Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Marathon weekend

Holy.  Can't believe it's been two weeks since I posted!

Things have been going swimmingly.  Work is nuts, weekend are nuts, I'm going nuts.  There.  You're all caught up.

After a really long week at work, I would have loved to have made a nest and done nothing for my weekend.  But, that wasn't in the cards.

Friday night was Erin's birthday.  So irregardless of my exhaustion, if it's your friends birthday, attention must be paid.

Erin decided to have a wine tasting party.  She registered at Banville, we all ordered wines from the registry and then met up on Friday to try them all.  Banville was great in providing guidance as to which wines to try first, food pairings etc.

I have never really smelt my wine.  I probably should, I mean that's part of the whole wine deal.  But this time I did.  I shoved my nose into the glass and took a deep breath.  After mulling about what I thought I smelt I checked the descriptions to see if I was close.  I nailed one that described a blackberry aroma and I got another one that had a cherry smell (although my description of cherry was ghetto compared to the winery label... something about cherry skins or something).

There was one wine that smelled like cat pee.  100%.  Now, the wine tasted fine, but the smell?  Seriously off putting.  The majority of the wines I liked with one exception, this Vaglio Chango.  It was not great.  Some of my friends said it had a chalky taste and thus, the following label was born.

Such a good time.  We made it home at a decent hour, because we had to be up early for race set up.  Logan and I headed out to Assiniboine park for 9am for the WPS Half Marathon race set up.

There is always a myriad of things to set up; fencing, tents, tables, merchandise, finishing line, advertising banners.  We have it down to a fine science, but it still takes our crew all Saturday to do.  Logan and I got home somewhere around dinnertime.

Race morning is an early one.  Committee members have to get to the park by 5 - 5:30 am.  Rise and Shine.  Speaking as a non morning person, this is especially painful.  As in past years, we have the boys come volunteer with us, so they were super excited to get early as well (sarcasm sign).

Having the boys together is just a recipe for fighting, so Zach went with Brad to help with relay stuff and Logan hung out with me at the Finish.

Nick, Rob, Jason, Logan & me
Now despite the early hour, this day always gets me in the feels.  Over the course of the day, we had runners who were still doing cancer treatment, kids running in their first 5K ever, runners taking part in remembrance of someone they have lost, so it can be very emotional.  I was really touched by one particular runner; a young boy, running with a framed picture of his Dad.  How can you not be affected by that?

Race went really smoothly.  We had a few hiccups, but that's to be expected. You can't possibly plan for everything.  If the weather is cold, you run out of hot chocolate and coffee, if it's hot, you run out of water.  It's hard to plan for that when you don't know what the weather is going to be like until a few days prior.

We got home from the race around 4pm Sunday afternoon and I was done.  My feet were screaming.  My job doesn't exactly require me to be on my feet all day long and I was on my feet the entire weekend.  That being said it was a good exhaustion, knowing you'd contributed to something worthwhile.

So that was my weekend.  



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

40 is the new 20

Brad turned 40 on April 15.  40!

What the h*ll?  When did that happen?

Not to get overly nostalgic or anything, but it was yesterday we were just friends sitting in the Armes Building Wind Tunnel studying for Bio.

Fast forward (literally) 17 years and we have been married for 14 years, have two kids and one of us has turned the big 4-0.

Brad would never say he wanted a big birthday party.  He would have been quite content to have a quiet dinner at home.  But this is no ordinary birthday and attention must be paid.

A month or so before his birthday I contacted one of my friends who has a bakery side business she runs out of her home.  She was the one who saved me at Christmas and did all my baking!  I told her what I wanted and knew she would knock it out of the park and she totally did.

Debbie and Jen
Since his birthday fell on a Friday, we decided to have the party on the actual day.  I tried to do as much prep work as I could in advance because April is a busy month work wise.

Ordinarily I would have done all the prep work myself (veggie trays, appetizers...etc).  This time, nope.  I bought everything and you know what?  It was worth every penny.

Erin and Dave
The party was great.  Almost everyone we invited was able to come making it a pretty full house.  Our core posse :) (Sean, Erin, David, Debbie, Jarrod{I've never actually spelt his name before!  Hope I got it right!!} and Kat) came of course, along with Nick, Leslie, Jill, Jason, Owen, Whitney, Beth, Jen, David and Sylvie.

Jen and Beth 
I found myself constantly going around the room introducing everyone.  At one point I was standing with Debbie (blond in the above picture) and was going around the room rattling off names.  When I reached the last group, I introduced her to "my good friends Sean and Erin".  Please see above paragraph where I mention that Sean, Erin, Debbie, David, Jerrod, Kat, Brad and I hang out all the time, it was a pretty embarrassing moment, one that Sean is not going to let me forget anytime soon.
Jill and Owen
There was tons of laughs, drinks flowing, including a very special shot.  Every year Brad goes deer hunting at our cabin.  Whenever someone bags a deer, they celebrate with a "Buck Fart".  It is a shot of layered Kahlua, Baileys and Rye.  It's really good.   It took a little convincing to get some of the ladies involved, but we got full buy in,.  We lined them all up and everyone (apart from Whitney who is expecting) had one.

Cheers!
David and Brad

As a side note, I should mention that my friend David is wearing an ACDC t-shirt because he thought our party was a redneck theme party that required guests dressing up.  It wasn't of course, but it was pretty funny when both he and Sean came decked out in both jorts and camo.
Jason, Jill, Leslie and not the best pic of Nick!
I tired to remember to take pictures, but in all the well mannered frivolity, I was falling behind.  It's a good thing Erin stepped up.  She found my phone and started snapping away.  She took a lot of gems including the above one.  I am still waffling on whether that gorgeous face on Nick is intentional.

As per usual with our group, beer pong manifested.  We managed to get newbies into the mix.  I am terrible at the game, which is odd considering how much we play it.  This go round we also added a portable corn hole game which sounds lame, but it's actually pretty fun.
Sean and Sylvie

Jerrod and Kat
The party started to wind down around 1 am, but the core stayed for a long time.  I think we wrapped somewhere north of 4 am and I eventually headed to bed around 5 am.  Extra bonus was I had to be up for 9 am to get something done for work, so Saturday was brought to you by the makers of Advil and Caffeine.

It was probably one of our best celebrations ever and I'm so thankful that everyone came out to celebrate Brad.  He's the most standup, reliable good friend that anyone could ever have and add to that being the most supportive, kind and loving husband?  I'm a lucky girl.

Happy Birthday B.







Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Puppies

I honestly never thought I'd get my knickers in a twist over puppies.

Awhile back our floor at work set up a mini golf tournament. Teams each designed golf holes in the hallways on the floor and then each team golfed all the holes.

Everyone was super creative designing the holes. There was even prizes for the best hole.  My personal favourite was a team who offered a bribe of chocolate eggs to sway voters.  How awesome is that?

Right outside my office was a hole that had a puppy theme. Super cute at the time.

As soon as the event was over, tear down was in full swing. Within an hour or so you'd never have known anything went on; with one exception; The puppies.

All along the office walls were color pictures of puppies. Puppies in baskets, puppies playing with toys....

Apparently it was decided (by whom is a very reasonable question) that the puppies added to office decor and they should be left up.

So now, every time I walk in and out of my office I have to walk past those damn puppies. I will admit that it's taking quite a bit of willpower not to rip them down.

But seriously, a 14year old girl with pictures of puppies on her walls... Adorable.

Pictures of puppies on the walls of grown adults just screams sad middle age single woman.

Please, please, please let something unfortunate happen to those damn puppies.

Sincerely,
Cruella





Bookworm

I love reading; always have.

I was a pretty big geek in elementary and junior high and I remember that I read so many Nancy Drew she might as well have been my best friend.

When I went to England with my mum in the late 80s, they had more Nancy Drew editions than I could get in Canada and I was nearly lost my mind.  I sought out any opportunity to get new books and one of the best was the scholastic book club at school, which is still in existence.  Every month or so they send home order forms and you can pick up some decent books fairly cheap.

I can't remember the majority of books I got through scholastic except for one, "The toothpaste genie".  This book resonated with me.    It's about this young girl Amanda who finds a genie in her tube of toothpaste and grants her some wishes.  One of her wishes is for a baby sister.  The trouble is the genie is an apprentice and ends up screwing up all of her wishes.

As a kid I always love the idea of being granted wishes, I mean who doesn't right?  The other thing was that I am a only child.  Some think that this comes with a lot of benefits; no sharing toys, no arguing with siblings etc.  While that is true, you miss out on a lot.  That camaraderie between siblings is unmatched.  Even if you aren't overly fond of each other sometimes, you always know that if your life inexplicably went pear shaped, they would be there for you.

So the fact that this girl was wish for a baby sister was something I intrinsically understood.  This would explain why I read the book over and over and over.

Obviously at some point I outgrew the book and it must have been donated to a library or sold in a garage sale.  I always remembered it though and when the boys started getting scholastic book orders sent home, I found myself looking for it.

Cue online shopping.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but why not buy it online?  Easier said than done.  While you can find the book in the catalog at Chapters and other online book stores, it's out of print.  Most libraries don't carry scholastic book, so that was out.

I tried Kijiji in case some local person was looking to get rid of it.  Finally, I searched on Amazon. Score!  The offers were all on used books, which made sense given that it was out of print.  There were only 4 hits for the book, $3; $6 and $30.

For the life of me I can't justify why the book would be $30, even if it was in pristine condition.  So the frugal girl in me kicked in and I bought a used copy for $3.  Shipping was $6, but $9 for some hardcore childhood nostalgia is a pretty sweet deal.

The book arrived in the mail the other day and I can't wait to read it all over again.







Banking on Mortification

Last week I took the boys to get bank accounts.  They were super pumped.. well Logan was anyways.  Zach is the most un-materialistic kid I have ever met.  You could be out shopping and ask if he wants anything, but he never says yes.  Logan on the other hand is the ultimate consumer... he wants everything and so the idea that he could have his own bank card was positively irresistible.

I had made the appointment earlier in the week, so we showed up at the appointed time.  When we got there we were ushered into a little office.  The bank rep asked us if we would be ok if there was a trainee doing the work today.  Whenever anyone ever asks me this, I can never say no.  At the same time, I knew that this would all but double the length of our appointment.

Logan was up first, gave all the particulars and when she finally gave him his bank card, he was just busting with excitement.  Any excursion that takes Zach away from his computer programming/gaming is bothersome to Zach and he just wanted to get it over with.

After what seemed like an ungodly amount of time given the simple task we set out to do, we left the bank and walked back to the truck.


I hopped up into the truck and got myself sorted.  I looked down at my feet and saw this:
In case you aren't sure of what you are seeing there, let me help.  That bright blue/black polka dotted fabric poking out the leg of my jeans is a pair of my underwear.

Mortified much?

In getting ready to go to the bank, I had grabbed my jeans out of the dryer.  I didn't shake them or apparently notice that there was a pair of underwear in the leg.  Either the bank reps didn't notice or they were too polite to say anything.  Regardless, I was pretty embarrassed.  The only thing that could have made it worse is if the underwear had managed to free itself from the confines of my pant leg and escaped to the wide open expanses of the bank's shockingly white tile floor where it would have been impossible to ignore.

Well, I suppose you have to laugh at these things.  You can't take life too seriously and need to be able to find the laughter.  

With my bright blue undies on full display, I can without a doubt say that I found the funny.





Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Breakers

I'm on holidays.

I have from Good Friday until March 31 off.  Go back for Friday due to work commitments and then off for the weekend.  Not half bad.

It's been relaxing. Without any hockey, we have lots of free time which is nice.   Saturday afternoon we went out to visit Brad's parents for Easter.  I got to see my nephews whom I adore so that was great.

Came home Saturday night and after the boys went to bed, I started prepping for the big egg hunt.  It was fun.  The boys do not believe in the Easter Bunny at all.  However, they do believe in chocolate.
I hid the eggs everywhere.  In the cabinets, drawers, fridge, washer and dryer, plants... boys had an awesome time.

When I was a kid whenever it was a holiday (Easter, Christmas etc), my Dad would make his signature breakfast, a giant apple pancake. It's kind of like a cross between a crepe and a pancake.  You cook it in a cast iron skillet and then bake it in the oven.  It is topped with apples, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.  It's breakfast nirvana.

So my game plan that morning was to make it for the boys.  But that fell flat when I realized the boys had eaten all of my eggs.  Wonderful.  I have to hide food if I want it to last.

Alright... ok.... I got this.  I went deep in the back of my pantry and found some pancake mix.  Not ideal for this dish, but I thought I'd improvise and make a salted caramel apple sauce to go over the pancakes.But despite my best intentions, my first mistake was thinking that I could multi-task the cooking of this breakfast.

I googled a recipe for caramel sauce.  Water and sugar... boil until turns a caramel color (following the explicit instructions not to stir) and then add butter and vanilla.  Seemed simple enough. I got out the sugar and water and was off to the races.

I rifled through the fridge and found some leftover potatoes and decided to make that into potato pancake hashbrowns.  I added some spices, grated cheese, flour and an egg and grilled them in a cast iron.  In another pan, I had some bacon going.   In that moment I was the living embodiment of Martha Stewart.

While I had the potatoes hashbrowning (not really a word, but whatever, I want it to be, so change approved) I started on the apple pancakes.

I had been keeping a close eye on the caramel sauce which was still clear and bubbling away.    It was about this moment that Logan came into the kitchen chatting away about our plans for the day, his homework, easter candy, political opinions on Trump (he hates him), his thoughts on the guy who spent a year in space.  Honestly, this kid talks non stop.  I talk a lot, so if I think you talk too much, it's an issue.

I never want him to think I am not listening, so I did my best to pay attention all the while watching the hashbrowning, pancaking, baconing and carameling.

I noticed that the caramel sauce had just begun to turn a light golden so I knew I had to watch it.  But it was at that moment that my pancakes decided to start getting too brown and started to burn.  I had to turn my attention to that crisis only to turn back to my sauce and realize I had missed my window.

The kitchen was now filled with the aroma of burnt sugar.  I was quite disheartened, but Brad simply said "So make another batch".   It's pretty funny that given my disappointment, it hadn't occurred to me to try again.

I was annoyed with that recipe so I decided to try another one that is brown sugar, light corn syrup and butter.  You boil it for awhile and then add some baking soda to puff it up.  It's the same sauce I use for caramel popcorn and that always turns out great, so it seemed like a good solution to my pancake sauce problem.

Note - caramel popcorn syrup does not transition well into pancake topping.  Just FYI.

The boys knew I had worked hard on it, so they didn't complain, but it was kinda gross.  Have you ever tasted something that had too much baking soda in it?  It's bitter and almost tastes like it is burning your tongue.  Vile.

I wasn't about to make them eat it, so we scrapped that batch and just had regular pancakes.  On a positive note, the potato pancakes, bacon and fruit salad were good. Although it takes a special kind of chef to mess up a fruit salad so I can't be too proud of myself.

Monday was a quiet day, I met my cousin/sister (because I think of her as a sister)  Jill for breakfast.  It's always great to sit down and talk with her.  She's one of the most supportive, kind people I am lucky enough to have in my life.

After breakfast at Oakwood (soooooooooooo good), she gave me and the boys a lift to the mall.  The boys have been saving their allowance money to buy this video game.  With the Easter gifts that they got from their grandparents, if they pooled their money, they had enough to buy it.

We went to EB games in the mall, but the game was sold out.  Nuts.  We tried Walmart, but they were sold out too.

I called another EB games store and they had one left in stock.  I asked them to put it on hold and texted Brad to pick it up on the way home.  Hurrah.  It was one of the first times that I have seen the boys really working together for a common goal.  Brought some joy to my cold dark heart.


Once Brad got home, the errand running began.  See I was supposed to get up at 5 am and drive Brad to work so that I would have the truck for the day.  I have now attempted this two days in a row and I can tell you with 100% certainty that I was not meant to get up at that hour.  It's in my DNA.  People who can should be studied for scientific purposes.

Logan went with me on my errand running.  I had to run to the bank and make an appointment because I am opening bank accounts for the boys.  Instead of giving them cash for their allowance which then goes towards pizza and garbage at the school canteen, we are going to transfer their allowance into their personal bank account. This way they can learn the concept of saving for something.  Oh, I'm so clever.


** I hope that it goes without saying that I am being sarcastic here, but just in case, let this sentence stand in place of a sarcasm sign.

I then had a few things to pick up at Canadian Tire and return an over the door basketball net to Walmart.  I headed over to the Canadian Tire on Fermor.  As we arrived at the store, Logan piped up and said, "Why don't we just return the net here?".  I was just about to tell him that you can't just return something anywhere, when I looked up and saw a Walmart.

Apparently the Target store that had closed some months back has been taken over by Walmart now.  That is brand new information!  It also means I can go to this one instead of the insanity of the one at the mall.  Generally as a rule, I try to avoid Walmart whenever possible, but sometimes that's where you have to go.  This new Walmart looks better than the mall version because it uses the Target furnishings which tend to be a little bit nicer than your standard Walmart.  Score.

That's brings us to now, Tuesday morning at 12:32 pm (which is still morning in the land of me on holidays), drinking coffee in pajamas.  Decadent.

At some point this morning, I am going to persuade my coffee drinking, pajama wearing backside to go for a run or some form of exercise, but for now my only plan is to sip this coffee and look at the sun beaming into my living room.








Saturday, March 19, 2016

Kiss me I'm Irish....

Well no.  English actually.  But the right side of the pond anyhow.

My friends Sean and Erin are awesome.  Love them to pieces.  They are always such a blast to hang out with.  Sean's beer pong table is the thing of legends and always comes out at least once in any party we are at.

Friday night they invited us over for a St. Patricks Day party.  Sean is a card carrying Irishman, so St. Patrick's day is a big deal.

In prep for the party, I went to the store and picked up a few green odds and sods.  I found a pair of green eyelashes.  Come on!  As if I am not buying that.

While we were shopping around, Logan reminded me of his friends birthday party gift we had to buy.  I always struggle with buying gifts for kids parties.  It's a total crap shoot.  Logan said that he had no idea what to get Dana, but that he knew Dana liked Wunderbars and Rieces Peanut butter cup minis.

OK.... snowballing.. we decided to make Dana a candy basket, full to the brim of the aforementioned confections as well as Skittles, Mike and Ike's, Tootsie Rolls, Gum, M&M's....$25 worth of candy.

Essentially we have all but ensured that Dana's blood will turn to fruit punch by the time he's ate his way through Logan's gift.

So with eyelashes and diabetes in tow, we headed home to get ready to go to the Crawford's for some shindiggery.  Sadly though, my excitement over my green eyelashes waned as the eyelash glue had the consistency of dry icing.  As much as I wanted to completely rock those eyelashes,  I valued my eyesight a little more.

The Crawford's house was decorated for St. Patrick's Day the way that some people decorate for Christmas.  Shamrocks aplenty.

In the bar, there was Guinness and every beer you could possible even imagine.  They even had banana bread ale.  Can't say it is my favorite but it was a conversation piece that's for sure.  I tried my first Guinness; it was pretty good.  I don't know what I was expecting, but I think I thought it was going to be really bitter.  It tasted a bit like coffee and molasses and looks like a beer latte.

Sean also made these amazing shots called Mini Guinness.  It is Kahula layered with Bailey's.  Look remarkably like a little Guinness.  Too cute.

As the evening progressed out came the beer pong table.  The guys were playing beer pong in the basement, but the back end of the table came close to the bathroom.  No one wanted the ping pong ball to go bouncing on the bathroom floor (no Solo cup rinse cycle with save you then), so they closed the door.

I had been drinking a whole of lot of water during the day ( the new kick i'm on) and I had to pee.  I made my way to the closed door of the bathroom.  Since the door was shut all the time, Sean kept saying, "there is no one in there, just go in".  People took his words to heart, but on two separate occasions, there was someone already in the bathroom. The bathroom in their basement is big and the toilet is h*ll and gone from (but head on in front of) the door.  If someone walks in, you are going to have a full alfresco situation going on.

 With that in mind I headed into the bathroom with full intent on locking the door.    The door was one of those ones where you push and twist the door knob to lock it.  Alfresco avoided.

Cue 45 seconds later and I am now stuck in the bathroom.  The twist and push motion to lock knob was somewhat reluctant to untwist.  After some futile attempts to free myself, Sean came over to help (no doubt hearing my minor civil war with the doorknob), but thankfully I was able to get out a few seconds later.

Elegant.

Back in action, I joined in the Darts tournament.  The game was easy (in theory).  Each player takes a dart, throws it and is assigned the number their dart hit.  Each turn from then on you have to try and hit your number on the board; if you get it, you get a point.  Once you hit 5 points, you become an "Assassin" which means you can then go after other peoples numbers.  If you hit their number, then they lose a point.

Everyone stepped up, threw their darts, got their numbers.  Debbie got 9, Jason got 20.... you know what I got?

Drywall.

Attempt number 2..... Drywall.

Third times the charm?  Not for me... hit the wooden frame surrounding the dart board.

In the interest of time they gave me a honorary #15.  It felt a little like charity.  Sigh.. yet another sport I am destined to not go pro in.

It was a really good evening.  But it was cut short because we got a call from Logan.  Zach was babysitting and they were in the basement playing video games. Nothing was wrong, they weren't fighting or anything, it was just normal house noises, but Logan was getting scared.  Even with Zach home, he wasn't used to us being gone.   I remember being 12 and finally old enough to stay home alone.  Everything is different when no one else is around.  Regular sounds like the furnace kicking on or the fridge cycling can send shudders down your spine.

Logan called the first time and we assured him that all was ok.  But a hour later when he called again, I could tell he was getting freaked out, so it was time to go home.  Thankfully it's a stones throw from Erin's place to ours, so we were home in no time.

It was around midnight, so we tucked the boys in bed.  It was a big treat for them to get to stay up so late, but they were pretty bagged.  Brad and I were both wide awake, so we flipped on Netflix and decided to pick whatever movie came up on the "Suggested" list rather than root around for 20 minutes trying to find the perfect one.

While Men Can't Jump.

Not bad.  Young Woody doing his thing makes for a good movie.  Solid end to any evening.





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