Monday, July 05, 2010

The Binghams rock Quebec and Ontario

A week ago we got back from a fantastic trip to Quebec and Ontario and we've both struggled to get back into the swing of things with heading back to work and other commitments. Despite this, it's been nice to be back in Victoria with friends and family.

We started our trip in Montreal, staying with our good friends Mathieu, Claudia and their trilingual wonder-child, Fenix. I (Matt) had never been to La Belle Province before, so it was an eye-opening experience. Besides shrieking out things in French almost constantly (mostly when we were driving), the other fascinating aspect of Montreal was the people-watching. The Binghams are avid people-watchers, so the city was a large helping of grist for that particular mill! One conclusion that we both came to: Quebec breeds a LOT of short men. Interesting. We was also able to spend some time (though not nearly enough!) with the lovely Michelle, librarian and humourist/blogger extraordinaire.

One of our favourite sites was St. Joseph's Oratory; the architecture and stories behind the place were fascinating and we spent a couple hours there. We hit the Old Port, Le Village, the shopping districts (Queen Bingham definitely enjoyed said districts), Mount Royal (as we Anglophones call it), Jean Talon market, and the National Library (of Quebec, which isn't an actual nation. Classic Quebec!). Mathieu and I even took in a Montreal Impact football match in the pouring rain, which was a fun, if cold and windy, experience for the two of us! The food in Quebec is fantastic. Of course we had poutine (twice) and I had one of the most incredible meals of my life, accompanied by neon green melon sangria, at a restaurant in the Old Port called Jardin Nelson (click the link, the place is gorgeous! We ate in that garden in the back, which was stunning); I had a crepe called the Newburg, which was stuffed with seafood and this incredible sauce. Caitlin thoroughly enjoyed her meal as well, but I doubt anyone there enjoyed their meal as much as I did! Here is a selection of shots from Montreal:

A couple shots from the Oratory:

Lunch with Michelle and Mathieu at a funky restaurant after the Oratory trip:

Caitlin at Jean Talon market (she loved the garden centre):

The Binghams on Mount Royal:

Caitlin et Claudia:

Fenix, keeping it real in his stroller after a lot of walking:

Matt on some strange sculpture outside the Science Centre:

Our next stop was a highly relaxing week in London, Ontario staying with James and Hilary. We got to see almost everyone we wanted to and it was wonderful to catch up with the community that was so vital to us during our year spent there. It was like nothing had changed: much laughter, good conversation, and excellent food were in abundance! There isn't a lot else to say about London--there isn't a whole lot to see, so for us it was all about the people:

Jimmy gets the flip in the pool:

Pat, Jeff, and Jolene (who looks a bit stunned!):

With the Michael, El, and little Gordo:

Matt with the man, the legend:

At Grand Bend on a gorgeous afternoon:

From London we took the train up to Toronto for what was the main reason we'd come to Ontario: Caitlin's cousin's wedding. They were very close growing up and so there was no way that she was going to miss Melissa's wedding. We had a wonderful time and the wedding was easily one of the most enjoyable we'd ever attended: small, great food, fun people, and a great setting.

Caitlin doing the reading during the marriage ceremony:

The two of us got just enough time during the evening to fire off a couple self-takes--only this one makes the cut:

Caitlin and Melissa, the beautiful bride:

We had a wonderful time out East and it was so great to catch up with people we love, but the funny thing about going away is that it can do a good job of reminding you how much you love home. We were happy to get back to BC, the non-humidity, and the smell of the ocean. However, we hope that we'll make it back East again sometime or, better yet, that our friends will take us up on our offer of coming out here to see us!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

March already?

It's hard to believe that we're already into March!! Caitlin and I have been incredibly busy with various and sundry things. The weather in Victoria has been incredible thus far in 2010 and we've taken advantage of it to sneak a couple of bike rides, some walks, and a hike in during the last couple months.

Caitlin is now working three jobs, which keeps her happy, but on-the-run. She is still working casual for Canadian Blood Services; she's doing ESL tutoring for two students at her alma mater, St. Michael's University School; and she's working for Landeca, an integrated property services company, doing office work. She hasn't been getting much work from CBS lately, so her days are taken up working as many hours as she can at Landeca (no shortage of work to do, I'm told) and tutoring three afternoons per week at SMUS.

I, too, am busy being a (Renegade) Librarian Super(model)visor at Central Library and still enjoying my work very much...most of the time! Each day bring with it new challenges, new people to deal with, new issues, and exciting things to accomplish.

The two of us celebrated our birthdays in February, Caitlin on the 22nd and me on the 3rd. Our small group had a party for the February birthdays (our friend Rich shares a birthday with Caitlin) down at the Bard & Banker Pub--as you can see from the following pictures, a good time was had by all:

The birthday girl with the Rentons:

Erin gazing lovingly at her husband, Anthony:

The birthday boy, Rich, with his wife Kathleen:

Andy and Jennie-Lynne, looking all...Renton-like (?):

The whole gang (minus the people on the side I couldn't fit in!):

Here are a few other scenes from the last few months:

Caitlin and I making the '2010' sign on New Years Eve:

My sister and brother-in-law, me, and the Rentons celebrating on NYE:

The lovely Caitlin gives 2010 her seal of wifely approval:

My poor little nephew Ryan being woken up at about 1:00 in the morning on New Year's Day--he was not a happy camper!:

A slightly creepy pic of our cat, Neko, sitting under the lamp beside the couch, one of her favourite spots to veg:

We don't have much else to report other than that all is well on the Bingham home front as I type this and we hope that the same goes for you, our readers! Until next time!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I realize it's a bit late to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, but better late than never. We had a lovely Christmas in Victoria, spending time with our families and relaxing. We loved that it was not a present-fest, though we did enjoy watching our 17-month old nephew open his gifts. Here is one of our favourite images to come out of this season:

Our nephew, Ryan, loves to be read to and he was very into Thomas the Tank Engine! Anyway, we wish all of our readers a very happy 2010--God bless!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fall update

We have neglected our blog for far too long, the last time we published being August. It's been a really enjoyable Fall for us and it's hard to believe that Christmas is fast approaching!

September was an eventful month, especially for Caitlin. She began her six-week TESL course at Victoria International Academy and found it...challenging, though not necessarily from an academic point of view. However, she excelled (as she always does) and finished the course in mid-October, garnering the top marks in her class. I (Matt) did my best to support her through her course and I must say that she did an excellent job of balancing the demands of school with everything else we have happening on an ongoing basis. I was able to take off to see Pearl Jam in Vancouver with my buddy Jason on September 25, which was a riot. It was my fifth Pearl Jam show--can you tell I'm a big fan? We also crashed with my good friends Dave and Kyle and it was a lot of fun to catch up with them, however briefly.

Caitlin and I had an incredible holiday in Maui in October. We relaxed, enjoyed one another's company, ate great food, beheld beautiful scenery, and enjoyed being in a place that's completely different to where we live. We fell in love with the pace of life there--check out our photos here. When we arrived back in Vancouver, we got to go to the U2 360 show with my sister and my brother-in-law. It was fun to see the show with Laura as the band are a big part of our growing up together and the boys did not disappoint--I, personally, found myself getting pretty emotional at certain points in the concert. The sound is pretty crummy in BC Place, but it was still worth the trip and we had a good time hanging out with Laura and Curtis.

November saw us getting back into the swing of things after our time away. For me, with the provincial cuts, work stresses have increased and I have had to be making a lot of big decisions that will impact both staff and patrons in 2010. Despite this, it's been very good experience for me as a young professional and apart from the occasional strains and frustrations, I am still enjoying my work very much. Caitlin was hired by Canadian Blood Services as a casual Donor Services Rep and she has been enjoying her training and the people she works with very much. She also got her own business cards for her private tutoring business, which were designed by the good folks over at Ameris, and will be working on establishing more contacts so that she can tutor when she's not working at CBS.

We've both been enjoying and Advent and are looking forward to Christmas--though it's difficult, we hope to be able to slow down and reflect as this season means infinitely more to us than the consumer-driven holiday that it has become. As I type this, snow sprinkles down outside our living room window and I am struck with just how blessed we are. We pray for a safe and restful Christmas season to all who read this. God bless you!

Sunday, August 09, 2009


After much subtle and not-so-subtle hinting, Caitlin finally got her wish of getting a cat. Recently I had been put under a bit more pressure by my lovely wife to invest in feline companionship. For approximately...the duration of our marriage she'd politely asked me if we could get a cat and my stock answer was always "no, not in a million years." I have been willing to acquiesce to almost every other request Caitlin has made of me, but I had never been able to bring myself to say yes to getting a cat. I still do not really know what changed my mind, but changed it was and thus Neko has entered our life.

Without further ado, Neko:

The character appearing in some of these shots with Neko is called Angry Bird. We don't know why, that's what it said on the package. These days, Neko has settled into Casa del Bingham very nicely and is learning how to be naughty (now that she is comfortable here), including jumping up on the counters/tables and scratching the couch and carpets. Good times.

Monday, July 06, 2009

New job and new (old) vehicle!

I am now officially the new Librarian Supervisor at the Central Branch of Greater Victoria Public Library and it really feels great! I had my first day today and I'm very much looking forward to being challenged and learning a whole variety of new skills, not to mention getting to supervise and interact with an exceptional staff each day! I moved into my office and spent a lot of time meeting with my boss. It's going to be s steep learning curve, but I'm up to it!

Caitlin and I also just purchased a sweet new vehicle and by new, I mean that it's 19 years old! Behold the new Bingmobile:

It's a 1990 Nissan Axxess (double x = so cool)--a mini mini-van! Caitlin absolutely loves this vehicle more than any newer vehicle that we either looked at or test drove! It's a total dorkmobile, but we're okay with that because it's perfect for hauling camping gear and our guitars/amps/people, plus it's in nice shape, has low mileage, and the price was right! What's not to like?! We're just waiting for an official name for her, which has been commissioned from a valued member of our circle and should arrive soon! Even as I type this, Caitlin is going on about how awesome this vehicle looks and how much she adores it. Earlier, she said it looks 'friendly', whatever that means!

That's all for now!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Voulez-vous aller camper?

I have realized that the responsibility for updating the Binghams' blog has fallen to the Renegade Librarian half of the marriage and so I'm going to be doing my best to keep it up for those near and far who like to know what's going on with us.


Caitlin and I had our first camping excursion together with some of our friends a few weekends ago. Because I was working all day on Saturday we were only able to go up for one night, but it was such a fun and relaxing time. I love being outdoors and away from everything. Admittedly, our sleeping arrangement was not that comfy, but somehow I managed to get more sleep than I thought I would.

One of the other things we love about camping is the food because it seems everything tastes better when you're outside. My friend Rob made amazing gourmet burgers on these flatbread buns--they were an unforgettable taste sensation! We then sat around the fire that night and talked about...well, a lot of funny stuff to do with flatulence. Yeah, I know, we're a bunch of ten year olds! And the funny thing is, I didn't even start it!

A few shots from the weekend, compliments of Rob and the lovely C.E. Bingham:

We had a great time and look forward to getting out there again later in the summer! Thanks to the Campbells and the Andrews for inviting us up and feeding us! You guys are rad!