Friday, December 21, 2007

D(eparture) Day

8:15am: Do web check-in for Marc and me.

8:16-8:45am: Last blog post and emails, weather checks.

8:45am-1:00pm: Half day at work to finish up a few last minute things.

1:00pm: Friend to pick me up at work and drive me to airport.

1:45pm: Arrive at airport.

4:45pm: LIFT OFF!

I'll do my best to post during the holiday and keep everyone up to date on all the fun we're having 'en famille'. Until then, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

T MINUS 1

My apologies in advance for all the caps on this post and excessive exclamation point usage.

OH MY GOD - ONE MORE DAY!!!

I'M SO FLIPPING EXCITED ABOUT THIS TRIP I CAN HARDLY SIT STILL!!!
(Sorry, Marc - looks like it'll be a long flight for you - heh.)

SEE YOU SOON YVETTE!!! SEE YOU SOON DAD!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

T minus 2

Didn't get nearly as much done last night as I had hoped. I can thank the stupid STM for that. I had to drop off a book at the library and buy a large bar of Toblerone chocolate on my way home but still made it to the bus stop with a few minutes to spare. The bus had obviously not passed yet as there were 4 people in the queue ahead of me. Fine. Well, 40 minutes there was still no bus and my feet were frozen solid. So I ended up taking the metro and walking the 10 minute walk home. Never seeing a single bus pass me in either direction until I got 4 blocks from my house when I saw what the problem was. Snow removal. Traffic was backed up forever and no cars, buses or trucks were moving anywhere.

Anyway - I did get the cookies for work made. I did get 2 loads of laundry washed and dried. I did clean the counters and sinks in the kitchen. Tonight I go straight home and finish everything else.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Update: It was a struggle to get to yoga today at lunch but once again I'm amazed by the good it does me. Even more so that our instructor gave me a small token of appreciation for organizing the course, year after year. It's funny because really, I feel that I should be offering her something, not the other way around. Guess that what's called good Karma.

Monday, December 17, 2007

T minus 3

Tonight I will clean, clean, clean, flip my mattress and do ALL my laundry. It will be a big job, I can tell you.

T minus 4

Apparently all the snow we've had is making me hibernate. I can't get motivated to clean or do my laundry. I did manage to throw some tops and jeans in my suitcase but I'm in serious procrastinate mode. Curling up in my reading chair with a good book and a pot of tea was the most important thing for me to do yesterday.

Wonder when the panic will hit?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

T minus 5

Party was fun.
Got home late.
Got up f-a-r too early.
Snow's started.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

T minus 6

You'll all be very happy to know that I am actually getting some Christmas baking done today (2 kinds, to be precise). And everybody can stop their bellyaching that there are no cookies around. Sheesh. Like that's all I have to do!

Tonight's the office party and I am going single AGAIN. I'm working on that. Honest. It's harder than it looks. Anyway, the party. I had decided not to go this year but in the end one of my friends convinced me to put on my Little Black Dress, Strappy Sandals and get 'purrr-ty'. So I am. So there.

Friday, December 14, 2007

T minus 7

One more week!!! This time next Friday I'll be going out of my head with excitement, anticipation and stress.

On to more banal items, such as my lack of willpower.

Seems I have a problem. Yesterday I went out with the full intention of picking up a little som'in'-som'in for my friend's baby. However, the kids clothing shop that I thought was in the Place Ville-Marie shopping centre is gone. I don't know how long it's been gone. In all likelihood, it's been gone a long time. I don't pay much attention to something like a kids shop, you know what I'm saying?

The problem. Instead of shrugging my shoulders and heading over to the Eaton Centre, I went to La Senza and bought 5 pairs of knickers!

Sorry, Selina (and Mamacita Cecilia), no present from Auntie Stef this year as she blew the budget on underwear.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

T minus 8

These evening practices must be doing me some good, in more ways than one. The morning after practice and after my cardio at the gym, I find I MUST have chocolate milk. That's really weird for me. Of course, no chocolate milk at home so I've been stopping at the dep to get my fix, as it were.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

T minus 9

As I said to Yvette yesterday, depending on the moment, I don't know who I'm more excited to see, her or my Dad.

Haven't seen Yvette since August 2005. Don't get to see her often anyway, and even though we chat online A LOT, it's never quite the same as spending time together.

Then my Dad - he's been away since July 28, gallivanting around India and making me insanely jealous with all his amazing adventures. It's also so strange that he's the one travelling this time and I'm the one staying at home. Quite a role reversal.

Nine days until we leave. Ten days until I see Yvette and then a few hours later, Dad! Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

T minus 10

Oh my God! 10 days until I leave for vacation!!! I'd better get cracking on the list making, packing, unpacking, repacking and obsessing - I'm wayyy behind ;)

Monday, December 10, 2007

T minus 11

Oooh ... look at that! Weekend is gone and the countdown jumps a few numbers.

Had a busy Friday night and Saturday. Spent most of Sunday recuperating. Ready and full of energy for this week! Practice tonight and no snow in today's forecast so I'll be sure to ache tomorrow.

Friday, December 07, 2007

T minus 14

Two weeks to go!

What is it about exercise that is both a pleasure and a pain? I am quickly discovering that while I do have a decent level of cardio endurance, I have no strength. At all. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Wednesday night's practice probably humbled all of us on different levels. Some of the people couldn't paddle for 10 minutes straight, I had no problem. However, as good as I was keeping pace, for the life of me I couldn't do one single, solitary chin-up. Our coach makes all the exercises look ridiculously easy so I really thought that I might get one off at the very least. Never have I been more wrong. Our coach helped me get into the position and then said "OK - Lift!" and I just sorta hung there. If there had been a breeze, I would have been swaying in it. Anyway, not able to lift myself an inch. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't budge. But I did try. Three times. Because humiliating myself once wasn't quite enough, I had to do it three times. Aieeeee ...

Will I ever be able to do this? I don't really know but it will be interesting to see what I can do in six months.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

T minus 15

If you need a little bling on a budget for those holiday parties coming up, check out Posh Inc. Online shopping is available for us Montrealers.

So many pretty little rings, bracelets and necklaces ... so little time (or rather money)!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

T minus 16

Snowstorm's over so I guess practice won't get cancelled tonight. Tomorrow I'm sure to be aching.

Don't know if it's because I haven't seen the sun in three days but I'm feeling very sleepy today.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

T minus 17

For everything that went well yesterday, it is all going horribly wrong today.

The 5:37am bus didn't come, ended up having to walk to the metro, got to the gym late, only did 100 crunches, got soap in my eye (who knew it would burn like that), forgot my lipstick, have hat-head hair.

Is it lunchtime yet? I need my lunchtime yoga. And my after work yoga. Seems I need a yoga day.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Update (2:02pm):
- Lunchtime yoga got cancelled as our instructor got stuck in traffic what with all the snow removal happening, traffic's a nightmare again today.

- I ruined two pairs of stockings this morning (first my favourite funky fishnets and then my back-up pair) and will have to go through the rest of the day with a hole just above my right knee.

- I'm going to miss yoga tonight because I said yes to a special little project. (Can you see all my eye-rolling?)

- It's STILL snowing!!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

T minus 18

Only one thing to talk about today and that is snow. We've had quite a dumping here in Montreal (expecting approximately 35cm). It caused havoc with the roads this morning. At work lots of people decided to stay at home or they did take the chance and ended up spending a long time in traffic and getting in a few hours late.

None of that was a problem for me. I left for the gym at 5:35. The bus was a minute or two late but it didn't change much for me. Caught the metro fine. The only real problem occurred when I got to the gym and discovered that the staff who are supposed to open the facility hadn't arrived yet and so there were about 25 of us early risers waiting for somebody to let us in. We got in a few minutes later and started our workouts about 5 minutes late. Not so bad. Did my workout, showered, walked to work, which I admit took a few extra minutes because the sidewalks weren't plowed and arrived at work without incident. Pretty normal day for me, except for all the missing people in the office. Oh well, I guess some would call this a Snow Day, I just call it Monday.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

T minus 19

What did I do to prepare for my trip today? Nothing!

I did some cleaning, some laundry. Mom came for lunch and then we hopped on the bus for some shopping downtown. I have some pasta boiling for my meal o' the week ("Mr. Bowjangles",i.e. bowtie pasta with veggie 'chicken' strips, broccoli and sun dried tomatoes). I will do some ironing after dinner. And that folks, is it.

The problem is, it's winter. I do not have enough pants to get me through the next 19 days if I pack them now. If this was summer ... no problem! I could put aside a few things now and it would all take care of itself. But in winter? No, this doesn't work. So I've been trying to buy a new pair of jeans or casual pants but so far no luck. This drives me nuts. When I'm not looking to buy clothes (shoes, lingerie, fill in the blank really) I find the wardrobe of my dreams. But then, when I actually am looking to buy one specific thing, it apparently doesn't exist anywhere, or it's wayyyyy over budget, the wrong colour, too big, too small. This drives me nuts. I'm trying to mentally put together a travel wardrobe and it's becoming very difficult. Maybe I will stick to preparing all the travel size containers of shampoo, lotions, etc. That at least I can do. And also start the packing list that will accompany me everywhere I go, with a copy in my luggage, a copy emailed to me in case I lose my copy, a copy with someone staying in Montreal and possibly also a copy with Yvette in Zurich. Does it sound like I'm obsessing? Yes, I know, it does. I'm ok though, I'll stop now.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Countdown, T minus 20

Meant to start this countdown yesterday, exactly three weeks before I head to Switzerland but it just never happened. But here I am now - 20 days until our Swiss Family Vacation! Almost sounds like a movie or a TV series. Which would be worse? Ha, ha.

Spent this morning helping out at the Santa Shuffle. I helped cut and spread cream cheese on 17 dozen bagels for the runners. Never, ever thought we'd go through all those bagels (out of 20 dozen!) but we did. It's always fun to see people's reactions when they find out that the water, hot chocolate, bagels, etc. were all free. Even better is that everybody there, runners, volunteers, organisers, really everybody was happy to be there. Everybody said thank you, everybody smiled. So although it made an early to start to my Saturday and even though it was a cold, cold day, it was a happy morning.

Time now for some warm jammies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ouch

Oh dear. I was feeling pretty good yesterday considering Monday's practice. But yesterday's slight stiffness is more of an ever-present ache today. Tonight's practice will focus more on strength exercises so I'm pretty much guaranteed to be crawling by tomorrow and dragging my body by Friday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Parc Jean-Drapeau Weather

Parc Jean-Drapeau has something against me.

Last night I went to my first winter training for Dragon Boat. We still train at the Olympic Basin, but indoors (of course). Remember how this summer it rained for what seemed like almost all my Dragon Boat practices? See where I'm going with this? Yes, last night it was raining on my way to practice and still raining on my way home. I'm not on the bike anymore so I got to trek from the metro and back. Ugh. Cold winter rain, heavy winter boots, slippery path ... going to be an interesting winter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And so it begins

Winter, that is. Day after day of static from dry air, hat head, snow-hair, boots, layer upon layer of clothing.

Winter officially (in an unofficial sense) hit Montreal this morning. When I went out to pick up my newspaper it was snowing enough that I felt I needed to wear my boots for the first time this year. As I left the gym and walked to work, I was glad to have them because the sidewalks were very slippery with snow, slush and ice.

It's November 20, remember this. What date will it be when I wear my boots for the last time?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Final Total

Finally took my bike down to my locker this past weekend (after watching it collect dust behind my dining room table for the past 2 months) and was astonished to read on my bike computer that I biked a total of 744.8 kilometres this summer! Is that amazing or what?! The timing of that is from about the beginning of June until mid-September.

So friggin' impressed with myself. Who knew I could do that? Certainly not me!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Leeky Goodness

Yvette sent me a fantastic recipe a little while ago. I finally made it the other night. If you like leeks (Mom, for one) this is for you. This one's a keeper!

Leek and Potato Quiche
(adapted version especially for Stef)

Ingredients:
As much leek as you want. I usually use about 3 big ones.
2 large onions, chopped
2 – 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced finely
3 eggs
1 container sour cream (mine comes in a 180 g pot)
2 tbsp cornstarch
Drizzle of cream or milk, if needed
Ready-made dry bread crumbs
One rolled-out pastry crust

Cut the leek into rings and wash them. I sometimes half them and then cut them. Depends if you want big rings or half rings. Wash the leeks.

Heat some oil in a skillet and fry the leek and onions. Add the diced potato and fry until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Or Aromat if you’re Swiss. Let cool.

Mix together the eggs, sour cream and cornstarch in a measuring jug. Fill up to the 400 ml mark with cream or milk if necessary. Season.

Prepare the quiche dish with the pastry. Either butter the dish first or use parchment paper to line it. Poke the pastry with a fork. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on it. Add the leek mixture, then pour on the eggs and cream.

Bake at 200°C for 1 hour in the lower half of the preheated oven.

Note from Stef: I cheated and bought a ready made pastry, also must've used really big potatoes and leeks because I ended up with enough filling for two pie crusts. Added an extra egg another 60ml of sour cream (to equal 1 cup total), splash of milk and also a sprinkle of nutmeg. I could hardly wait until this came out of the oven to eat it. Let it cool for a few minutes and then dive in - soooo delicious!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Some explaining to do

Seems I have some explaining to do.

Eight weeks ago Yvette introduced me to an old acquaintance of hers via Facebook. After some email back and forth, we met. Went to dinner, had a drink. It was a pretty good night, nice enough guy. A few dates and weeks later I got the first drunken 4am phone call, other dates ended with him telling me he'd gone out "to drink" after our date. Another date where I made sure there was no alcohol involved, had me thinking perhaps this really wasn't going anywhere. The date that decided me once and for all ended with him drinking the better part of two bottles of wine, him leaving to go home but instead taking a taxi downtown to drink and calling me at 4am.

And there you go. I have no intention of getting involved with someone who thinks better of alcohol than he does of me and so ended things.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Check, Check, Check

Break off with guy I've been seeing for last 7 weeks - check
Leave work early - check
Meet up with friend #1, meet kid #3, play with kids #1 and #2, have dinner, good chat, comfy bed, a trip to the grocery store in a car - check
Bake pumpkin muffins - check
Make way to see friend #2 on the ever so civilized train - check
See how baby has grown - check
Eat, talk, laugh - check

It was a good weekend. Got all kinds of stuff accomplished, saw friends that I haven't been able to see in a while (because they live so damn far away!), did some window shopping, treated myself to a little musical melodrama (Bollywood style), ran into my mother at The Bay, made pumpkin soup, went to bed early, slept well. Does it get any better?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Flurries?

According to Environment Canada, they are forecasting a chance rain showers or flurries for today.

Ugh. I hope not. I'm wearing my oh-so-pretty brown dress boots (as opposed to horrible, heavy, clunky, warm winter boots).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Long time no post

Apparently there hasn't been much action on my blog (according to Wild Bill) so I better get a post up before I forget all about blogging.

What's been going on? Bit of this, bit of that. Christmas presents for my friends in the UK have been bought, wrapped and sent (last week). Christmas presents for my friends in Switzerland have been bought and wrapped and will be hand delivered by me in December. Christmas presents for the rest of the family will be very few as most of us are going to be spending all our hard earned money on a Christmas vacation in Switzerland.

I have been doing some good cooking. Great pumpkin muffins (so says Grandma), yummy pumpkin soup and an amazing pizza dinner, where I made pizza dough and served three different pizzas (a starter pizza, a main pizza and a dessert pizza) for dinner. Now I'm thinking of doing a fondue dinner or a "diner gateaux" along the same lines. Reservations are filling up fast, so book your seat now!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Anthony Bourdain Evening

Last night Mom and I went to listen to Anthony Bourdain (he of Kitchen Confidential fame) speak at the Corona Theatre.

The cost of the ticket included a copy of his new book, No Reservations and after the lecture was finished we were able to get our books signed by him!

The talk itself was pretty light, fun and of course filled with all his regular curse-filled vocabulary. He's coarse, vulgar and at times offensive but I really don't care too much because above all, he's honest. He writes the way he talks and makes it interesting and fun to read or listen. I enjoyed the evening and I think Mom did too.

Mom was amazed by the number of people lined up outside when we arrived (she's obviously never been to a rock concert where the people line up all day so that by the time you arrive, the queue is about 2 kilometres long). As the tickets were general admission (no assigned seating), we got there early with the hopes of getting decent seats. It's a good thing we did! We ended up in the third row, almost smack in the middle. Once the talk was over, we lined up to get our books autographed and were out within 15 minutes. All in all, a fun way to spend a few hours on a rainy October evening.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays

I'll tell you why.

Because this morning I went to the gym only to discover that I'd left half my clothes for work at home! So I did a shorter workout than planned, threw all my stuff back into my bag, raced home on the metro, jumped into the shower and ended up catching the 8:25 bus back downtown which got me to work bang on time at 8:45am.

Much muttering and cursing there was.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Belated National Grouch Day

Apparently yesterday was National Grouch Day. In some kind of weird way, I must've known, deep down inside, that it was OK to be grouchy. Yeah for grouches like me!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Moving In?

My brother Nick and family arrived last night to spend a week with my Mom. By the amount of stuff they unpacked from their new mini-van, it looks like they may just be moving in.

While Mom went to a meeting, I cooked a quick spaghetti dinner for them and got lots of hugs, laughs and doodling with Darcy. Wesley managed to let go of ALL the gas he'd been building up during the car ride.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How many is too many?

Is 9 too many turtlenecks?

3 black
1 white
1 grey
1 red
1 pink
1 light blue
1 navy blue

Monday, October 01, 2007

An Instant Classic

Check out Nick's blog for one of the funniest stories about Darcy I have heard yet (and there have been quite a few!).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

She had a baby!

My good friend Cecilia had her baby today at 10:58am. Baby Selena Michelle Ugarte Dahan weighed in at 7lbs 11oz and is 20 1/2 inches long.

Congrats Super C! You're going to be a Super Mom!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Well, that's never happened before

Last night I actually fell asleep for a few minutes during my massage. That is the first time EVER. I had no idea I could relax that much. Probably it's more likely that my massage therapist is THAT good. Thanks, Sina!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bjork Concert Recap

Last night I got to experience my second Bjork concert. It was great. It was amazing. It was awesome. That woman has a voice like no other. It is crisp, clear and seem like it must come from another world. There is absolutely nobody else like her. She is wonderfully unique in her voice, her music and her creativity. Thanks, Eric, for a great birthday present.

A couple of interesting notes about the show: the weather was perfect, down at the Old Port we were surrounded by water and there was a nice breeze (not too hot, not too cold, it was just right!), we saw a shooting star or meteor bounce off the earth's atmosphere while we were waiting for the opening band, much to my surprise the crowd wasn't full of the young alternative-artsy-fartsy college crowd (although there were plenty of them too), we were surrounded by a lot of gay men in their 30's or older (I had no idea Bjork would appeal so diversely but there you go), Eric, Sam and I placed bets on when the opening band would start playing (25 cents a bet, I won but I don't remember what time that was anymore) and on when Bjork would finally hit the stage (don't remember any of that now), and finally I did predict that she'd be on stage for 90 minutes. I was close at 86 minutes.

It was a great night but it was L-O-N-G. We met at 6:15pm and basically never sat down again until sometime after 11pm when I was able to sit down for 2 metro stops. My feet hurt, my legs hurt, my back hurts. I feel like an old woman. Think my days of general admission concerts are over. I don't like having to stand up for 5 hours straight. I don't like not being able to see the stage clearly. I don't like having to watch the show through a 4-inch gap between the heads and shoulders of the people ahead of me. (You see, what a crabby old lady I am!)

Great night but next time I'll have to bring a lawn chair and a picnic ;)

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Living Will

Thanks to Lynn for sending me this.

My Living Will

Last night, my friend and I were sitting in the living room and I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

She got up, unplugged the TV, and threw out my wine.

She's such a bitch ...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ready for a fun night

Lynn's in town (or will be shortly)! I'm meeting her for drinks after work and we'll hang out, chill and catch up while we wait for Anna & James to meet us. From there we'll all head out to dinner. Somewhere. Still to be determined. Should be fun!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's it worth?

Do I book my travel online at a cost of $1350, go through Toronto and add a few extra hours to my travel time or pay $1497 to go direct?

For $150 difference, what's it worth to me? Gotta tell ya, I'm thinking I'll pay the extra $150 and go straight there. Probably save my sanity too.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lots of Pictures

Managed to get the Darcy & Wesley set of pictures uploaded this morning.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls set is up on flickr now.

Home Again

Made it home in good time yesterday despite having rain most of the way.

Made it through my first day back at work and am downloading 485 pictures as I write this. I will add some links to the different sets or something tomorrow.

I did have a lot of fun at Nick & Sue's and amazed that they were okay with me staying so long. But once it's all over, I have to admit that it's good to be home again, in my own space. I cherish the time we had together and will look forward to our next visit. Until then, it's back to my usual quiet little household.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

All Packed

Here we are. End of another vacation. I am all packed and ready to leave with Mom bright and early tomorrow morning for the long drive home.

This morning Mom and I took Darcy to the mall while Nick, Sue and Wesley joined us there a little bit later. Darcy loved being at the mall with her auntie and Grandmaman, especially in the shoe store where she rearranged just about every shoe she could get her hands on, and was sure to let us know which particular pair of heels she would like when she's a grown up. Darcy also enjoyed touching all the pretty clothes in one shop and playing with the jewelery. I must be a good influence ;)

After a quick lunch in the food court, Mom & I headed for the outlet stores while the others headed home for naps and feeding. I didn't do very well at these stores, in fact I am coming home with only one sweater, necklace and a pair of shoes - none of which are from the outlets. Grumble, grumble ...

When we got back Mom & I started preparing a roast beef dinner. Roast beast, roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding, cauliflower, broccoli and corn on the cob (gotta get it while we still can!) and apple crisp for dessert. It was quite a feast!

We ended off the evening and my vacation with one last walk down to the river park. We did have a little accident though. Darcy was running down a sloping path and tripped on a paving stone, falling over, scraping one knee and biting her lip when her chin hit the ground. Tears followed of course. But after some hugs, a handy kleenex in my pocket to wipe off the dirt and blood, it all ended up in laughter when Darcy declared she was feeling ok again by letting me know she had just "tooted" on my lap. Some thanks!

It's been a good two weeks. It was wonderful to spend so much time with Wesley and Darcy, and Nick & Sue too of course. Think I've got about 470 odd pictures (granted 200 are from Niagara) to go through so I'll do my best to get those up as soon as possible.

Thanks Nick & Sue for hosting me these past two weeks. It's been great!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Once Upon a Teacup

This morning we finally had our tea party at Once Upon a Teacup. Sue's friend Jerilee came with her two kids, Alyssa and Joel. We ordered our tea, scones and apple slices for the kids and then proceeded to the costumes. They had piles of dresses to choose from. Darcy got her purple dress, gloves, crown, hat, purse, and feather boa that she'd been harping on about for the last few days. We took some fun pictures and the girls really seemed to revel in the excitement on putting on a princess dress for tea. There were even a couple of dresses there that looked like they might fit me but I managed to hold back.

Wesley slept through the whole affair and Joel sat in his stroller taking it all in. We managed to find pirate hats for both of them, which was pretty funny. Particularly as Wesley's hat was nearly as big as he is!

My mom arrived mid-afternoon after an early morning start from Montreal and had a safe trip back from Switzerland yesterday and good trip today. After an initial game of playing shy, Darcy warmed up to her Grandmaman and pretty soon they were laughing and cuddling like nobody's business.

After a nice raclette dinner (and one incident where Darcy had half a small tomato across her front teeth which made me snort), we took our evening constitutional down to the river park and ended up getting caught in the rain on our way home. Darcy was the only one lucky enough to have an umbrella with her and thought it great fun when the rest of us got wet.

Last day tomorrow and then home on Sunday. Where has the time gone?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Worn Out My Welcome

This morning we headed over to the mall to run a few errands. As we were pulling into the parking lot, Darcy informed me that Stephanie (friend coming to visit Sue this afternoon) was going to take my place in the car and that I would "have to go". Apparently I have worn out my welcome. However, after some negotiating tactics (the promise of making cookies together and more activity books) Darcy came up to me, hugged my legs and said "Auntie Stef, I want you to stay." So I guess I'm back on her good side. Phew! Had me scared there for a minute ;)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Still Laughing

Last night we had quite a funny evening at home. After dinner we were just hanging out in the living room, chatting, watching Darcy play while we waited for Sue to come back down from feeding Wesley. For some reason, still unknown to me, Darcy started racing around from the living room into the dining room, through to the kitchen and then down the hallway to the front door, where she'd bang into the door on purpose and say "Bonk!" It was cute. We laughed a little. Nick decided to take this up a notch when he would try to catch Darcy on her way through. Somehow this lead to Darcy trying to lick Nick's hands or arms. And of course, this just made the whole thing funnier. Darcy was laughing those belly laughs that are contagious and pretty soon Sue was down with us wondering what all the laughing was about.

From there, sadly, things deteriorated rather quickly. First it was just the licking on Nick, but then it moved to Sue and even to me. We were all getting a little a lot silly when, believe it or not, Nick told Darcy that she should moon me and "shake her stink" on me! And she did it too!!! But it didn't stop there - oh no! Darcy then thought it would be funny to continue her racing around with her moon hanging out the back. Well, that's when we lost it. We must've laughed for 5 minutes straight. Our abs were sore , we were crying and nearly hyperventilating from laughing so hard. Eventually we managed to regain control of ourselves and of Darcy and pulled it together again.

Several hours later as I was going to bed, I got a fit of the giggles as I pictured this scene again. I'll post the picture I managed to shoot ... but you'll have to wait another week.

Remarkably, through all of this, Wesley just sat on Sue's lap and slept. Mellow as can be. Not bothered at all by our commotion.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

New format

Thought I might change the layout of the blog. Forgot that I might want to copy the links I did have in the side bar. Ooops.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Trouble

I don't know how she does it, or what exactly she does, but when Darcy does something funny with her food and Nick gets mad at her, about all I can do is cover my face with my hands before Darcy sees me burst into laughter.

Happened again tonight. Darcy was getting some help from Nick finishing up her snack of yoghurt and stuck her tongue out to lick at the spoon. OK - I know she was fooling around, I'd been watching her eat it as Nick tidied up in the kitchen. But Nick got all "Darcy, eat properly" as she stuck her tongue out and somehow a snort escaped me. A few shakes of laughter too, of course. And then Nick actually said "Auntie Stef!" to reprimand me! Can you believe it?!

Well, yes, I suppose I can believe it. But it was funny! I had to laugh.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Going to get myself in trouble

This morning at breakfast Darcy wasn't terribly interested in eating her Rice Krispies. Can't exactly blame her. I'm not always too fussed with them myself. And really, who wants to be eating cereal when there are tea parties to be played?! So one minute Nick is telling her to eat the cereal and the next Darcy is blowing on them and there are suddenly rice krispies ALL over the table. There is also dead silence for a split second as Nick, Sue and I all stare at the table in amazement that she actually did that! Then of course, Nick put on his Dad face and gave her a time out. He should've given me one too because I basically sat in my chair for the three minutes of time-out, having to cover my face to hide the fact that I was laughing so hard I was crying (with the occasional snort, I admit), shaking not daring to look at Sue or Nick for fear of losing it all together.

Even thinking of this little incident now has given me a fit of the giggles. All I can remember is the whoosh of air as Darcy blew and looking down to a sea of krispies all over the table. Funny stuff.

Wesley continues to be pretty relaxed and mellow most of the time. He also seems to have taken a liking to farting and pooping while on my lap. (Wait just a second - did I just mention baby farts and poops on my blog?! Who am I???)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

At Long Last

Imagine having to go on vacation to find the time to get my hair cut. But it's done now! It's soft, pretty and a heck of a lot cheaper than a Montreal haircut.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Soaked

After a few quick errands around town this morning with Nick and Darcy, we spent the afternoon doing some more painting and then paddling in the wading pool. It was a beautiful hot afternoon and Darcy seemed to really enjoy splashing about. The best for her (and for Nick & Sue) was when she threw a bucket of water at me and got me square in the chest. In an instant, I was soaked from the neck down. I had changed into shorts and a t-shirt and knew I was going to get wet but for some reason wasn't quite expecting to be caught off guard like that. Shows what I know about 3 year olds!

Tonight after Darcy went to bed, Sue gave Wesley a bath. This didn't seem to bother him much at all and he posed beautifully for a 1-week old photo session. Then while Nick did the garbage and Sue had a bath, I got to snuggle with Wesley for a bit and he fell asleep on my lap. He is very, very cute! And very, very mellow.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Turned 38 today. Not altogether thrilled with that. But spending the day with my 3-year old niece certainly helps put life into perspective. Namely, when can we go outside and paint?

Other Darcy-isms to remember "I live in a home filled with joy", "can we paint our face?", singing Row, Row, Row your boat at increasingly louder volume depending on the size of the boat going by in the river (tankers get shouted at), and finally - piece de resistance, practicing singing Happy Birthday (to me) at full volume ... so much for the surprise element!

It was good to stay in my pjs until 11am, discuss the merits of pb&j over cheese & jam, how sometimes you just have to ask somebody to hug you, and also racing as fast as you can but not being afraid to stop and catch your breath in the most dramatic manner possible.

Turns out this birthday was a lot more fun than I expected.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Made it!

Here I am in Windsor after an all too brief stay with Lynn & Family in Burlington. I had a wonderful time catching up with Lynn & Gus, and also getting to know their three great kids, Michael, James & Kieran.

We thought Saturday would be ruined by the incredible rain that was coming down that morning but in the end decided to make the trip down to Niagara Falls in the wild hope that maybe, just maybe, the weather would clear up. And surprise, surprise - it did! We had a wonderful lunch at a groovy little 50s-era cafe, then a picturesque drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a stroll through the shops and an all-important ice cream, and finally to The Falls themselves for a trip on The Maid of the Mist, which was a blast! We all got soaked and loved it! Finally, we ended the day with a round of silly faces after dinner at a local Italian restaurant. It was a longer day than we anticipated and didn't get home until about 11pm. The kids were all asleep in the car and us adults were about asleep on our feet. Think it did all of us good to have a lie-in this morning.

I managed to take about 200 pictures yesterday. Good thing it's digital, right?! You'll have to wait until I get home though to see those. Sorry!

Next up - my new nephew Wesley! Gosh is he EVER teeny-tiny! I did hold him for a bit, but honestly, he's so little that it makes me a bit nervous. Mostly he's been asleep but he did wake up long enough to do a squirty fart and poop while laying on my lap. Bit scary that - when Nick picked him up I was sure there'd be poop all down my legs, but there wasn't - phew! Never say never though ...

Darcy is a cute and wonderful as ever. Also quite a little chatterbox! And I'm even managing to understand most of it. Very impressive, no? Will have to see which activity the two of us can get started on tomorrow.

For now though, time for me to get to bed.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wait a second ...

Imagine if you will, I decide to open my purse mid-morning to add some kleenex to my supply and discover to my HORROR that my train ticket in NOT IN MY BAG!!!

Panic stations.

Much cursing and muttering under my breath.

And then after some online chatting with Why, I decided to buy some bus tickets, take the bus home, get my ticket and catch the next bus back downtown. With any luck, I figured I could do this in just under an hour.

Didn't quite turn out like that.

The bus was 3 minutes late (so already I now only had 1 minute to catch the return bus if I did get home on schedule - you see where this is going, right?), there was lots of noon hour traffic, a 6 block detour and a slow driver. The bus back downtown that I was supposed to be on, passed my bus while I was still heading home. Got my ticket. Called a taxi. Got back downtown in just over an hour.

I spent $11-something on bus tickets and $12 for a taxi.

That'll teach me to things out of my purse at 5:30am on the day I travel.

Check!

Suitcase - check
Clothes - check
Shoes - check
Make-up - check
Toiletries - check
Camera - check
Bathing suit - check
Book - check
Surprise for Lynn - check
Activities for Darcy - check
Cookie recipe - check
Little something for Wesley - check

That's it. All ready to go now. I will be sure to provide updates once I've had a good look at my brand new nephew (kinda sounds like they got a car or something).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Two More "Do-Do" Until Vacation!

Two more sleeps and then I'm off!

What do I have left to do at home?

Empty the garbage.
Leave Eric a note about the plants.
Pack ... heh. Seems I spent too much time cleaning last night and NO time packing. Tonight could be a short night. Oh well, I can sleep on the train.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I have a nephew!

Wesley Albert was born on August 21, 2007, at 8:21pm and weighs 5lb 14oz. Both he and mom are well. For more details check out Nick's blog.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Murder on the bike path

This kind of story freaks me out completely.

Girl 14 murdered.

I've spent a lot of days and time this summer on many Montreal bike baths, as well as streets. From early morning until early evening and all hours in between. Then I hear or read about this kind of thing happening and start questioning if I'm being safe enough. Not always, I'll admit. But what's the alternative? Live afraid of doing anything? Become paranoid and never leave the house? Probably there is no good and proper answer.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bon Voyage, Mrs. B!

Had a lovely visit yesterday afternoon with my bestestclosestfriend's Mum yesterday. She returns to White Rock, BC tomorrow. Safe journey Mrs. B, it was wonderful to see you again.

Thanks to my own mom for taking a picture of us.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vacation Countdown

One week today until I leave!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I can eat peaches and nectarines again!

Forgot to mention that last weekend I ate my first unpeeled peach since ... I don't know when. My mouth didn't go all fuzzy and itchy and weird. Later that day when I did my groceries I bought a bunch of nectarines and I can eat those without peeling them too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

3 Strikes

Oooh, look at me using a sports reference!

Here's why: last summer I rented a car twice with National Car, this summer I have rented once with Alamo (both operate out of the same space downtown) - all three times I have had to wait at least an hour to pick up the car even though I did reserve it for a specific time. So that's it. Three strikes against them. They're out. I will not use them again. I will pay more to have a car at my disposal for the precise time I need it, not an hour later, not when I am hosting a party 35km away and not when I am providing half the food.

Talk about adding to my stress level. I had reserved the car for 10am Sunday morning. I showed up at 10:15am (after stopping to buy a little flower for the party at the train station). Only as I walked in the door did the sight of 6 people sitting around start ringing bells in my head. A moment later as I approached the desk and handed over my license, I suddenly remembered last year. I got the same line, "I'm sorry, we won't have a car available for you for at least an hour."

Oh. My. God.

The wheels started clicking furiously in my head as I calculated that I would have a total of 15 minutes to do my hair, put on make-up, empty the dishwasher, hang up a load of freshly washed clothes, and pack the food, present, etc. for the party. Can you see the beads of perspiration appear on my forehead and my eyes bug out of my head? Yeah, it wasn't pretty.

So, I told the not so sympathetic clerk that this posed, kind of, a REALLY BIG PROBLEM!!! Ok, maybe I expanded on the truth a little ... (I am feeding 25 people lunch in less than 2 hours and I have all the food) much help it did. Their solution was to offer me a "pick-up truck SUV". No kidding. The name alone pretty much told me that there was no way I could drive it. And after seeing the garage driver drive it up to me to see for sure, I was more than sure I'd never step foot in it - even if I could climb up without the assistance of a ladder!

Work with me here, people!

Just to give you some frame of reference: I am 5'7" and I was wearing sandals with about a 2" heel. The top of the front of the truck's hood came up above my shoulder. I would have definitely needed a ladder, or at the very least a step-stool to climb up into the driver's seat. Oh, and although there was no trunk, they suggested I just place all the food in the flat bed part of the pick-up. And what? Let the stuff just fly around without any kind of cover? Do they eat? Do they have any concept of food preparation and hygiene? Any? At all??? I'm guessing not. At my refusal of this vehicle, they offered to call me on my cell as soon as something came in. Fine. But if it really was going to be an hour, I would cancel my reservation, 100% refund, no penalty charges, thank you.

They did call me about 15 minutes after this to let me know that they just got a car and it would be ready for me in 15 minutes. Hurray! I hung around the bookstore for another 10 minutes and walked back down to the shop. Only this time, it seems they gave the "the car just came in" message to everyone who'd booked for the day because now there were 6 people in front of me and it seemed that every single case was a problem one that only the manager could solve. After much toe tapping, glancing at my watch and some heavy sighing (very passive-aggressive but I just didn't care at that point) the manager came out with a set of keys for me. I grabbed them and ran!

With the clock seriously ticking now, I jumped into the car, screeched out of the parking lot, down the street (please, no red lights), home, in the front door, hang the laundry, screw the hair just throw it back in a clip, 2 minute make-up, screw the dishes, pull out the last items from the freezer and quickly into the thermos bag, trip #1 at full run to the car with box of dishes and platters, back into the house, trip #2 with bag of food and freezer stuff, back into the house - OHMYGODTHEPRESENT!!! The gift was still hidden in my closet from the last time Cecilia came over. Oh holy crap - I haven't even signed the card!!! Sit down, scribble some inane remark, hope it'll do. Grab the present, my camera, purse, out the door, up the stairs - OHMYGODIHAVETOCHANGEMYSHOES!!! Back down the stairs, much fighting with the key in the door, drop everything on the floor, change the shoes, grab the bags again and out the door, into the car. Sorted.

Made it there about 20 minutes late, the party went off without a hitch and I got a lovely refreshing swim in the pool when it was all over.

All said and done. That is the last time I use Alamo/National.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Post Party

Phew!!!

First things first: pictures from the party are here.

Second: the party was a huge success. Lots of people showed up. There was more than enough food. And most importangly, Cecilia was thrilled with everything so that made it easy to be happy with the result - a fabulous party!

Could not have done any of it without the huge help of Sina (friend), Carolina (C's sister), Ines (C's mom) and even Rob (C's brother). We were complimented for the food, the decorations, the guessing game and the fun party. Thanks ladies (and gentleman) for all your hard work, patience and good humour.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Everything's Ready!

All is in order for Cecilia's pre-baby party on Sunday afternoon. We are confirmed at 20 guests. All I have left to do is make the stuffed mushrooms and pick up a rental car on Sunday morning. I do so love to be organised.

Check this space for the party low-down next week.

Until then, have a great weekend and keep your fingers crossed for good weather on Sunday.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Rejection Hotline

Next time somebody asks you for your number and you don't want to give it to them, fear not! Now there is a real number you can give.

Check this out: 514-667-0361

This is the Rejection Hotline number. There's a nice little message telling the listener that they have been rejected and to just get over it already.

I may just put it on business cards!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Team Photo

Check out this link for our team picture from the competition.

The Spider Dance

As most of you know, I have some issues with spiders (and snakes). I suppose these issues could be termed as a phobia but whatever. Spiders (and snakes) scare me. A. Lot.

A few days ago, one morning I was discussing some things with a colleague at her desk. Suddenly we both saw a big, stinking black spider drop out of her inbox onto some papers and then skittered away to places unseen. Well, I couldn't help myself. When I saw that thing I did a little dance and gagged a bit. The two women sitting in the next work station stared at me like I was on crack or something. They had obviously never seen the Spider Dance before (or the Snake Dance for that matter.) So we all laughed nervously and I tried to play it down but I knew I had just made a complete fool of myself. I ran back to my desk because I couldn't possibly stay there with an unknown spider on loose, right?! Right.

To top it all off, later that same afternoon, one of the facilities guy's stopped by my desk to ask about the little stranger who came to visit. He had a funny grin on his face and it clicked right away that he was coming by to kid me about the spider. More nervous joking from me.

Boy, when I first did the Snake Dance for Yvette 2 years ago, little did I realise that one day I'd be doing it in the office. What a way to win friends and influence people.

On a completely unrelated note, it's another long weekend for me. Off again tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Flamenco Pic-Nic

Working downtown can at times be a hassle with the noise, the traffic, the people, etc., but most of the time I love it. Yesterday was one of those I-Love-It days.

Seeing as I find the office temperature similar to that of a walk-in freezer, I grabbed my lunch bag and headed across the street to the courtyard for a little pic-nic and to warm up. Instead of just grooving to my iPod though, I was fortunate to watch a small Flamenco troup give a free concert. Just like that, in the middle of downtown, at lunch, free.

Does it get any better?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Really Quite Respectable

Had a chance to review the rankings from Saturday's races and discovered that MTDBC Thunder Waves placed 28 out of 42 women's teams. This is far better than I ever expected us to do.

In Sunday's semi-final 500m we finished 5 out of 6 in our heat (ok, not so great) but in the final 250m (race 139) we finished 4 out of 6, and the difference between 3rd and 4th place was only about a quarter of a second, I think. Really quite a respectable showing.


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Thanks to my Dad for posting some pictures of the race on Saturday on his flickr page.

Monday, July 30, 2007

That was fun

Couple of things:

Had a fun BBQ at the parents on Friday night as a farewell dinner for Dad before he left for India on Saturday.

Finished reading Harry Potter, the seventh and final book at 10:54pm Friday night. Phew!

Spent Saturday and Sunday at the Olympic Basin in Dragon Boat competition (here are the results). That was fun!

I'm tired, sunburned and had a fantastic time.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Let the races begin

Here's tomorrow's race schedule. It should be a pretty interesting day, I think there are something like 200 teams competing - oh, the pressure!

I'll be racing with MTDBC Lightning (mixed) and also MTDBC ThunderWaves (women).

I don't actually expect anyone to be around for the first race at 7:20 (I have to be there at 6:00am!) but if it's nice and you have nothing better to do, take the metro out to Parc Jean-Drapeau and see if you can watch the race at 10:50am, 2:28pm or 4:20pm.

Sunday's semi-final and final will depend on how we do tomorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I got it! I got it!

At long last - managed to pick up my copy of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows last night. I couldn't dive into it because I had Dragon Boat practice, we took team pictures and so it was nearly 8:30pm by the time I finally got home. Argh! After showering, stretching, getting food ready for work today, clothes ready for work, gym clothes out, bike in position ... I only managed to read about 100 pages before going to bed.

Doesn't look like I'll get much reading done tonight either as I'm hoping to meet up with Tamara & Ben and their two kids. Tamara & Ben came in from Halifax to see The Police concert last night (sooo jealous!). I'm excited to see them and of course that is much more important than just reading a book ;)

I will get to the book. Soon. I hope.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I can eat cherries again!

While doing my weekly grocery shop this weekend, I found the fresh cherries were too much of a temptation for me to resist. Normally if I want to eat cherries, I have to cook them because I am allergic to fresh cherries.

I got home, started thinking of the acupuncture treatments I had this winter and wondered if that would have changed anything. Thought about stewing them, making a cobbler, a crisp but then couldn't help myself and started eating them. Figured I'd try a couple and see. Guess what I found out? I can eat cherries! Fresh cherries! And my mouth doesn't go all itchy and my tongue doesn't swell!

So now I have plenty of cherries for my afternoon snack all week. Yum!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Getting Older

You know you're getting older when paying $23 online and waiting a few extra days for the new Harry Potter book is more important than standing in a queue for hours to buy it at midnight tonight.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Questions, More Passing the Buck

I'm not proud of myself, but really, some things you should be able to do without anyone's help.

Q. "I'm sorry to bother you but can you help me with a consolidated invoice?"

A. "I could but it would be better if you got the FMA to help you."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rain in the forecast

Therefore it must be Wednesday. I can't believe it. Really. Can. Not. Believe. It.

9 Dragon Boat practices to date and only 2 of them have been in good weather! One got cancelled because it was too damn cold. Five others have taken place in the rain and it looks tonight will be the sixth time.

I don't know if I'm cut out for this.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A-Tweedle Dee-A

The more things change the more things stay the same, so the saying goes right? I have found that to be truer than ever this week.

With a recent move at work, I am now working beside an older, Italian version of Tweedle-Dee. Henceforth she will be known as A-Tweedle Dee-A. Sounds nice and Italian now, doesn't it?

Example 1: You plug in your laptop, logon and DON'T notice your battery is draining over the course of the next two hours, eventually turning your computer off because the battery is dead! And then of course, the question "Hey! How come a-my computer just turned itself-a off?" I assumed right away that the plug she used wasn't working but instead of spending the next few years answering more stupid questions, I decided to let the pro's handle it and said, "The plug you used isn't working. Better call micro." And that's it. Micro came, confirmed the plug was dead and sorted it out.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wild Bill in India

Wild Bill has officially started his new blog in preparation for his trip to India. I've included a link to his space over there on the right.

Keep a watch on his space for updates from now until January 2008!

P.S. Dad, I'm sooo jealous. Please go ahead and have the time of your life.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Watching the clock

3:04 ... 3:49 ... 4:20 ... 4:43 ... 5:15 ... 5:35 ...

Might as well get up, hit the gym, go to work.

When do I get to sleep?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

International Flora

On my fourth and final day of my extended long-weekend, I visited the Montreal International Flora Festival at the Old Port, believing the weather report that told me there was no chance of precipitation that afternoon. Silly me.

However, despite having to wait out one light rain shower and one long downpour, I did spend a couple of very enjoyable and relaxing hours there, taking pictures of the various gardens and of many of the flowers. The colours were so vibrant and each garden so original and creative; I loved it. I’ve posted a new set of pictures on flickr for your viewing pleasure.

Once I was done there, I biked back to the market for a little lemon sorbet and an amazing loaf of baguette for my dinner.

Finally, finally, finally – my long anticipated massage finished off the weekend on the perfect note. Thanks, Sina!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Mont Orford PSA

If you’re ever in the Mont Orford area and think to yourself "Hey, I should walk up there!", stop yourself. You’ll thank me later.

My mother had the bright idea that we’d go for a nice hike at this provincial park today. No problem. I’m always ready for a nice day of hiking. What neither of us had thought of or were expecting was to arrive at a completely closed ski station where we ended up hiking up the ski slope. At times it felt like we were going straight up a 90° incline. It wasn’t a long hike, only 4 kilometres but man … was it ever hard. We made a number of short stops on the way up to have a sandwich and catch our breath. Although it was quite a windy and cool day, this managed to keep us from overheating and probably, in part, how we did make it all the way up. As we climbed, the view got better and better all time. It was a great feeling to finally reach the top. By that time my calves were shaking from the exertion (and I like to think that I’m in reasonably good shape.) Honestly, if there had been one more switch-back, I may have had to finish the hike on my hands and knees. The view from the top was wonderful though and certainly made up for the climb. I’ve posted a few pictures here. The way down was certainly easier on the heart but no less hard on the body. By the time we reached the bottom, neither of us could feel our knees anymore.

A couple of times it looked as if it was going to rain, and we did get a few drops on the way up but the real rain managed to hold off until the minute we got back to the car. Talk about timing.

After that we went for a short drive into Magog for a relaxing stroll along the main drag and a rewarding pastry and cup of tea in a little local café.

My plans for a long bike ride tomorrow evaporated somewhere up the hill today. I’m going to take thing a little bit easier and stick close to home. I will probably head into Old Montreal to spend some time at The International Flora Festival. And then to end my lovely 4-day long weekend off on the perfect note, I will get my massage and then melt into bed.

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Note: just did a little online investigating and found this site. Just so you know, this is not what is there now. Maybe they did have this at one time but certainly not in 2007.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer Splash

Here's my report on my first Dragon Boat competition from Saturday.

Saturday, June 30

Today was my first race day. All in all, I had a pretty fun time of it. Our team was there at 8am to make sandwiches for our food stand (to raise funds for the next competition). It was pretty cold and no coffee or even hot chocolate to keep our motivation up!

10am – first race 400m. I was anxious to see how it was going to play out. I had a fair idea that it would be a lot different than our weekly practice and boy, was I right. For example, during practice I find that I don’t really get wet at all. Not so on race day. We were all paddling so strong and moving so fast that each and every one of us basically got soaked from head to toe on one half of our body, depending which side of the boat we were seated on. Think we came in 3rd or 4th (of 4 teams).

11:40 – second race 200m. Obviously was much faster than the first and because it was so much shorter, we didn’t have the long stretch of just going at 85% of our force. It was pretty much a start, immediately up to 100%, then a short burst at 85% and then the final 50m at 100% again. This time I’m pretty sure we placed 3rd.

1pm – 3rd race, 100m. This was a rush. Our standard hard 5 strokes to get the boat out of the water and then 100% push for the finish. It was over in less than 30 seconds. Apparently we had a great start; really getting the boat out fast. Think there were only 3 boats in this race and we came 2nd. Not too shabby! Shortly before this race started, my friend Super C showed up to see what this whole thing was all about and to cheer me on. Thanks a bunch and especially for the pictures!

2:45pm – 4th and final race, another 400m. Despite it now being the end of our day and although I was starting to feel a bit tight in my back, we had an amazing race. We were really pushing hard and by the time we hit our last 100% push to the finish, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it – that’s how much we were putting into it. Luckily it’s all over in less than 3 minutes though and we all survived. For this race there were 3 other boats and we came in 2nd again. I was so pleased with how it all turned out. Considering we don’t have a full team yet, and had about 6 people (who have never trained with us) sitting in to fill the empty spots, I think we did incredibly well.

Some hours later I am feeling exhausted from the huge energy output but also rather proud of myself. I had a good time today and now that I know how a race works, I’m looking forward to the next competition at the end of July.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Meal Substitutions

Call me crazy but you’re fooling nobody saying you don’t like butter. Please, asking to substitute the vegetables on your plate with salad, dressing on the side and then using it all? Asking for your clam chowder not to have any potatoes in it? And if you think the chef used skim milk in that soup, you are seriously deluded. You’re watching your weight. I get it. Really, I do. And that's OK.

But don’t then go and order a crème brulée for dessert! Give me a break.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer Splash

Tomorrow is my first Dragon Boat competition.

If you're in the area, come and cheer us on at Summer Splash.

L-o-n-g Weekend

4-day weekend coming up. Hooo boy, do I need it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Source of Protein?

Sunday morning I did 40k bike ride. It was a nice morning, not too hot, not too humid, not too windy. What I didn't realise was that at some points during the ride the bike path would be thick with bugs and flies and gross things that would get stuck in my hair, eyebrows, on my shirt, shorts, in my mouth, up my nose ...

This was one of those times that suddenly a stationary bike at home or in a gym really made sense.

Trying to spit out teeny weeny bugs from my mouth while at the same time trying not to breathe in any new sources of protein was quite a challenge. In the end it was a great ride and I felt virtuous enough after that do laze around for the rest of the day without feeling guilty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Baby Shower Preparations

One of my closest friends, Super C, is expecting a baby in September. Because I'm nice and bossy, I offered to host a baby shower for her. No problem. I like to organise. I like to make lists.

What I wasn't counting on was the sheer stupidity of so many of these baby shower web sites. What I wasn't counting on was the total "mom"-ness of these sites. Have these people lost their minds in having children? Why is it all so cutesy and cuddly and cringe-worthy?

Things that I will not be doing in organising this shower: buy hula-hoops, crayons and construction paper, draw a hopscotch board on the driveway (they don't even mention why any sane person would do this for a baby shower!). Nor will I buy 15 flavours of baby food, peel off the labels and test everyone's taste buds. (First prize more baby food?! Are they mad!?!) Ask guest to bring pink or blue note cards with their favourite mom secrets? I'm sorry, I can't go on. It just gets worse.

Cecilia - be prepared. This will be a grown-up "shower" for grown-up women. Apart from the fact that you are having a baby, I refuse to insult your intelligence and my own any longer, and the theme will be "no stupid baby stuff". Actually, you know what? I think I will rename this shower to a "pre-baby party". We will eat grown-up portions. No "baby-sized" food as so helpfully recommended to keep the theme going. We will not be serving pink or blue food, unless it just so happens to happen that way. No pastel coloured candies either.

The only thing that I will succumb to is a non-alcoholic drink. How about ... ?

Virgin Strawberry Margaritas

Juice of 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 tsp sugar
One strawberry (for garnish)
Whipped cream (mandatory)

Add lime juice, 1/2 cup strawberries and sugar to blender. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into cocktail glass. Garnish with remaining strawberry, and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 1 (me!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wall Plugs

Would you look at that? I managed to drill some larger holes, get the wall plugs in, the curtain rod holders screwed in and the curtains back up - all by myself! And - get this, the curtains didn't fall down last night. So there.

Flight of the Conchords

There's this new show on The Movie Network called Flight of the Conchords.

Kinda reminds me of a young New Zealand version of Montreal's own Bowser & Blue. Also kinda reminded me of Best in Show and A Mighty Wind sorta style.

Pretty funny stuff.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Really Broken

Some months ago the old plastic wheels on my bed frame finally died of dehydration. They cracked, split and fell apart. I had never been too happy with these wheels, let me tell you. They wouldn't lock, stuck out too far - in short, they were a real pain in the wazoo.

So, being the independant and clever woman I am, I managed to pick up some new legs for the bed in a nice cherry wood. Great. Except that I couldn't get them to fit in the metal bed frame (too wobbly). Nor could I screw them into the under side of the bed (well, I could but not straight). In the end I broke down and called my mechanic brother to help me out. Where it took me about 20 minutes to use the wrench on one nut (or is it bolt?), Marc had it done in the blink of an eye - literally!

Anyway ... at that time we managed to get my bed put back together even if it was a little higher than I had expected. Still slightly wobbly but much, MUCH better than before.

Until last night. When I was standing (ok, so some of this is my fault I suppose) on the bottom left corner of my bed reaching over to fix the curtains and that's when the bed, the 3 curtains, curtain rod, 2 curtain rod holders, 4 screws and me all crashed to the floor. Not a terribly relaxing way to get into bed.

I had to get out my toolbox (yes, the nice shiny red one!), screwdriver, wrench and then pull my freshly made bed apart. Cursing all the way, as you can well imagine. Oh, and after leaving a rather curt message on Marc's voicemail.

As it turns out, that bottom left bed leg? The big long screw thing broke off. Now I have this leg that has a bit of a broken screw sticking out of it and no way to get the rest of the screw out of the bedframe! Nice, eh?! I ended up taking the frame apart, killing 2 spiders (1 with my bare hand because that's how mad I was) and having to put the bed on the floor for the night. I did manage to get the curtains back up before going to bed but they didn't stay up for long. At 1:00 a.m. I pushed my duvet to the end of my bed but didn't realise that the weight of the duvet pulling on my curtains would pull the whole frigging thing down again! Yes, that's right, the whole kit and kaboodle came crashing down on my feet.

Looks like tonight I'll have to put some wall plugs into those holes to secure the screws and also fix the curtain rod holders (because they're bent now). Yeesh.

Marc - you better have some idea how to fix my bed because now I'm pissed.

Friday, June 15, 2007

8x10

I had this picture blown up into an 8x10. Without tooting my own horn too much (bit late now) - can I tell you how beautiful this picture turned out? I'm so friggin' impressed.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Much better

Ahhh ... finally a Dragon Boat practice that ended without feeling like my back was going to jump off me in spasms.

We had a great practice last night practicing our starts and stops and going at full throttle. Mostly that part made me feel like barfing. Kinda like when you're biking up a hill and it takes every last bit of energy to get there and then you make it, you stop and you keel over and puke. But in a fun way, you know?!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bubble Wrap

How will I resist the urge to jump on huge the roll of bubble wrap? It is altogether too inviting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

F1

Had a fantastic day at the Grand Prix on Saturday. It was hot, sunny, crowded, noisy and I can honestly say I loved every minute. Here is a very small sample of the 187 pictures I took.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Happy 40th Anniversary!

June 9, 1967


Happy Anniversary to my Mom & Dad!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Happy 3rd Birthday Darcy! Happy 30th Birthday Marc!

Happy 30th Birthday to my baby brother ... guess this means I can't be 29 anymore. Hmph.

Had a great time celebrating Darcy's 3rd Birthday with her yesterday. Here are the rest of the pictures.

The best was Darcy waiting at the window for her uncles to show up ... for over an hour!

No - the best was her expression when we brought out the birthday cake!

No - the best was when she suddenly said "Thank you everybody for a nice cake."

No - the best was ... as you can tell, it was a day full of "best" moments.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Anniversary/Birthday Party Menu

Bruti ma buoni cookies
Lemon cookies (from this book)
Chocolate chip cookies
Date-nut bread
Apricot spice bars (from this cookbook)
Butter pecan tarts (from Grandma's old cookbook, can't find a link)
Fruit smoothie cheesecake
Cheddar cheese coins (oh no, that's right, I ate those already!)
Orange & Mandarine cake (adapted from this recipe)
Fruit plate
Cheese & crackers

Oh, and if you're interested, here are some picture from the party. Somehow I missed a few (about half the people actually) guests - including the guests of honour! But hopefully we'll be able to take a few more pictures later this week.

Better not forget - here are a few pictures from our trip to the park with Darcy on Saturday.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wet, Wet, Wet

There are a number of times in my life that I can say I have been wet to the bone. Last night was another "happy" occurrence of this.

OK, partly my fault - I didn't check the weather forecast before leaving in the morning ... on my bike. But I did have the sense to bring my rain jacket and wear this fantastic "wicking" clothing (wicks the sweat off you to keep you dry - come on! how cool is that?!). Shortly after arriving at work it started to rain and basically rained on and off all day. By the time I left work to bike over to Ile Ste-Helene for Dragon Boat practice it wasn't raining anymore but the ground was still wet. However, it started raining again during practice and got heavier by the minute. By the time we finished it was basically a downpour. Seeing as I was already kinda damp anyway, I figured I would ride home and "how bad could it be". Famous last words.

Biking in a downpour of rain, through sandy and muddy bike paths, over potholes now filled to overflowing with puddles of water, not being able to wear my sunglasses to keep the water out of my eyes ... Did you know that even when you're on a bike you can get that squishy wet foot feeling in your shoes? It's true! Take my word for it.

Naturally, by the time I did get home (easy 20 min. ride from the Olympic Basin), I was dripping from places I didn't know I could drip from. My bike was so wet that the little sensor that tracks my speed couldn't do it's job anymore. My shoes, socks, pants, back-pack (and nearly everything in it) and jacket were all soaked. Surprisingly though, my jacket while wet on the outside had kept the rest of me miraculously dry (except in the armpit vents that I had open and the rain sneaked in there). Anyway, all that stuff went directly into the washer and I jumped in the shower to wash the mud off me and my hair (my pony tail was gritty with dirt).

It was still raining this morning and seeing as I didn't have any dry exercise gear to wear, I broke down and took the bus to work. But I am determined now to find myself some pants that can keep me as dry as my jacket. And shoes - would that even exist?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stupid Pill

Have you ever had one of those days when it seems you must’ve taken a stupid pill? That’s the kind of day I had this past Saturday. Seriously, it was enough to make me look in the mirror and ask myself what on earth I had for breakfast. Yeesh …

Monday, May 28, 2007

Frozen sushi

There’s a reason sushi should be eaten fresh and not from frozen. In case you ever happen to see frozen sushi in the freezer section of your local grocery store, save yourself a couple of dollars and leave it in the store. Once thawed (even according to the package directions) it will be dry, taste like cardboard and fall apart worse than your own homemade version of sushi. I promise.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rubbish

The book I'm presently reading is complete crap. It's going back to the library this weekend even if I don't finish reading it. Yeesh, what a waste of paper.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

First Practice

We had our first Dragon Boat practice last night. Thankfully the temperature was closer to the 25C mark this week (not nearly at freezing like last week). As expected it took some work to get the stroke right, the A-frame body position, the timing, etc. all together. But altogether it was kind of a fun way to spend an hour.

However, I am feeling some pain today in my lower back. Not as much as I expected but I will probably feel it even more tomorrow. In preparation for the general soreness and achy-ness, I have lots of Advil within arm's length.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Owww !

Ah yes, the dormant bicycle muscles got quite a workout this weekend. And I am paying for it now.

Friday, May 18, 2007

What does your Birthdate mean?

Have noticed lots of people inserting this info on their facebook page. Here's what my birthday says about me:

Your Birthdate: August 27

You are a spiritual soul - a person who tries to find meaning in everything.
You spend a good amount of time meditating, trying to figure out life.
Helping others is also important to you. You enjoy social activities with that goal.
You are very generous and giving. Yet you expect very little in return.

Your strength: Getting along with anyone and everyone

Your weakness: Needing a good amount of downtime to recharge

Your power color: Cobalt blue

Your power symbol: Dove

Your power month: September

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dragon Boat

I had prepared a whole post about the aches and pains I was expecting to have today. But guess what? I don't have any aches and pains today. Wanna know why not? Because it was too cold for our first Dragon Boat practice.

How shocked are you to find that I have joined a Dragon Boat team? On a scale of 1 to 10. I'm about a 10 on that scale, as in very, very, very shocked. Thanks to the 2C weather though practice got cancelled and you'll have to wait until next week to hear about all the aches and pains I will have.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Chin Strip

Here's the question that's been rattling around my brain for a couple of months now. What do you call a beard that is just a strip of facial hair down the middle of a man's chin? For a while I didn't know what this was called, but thanks to a little bit of searching à la Google, the answer, of course, was found. It is called, simply enough, the chin strip.

I've been noticing a increase in the amount of chin strips on men in Montreal. At the gym, shopping downtown, on the bus.

Now that I know that it's called a chin strip I have more questions. Why the chin strip? Why not a full goatee? Why not just the soul patch?

My apologies to that guy at the gym that I can't stop staring at whenever I see his chin strip - it's just that it kinda freaks me out. Sorta like a train wreck.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Advertising is Expensive

Apologies to my parents - I had planned to put a celebration message in The Gazette for your anniversary but due to the fact that the cheapest version possible is still over $100 before taxes, this will not be happening.

I will probably do something closer to the free price range, like post a message on my blog.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Arcade Fire

Rocked out at the Arcade Fire concert on Saturday night. Wow - that was just awesome. The best part of the concert was at the end when the band left the stage before the first encore, the crowd continued singing along to the chorus of the song they'd just finished playing. It started off so that I wasn't sure if it was the sound system still playing back the song, but then realised that it was the crowd! The crowd was singing to get the band back on stage! It was so cool!!! Finally the band came back on and the crowd just roared! (look at all my exclamation points - I'm still freaking out about this)

I can tell you, it was worth the time and effort to see this band. It was the third time we (my brothers and I) had tried to get tickets to their concerts and finally it came through (thank you, Sam!).

As much fun as the concert was, I have the feeling I'm getting old. The concert didn't start until 9:45pm and we'd left the house at 7pm. So it was nearly 3 hours (!) since leaving the house before the main event even started. Also, I'd forgotten how loud concerts can be and consequently didn't bring earplugs with me. As it turns out it wasn't loud enough to make my ears ring (as in many past concerts in my "youth") but I did come out of there with a headache.

Here's the review from the paper yesterday. All in all - a fantastic concert.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy 2nd Anniversary to Me!

Can you believe I'm celebrating 2 years of blogging today?! I'm rather proud of myself. Never imagined it would go on this long.

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Good weather = Good mood

It's been so nice this week that I actually finished the switch over between my winter and summer wardrobe last night. I kid you not - ALL my sweaters have been lovingly washed, dried flat and are now packed away in a variety of suitcases until September (ha, ha - joking, until October).

It was even warm enough to go bare-legged in a skirt. Shocking, I know, I don't usually do that until end of June. However, thanks to not having stockings or socks with me at work, I did walk home with bare feet inside my shoes and managed to rip my right foot to shreds on Tuesday. Yesterday I hobbled around in heels all day, gritting my teeth through the pain, but now that I have my summer wardrobe out that means I also have my summer shoes out and I found a pair of shoes that don't touch any of the blisters. It's going to be a long day today, so I better not get any new blisters or I'll be wearing flip flops to work tomorrow.

In case you've been wondering about my cooking/baking ... I was pretty productive last weekend (date nut bread, zucchini soup, zucchini & feta tart - can you tell zucchini were on sale?) and last night I actually had enough energy to cook mid-week! I adapted an Indian butter chicken recipe to use with a soy and wheat gluten based "chicken" product - and wow!!! It was awesome! Not too sure I'd use this veggie chicken again, but I would definitely do it with shrimp or chunks of fish. Mmmm good!

Have got great plans to do some serious baking this weekend but no plans to photograph it every step of the way.

Mother's Day on Sunday, people. Hope you're prepared!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

24 hours of flickr

Here's what I've been up to so far today.

Going out for the evening and hope to add more to the set later.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Cough Syrup

Did you know that too much cough sirop syrup can make you feel a bit sick?

Ohhh, my tummy hurts.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oh, look - a lung

Was that a lung I just coughed up? Blech. This cold is disgusting.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A day in the life

You have a few days to prepare for this challenge. Who will join me?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Boy, is Jacques Villeneuve short!

Lucky me got to attend a VIP event at Cirque du Soleil's new show, Kooza, last night. As the last minute un-official photographer, I was running around taking pictures of the biggest movers and shakers in the Montreal finance and business scene. One of the guest's was Jacques Villeneuve himself, of F1 Grand Prix fame. Can you imagine my surprise when suddenly he was a few feet away from me and I towered over him?!

I did a quick internet search this morning and found out that he's actually only 5'6" (168cm). Who knew? That's 1-inch shorter than me, but rather more if you count that I was tottering around in 3-inch heels. For some reason, suddenly I wasn't so impressed by him.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Relaxed and Stuffed

Ohhhhh ... what a wonderful afternoon I've had! Had a divine facial. So wonderful that I nearly fell asleep a couple of times. Followed by a fun lunch where we ate and ate and ate. Am now ready for a nice long nap.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Welcome to Hell

One of my favourite comedy sketches by one of the most brilliant comedians ever.
Enjoy Rowan Atkinson's Welcome to Hell.

Why? Because it's Friday the 13th, it's been a long week and I'm tired and crabby and basically would like everybody to go to hell and leave me alone.

Good thing I'm getting some pampering done at the spa tomorrow with Cecilia. I need it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The 4 Rs of Recycling

When people usually talk about recycling these days, they talk about the 3 Rs of recycling; Reduce, Reuse and Recylce.

Yesterday was recycling day in my neighbourhood so I naturally left my green box on the curb as I left for work. When I came home last night I was a little surprised to find everybody else's green box in our foyer except my own. First thought ran something along the lines of "oh great, they can't just steal my paper, now they have to steal my recycling box too?!?!". I realised shortly after though, that someone probably took my box to their unit and suddenly found themselves with two green boxes. I figured by this morning my own would be back in the foyer, looking lonely and waiting for me. I am very pleased to report that I was right! Phew!

It's been kinda tough since getting back from vacation, what with the ceiling, the cold, the never ending snow (and more is expected today!) and it was starting to feel like the straw that broke the camel's back. Thankfully not and I have discovered the 4th R of recycling:

Return to owner!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Talking Turkey

Here's a question that's been rolling around my head for a while

How come, when my brother brings leftover turkey home after a turkey dinner at my parents' house, it makes his car smell like fart? And not just any little dinky accidental fart. I'm talking a really big revolting, nasty, gag inducing fart.

Anyone?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Homemade Bread

Is there anything better than the smell of fresh bread baking? Well, apart from homemade cookies and melting chocolate, I mean.

Recently I've been on a bread making kick and you can view two types of bread here. This weekend I also made a Walnut Bread and some curly bread (tpyically known in Switzerland as tresse or zopf, depending what part of the country you live in). Um ... I forgot to take pictures of these loaves and they are all gone now. Eaten up by my family. Guess they were pretty tasty.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Tax Time

If anything, I'm consistent. Once again I have proven this to myself, and not intentionally.

I did the first run at my tax returns this morning and as usual am in a complete panic because I did something wrong or missed something somewhere and owe each of the governments close to $5,000 each.

Yes, I have had one bout of tears as the initial shock hit but I'm OK now. Next week a colleague will review it all for me and hopefully (I'll be chanting hopeful chants all weekend) it will all work out in my favour (meaning I will be getting cheques back from the government). That's what usually happens. But there's always a first time and I hope (again more chanting) that this will not be the year I have to pay the government even more in taxes than I already do.

Maybe it would help if you, friendly readers that you are, could do some chanting too.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Ceiling Saga Continues

It's seven weeks today since my ceiling showed signs of leaking from the apartment upstairs. It's still not finished. After a blow-up situation Wednesday night and a calm reasonable meeting yesterday, it should, with any luck, be finished by this time next week.

Who would've thought that such a small thing could drag on for two months? Not me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reasons not to have kids

So, many of you know that I have zero interest in having children and that I have for many, many years been jokingly writing a book filled with reasons not to have kids.

Last night I found out another - a friend just had an ultrasound that cost $420!!!

Can you believe this? Over four hundred dollars for one little exam? Man, oh man. All I could picture was a couple of pairs of shoes out the window. A couple of pairs of jeans - gone. A few haircuts - no more. More than a mortgage payment - bye bye!

Boy, you gotta really wanna have kids to go through all that.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spring is coming

Know how I know this? Because I killed a spider at home the other night. The snow is melting fast. Any day now the air will fill with the smell of dog poop and mushy worms.

Monday, March 26, 2007

How to catch the bus

Look what I just found!

Here are my instructions on how to get from Steph's (at Seven Mile Beach area) into town (Georgetown) using public transportation.

Go to road, across street from Calico Jack's, wait for bus (mini-van type, not big bus)
Will have WB sticker on front with number 1 or 2
Flag him down **
Costs CI$2
Take it all the way into town
Ends at Public Library

From here can walk down street to ocean, Hard Rock Cafe over to left, Rackam's (where we had lunch on Sunday) over to right. On the other side of the Post Office, there is a Chinese Market, also some cool shops in Post Office area.

To return:
From Library or by Rackam's
Flag him down
Tell driver to Marriott Courtyard
Say "1 stop, please" when pass Calico Jack's

** Flagging a bus down consists of leaning against a wall or fence and casually lifting one's arm when one sees a bus approaching. People really do say "1 stop, please" or "1 stop, driver" when they want to get off.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Travel Update #14

An extra post seeing as I have the access today.

Friday, March 2.

Yeah, so things got a little busy. Did have my swim, went home for a nap, got ready, went out. Dinner at Bed was awesome! The band was great. We ate a lot, drank a lot, laughed a lot. Enjoyed myself soooo much. Especially not having to worry about being anywhere (like work) the next morning.

Thursday Steph had off, so we drove all over the island! I just loved it.

We started off by stopping off for some much needed coffee and trash mags, then out to the East End for a look at the blowholes. The blowholes are now mostly filled with debris from Hurrican Ivan so there wasn’t much going on there, but still, the landscape was beautiful. After a brief stop (photo op) we headed to the Botanical Gardens where both of us took piles of pictures. It was so incredible – very peaceful and relaxing. Probably only passed about 6 people during the whole time we were there.

After that headed further up the road to Rum Point for lunch on the beach! Had conch fritters with my feet in the sand. Does it get any better? After lunch we napped in some beach chairs under the trees, a swim and some reading before heading back to Calico Jack’s for a last beachside drink. It was such a relaxing day that I was practically comatose by the time we left Rum Point.

Oh! Have just realised how really small this place is. On Wednesday when I was on the boat with Zac, there was a couple there from Bermuda, from England originally. There were nice enough, we chatted a bit. End of the tour everybody said good bye and that was that. I had previously commented to Steph & Zac that it seemed everywhere we went, they ran into people they knew. Well, today I met people I knew! The couple from Bermuda were also at Rum Point. How funny is that? I was going around taking some pictures and suddenly there they were, on the beach chairs, waving at me. We had a nice little chat and then when I rejoined Steph and told her about I was all astonished that I too could meet people I knew, even if I’d just been here a few days. That was really weird, funny, incredible …

Grand Cayman is one of the flattest places I’ve ever been. Except for the wind, it would be so easy to bike here. Windy at the beach and as most of the roads follow the coastline, it could be difficult – but what a view!

What else? Oh yeah – on the way out to dinner last night we stopped in Hell to mail my postcards. Mom will be so pleased!

Dinner last night was divine! Very nice restaurant (can't remember the name, see how relaxed I am?!). Had cracked conch to start and then a yummy fish (fish, fish and more fish!). Beautiful place, could just about see the ocean except that it was pitch dark out there. It was a dinner out to say goodbye to one of their friends that is returning to the US next week. Oh and the bar had this very cool wall with water and bubbles or something going up it.

More stuff I’ve nearly forgotten – one of Steph’s friends works at the Botanical Gardens and gave Steph a huge basil plant for Zac. We left it in the back of the car while we enjoyed ourselves at lunch and at the beach. Well, the poor plant had practically died by the time we got back to it! Ooops. Hopefully it will recover with some regular watering. Did we ever laugh at that.

So here I am – Friday, last day. Not even 10am yet and I am back at the beach for a little last minute sun, sand and sea. Gotta grab what I can! Got a load of laundry done last night and another is in the dryer now so should be ready to be packed when I go back.

Have loved, loved, loved every minute of my time here. This week of "me time" has been good for my body, mind and soul. Steph and Zac have been awesome and incredibly generous with their time and friendship. I will miss them and must find someway to get them up to Montreal for a visit.

Hoping very much that I will still be tanned when I get back to the office on Tuesday. For once I really can say I’ve got some colour and it looks like it!

Beach this morning is quite short as the tide is still going out, I guess. Waves are a little higher than earlier this week. Time for my last little swim.

8pm – Miami

John picked me up at noon and we headed over to say goodbye to Steph. Had a quick drink at the golf course and then headed to the airport. Check-in was quick, had a light lunch and did a tour of the duty free shops. Flight left a few minutes late but we still arrived pretty much on time. Passport control here (Miami) was super slow – there must have been a lot of arrivals just coming in. Lost nearly 30 min. there. Things got going a little quicker when they asked the Canadians to go through the US line – and I was out of there about 5 minutes after that. Took a bit of searching the find the shuttle bus to the hotel, but got it in time and was checked in just after 6pm. All in all a decent trip.

The room here is nice. I have a king size bed! Went for a swim before dinner! I can see the pool from my room. Dinner was not so nice. Went with the buffet. Don’t know what I was thinking. Ever since the Club Med days I just can’t eat from buffets – I’m scarred for life. Wine at dinner also extremely nasty. Couldn’t even drink one glass.

Cozy in this huge bed now. A/c turned off – sooo cold. I’m tired.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Travel Update #13

Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Lobster fest last night was GREAT!!! We did indeed go to Decker’s for that. Lovely glass of wine at the bar, blood orange mojito at the table, divine olive bread, and then 2 plates of lobster tails! (4 pieces all together), plus an Irish coffee. We were stuffed, stuffed, stuffed! Met Yvonne who may come with us tomorrow to Rum Point. Zac joined us for coffee. Steph and I were both a little tipsy by the end. All in all fab evening out.

Now, there was a tentative plan to go out with John and Gordie (aka G-Love) today, but apparently Gordie didn’t get his act together, so I am back with Zac on the snorkel boat, which is great! This morning has a much bigger group (think there are 7 ships in). Weather isn’t quite so nice right now as the past 2 days (it’s a bit cloudy) but it’s still plenty warm. Instead of starting the trip at Sting Ray City, we’re doing the snorkelling first. Basically, because there are so many people at the ray site. I’m sitting here, at the top part of the boat, looking at 12 (!!!) tour boats, some smaller, some much larger – and the sand bar is packed with people! I can’t get over it. Sure glad I’m not in town today.

Quite funny seeing all these tourists needing to be lead by the hand to do just about everything. I almost feel sorry for them – but not quite.

Cannot believe how time is flying by. Only today and tomorrow left. How can it have gone so fast?

Later ...

Enjoyed another great swim with the sting rays. They really are quite wonderful. Also kissed a couple more, so think I’m up to about 42 yrs worth of good luck ;)

After the trip, Zac and I went to a late lunch at Coconut Joe’s. I’m back at the beach now for a few hours while Zac heads over to set up for tonight’s show. Steph gets off work around 6pm. Once she’s ready to go we’ll head over to Bed (local resto) for dinner and that’s also where the band, the Ratskins (?) play. Looking forward to that. Seems like ages since I’ve seen any kind of live music.

Time for a swim …