the design (the airport logo), selected the cans (which were actually not all correct when delivered, darn it grocery store!) and helped coordinate volunteers to build it on the day of the event. That's (almost) 800 cans you're looking at!

So, that's been most of my adventures lately! I've got less than two weeks left out here, so it will mostly just be packing and wrapping things up. My last Sparks meeting is this week and I should probably get around to my work report at some point.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hollywood North

Vancouver is often called Hollywood North because they film a lot of movies and TV shows up here. Sometimes just walking down the street you can see trailers and offices because somewhere nearby they're filming. Usually, you don't see too much of what they're filming though. My parents saw something down by Granville Island when they were here, but I had yet to see anything. So, I thought it was really cool when we drove past filming at a nearby coffee shop on my way to work. They were still there on my way home, so I snapped these sketchy photos from across the street.

Since we were also in the spirit at my trailers near Halloween, we made our own "prop", so I could have a cubicle-mate. We named him Steve after the engineer that used to sit across from me and he even has real Steve's likeness (thanks to my artistic skills). Fake Steve is alright, but doesn't bring me snacks like real Steve used to.

Another (unrelated to movies thing) that I was able to do this week was go see David Saint-Jacques speak at UBC. He's part of one of the latest astronaut classes and has quite the resume. The boyfriend thought it was something that I would like and it was great! Right now, David is working for NASA, usually with robotics. Unfortunately, UBC is very far away from the airport (especially on transit), so I was a little late.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Kundalini Yoga

So, after being on a yoga hiatus since Sparks started up again, I decided to suck it up and buy some yoga classes (it also helped that there was a sweet Groupon deal on at the time). Normally, I believe that I do hatha yoga, which is what most people think of when they think of yoga. Well, with my new fancy pass, I could go to ANY and ALL yoga classes I wanted (up to 10 classes). I heard about kundalini yoga and thought that I might as well give it a try . . . just because I can. Also, it started later than the hatha yoga, so I had a chance to have a snack after work. Priorities.

I got my brand new pass all set up and was quite surprised to see how many people were coming into the lobby for a 7:30 pm class on a Friday night. Oh yeah, this was all after I couldn't find the studio because it's hidden inside the lobby of some sort of office building. One of the employees showed me around and then asked if I had ever tried kundalini yoga before. When I said that I hadn't, she told me that it would be a lot of fun and there would even be a dance party! Um, what?

So, the other class finally let out and we could go into the huge studio. It had a water cooler with fancy reverse osmosis water (whatever that means) and there were so many yoga mats. We probably all could have had 2 to 3 if we really wanted. It was also pretty dark in the studio, partially because it now gets dark at practically 5:30 pm and partially because the room was mostly being lit by candles. Everyone got settled and ALL the lights went off. We were literally going to do this by candlelight.

Here's the highlights of how it went down:
- There was chanting
- You talked every single time you did a movement (I guess this helps to control your breathing?)
- It hurt a lot because there was a focus on muscle endurance (as in "let's not put our arms down for 5 minutes straight" or "let's repeat this a hundred million times without stopping")
- I had a lot of shaky positions
- There actually was a dance party
- There was singing
- It was maybe kind of "cult-y"
- I was sweating buckets . . . salty buckets
- I smiled a lot, it was pretty fun!

Here are the conclusions:
- This is NOT traditional yoga
- This is a legitimately challenging workout
- I need to wear shorts next time
- I should probably pop some sort of salt tablet next time
- With all the singing and dancing, it's kind of like Sparks
- There's a 95% chance that I will be unable to move when I wake up tomorrow
- I feel terribly sorry for anyone at the Shopper's Drug Mart that had to come within a 6-foot radius of me when I stopped on the way home to get a Gatorade (in other news, I think it's super cool that not only is the Shopper's Drug Mart open 24 hours, but the pharmacy counter is too!)
- You will need immediate access to a washing machine when you get home afterwards
- This is NOT traditional yoga

There is also a distinct possibly that I took my Gatorade into the shower because I couldn't decide what I needed more when I got home. If this did happen, it would have been quite convenient because the Gatorade had one of those nozzle things, so no water could get in.

For good measure, I'm putting in a picture of some cool leaves that I found walking home from work. Maybe my brother can identify them for me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Halloween Weekend

Since Halloween is on a Thursday this year, there was plenty of Halloween fun to be had this weekend, the last one before November! On Friday night, the boyfriend and I went out to a party. It was a good thing our costumes were a hit because we were both pretty exhausted from the work week and probably not that exciting to be around! Can you guess what we were?

A co-worker had told me about the Ghost Train in Stanley Park that runs every year around Halloween. Since I love trains (and hadn't ridden this one yet), it seemed like a good idea to check it out. We thought we would go for the afternoon ride (mostly because I'm a chicken), but when we got there, we decided to go for the full experience and do the ride in the dark. Since we had some time to kill, we started the walk around the Stanley Park seawall. We made it all the way out to Siwash Rock before turning around. I was super worried about missing our train!

I have to say, the people of Vancouver can be kind if gory. There was a memorial plaque at Siwash Rock that gave a fairly detailed account of how a young man died diving off of it a number of years ago. This isn't the first time I've seen something like that either. When I was out in Lynn Canyon with my parents,  there were multiple memorials for people who had drowned, dove into rocks, fallen of waterfalls and been crushed by falling boulders . . . all in fairly descriptive detail. That's one way to remember someone.

Walking around the park was a lot like being home too. The trees were all changing colour (unlike the evergreens that are very common around here . . . they really are always green) and some of the leaves were bigger than my head! We also saw ducks that would dive and swim underwater (faster than I can!) and some sort of bird that I dubbed the "penguin bird" because of their black and white colour. They would all dive underwater together and then pop back up (mostly in the same place because they were obviously not as hydrodynamic as the ducks).

Finally, it was time to head for the train. Although I'm sure I was way more scared than I needed to be, it didn't help that the boyfriend kept grabbing me and making noises to try and freak me out. It was super dark and creepy being in the woods on a train! My favourite part was definitely the little boarded up house with little skeletons having a party/barbecue/picnic/something outside. They even had little bony sandwiches! I'm pretty sure the boyfriend was way less scared, but I think he did enjoy some of the clever references.

It was a pretty fun and active weekend! I'm excited that I get to wear my costume a few more times too, once for our Sparks Halloween party on Wednesday and once to (hopefully) hand out candy to some trick-or-treaters on Thursday!

Monday, October 21, 2013

So . . . The Fog Rolled In

Our weather has been not-so-lovely lately. Mostly because you can't see ANYTHING because of how much fog there is almost 24 hours a day. It's pretty crazy. However, everyone at work is saying it's very appropriate for Halloween.

The fog has made for more noise down in the inlet, since boats literally can't see each other. It's also causing all sorts of flights delays and work stoppage at the airport because you just can't see anything.

For dramatic effect, here's two pictures that I took: one from back in May or June and the other I took today on my way home from work. Also, note that it's also getting dark in the picture from today at 6:30 pm. Boo! (Tree and lampost for reference.)

The picture below is near my trailers at work. You can just barely make out the control tower. No wonder planes were having a rough time trying to fly!

In conclusion, I feel like I'm swimming when I walk anywhere right now. And folks, it is not a warm swim.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Parents Visit!

My parents came out to visit me for ten whole days! (Which is why there hasn't been much action on here in a while.) I was a very happy girl to see them! I also ended up with tons of leftover butter chicken, homemade spaghetti sauce and M&M's food, since I was the one that had to work and they got all day off.

If I was to actually do a blog post about their visit, it would probably be the length of a small novel. Remember the Calgary one? That was only two days worth of blogging. Instead, I thought I would just do a photo blog of all the things we did and places we went. You will see a lot of "rainy Vancouver" because it rained probably 80% of the time they were here. Then, as soon as they left, it got super nice again and hasn't rained at all. Whoops.

Around Town


Canada Place

Stanley Park


The Sunshine Coast (Langdale, Gibsons, Gibsons Landing, Camp Byng, Camp Olave and Sechelt)

Lynn Canyon

Steveston Fisherman's Wharf

Flight Path Park

Thanks for visiting! Love you guys!