Sunday, 18 November 2007
* Saturday's awesome LMI Quarterly, in which I did:
8:30 - BodyAttack
10:00 - BodyCombat
11:30 - BodyFlow
1:00 - (lunch/watched BodyPump - I'm not completely crazy)
3:00 - BodyStep
4:45 - BodyJam
** My usual Sunday:
11:00 - BodyAttack
12:00 - BodyJam
...and then a nap.
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Speaking of weddings, I finally downloaded shots from Jess' own wedding (also embarrassingly late... sorry, Jess!)... here's my favourite:
Saturday, 10 November 2007
A little bit about Medicine Hat: sunniest city in Canada, population of about 60,000, and there's a Costco opening there in a few weeks! It's 3 hours from Calgary (Is and Danielle!) (and we can come pick you up there if you don't want to fly on the wee little scary plane, at left), 6 hours from Edmonton (Rob, Lynda, Ryan, Nouha, Mel, and Sue!) and 2 from Lethbridge (closest GoodLife)...and about 20 minutes from Saskatchewan (wheat)! We can DRIVE to Vancouver and Kelowna (Jenny and Chantal!), which is totally awesome.
Thursday, 1 November 2007
It's amazing how nice our home can look when we clean it up and de-clutter. Sometimes it just takes a dinner party to make us realize how happy we are here, and what a beautiful place this is to live.
In celebration of this fact, here are some photos of our Home Sweet Home, just for the sake of sharing...the gorgeous laminate flooring, the large windows, the huge master bedroom with walk-in closet and four-piece ensuite...
Seriously, though, guess what day it is today?
It's Shameless Self-Promotion Day!
... if you know of anyone who would like to rent a beautiful 2-bedroom condo in the Market area, ours will be available on January 1st... feel free to pass this on to friends, coworkers, etc. For an appointment, call me (you should already have my number!) or send me an email!
2 blocks from Rideau Street / 1 block from route 3 bus stop
2 bedrooms, 2 full baths
Corner unit with large balcony
Large master bedroom has walk-in closet and 4-piece ensuite
Laundry in unit
Laminate flooring throughout
Pet-free, smoke-free home
Safe building with security gates
Includes underground parking space and remote, storage locker in basement
Sunday, 28 October 2007
...but only enough to post one, since I will have to find where I put the beautiful ones Jess took... they took a road trip out to Mom and Dad's over the weekend, and I can't think where I put them right now.
This is one of my favourite candids, because it shows off a few things: First, my handsome prince. Second, the beautiful dress. And third, you can clearly see my love of cake.
The morning after: a trip out to Kemptville for a family brunch/gift opening. Here we are looking at the wedding quilt, a family tradition put in place for the sole purpose of making everyone cry. Just kidding. It's wonderful.
And finally, Trevor got into the action, too: the Kapow-mobile, forever changed...
I reiterate the promise that I will post further photos...eventually. Keep those emails a-coming!
Sunday, 23 September 2007
Until later that night, actually, when I slammed my thumb in a door, but then couldn't remember which door... mmm, wine. Lots and lots of mmm....wine.
Chris had to work all day Saturday, then had a mess dinner at night, so I thought I'd dedicate myself to practicing my new aerobics releases (they're awesome!!!) and cooking ahead for the freezer.
Saturday, September 22 was my one-year anniversary in the Public Service. Friday, September 21 was my last day at PCO. A new adventure starts Monday.
But, first things first: speakers on.
Good, now click here. You can do the walk if you want.
I enjoyed my last day at PCO immensely, aside from a few minor devastations. Friday dawned beautiful and sunny and warm -- surely a good omen -- and Chris and I slowly got ourselves out the door (I was well into my "what are they going to do, fire me?" mode), only slightly after 8 am.
We got to York and Byward when we saw the crowd; there were people on rooftops, in garages, and everywhere. Oh, that's right: Blue Rodeo was playing a street concert for Canada AM! From 6:30 am onward, they popped on and off the stage, playing some new songs. (http://www.ctv.ca/ - under "highlights - Blue Rodeo; I'm not sure how long it will be posted) We were standing just behind and to the left of the stage, when suddenly, Jim Cuddy walked up and stood two feet in front of us - very cool. There were a few hoots and hollers, but because the host wasn't yet finished interviewing Margaret Atwood (she was there too - how uber-Canadian can you get?), the production assistant shushed the crowd. They actually quieted down! Amazing. Jim was very friendly, posing for pictures and talked to the people in front of us (although I overheard the girls beside us taking a photo of his butt) - the most un-rockstarly rock star I've ever seen...I was impressed. We watched them play a beautiful new song (not one of the video clips, unfortunately), and then Chris and I moseyed on to work.
For a Friday, it wasn't too bad - they still expected me to work, for some reason (what the--), but I managed to slip out at lunch to complete the final step of the long, drawn-out, Huffification process - the new passport. I swung by the Cock and Lion patio on my way, to get Mat to guarantor-ee my gorgeous, gorgeous passport photos (kaff), and told him that I'd try to be back soon as I could, so save me some beer. As I had filled out my forms online again at Passport On-line*, I jumped to the front of the line, and got back to the patio just in time to watch him drain his glass. Boo. But whoa, it was quick -- and a much better experience than last time.
I had time to swing by the bank before deciding that I probably should go back to work, where I was put to work (gasp!) again. At 3, the farewell wine-and-cheese started, and this is where the smile started to freeze on my face.
In this case, Jeff and I were both leaving, so it was an extra big deal, with awesome snacks, a good assortment of wine, and two wrapped presents. It is custom for the Boss (nameless - you'll see why) to speak at every farewell. She started with me.
She described me as the "face of (department X)", as the first contact the public has, as an ambassador who gives the first impression of professionalism, helpfulness, and energy. It was a lovely speech for a departing receptionist, the one who answers the phones and greets visitors. How nice, I thought, followed by, does she even know what I DO around here? Apparently not.
This is the woman who looks right through me every time I give her a message, and doesn't even acknowledge that I've spoken. She is very charming and fit, a successful woman in her late fifties that everyone admires....but dear god, I swore then that I will NEVER be like her. I am quite sure that the soles of her stylish and very expensive shoes are marked by the many people she has stepped on, on her way up...but she probably didn't notice.
I know, I know, I sound bitter and angry. Really, she can't be that bad. After all, she gave me a warm and friendly smile when she shook my hand and handed me my farewell gift (a lovely globe paperweight, picked out by someone else).... and called me Vicky.
*I made another PSA about it at my class this morning - it's that fantastic. Seriously, saved me at least an hour - instead of waiting your turn in line, you get bumped to the next open window - awesome.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Next, the onion baggie was emptied into the pot, with 2 more Tbs of oil (note that I didn't use the term "low fat" to describe this dish), and sautéed until it was translucent. Meanwhile, I chopped the chicken into wee bits, and added that, too. When the chicken was browned, I emptied baggie #3 in, and stirred the peppers and garlic around till they were soft.
This is an actual, unretouched photo of my ratatouille.
**I consistently under-salt, which I contend is better than over-salting, but I hope to get to a happy medium at some point.
Monday, 10 September 2007
We took turns cooking in teams (in theory), ate like royalty, and maybe drank a wee bit as well. Friday night was punctuated by a barbecue, a campfire, and a poker game that everyone won (yay!), much to the disgust of the serious poker players. A 2 am bedtime was too early for Phil and Luther, who sat by the fire till 4 am.
Chris and I somehow dragged ourselves out of bed at 8:30 on Saturday morning to drive back to Ottawa for the day. (I had two classes to teach and a fishing vest (above right -- nice, eh?) to sew) (he had a football game and a day of Navy work.) With our costumes in tow, we drove the 45 minutes back again at the end of the day, just in time for Scrabble-for-money, more poker, and a murder...
The murder mystery kicked off before dinner (and karaoke). The photo slideshow (below; follow the link, then choose "view as slideshow" and click on the "i" for the play-by-play) really tells it the best.
Sunday morning (11 still counts as morning) dawned bright, and Chef Christophe Encraque and his Sous-Chefs made some delicious french toast, maple bacon, and beans. We slowly, slowly got ourselves sorted out and ready to leave, but then a brilliant sun came out and we had to stay for another hour.
We took Tina home with us (how could we not? Look at that face!), stopping for poutine on the way home (thanks, Phil!), which was necessary and delicious, but definitely not a good food choice. Now that we know where their idyllic getaway is, we'll be sure to go again, as long as we're still allowed!
I'm hoping to be able to upload a video soon, but that blogger feature isn't working very well. For a teaser, however, the title of the video will be: "A little bit of karaoke makes the time fly by... especially when your militant ecologist friends aren't answering their cells."
Intrigued??? (Jer, this is where you make me an offer...)
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Sunday's trip to the grocery store yielded some new ingredients. Turkey scallopini (which I think is Italian for "thinly sliced" (hey, I'm right!)) was on sale, so I thought, why not? We hadn't had Italian dressing, the easiest basic marinade ever, in the house for over a year. Wee little asparagi were well-priced, too, so I picked some of those up, as well. I had capers in the fridge from a previous foray into gourmet cookery à la Donna Hay. (Great cookbook from Ryan and Nouha!)
Back at home, I dropped the scallopini into a glass dish and drizzled in a bit of Italian dressing, turned to coat, then put it in the fridge. I ran out to the store to get a can of crushed tomatoes (I knew I forgot something), and rolled up my sleeves.
I sautéed half an onion and this really neat one-clove garlic (Chantal sent some home with me from Kelowna - it's very, very garlicky!) in some olive oil. I then added the can of crushed tomatoes and a splash of Tina's homemade wine (heh). It boiled for about 15 minutes, then I added a bay leaf, some oregano, ground pepper and a tablespoon or so of capers, and reduced it to a simmer. It sputtered away messily, spitting tomato bits onto my stove, walls, and floor for the next 45 minutes.
I put the giant pasta pot on to boil. Once the linguini was in and bubbling, I was in Go Mode*.
I used a close approximation of Mario Batali's roasted asparagus recipe (clip off the ends, toss with olive oil and salt, then roast for 10 minutes in a 500-degree oven), but made a few changes to the sauce (no hardboiled egg to mix in with the red wine vineger, olive oil, capers and green onion) and to the oven temperature, as I wanted to cook my (now breaded in "homemade" bread crumbs (I forgot those, too) with oregano, pepper and parmesan) scallopini at the same time (Chris is funny about frying stuff, so I decided to try to keep everything as low fat as possible) - so 450 it was.
To drink, I took the rest of Tina's wine, and mixed up what I fondly refer to as "Hooters Sangria" - wine, OJ and fizz (in this case, diet 7Up), plus a splash of Grand Marnier to classy it up a bit, and some ice.
Everything was ready at the same time. The linguini was drained and plated, then doused in the tomato-caper sauce and sprinkled with a bit of parmesan. The golden brown scallopini rested just beside the vibrant red sauce, and the dark green of the asparagi was sprinkled with the sauce for added texture. The asparagus had nice crispy ends, the flavours blended well together, and Chris toasted me with his crystal glass full of sangria.
Go me, I thought.
* Go Mode: For those that have ever watched me cook, this is the exact time that you do NOT want to watch me cook. If there is any kind of time limit or coordination of items involved, the kitchen is the wrong place to be for you; the adjoining room is also too close, in fact, and any comments, suggestions or "tips" should be kept to yourself. Consider yourself warned.
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Under a threatening sky, we arrived at the fairground at 4:30, leaving ourselves enough time to get thoroughly dizzy and disoriented on the rides, eat a wide variety of unhealthy fair fare, pet some goats, and still have time to get to the beer tent before the 8 pm show.
First stop: the food tent, not surprisingly. I had just polished off the last bit of wedding cake before we left home, so I was fine, but Mr. Huff was feeling peckish. He got quesadillas from a trailer, and I admired how fresh the server still looked, despite the 88% humidity. (I'm amazed at some people's unnatural resistance to frizz, red-facedness, and shininess.)
On to the spinny rides! We did three in a row, and my stomach was starting to tell me that it was a bad idea, so we switched to the cannonball drop, which is completely terrifying, and not fun at all (until next year). The sky darkened a little more. One more spinny ride, two fun houses, and the pirate ship (on any normal occasion, I would have put my fingers in my mouth to say it, but I was well aware of the EX-treme unhygienicness of the fairground). It started to rain a bit. Two more spinny rides, then I had to put my foot down with a splash.
To the petting zoo! I was lunging towards the donkeys, my arms outstretched, when Chris stopped me. Donkeys are also unhygienic, it seems, as are goats. The lemurs, though not pettable, put on a good show, and I was content to just watch, thought I REALLY wanted to pet that llama; he had excellent teeth. The sky had completely opened up at this point.
Back to the food tent! Chris' hamburger was ok, although he made a dubious poutine choice (with chicken and cream on top? what the -), and then we splashed off again, this time to the bumper cars, the reptile zoo, and finally the zipper.
We were ready for David. It was pouring rain now, and although we both had jacket-type things, neither had a hood or a hat. Also, our drinks were being watered down.
A voice called us over to a patio umbrella. "You can share with us," she said. A stranger, Micheline, introduced us to her companion, Dennis, and her daughter, Julie. Alfredo, apparently the original "owner" of the umbrella, was there too. We started to chat about how many times we had each seen David's show. The music started, and the rain continued to fall. To sum up, great show - he's consistently fabulous, and played as well as usual. But enough about him. Soon, two more guys were under the umbrella, too (Mike and Dave), and then two more (Matt and Bill). We ended up talking, dancing, and buying rounds.
We discovered that Alfredo and Chris had the same birthday and that his wife was an Aries like me; that Mike and I used to work out at the same gym; that Julie thought Matt was cute; that Bill and Chris had both worked in Yellowknife; and that Bill went to high school with my friend Jamie. The show wrapped up. Not wanting to end the evening so early (it was only 10), eight of us carried on to the Royal Oak for snacks and more drinks. Then, at 11, at Micheline's insistence, we hopped in cabs to go dancing at Caliente. Chris and I attempted a bit of salsa (that one lesson helped us a bit, but not enough), then sat back and watched some of the amazing talent on the floor.
It was such a random meeting of such different people, all connected in different ways. When we finally left, around 1:30, we traded emails, got business cards, and hugs. Will we ever see them again, I wonder?
Monday, 27 August 2007
Until tonight, that is....it's Monday Night Martinis and Manicures at the Collection!
Restaurant Review/Personal Account of E18hteen
E18hteen is known as a nice restaurant. Everything I'd ever heard about it was upscale and classy. Great, I thought - it will be a good place to take Kris and Marc, our good-yet-evil friends who bought us about 40 lbs of chocolate and a bodyfat scale as a wedding present. We owed them a dinner, so decided to try it out.
The evening started well, in our living room: I made an olive and walnut tapenade and peaches, wrapped in prosciutto, drizzled with a balsamic reduction, both for the 2nd time this week. First, because if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and second, because they're both deeeeelicious and easy to make... and impressive, too! We opened the bottle of Shotfire Ridge, one of our discoveries Down Under, that Rob gave Chris for his birthday, to raves. Yum.
We walked to E18hteen, about an 8-minute journey. They were expecting us, and gave us a great table, both by a window and by a fireplace filled with candles - gorgeous touch, and worth replicating... if we ever have a place with a fireplace, I mean.
First impression: well, the service was slow...but very polite. Very, very, v e r y slow, though. The very polite waiter took his time coming over to fill our water glasses, and then even more time before he returned with menus.
When he returned for a third time, quite a while later, we each ordered a different dish: Kris ordered the black cod, Marc ordered the scallops, Chris had the surf-n-turf, and I ordered ostrich... mmm, ostrich... without the mushrooms, of course.
It took 30 minutes (from ordering) to see the very polite waiter again. He came back to tell us that they didn't have the wine we ordered, and another 15 after that to get a bottle of another one (some South African Shiraz - quite good). We skipped appetizers, since we'd done that at our place already, and also because we didn't expect the wait to be so long, but woo, it took forever to get food. The bread came just after the wine (now 45 minutes since we ordered), and lasted about 3 minutes - it was delicious, though, and the caramelized butter was a lovely touch.
The food arrived after about an hour, and the first thing I said when I saw mine was, "I asked for no mushrooms" (there were about 200 of them sitting smugly on top of my ostrich). The very polite waiter took it away, and I encouraged the others to start without me. They refused, saying that their food was too hot, anyway.
My large, flightless bird came back quickly, mushroom-less, which makes me wonder if they just rinsed it off and replated it, but either way, yum. Ostrich is a very lean red meat, and this one was perfectly tender, with a delicious sauce, "cherries gastrique" and swiss chard (low-carb, too!). Everyone loved, loved, loved their food...so was it worth the slow service? Undecided. Either way, though, all four plates were pretty much licked clean.
We decided to order dessert - we were fairly full, but the warm chocolate cake with caramel gelato and marshmallow sauce sounded way too good to pass up - one for each couple. We waited...and waited...another 30 minutes... and when it got there, we looked at the giant plates with the itty bitty pieces of cake in the middle (I could have circled it with my thumb and finger) and an itty bitty scoop of gelato on top, surrounded by a pool of marshmallow sauce. Again, deeeeelicious, but microscopic. And, not to pinch pennies, but for $12, I expect more than a mouthful!!!
The very polite waiter, sensing the growing dissention at the table, finally brought the bill, and said that because it took so long to arrive, he didn't charge us for the desserts ($24 for two bites? I should hope not!!!), which was nice and polite and considerate of him.
Overall: the food was incredible. Super-fantastic. Excellent at its poorest. Even the vegetables were amazing. The servers were polite and knowledgeable. However, as we had been prepared for a nice, leisurely meal, it was shocking to find how much more leisurely the meal was than could be considered acceptable. One of the party (guess which one?) termed it as "brutal". I can't imagine how uncomfortable it would have been if we had been struggling to make small talk for two courses over three hours.
At least we had good company... and good food, eventually.
Thursday, 16 August 2007
I had the delicious (and cheesariffic!) baked brie platter from Patty Bolands: a 4-inch wheel of brie, breaded with parmesan, and baked, accompanied by crisp bread, apples, and some pear chutney. It comes on a regular-sized dinner plate, beautifully presented, and thus masquerades as a reasonably-sized meal. With only about a bite left, however, I realized that I had eaten almost all of my reasonably-sized meal, but was actually a giant piece of cheese.
Hey, speaking of cheese, the latest collection of Huffintastic photos are now posted on flickr.com. Check them out, if you'd like!
Friday, 10 August 2007
The "sets" (albums) are displayed on the right-hand side. Just click on one, choose the "view as slideshow" option (top right), then mouseover the photo - you should get a large "i" which will open up the comments section. (After all, you wouldn't want to look at the photos without my witty descriptions, would you?) (Of course you wouldn't!)
So far, 20 minutes into it, I'm impressed with the usability. I think the black background makes for a more vivid, dramatic setting, anyway.
Please let me know if you have problems accessing these! And YES, I'll work on getting the wedding photos posted sometime in the next 3 years... and the shots from our road trip, too.
Running update: I did my "favourite route" (see entry of June 19) on Tuesday night. Still hobbling today... nothing like easing back into it with a 6k run...
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Saskatchewan, what I've seen from the highway, is a study in contrasts. A green, green field makes way for the pale yellow of the wheat, then a vibrant field of sunflowers, followed by barren earth. The fields are often dotted with rolls of hay. Tableaus of cows. And very, very often, a sudden marsh, full of reeds and cattails and ducks, pops up beside the road.
I've been trying to get a shot of the Saskatchewan flag; not the actual flag, but a bright green stretch of grass in the foreground of a golden wheat field. We're moving too fast, I think, but that theme is repeated over and over, under the biggest sky I've ever seen.
Flat, flat, and more flat. Just like Manitoba, but a slight variation on a theme. We kept driving along the TransCanada, heading for Medicine Hat. As resident Navigator/Alligator, navigation was a very easy task: "Get on the Queensway west. Stay on the same highway (it becomes the 1 in Manitoba) until you get to Calgary, then follow the signs to Edmonton."
Chris' trucker burn on his left arm and knee are darkening to a deep tan. I keep coming up with ideas on how to tan his other side to match, but the only feasible ideas (face the other way in the driver's seat) (let me drive all the way back) are just silly.
Shockingly, I stayed awake all the way across the country, except for one small nap on Tuesday... during which time Chris ate his leftover pizza and decided that if I wasn't hungry (conscious), then we wouldn't stop for lunch. We checked into the Medicine Hat Lodge (quite nice, amazing waterslide), and drove around the town for an hour or two. When we got back, I was all set for dinner, when I noticed that Chris was putting on his exercise gear. What the - ? I contented myself with grumbling, growling, and a handful of trail mix (with chocolate of course), before I disdained to join him in the gym. Dinner, finally, afterwards, was happily prefaced by $4-bellini-night.
One more day to go.
Also, as I pointed out, we're an hour and a half AHEAD - we can just coast! Death glare.
The plan was to aim for the Saskatchewan border, then on to Regina. Imagine - 3 provinces in one day, after spending 3 days just trying to cross Ontario!
Manitoba is flat. It's like the vegetation and geography got a memo that said, This is no longer northern Ontario. Conduct yourselves accordingly.
Within about 5 minutes of crossing the border, the Shield rocks disappeared. The lakes vanished. The trees shrank away from the highway, and the Deer Crossing
signs replaced the Night Danger-Moose signs. (Apparently, the moose also got the memo.) The highway straightened out so that I can see as far in front of me as I can behind me.
With this flatness and straightness has come a harshly-beating sun and a wildly-whipping wind. Still no bandanna at any truck stop, so I still sport quite the
rat's nest, with, as Chris said, apologies to the rats.
Actually, I finally scored a bandanna at a truck stop Somewhere in Manitoba. I asked at the counter, as I had been doing, and they found one in the back, faded from years of display, coated with dust. I soaked it till it was clean(er), and wrapped it around my head - heaven! It was cool, my hair was out of my face, I looked like a Road Warrior...
Saturday started with pushups, lunges, and crunches - I pledged to stay somewhat active over the vacation - and an egg mcmuffin.
It was a long, but beautiful drive, rolling hills, rocks, and so much forestry! On almost every rock face, someone had stacked rocks, mostly into inukshuks. At first we didn't notice it - just one here or there, but then we realized that there was one on every large rock. My guess is that hitchhikers must do that, or very dedicated locals. Either way, it was very neat - a way to leave your mark without defacing the land.We stopped for a quick wade in Lake Superior - the soft sand beach gave way to pebbles at the water's edge, and then back to fine sand after about three feet. Little minnows frolicked, and sandpipers ran along the shore... certainly not what I expected from northern Ontario.
We drove all the way to Marathon, on the northeastern shore of the lake. We got in just as it was dusking (Chris didn't want to risk running into a moose) (I really wanted to see a moose), and this time opted for a Travelodge, since somebody didn't want to sleep on an uncomfortable bed again. We had room service bring us some drinks, and we stayed up a bit too late watching the Food network.
The alarm (actually, every alarm we set) didn't go off, so we rolled out of bed around 9:30, and I did my Attack tracks again before we hit the road. We were aiming for Dryden, but if we made good time, we'd push on to Kenora.
From Sunday's journal:
Just leaving Marathon, the town in which Terry Fox was forced
to concede his heroic run, the scenery was still rugged and beautiful: lots
of rock faces, tall, forests, and the occasional view of a sparkling Lake
Superior beach. After Thunder Bay, however, it gets much less
stunning. The trees grow closer together, tall, weedy and
sickly. There were sometimes copses of trees or naked trunks; some of
the conifers were stained a rust colour, when they had needles at all.
This continued for three hours. Was it caused by the railroad?
The highway? A forest clear-cut then replanted poorly?
Then, outside of Dryden, the lush greenery returned.
We passed Eagle River. "Eagle River!" I exclaimed.
Chris didn't get it.
Friday, we left directly from work - it was a great feeling just to jump in the truck and go...until we got stuck in the post-work traffic, but s'okay.
From my travel journal:
We drove past Petawawa at about 8, passing by Black Bear beach and campground. I hadn't thought about that place in a long time.
Between first and second year university, I went camping with Christine, a fun and adventurous girl who had just moved from Petawawa, and tall, gorgeous-with-long-blonde-hair Heather. We went camping at Black Bear campground on the weekend after Canada day, right beside the base.
We hung out on the beach during the day, and teased Adam for being so white that it hurt our eyes when he took off his shirt.
At night, we'd mix drinks and sit around the fire.
Entire Chicken Johnny, back when he was just Johnny, sat up with me one night in the landromat, trading his guitar back and forth.
Bottle-boob Jim would stare morosely at the bottom of his 2L coke bottle, and mourn the fact that he was down to only 3 "bottle boobs", which is what we all started calling the five bumps on the bottom of plastic bottles. He wandered off at some point, and was found in the adjoining campsite, passed out on a picnic table, on the other side of a skunk. We let him be.
And Mike and I climbed over a barbed-wire fence and all the way to the top of the Petawawa water tower, and sat there till the sun came up.
The water tower wasn't visible from the highway, but I kept craning my neck as we drove by, just in case.
We arrived in North Bay at about 10:30, checked into the Dolphin Motel (no dolphins in the bathtub, alas), and crossed the parking lot to the dubiously-named "Alkazar", which was apparently "a fun place to hang out with friends". Ok, we thought. We'll bite. Well, I've never gone out on the town in North Bay before, but I really hope that North Bay-ers would consider it a sketchy place. There were pool tables and horse races showing, with a bookie all set up in the corner, taking bets. Luckily, the game was on, and the bartender made me a fantastic Fuzzy Navel (I think?) that was mostly vodka and peach schnapps.
After one drink, we staggered back across the parking lot, Chris killed a spider for me, and we went to bed.
Tuesday, 17 July 2007
Great bands, good times, fun people, fairly clean portapotties, nice weather, but going out late that many nights in a row (and, with the exception of one cab ride*, walking home) is hard on people of my advanced age. Kaff.
Overall, we definitely got our money's worth from the full-festival pass. We saw: Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, George Thoroughgood, (night off for Margarita's engagement party), White Stripes, Final Fantasy, (night off), (stomach flu), Blue Rodeo, Metric, (night off for Harry Potter movie), and Sam Roberts/the Sunday Night Solid Gold Dance Party.
A few words about the Dance Party:
First, I would like to know why I wasn't called to be a backup dancer, since that is a gig that I would love. Perhaps they don't have my phone number? I can be reached through this blog. I'm available. Seriously.
set was done, because you cannot top that, so why even try? They opened with American Band, did Macho Man (Hey! Hey! Hey hey hey!), and finished with In the Navy (I called Chris at this point; he had gone home to study, but I'm sure he appreciated the call)... complete with punchy dance moves and semaphore flags! It was really, really, really great, and makes me smile just to think about it. I'm sure that I had a goofy grin on my face the whole time, while I was bopping along (with excellent dance moves, I might add. Call me.).
I left right after they finished, and walked home, along Wellington, by myself. The Hill was all lit up with colours and images... it was gorgeous, and I found myself appreciating (again) how beautiful this city is, and how much there is to do. I'm definitely going to make a point of coming back to watch.
All the same, though, it's nice to go home, read a book, and go to bed. Aaaah.
*Friday night, after watching Metric at the River Stage and having several drinks, we went back to Sue and Liam's at about midnight and had some more drinks. There was a good number of us, and lots to talk about...and beer and vodka to drink. To sum up, we were overserved. The cab was a very smart choice. I had a grumbly bear in my house all day Saturday, not unlike the last time we went out with Sue and Liam on a Friday night... could there be a connection?
Thursday, 5 July 2007
Last night's headlining artist was Van Morrison. We unfortunately got to Lebreton Flats a bit after the set started, and thus, disappointingly, missed Moondance. The crowd ranged from the (forgive me) geriatrics, aka people old enough to actually know Van Morrison music, to the kids that only know him for Brown Eyed Girl; some of these whippersnappers cut in front of us at the beer tent, so I didn't and don't approve of their presence.
Van -- if I may call him Van -- sounded good. Great, in fact. Just like on the radio, very cool, very calm, and very mellow. To watch him, though, was just like watching him on tv. For such a great performance, there was one thing he wasn't doing, and that's performing. No crowd interaction, no encore, just up there doing his thing, not for us, but for himself.
Good for him, I sort of think.
Overall, the first night ran smoothly, as far as my "consumer's eye" could see... well, from this height, anyway (the height at which, some may note, it is silly to go to a concert... you might as well be standing in a crowd of people, staring at their backs, listening to a radio...). Good snacks (Chris approved the poutine), friendly volunteers, and a seamless transition from when Van left his stage to the less-than-a-minute-later when the next band started playing an amazing instrumental version of Led Zeppelin's ... um... song about Vikings and the land of the ice and snow... at the stage across the field. Well done!
Calling it a night at about 9:30 (kaff -- geriatrics!), we decided to not brave the transpo-bound hordes, and walked home hand-in-hand along the river, a quiet, moonlit, and very romantic spot. The temperature was perfect; it was a lovely end to a beautiful summer's night.
Well, almost the end. When we got home, I downloaded Moondance.
Oh, and the theme from Magnum P.I., too.
Friday, 29 June 2007
This year, we seriously debated going away; most of our friends are heading off to cottages and things, or have "moved beyond" the downtown crush (ie. have kids and/or are expecting). Aside from having a class that I didn't sub out on Saturday (Attack at noon at Rideau - any takers?), one important factor stopped me from making those plans. No to camping, no to cottaging... I gotta be downtown.
I have spent only one Canada Day away from Ottawa since I moved here in '91. I went to a family reunion outside of Windsor. There is, of course, a road trip story involving my plucky little Snotmobile, a 12-hour drive (Snotty could barely break 100), and being woken up by the cops because they thought I was a dead body, but that's not important right now.
The preparations begin...this was taken Friday, June 29 at 12:35 pm.
I get to hear the sound checks from my office.
(check out the live Hillcam)
The important thing is that, once I got the police escort into town, where I found a GoodLife to shower at, there was nothing going on.
For some reason, in Amherstburg, there weren't 400,000 friendly, inebriated Canadians, faces painted, waving flags, hooting and hollering, and randomly breaking out into "Oh Canada". No high-fives, no boom-boom-sparkle-sparkle. No all-encompassing crush of humanity. No full-on, 100% this-is-what-Canada-is-about community spirit.
There were lots of "closed" signs in shop windows, however.
A lot of people say that they don't like the crowds; the press of people that surrounds them, everywhere they go. The long lineups for porta-potties, cold water, and restaurants that charge more that day than any other for a reduced menu. They don't like the store-bought firecrackers that go off every few minutes, or the open beer bottles being carried around. Or the pervasive smell of marijuana, and the fact that the cops don't do anything about it, if just for one day. They don't like making human chains to get them -- winding through a sea of other human chains -- from their prime fireworks-watching spot to wherever they left your car, or sardining themselves into the bus for a long -- and squished -- ride home, where they eventually pile out, sweaty and tired.
And I would never argue with them. They're completely entitled to their opinions.
I'll be on the hill.
Canada Day 2006. I am on the right.
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
And no, I don't read local newspapers very often. I suppose I should. In fact, I'll bookmark one now.
But, back to the SuperCool site.
http://www.goruneasy.com/ is a Reebok-sponsored site that allows you to enter your own running routes on an interactive map, plots the distance, and shares it with other runners in your area! Very neat! The bugs still need to be worked out: it's rather slow to load, and sometimes forgets what it's doing, mid-load, and also doesn't seem to have "distance in kilometres" as a setting, but I really like the idea.
My "favourite" run. (Quotes used because I haven't actually run since the last day in Sydney.)
(Oh, the shame.)
Monday, 18 June 2007
Friday, 15 June 2007
One of his creations in the HHGG series (I forget which book) was NowWhat, a planet discovered and populated by a group of people, who, after crossing the universe for years and years, finally reached it. Then, these brave and dedicated space pioneers looked around the damp, dismal and depressing new world and said, "Now what?"
I feel for them.
Let's see: Graduate university. Get sensible job. Get married. Check, check, check. So where am I left? (Kids can wait a few (19?) more years.)
I see several options. The one that makes the most sense (ish) is to work on my career, and hard. Get training, get advanced, make connections, take over. But then, another part of me thinks, why? If we do have children eventually, I'll have to leave work (and be a taxpayer burden - I mean, more than I am already) for a year. Longer, if there is more than one childer involved. And why work to make yourself indispensable if you'll need to disappear from the workplace, one year at a time? (And land, depressingly, on ThenWhat, the planet one goes to once all life steps are completed?)
Or perhaps I should "turn Martha." I figure that Chris would embrace this option, too, except that he would be the victim of the decorating, scrapbooking, gourmeting, and napkin-folding... and the many, many disasters that I'm sure would ensue.
Take my "last chance," maybe, with fitness competitions? Go back to my chicken-and-veggies-and-train-till-it-hurts lifestyle? This, to me, is somehow the most attractive of my options. With each option, though, I have a feeling of marking time, marching in place (treading water/writing metaphors, so to speak) until the next big life change (aka a Baby) comes along.
This is probably just the post-wedding blues: nothing big coming up; bills to pay; loss of identity (Karen who?); sense of stasis; search for meaning; a sudden loss of direction... ah yes.
I know where I am now.
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
I blame the G8 Summit, because, frankly, that's what's taken up all my time. In the two weeks after my month away, I earned 5 more days of vacation; that's how much overtime I did. The worst night went till 10, but we ordered pizza around 7:30, so that was ok. (Best Pizza Ever, by the way, but it could be due to the X-treme levels of starvation and stress, since I also had the Best Diet 7-Up Ever, too.)
I digress. The Summit is on, and my life has gotten quieter, if not easier.
What's in a name?
I just went across the street to claim a pair of pants from the dry cleaner. I had put them in for a broken zipper a few weeks ago, but was too busy to remember to pick them up. I went in today, they asked my name, and I said "Power", of course. She looks at the ticket and says, "But your ticket has you as an 'H'".
The name change thing is taking a while to get used to. I guess my main difficulty is that I'm not officially official yet; that is, I don't have the certificate back from the province, which will allow me to change my driver's license, health card, banking info, etc. However, I'm fully Huffed at work - both emails, my pay info, phone, and building pass all have my new name. But if I ever have to produce TWO pieces of ID, I'm in trouble.
I sort of feel like a fraud, not one or the other.
Friday, 18 May 2007
The drive from Adelaide to the Barossa was quick - an hour and a half on the highway, then following signs through wee little towns till we got to the street the B&B was on. Then another 10 minutes, driving up and down it until we found L'Anzerac. We had a beautiful little suite in a carriage house, with a fabulous spa bathtub - amazing breakfasts in the main house with Zepp (a super-cute, super-friendly little terrier with a limp). Quite the dining experience! Zepp -- short for Zeppelin -- would sit at Chris' feet and look longingly up at him, until his plate was empty, when he'd shift to look at me. Suddenly, there was a terrible, loud banging and rattling from the double doors behind us, like some large and frightening animal was trying to get in. When we walked over and looked out the window, we saw that it was just Lucy (the goosey) asking for bread crusts, which were kept in a container on the bar, just for her.
Anyhoo, I digress - by the time we drove up to the L'Anzerac, Trevor was waiting for us with his beautiful 1935 Auburn all ready to go.
We went to the Rockford winery first, to their small, rustic little cellar door, and tried the first of (hundreds? thousands?) many, many wines. They showed us the container into which we could spit (ha ha!) and tip out (no way!), which we disregarded completely.
We were knackered by lunch, obviously. And our teeth grew more and more empurpled as the day went on.
The two days of the tour were incredible - very dreamlike, very "this is how a honeymoon should be", and actually quite "this is how we should be living" as well. If only we had some marketable skills to bring to the Barossa! There doesn't seem to be a large seat of the Canadian Government there... yet.
Photos? You bet!
Wednesday, 16 May 2007
Well, the honeymoon's over.
But what a month! We saw and did so much, and it all went by in a blink of an eye.
In more detail, here's what it feels like to travel so far away. It feels sort of like hell. Now, I'm fairly upbeat, love to sleep, and don't ever get claustrophobic. Now picture a cranky, fidgety little beast, sleep-deprived, with restless-legs syndrome, and desperate to get out of the tin can I've been trapped in for 20 hours!
I spent a lot of the time drifting in and out of consciousness, wondering what time it is (which is, of course, dependent on where you are at that time), when we eat next, how much longer it will be, how long I was asleep, etc. All this, PLUS mustering up a smile as often as I could, to say, "Happy Honeymoon" to the husband.
And then, we land in Sydney -- finally -- at about 5pm the next day (Ottawa time), or 7 am on Wednesday, really (ouch), and can't check into our hotel until about noon. We wander around a bit, discover that food (and especially water) are very expensive, and that Sydney, and Sydney-ites, are essentially no different from Canadians, and that's sort of irritating. Kind of like the Smurfs, when they drug Moony Smurf (Space Smurf? Star Smurf?) and put him in a fake rocket for a few hours, then take him to a crater and tell him he's on the moon. What is the point, I asked, of travelling for 27 hours, to a place that is, for all intents and purposes the same as home???
But luckily, a nap cured all of that, and we were able to get on with the rest of the vacation and have a great time.
The first crop of photos, from the first bit (flight and Sydney) are here.
Tuesday, 8 May 2007
Latest revelation: people who are afraid of sharks are smart, because those things can eat you. Not really a revelation to me, but I think it's a self-preservation thing, not a cowardice thing.
Speaking of cowardice, I actually was "brave" enough to be coerced into snorkelling, then scuba-ing, out in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of the reef. Brave, of course, means that I only sat on the edge of the dive platform for 20 minutes, crying, before getting into the water with an instructor. I think it's one of those things that I can tick off my to-do-before-I-die list, and never do it again.
The Great Barrier Reef is stunningly beautiful, both from the bird's eye snorkel view, and up close, in the 3D scuba environment. Peaceful and diverse, full of thousands of different fish (lots of Nemos), corally things, anemone things, clams, etc. Oh, and at least one shark. And a freakin' giant cod named Daisy who really liked me (but both occasions entailed me hyperventilating and being held still by the scuba instructor...not brave, not proud of myself for doing it).
Great nap on the way back, though.
Still a bit twitchy, thinking about it....