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…and they have been great. Like most people when holidays are coming to an end it makes me sad and want more holidays. Almost makes me want to be back where I was this time last year. This time last year I was unemployed (because I was living in the USA without a working Visa) and I was doing my own thing (which can get boring after a while).

The first few days we stayed with our wonderful neighbours in Mountain View, CA. So it really was like returning home, because we were staying right next door to our old house. Also we could not beat the company. Lloyd worked during the day and I just hung out. I stated a new book, caught up on sleep, surfed the net, went shopping and visited friends. The weather was beautiful and warm.

The second half of my holiday has been in San Francisco centered around WordCamp 2007. It has been great to see old friends on the techy community and be involved in the cool up and coming techy community.My hubby did a presentation at WordCamp and did a great job:

Taken by Donncha

Monday morning I return home with mixed feelings. My hubby does not follow for another week, so I will be on my own, and I have to return to the stress of work. But I do love my bed and am looking forward to being back in our house, and see my family and friends. If only I could get a working Visa in the USA perhaps we would be located here in the center of it all.

Yes we are moving again, can you believe it? Originally the idea was for me to go to Canada by myself to do some courses but we have decided instead to make it a permanent (for a couple years at least) move back.

It will be 6 months in our current place, and we wish we could move our house and neighbours back to Canada with us! Yup that’s right, we are on our way back “home” to Canada! I will have been in California 9 months when we leave. Since I graduated University in 2002 I will have moved 9 times! 9 times in 4 years is a lot of moving. And you know what? I do not even really like moving, but seems to be necessary in my life at the moment, so I do it. Every time I move, even if I think we are planning to stay in the place a couple years, I keep boxes for at least 6 months and guess what, every time I have made use of them again instead of discarding them!

Many people who have read my blog will know that being in the USA has been very challenging for me. Not being able to work, leaving my friends and family, not being able to do the program at University here I wanted, and having a husband working for a very demanding start up company have all been the challenges I have faced in the last 8 months. After trying many different things in California, and encountering so much bureaucracy and barriers, we have decided to move back to Canada.

Of course we will be sad to leave, we have made good friends, to name only a couple, we will be very sad to leave our wonderful friends Nicole and Ben (see post below), Cal and Elina, Jesse and Emily, and Rebecca and Japjit. Making friends takes time and I feel that we are just beginning to make those wonderful connections when we are leaving. Nonetheless my barriers are far greater than my opportunities, so we are moving back. The friends we have made will not be forgotten, and I look forward to keeping in touch and visiting them and welcoming them as visitors in Canada.

WHAT WILL LLOYD DO FOR WORK? Well the company Lloyd is working for currently, Flock, is not thrilled with our move, however they were going to try and humour us by trying to allow Lloyd to work remotely for them. With this transition Lloyd decided to contact a few exceptional people and has found himself another opportunity, however for less money.  I mention this because it is a concern of mine only, however on the brighter side at least we get to live in Canada.  Most of the new company’s team works remotely, and that is what he will be doing too, which will allow him to be in Canada. To help Flock with the transition he is not starting at the new company until the middle of September, and has not publicized who he will be working with as he wants to focus on a good transition with his current company Flock.

WHAT WILL WE DO & WHERE WILL WE LIVE IN CANADA YOU ASK? Well there are two parts to that question:

1) Short term: we will be moving to Victoria, and I will be going to school at the University of Victoria to do my pre-requisites for the post degree program in elementary education from Sept-Dec 2006. We will be living with my parents at first. My youngest brother Landon is moving to Calgary for a work term, so my Mom’s nest will not be empty with us moving in! My Dad also has some trips planned in this time period to promote some recent research he has done, including Ireland, New Zealand and Hawaii. So some of the time it will be just my Mom and us (+ all the cats). Our large belongings we are planning to put in storage in Victoria somewhere.

2) Long term: well not sure. January 2007 I will be looking for work in both Victoria and Vancouver in events coordination or human resources, depending on where I find work. Lloyd will be working remotely so Victoria or Vancouver location for him should not matter that much. For September 2007 I will be applying to both SFU and UVic for elementary education and depending on where I get into school, we may move (or not hopefully!) accordingly.

Approximately the end of August! in two weeks time the movers will come and pick up our stuff. Yup THAT soon! We have known for a while, but has been hush hush due to transitions with Lloyd’s work. We are paying for the move so I am trying to make it the most reasonable as possible, looks like the best is the same company that moved us down here from Vancouver. So I will be organizing the move, packing (have been warned by my physical therapist to seek help to ensure not to strain my back further), trying to complete my correspondence course, and having last minute visitors. My parents were just here visiting and left early this morning. So last chance to visit us before we go!

Today is my 27th birthday.

Flowers from my parents and brothers for my birthday:

Looking back on my 27th year (or being 26th years) many things happened! My life has really done a 180 degree turn!

I started my 27th year living in Vancouver, BC. In July I moved out from living with a roommate and moved in by myself into a one bedroom apartment on Balsam and 3rd street. My Mom came to Vancouver and helped me re-paint the apartment that the previous tenants neglected to do. Thank you so much to Mom for helping out, it was a much larger job than expected.

The second weekend in July, I went to a BBQ at my good friends place, Ali and Bernie’s… where I met again Lloyd Budd… and we all know where that ended up! 😉

At the beginning of August I took a three week holiday from my vindictive boss’s and went to the Bowron Lakes with my Dad, brother Landon, and some family friends. It was a beautiful trip… the whole 7 days that we were there, it rained only for about an hour, which is almost unheard of in that area you can get freak snowstorms in the summer. I then spent a week visiting Sharla in Prince George, and Cheri in Quesnel.

I returned to Victoria to spend some time with Lloyd and to find out that he received an offer from Flock Inc. who wanted him to start right away. He gave his notice at Mercurial and started working remotely on the Flock project right away.

September my good friends Nadia and Andrew tied the knot. I was so happy to be included in their special day.

Lloyd accepted the position at Flock Inc, in California! I had very mixed feelings about him accepting the position, especially since not even a year previous I had moved back to BC, from Calgary, AB in order to be close to my family and friends.  I was not looking forward to the possibility of moving away from everyone again. I agreed it was an opportunity not to be passed by. The original plan was for Lloyd to alternate months in Canada and California for the first 6 months, while I transitioned to move down with him. After the first month we decided that long distance was too difficult, and even though I would miss my family and friend immensely, my heart ached to be with Lloyd more, so we planned for me to join him November 1st.

We announced our engagement to our family and friends near the end of October. Many were shocked that we got engaged so quickly, little did they know we were actually secretly engaged for a while before that even!

Entry into the United States proved difficult for me, and I was denied the first time I tried to enter. A week later I got into the USA, and have travelled back and forth with Lloyd since such time. Every time I now enter the USA they ask if I have ever been denied entry? Apparently it is to remain on my “record” for sometime.

November and December were some tough times for me, I moved to California to be with Lloyd, which was proving to be difficult with him working 16+ hours a day and commuting to Palo Alto, leaving me behind in San Francisco by myself, no friends or family around, and no job to identify with and little to do.

January and February I took some silversmith classes which I thoroughly enjoyed. I decided however that silversmithing will remain a hobby of mine for now, instead of going professional.

The commute and the many hours apart was becoming difficult and frustrating, so we made the decision to move closer to Lloyd’s work. Flock moved from Palo Alto to Mountain View for the beginning of March, and we moved from San Francisco to Mountain View that same month. Lloyd can now walk to work, it is only 6 blocks! He now comes home for dinner and we are spending a little more time together than we were, and living in a much nicer place, and I enjoy the community down in Mountain View quite a bit. All round it was a good move.

April I spent preparing for our wedding, and applying for teaching. Recently discovered that due to our visa being temporary, and being an International student I am not illegible to apply for the program and San Francisco State University.

Taken after my bridal shower in April in Victoria, BC:

We got married May 7th, which a community of people, in particular my parents Donna and Bart made possible. It was truly beautiful, I am lucky to have such a wonderful network of friends and family willing to help up to make the day what it was… thank you again to ALL those who helped.

In short in my 27th year:

  • I met my future husband again, and got married!
  • I quit my Human Resources job at Ernst and Young and moved to San Francisco with my fiance without a job or any prospects!
  • Picked up and left my life in Canada, to follow future husband, so he might be able to realize some of his dreams and aspirations in Open Source community.
  • Went from Human Resources work, to thinking of being a silversmith, to applying to be an Elementary school teacher!

What will my 28th year hold, I am not sure yet. Not being eligible for a teaching credential in California, I am planning on taking the 4 courses I am missing (take a couple and Foothills College in California and transfer them, the two Canadian studies courses I will take by correspondence) to get into either the University of Victoria or the Simon Fraser University teaching program for when we return to Canada… which I am hoping for sooner than later as I continue to miss my friends and family, and Lloyd is hoping for the later rather than sooner! Other than that, I will play it by ear and see what my 28th year has in store for me!

After celebrating the Christmas season back home, we arrived back in San Francisco to ring in the new year! We went to the Laughing Squid pad and then moved onto the Geek Aerie for fireworks…

The first few days of 2006 I took a silversmithing class from Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. Where I learned some more of the basics of silversmithing, and we also learnt a little about making jewelry in gold. It was a lot of fun and I feel I really added to my skills. There is another three day course coming up in a couple of weeks that I will attend also, which is a continuation of the one I just took. I have some of the smaller equipment at home, however if I want to start doing this more full time I will need to find a studio where I can work, so I can have access to things like a drill press, polishing machine, ultrasonic machine etc. I hope to soon have my website up at


I looked into doing some volunteering at Christmas time and came across a company called Artsfest, which is a non profit organization largely run by volunteers that showcases a cross section of the many outstanding artists and performers who call the Bay Area home in the month of May. I am going to start by organizing their volunteer program for them at about 10-20 hours per week and then see how things evolve and work, and it may grow to full time. Hopefully I will get started on that this week.

We arrived back in SF to full speed ahead on the social scene! This past weekend we’ve been to a few celebrations. Our friend, neighbour and collegue of Lloyd’s, Termie (aka Andy) is moving to Armsterdam on the 10th. We attended his going away bash, which was located just upstairs of us on Saturday night! Then on Sunday night went to celebrate birthdays’ with some other friend’s, Chris and Cal at Laszio bar. And this coming Friday we hope to celebrate birthday with another friend Matt.

Lloyd continues to be busy with work. We are contemplating moving South so the commute will not be so bad for him. He commutes about 5 days a week, and we have an event to attend in SF about 1-2 a week, so it makes a little more sense that we commute for events instead of for his work.

Wedding plans are still coming along nicely. We are just trying to finalize a caterer, as the one that I had wanted quoted us an astronomical cost. We hope to have our invitations out by the end of this month. And I finally found a dress! While we were visiting friend in Vancouver on our way to Victoria, I went back to one of the first places I went and tried on a dress I had tried on months earlier and it was still my favourite, so we got it! My Mom came over for the day and one of my bridesmaids’, Ali, was there to help me pick it out. My other bridesmaid, Nadia, was the one that saw it with me the first time. Unlike the USA you are not allowed to take photos of the dresses while trying them on at the places I went in Vancouver. Many boutiques (at least the ones in Van) actually get the dresses take out the desginer labels and put in their own. Sorry to say I cannot show everyone! But not to worry there will be plenty of photos after the weekend you can see! Below is a shot of my parents backyard, where the ceremony is to be… which we are promised will be ready in time…parentsbackyard

Since I have arrived in San Francisco (SF) I have been on the hunt for somewhere to work out daily. Typically, (or when I am in a routine of some sort, which I am not currently) I work out about 5-6 times a week: 2-3 of those times I swim, 2-3 lift weights, and do one cycle class a week. My standards for a fitness facility are pretty high. In University I had access to University facilities, when I lived in Calgary I worked out at the YMCA near Eau Claire market, in Vancouver I worked out at the YWCA downtown.  All were nice facilities that include a 25 meter pool (which is a must somewhere I work out, otherwise I am forced to go to two different facilties which is not cost effective or practical). Finding something in SF that fits this title that is not a million dollars a month has been difficult.

We live in SOMA (stands for “South of Market) in SF, which is about 15-20 minutes walking to downtown SF and Union Square. I needed to find something close to home, as my fiance always has the vehicle.

The facilities that I investigated and tried were:

  • YMCA – Central
  • Golds Gym – on Brennan
  • The Sports Club LA – downtown near Union Square
  • 24 Hour Fitness – on Bryant
  • YMCA – Embarcadero

YMCA Central is archaic at best. The pool is down in the basement, and is not well kept. In order to use the pool you have to use the even more archaic changing rooms. The regular changing rooms are only available if you use the upstairs facilities. The facility is on numerous different floors, very impractical. You have to pay for towel service yourself. There is old carpet that has been worn to the ground all over the facility. It does not have TV available while you work out, or any other unnecessary but nice benefits some facilities have. There is no contract, and fees are about $51 a month for just the central facility, with $25 start up fee.  If you want a Bay Area Membership it is $70 a month with $99 to start up fee.

Golds Gym on Brennan is a well equipped work out facility if you don’t want a pool, and don’t mind working out with a bunch of roid monkeys. It does have handy dandy shared televisions (channels are already choosen my gym staff) in front of the cardio area so you can plug your own headphones into the outlet and watch your favourite show while working out. But to use the weights, I found it quite intimidating. In the week I had my free access to the facility I only used the weight section once when it was 11pm and no one was there. Also comes with an over pushy dude trying to sell you a membership. The rates were about $59 a month with a $99 start up fee AND a one year contract.

The Sports Club LA on Market Street, not far from Union Square on SF. It is a swanky club with all the amenities. The only reason I got to try out this facility for almost two weeks was because a friend of a friend sells memberships there and gave me a free pass. So wonderful, but very expensive. Included in the changing room is towel service, shampoo/conditioner, lotion, Qtips, cotton balls, complimentary locks, etc. The changing room feels like you are in a lounge, with nice carpets… so I felt odd being naked and getting changed in there. There is a salon in the Sports Club and I actually saw a lady having her hair done in the changing room for her evening out. The pool is nice, but I am pretty sure it is not the complete 25 meters… more like 22. You get an individual TV and freedom to change it to any channel while using the cardio facilities. Major downfall is the cost! $120 a month for one person plus $500 start up fee… ouch!

24 hour fitness on Bryant. I walked past and saw it’s sign and also saw all the brown paper on all the windows. I only knew it was still open because I saw people walking into the facility through the parking garage. I went at the busiest time, but felt like they were herding sheep and disliked the atmosphere. They attempted to tell me that the pool that they have was 25 meters. SO INCORRECT, I am sorry but at best it was 18 yards! When you are used to a 25m pool and swim all the time, you get dizzy doing your tumble turns all the time and it is just plain annoying. The changing room was not well kept and too small for the amount of people using the facility. The equipment was a little old and all occupied, so you could not use what you wanted. The weights area was small. The rates were similar to Golds, perhaps a little cheaper.

YMCA Embarcadero is nice. It is much closer to the Y’s that I go to in Canada. They not only have a pool, but it is actually 25 meters, at a decent temperature so you can do your lap workout, AND it is above ground AND it appears well kept! It is actually about a 33m pool with a bulk head at 25 m, so they can have a deep water workout class and all lanes open for lap swim. Very nice to someone that swims all the time! It is chlorine, but I have not found a pool in SF that is otherwise yet. The other equipment is well kept and located on one or two floors. The cardio equipment is all facing the windows with a gorgeous view of the Bay! No TVs to watch though.  Towel service is included, which I find unusual for a Y! The rates are $63 a month with $25 start up fee. For a couple to get a Bay Area membership (which means we can use other Y’s in the Bay area) it is only $120 per month, $99 start up fee with no contract! That is the same price as the monthly rate at The Sports Club LA for ONE person. The little downfall is it is about a good 30 minute walk from my house, and all the other facilities are 15 minutes or less.

After all that looking around, and even though the Y at Embarcadero is a good walk, I think it will be our choice 🙂

Many of you have asked what I have been up to in San Francisco over the past couple weeks of being here. So I thought I would answer everyone’s questions and write a blog post about it.

Our daily schedule at the moment is not very “normal”. Lloyd’s working hours are pretty much anytime he has, he works. Typically he gets home nightly at around 1 or 2 am, we go to bed by 3am, and sleep until 11 or noon the next day and start the cycle all over again. Because I would like to see him, I have been keeping the same hours as he has. We are going to make a concerted effort this week to get up earlier however, so I too can get some things done during the day. It’s difficult because I want to be able to see him, but also need to start doing things and getting out myself.

I have been spending a lot of time on the computer, including writing emails, surfing the net (for wedding stuff etc), and surfing flickr. If you haven’t already, check out my flickr photos page that I update every couple of days:

I also have spent a lot of time unpacking, and attempting to get things organized in the apartment. It is looking a lot better than when we first arrived, but still a long way to go. We would like to get a futon couch (so we can have visitors!) and also we want to re-organize the space our furniture is in, and perhaps get a better desk for the 3-4 computers he has.

Getting groceries and just doing the regular living stuff also takes me a little more time than usual, because I don’t know where to go or shop, everything is new to me! So I have been experimenting at a couple different places. The ones closest to us are organic, but also more expensive. The closest one is about a mile walking. We have driven to Safeway a couple times to shop as well.

Lloyd has the car during the day, so I am on foot most of the time, and have not looked into Public Transit yet. We live in an area called “Soma” which stands for South of Market. It is about 15-20 minutes to walk to the heart of San Francisco, Union Square. Most other places (besides groceries) are all within walking distance.

I have also spent a significant amount of time checking out the workout facilities here. I went to the YMCA in downtown SF (San Francisco) one day and used their pool, and got a tour of the facility. Nothing like what we are used to in Canada, very old and not well taken care of at all! I went to Golds Gym for a week, because I found a free week pass on the Internet! This week I am going to The Sports Club LA, in downtown San Francisco. A friend of a friend works in membership and gave me a pass for a week and a half to check it out. I would love to get a membership there, however the start up fees are $500 plus $120 a month, which is probably a little too rich for our blood!
YMCA downtown San Francisco:
Flickr Photo
I have gone wedding dress shopping a couple times, once solo, and once with some San Francisco gals. The evidence is on my flickr and MJ’s accounts! Here are a couple pictures from my wedding dress shopping experiences. You can see MJ and Nicole in the background of this one:

Most weekend are filled with events related to the techy crowd he hang out with. The weekend before last, Friday night we went to a gathering for a 10th Anniversary party, and the following night we went to the actual event. It was the 10th Anniversary Party for Laughing Squid It was an awesome event with lots of wonderful people and artists’ displaying their works. Here are some photos from the event.

This past weekend, Friday night Riya had their launch party (not far from Palo Alto where Lloyd’s office is situated).

Saturday night some friends (Courtney and Jason’s) had a housewarming party. This is what the view looks like from their place (so jealous!):

Sleeping on the weekends has also been one of our favourite pastimes. Which helps us recover a little from the evenings previous.

I still have yet to check out the artist and jewellery scene in San Francisco, and just be a tourist! Finding it a little hard to be motivated and find my own niche out here, but I am sure that will come 🙂

Not to worry, for all those San Franciscans, when we have a couch and have our place organized we will definitely have a little house warming party to keep up with our other langpad-ians! 😉
(P.S. for those who do not know, “Langpad” is what we’ve nicknamed our apartment because we live on Langton Street…”we” meaning all the people that live in this building… but we can’t take credit for coming up with the nickname… that credit goes to our neighbours ;-)).

I wanted to do a post about living in San Fran and about our upcoming wedding, but I feel that they overlap in my head so I might as will blog about them both at the same time for this post.

So far living in SF has been great. It’s been great to be able to be with Lloyd. Over the past weekend we attended “Super Happy Dev House 5” (shdh) which is basically a geek party where people in the techy biz get together and exchange ideas one evening. There is not a lot of drinking (I mean alcohol drinking), but instead there are energy drinks being passed around. The party was still going strong when we left at 3am.
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We has a brunch date the next morning with Emilia and her husband Jason. Emilia is a friend of one of my best friends’, Nadia. Nadia lives in Vancouver, Emilia in SF. It was nice to met someone new, and I might even have a pal to help me shop for wedding dresses! Any other SF volunteers? Foto of Emilia and Jason below:

Flickr Photo

Before I left Vancouver Nadia and I went to a few wedding dress stores. It is funny what you think you like is not necessarily what looks good on you. I tried on several dresses, one was even $2500! I would like to keep the cost of my dress at a minimum but at the same time I want to find something that I really like and feel good in. The one that I really really liked was $720. This is so silly! You look for a dress that you wear once, but costs and arm and a leg! Practically it makes no sense! Does every woman go through this? then give up and decide to bite the bullet and spend what she needs to to get the dress she wants? So far my friends that have been brides, mostly that has been the case. Hehe, well I can hope that I will be different! We wanted to take photos in the store, but the shops strictly prohibited it at the request of the designers. I guess they don’t want someone taking a photo of one of their dresses then having it copied?! I cross my fingers that I can find something reasonable in SF that I love.

Our stuff arrived on the moving truck on Monday morning. I did a LOT of cleaning of our place on Friday. I could not believe the dust bunnies that were on the floor. There is still a lot of cleaning to be done. I have pretty severe allergies to dust and molds etc, so it’s pretty important that I get it all sorted out. I am still sneezing and my eyes are itchy, I hope after the next clean the house will settle and my allergies will stop reacting! This is a foto of our place after our stuff arrived, I think it looks a lot worse than it is:

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To be continued… for another day 😮