that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.



(Trav: I want you to imagine this story in full typical-Kate-ridiculousness… it will add the emphasis it needs that my words just cannot express)

Lately Luke and I have been talking about adventuring. I am always telling him I want to go on an adventure and whether that means to the breakwater to look at the luminescent bacterias (I think?) or check out the lab he works at or go to the lagoon or do iron chef, we like to be creative in our hang out sessions. Recently, I’ve been particularly adamant that while I love watching ‘The Office’, we need to do something cool and adventurous. Enter yesterday. It went something like this:

Luke is an avid fly fisher and since I have a storage unit up in Duncan, it worked well to time my going up for boxes with his need to exercise his passion on the Cowichan River. It was a gorgeous day and since all he really told me was that we would have to walk a little ways through some bush to the river, I wore a t-shirt, capris, sunglasses, and flip flops. I sat on the road while he got ready — his clothing consisted of fishing weighters (I don’t know how to spell it), a fishing vest, toque, boots, gators, and his rod. He said it was his fish slaying vest. I also had my bag (with my novel and juice for us) and Luke’s jacket. My arms were full.

So we get walking on this perimeter-trail-esque terrain when Luke looks back at me and says “Shoot Kater, you might regret what you’re wearing because we have to go off the trail now.” Whatever. I just smiled and said I wasn’t too concerned since it wasn’t going to be very far.

Are you kidding? It turns out the spot that we started and parked was totally wrong (He had only been there once) and for the next hour, we hiked and slid through willows, prickles/thistles, moss, tree trunks, vines, clay, and MUD. Once we had been going for a little while, Luke kept looking back at me asking me if I wanted to turn back. Coupled with the fact that there was no way I would be able to climb all that way back up in my muddy, loose, flipflops, I am a trooper and with a huge smile, I said No! We’re almost there…right? And he’d just grin. I fell about three times before he took everything from me. And I continually fell and got stuck for the entire journey straight down. At one point my whole right leg was stuck in the mud. It was so steep and forest-ish, it was absolutely beyond description hilarious. I haven’t had that much fun in months. He called it a “mud gorge”.

After I decided I would rather sacrifice my feet than fall on my face in the mud anymore, I walked the rest of the way barefoot. BAREFOOT. We came onto this creek where Luke washed my flipflops off (they were covered in so much clay it looked like concrete) and I tried to wash my feet a bit. Once we started going again, I was trying to be a rockstar and I said, as his fishing rod got stuck in a tree-ish, “Luke, can I hold anything?” (He had my shoes and everything else)… he looked up at me with the most awesome smile and said “No Kater, I think you need to focus on holding your own.

Sooo a couple more falls, giving me a hands up, screeches, laughs, and blood, and asking me if I felt one with nature, we came out and off of the cliff only to see two people walking down a trail. And we just looked at each other and laughed and laughed. He said “Well Kate, you’ve been bugging me for an adventure.” And it was of epic proportions.

The rest of the day was brilliant. Luke fished and after I waded into the river enough to get the worst of the mud off and wounds cleaned, I read on a rock, huddled in his jacket and so impressed with myself. There was fleeting moment where I couldn’t see him anymore in the river and panicked, but just as I was afraid his toque would come floating down without him, I felt a fishing line on my head. The adventure was far from over when we had to walk back, on the road, to his car. I chuckled every time we turned a corner and the car was still not there… we travelled a fair distance on our excursion! He didn’t catch anything, but for the rest of the night, every time we’d look at each other, if we weren’t talking, we just burst out laughing. And he was devastated we didn’t take pictures of how ridiculous I looked and how immaculate he looked… we looked as different as night and day and he was completely unscathed.

After a trip to the storage unit, a dinner at Boston Pizza with jagger bombs to celebrate success, we came back blasting the music and the heat. He called me a warrior. I asked him whether I should paint him as a villain or a hero in this story, and he said it was up to me. He was a rockstar. Team Hardcore — another successful run. And even though he didn’t slay any fish, we totally slayed that forest. And came out smiling in the end. Just awe-some.

This is the cliffe we came down.

This is the cliff we came down.

In all it's glory.

The picture doesnt do it justice, it was extremely steep and hard to envision from this all its glory.

We saw this later -- where I have circled on this photo is where we climbed all the way down. How unbelievably heroically survivorish of us.

We saw this later -- where I have circled on this photo is where we climbed all the way down. How unbelievably heroically survivorish of us.

Fisher-man in all his glory.

Fisher-man just fired right up.

The gorgeous Cowichan River on a gorgeous day in March.

The gorgeous Cowichan River on a gorgeous day in March.

So alternative to what we're used to. Brilliant.

So alternative to what we're used to. Brilliant.

Can you see him?

Can you see him?

Heading to a different spot.

Heading to a different spot.

I know it's blurry...but you can see the thumbs up!

I know it's blurry...but you can see the thumbs up!

We FINALLY found the car.

We FINALLY found the car.

War wounds.

War wounds. My arms look worse.

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i kissed grumps good bye

Every once in awhile I wake up in the morning completely disatisfied. It happens very rarely but it’s like a feeling walked into my heart and head and decided it is time for a little renovation. I spend a few minutes thinking about this, thinking about what I’ve done the last few weeks and then I think that thought I think 100 times a week: Is this where I thought I would be? How much longer before I start living this life I am meant to live? Then I start thinking about what I am spending my time and energy on and feel like I have to fix it.

I woke up yesterday like this. Just frustrated with how unproductive and unemotional and unjoyful things have sort of been lately. Kind of like a funk that is so deeply seeded into my day-to-day existence, I woke up sick of feeling so mundane. Amanda and I have coined this attitude ‘grumps’ and I am so not good at being grumps. I don’t know how I am supposed to channel this energy and I don’t know why grumps is resonating so intently. I even spent the last little bit deciding everyone around me is grumps, not me. But it is. And it’s frustrating. So it’s time for a little renovation. I think?

Classes end on Thursday and I still haven’t heard from the teaching program. Nobody I know who applied has, but when I was thinking about that my mom said to keep praying. But how can you keep praying for something you actually haven’t been? Yea. When I think about what I need to work on in my spiritual life it’s prayer. I have an easy time praying for the little things throughout the day like a mom whose trying to calm her kid down in the mall, when a friend asks me to pray, or when I want rockstar parking, but I find it hard to expose my fears and concerns through prayer. I am having an equally difficult time understanding my purpose. But yea, pray for my prayer life? That’s so redundant but I don’t mind admitting that I am struggling.

Among other reasons and things and people and places and fears, yesterday I really just made a mental decision to start editing. Edit out bad habits or feelings or whatever it is… I mean, living a joy filled life has been fabulous but I don’t think it’s wrong to struggle with it a little bit sometimes. Or is it? I don’t know. I just don’t do well with this. I start second guessing everything. I get worried about things I shouldn’t and I start watching my back in odd and disastrous ways. I just hate being grumps. But rising above and out of it can be hard sometimes, especially when you don’t really feel like people give you room to be grumps for a little while. I need encouragement. I need affirmation that I am doing okay. I need to own and believe that nobody else really has it figured out.

But then I woke up this morning to a glorious, rich, perfectly sunny and warm day and I understand that maybe the adventure is in living life, not attempting to solve it. Grumps gone.

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I will put stuff up concerning Iron Chef soon… it was an awesome, fabulous, fun day… right thru to the bitter end. I will debrief once I recover. Here’s a pic or two to tide you over until I have time:

Game faces. We practiced.

Game faces. We practiced.

Rockstar judging.

Rockstar judging.

Rockstar Team "we have more of a symbol" Hardcore's spread.

Rockstar Team "we have more of a symbol" Hardcore's spread.

I think laughter is the best way to brush off defeat. We're pretty good at it.

I think laughter is the best way to brush off defeat. We're pretty good at it.


iron chef 2009 – the preshow

Sidenote: Hi Trav, I am glad you are out there creeping on me… I hope you’re having a really good day.


In the sheer geniusity of genius, some friends of mine decided a couple months ago that we should have our own version of Iron Chef America. Have you heard of it? Let me explain.

In the Food Network hit show, two chefs wage a battle in “kitchen stadium” where they are given one hour to complete a plethora of dishes that highlight the secret ingredient. Based on the judging of three judges, each chef is graded on the plating, taste, and originality of their dishes (generally 5 or 6). And then… the winner is deemed IRON CHEF.

We’re trying to channel this a little bit in our modified, student-friendly version. Here’s what’s going “down”:

The Competition (if you can call it that): Darcy/Celine (“the rookies”) vs Georg/Lindsay (“all talk…no walk”) vs Luke/Myself (“team h-core” or “pure awesomeness” or simply “no name needed”).

(I made these up myself because they don’t read this blog, I can say whatever I want).

Judges: Ty “i like cake and whipped cream on drinks” Corfe, Ryan “cook steak and i will vote for you” Recina, and Amanda “hand me smarties and i hand you the prize” Holenstein.

(Luke and I have done our research on how to bribe these people).

Where: deemed the “Torquay Temple”… at Buzz and Celine’s house on Torquay Rd/St/Ave/Whatev.

When: This Saturday. We meet at 3:00 pm at Safeway where Ryan “don’t steal Starbucks aprons while i am on shift” Recina will shoot off a cap gun to signal our start. We have 20 mins to shop and 5 mins to get to Torquay — penalized 1 point for every 5 minutes we go over the time limit. From there, we have two time limit options. Due to only one oven and small space, we’ve improvised to a 90 min time option by in which if a pair finishes in 90 mins they get a bonus point; total time limit is 120 min.

In other words, “ALL KNIVES DOWN!” will be yelled by Amanda “i am running high on life and monster energy drinks” Holenstein at apprx. 6:00 pm SHARP.

What: We have to produce a minimum of 3 dishes, preferably one of each of appetizer, main course, and dessert. We WILL go above and beyond.

Budget: 50$… but spices or any already-owned items (like wonton wrappers! shh!) don’t count in the budget because we can bring them from our respective homes.

Grading: 10 points – taste; 5 points – plating; 5 points – originality; -1 – for every time you fail to adhere to the “iron” clad rules…pun COMPLETELY intended.

The Prize: The losing teams do the dishes.

And the secret ingredient is…


Second sidenote: Luke and I were talking ourselves up quite a bit when the ball started rolling on this event. But since then, we’ve shut right up and created a strategy in our evasiveness. They think that we lost heart for the competition in the last month. I guess they don’t really know that Luke “nothing but grill” Hughson and Kate “likes it spicy” Stam have serious game.

In other words, we’ve been in serious, incredible training over this event. And what an even it IS…we even had a pre-Iron Chef meeting at Starbucks the other night.

Present at the meeting:

The enemies:

Georg “poser Paula Deen” Tuchlinski missing his teammate
Lindsay “artificial Emeril Lagasse” Smith
Darcy “fake Rachael Ray” Pederson and his more skilled partner
Celine “attempted Bobby Flay” Mercier

The judges:

Ryan “the rockstar” Recina
Amanda “the hoopstar” Holenstein
missing: Ty “the skatestar” Corfe

The fan favourites to bet on:

Luke “in contracts for his own Food Network show” Hughson and his sous chef
Kate “doesn’t need a show to be the best” Stam

Stay tuned to hear of our win! And to see pictures! And send your support.

Not that we need any.



raise your glass..

I just finished what will probably be my very LAST 3000 word history research essay in my university career. Feels pretty darn good. I think I’ve written three or four per semester for the last three years.

Plus it’s sunny so I am open to celebrating on our deck with a cold one.

I cannot believe it — the end is in sight!