a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Jan, 2020

Weekend reading: January 11 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

04 Jan, 2020

Weekend reading: January 4 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

Happy New Year Fishies! I hope 2020 brings you much joy, health, and happiness.

What did this past year look like for you?

Last year at this time I decided to try keeping a video diary. My goal was to take a one second video (or photo, but mostly video) every day for 365 days. (!!) And I did it!

You can watch it below, if you like. It may not be that interesting to you, but I kinda love it. Life, eh? It’s a series of mundane events stitched together with moments of love, excitement, and wonder. We had some great times and a few not-so-great ones, but overall, I would say it was a very good year.

(If you can’t view the video, you can see it on YouTube right here.)

25 Dec, 2019

Merry Christmas, from our family, to yours

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

… and all the best for 2020!
I hope you find your happy place, no matter where you roam.

winter walks in the woods

21 Dec, 2019

An entertaining lunch at Red Chair

By andrea tomkins in travel talk

The Thailand diaries continue! To read past posts in this series, click here.

As I mentioned in a previous post in this series, I was struggling with the idea of semi-forced relaxation that we had to impose upon ourselves. We’d get up in the morning, eat, and chill by the pool for a good part of every day. Most mornings I ventured to our 7-11 for coffee and some soup or fruit. A big part of me fought against these “wasted” mornings but the rational part of me knew that it was the best thing we could do during the hottest part of the day.

This particular day was one of our most memorable. It started with lunch at a place called Red Chair.

Red Chair, Patong

Red Chair, Patong

We’d passed it a bunch of times on the way to Patong Beach. It was one of those restaurants that was totally open to the street, and practically on the street. The place was consistently busy (a good sign), with live fish and lobster in the tanks out front.

We actually came here twice during our stay in Patong, but this was the first day we tried it out.

We nabbed a table near the front perused the menu. There were a lot of options, including foods that were new to us, like mantis shrimp.

A page from the menu at Red Chair, Patong

A page from the menu at Red Chair, Patong

We made safe choices. Perhaps this is boring, but given the amount of time it had taken us to get over our jet leg-related nausea, that’s what we had to do. The youngest chose a beef and noodle dish. I opted for the shrimp & broccoli to help satisfy a serious vegetable craving that was surely based on a vitamin deficit.

Both of us ordered a Coke and we settled in to absorb life around us.

Within about 10 minutes the sunshine disappeared and was replaced by a layer of clouds that was so heavy and dark that the restaurant had to turn the lights on. No worries. We had nothing but time.

The food arrived. It was delicious, healthy, and full of flavour. We noticed the portions here were smaller, but then again, aren’t North American serving sizes grossly out of whack anyway?

It was just the right amount of food for our lunch.

Lunch at Red Chair

The sky opened up as we ate. The drama of this rain shower was unexpected. The steady stream of moped traffic disappeared and was replaced with water. It poured, like, really poured. I didn’t think it could rain this hard, this loud.

Safe from the deluge, we savoured our meal and watched the (very wet) world go by.

Rainfall during lunch

A family at the next table entertained themselves by posing with the live lobsters, which was fun to watch.

Photo ops with live lobsters

We didn’t speak the same language but I quickly saw that some things are universal, like: “Hey, kid, hold this lobster and while I take your photo” and, “wait a second, I need to take another one because your eyes were closed. Can you hold it up higher?”

To prolong our visit and avoid the rain, I ordered what I thought was a “coconut milkshake.” What eventually arrived at my table was not a milkshake, but a fresh coconut filled with shaved ice mixed with sweetened coconut milk. It was totally refreshing and not too sweet. It was the thing I didn’t even know I wanted.

Unexpected coconut

We waited for the rain to stop, but it wasn’t letting up. We had to get on with our day (we had something cool planned, afterall!) so we paid our bill of just over $300 Thai bhat (about $13CDN), gathered our things, and stepped out into the rain.

Next stop: Big Buddha.


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


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