Montreal recap

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What a great trip we had to Montreal. We enjoyed walking everywhere. The architecture in Montreal is so interesting. There were old limestone row houses, churches, 70's era apartments, skyscrapers, and heritage buildings next to each other downtown. I love the way that mostly every inch of space is used, and it is such a mixture of styles.

I took some pictures outside the hotel.This mural was visible from our room and was on the back of a Dairy Queen. I thought the artwork would be enough to deter other graffiti artists, but apparently not.
DH bought what I kept calling a 'jaunty cap' in Montreal. It's more or less a necessity to have a hat when you have no hair, or so I'm told.
Walking back from Lola & Emily, we staged this photo of me crossing the street with my Lola & Emily bag. Gorgeous row houses and gorgeous trees in this neighbourhood (Mont-Royal?).

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We're Back!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Montreal was amazing. The shopping was fantastic. DH spent a bunch of money on new clothes and he will be the most dapper man around. I got a few things myself, and finally got to Lola & Emily, the store I have been reading about on Lake Jane for over a year. At the store, I bought a tank top that was 50% off, as I couldn't afford anything at full price. Sweaters were over $200 and some dresses were $300 and $400. A little out of my price range, but it was fun to look, and the clothes were beautiful.

We stayed at a hotel right downtown and walked everywhere all weekend. We logged a lot of miles. At the end of the day yesterday, we had spent a lot of money on clothes, and we were tired. We went swimming in the hotel pool, then had a nap, then went out for supper after 9:30 p.m. I can't remember the last time we ate that late.

The weekend was romantic, fun and exciting. Montreal is a gorgeous, vibrant city, and the fashions are great. I loved being able to walk everywhere.

Thanks to my mom and Tyler and Anne Marie for watching the kids. We really, really appreciate it!

Now back to laundry.

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Fall Getaway

Saturday, October 24, 2009

DH and I started, three years ago, going away for one night, without the kids, in the fall. It is quickly becoming a tradition. The first year, we went to Merickville, a quaint little town about an hour away. We stayed at an historic inn and ate really delicious food. The shops were along the lines of gift shops, for the most part, but the fall colours were incredible and it was really romantic.

Last year, we went to Kingston, which is a great town near here. The inn we stayed at was unreal and we walked and walked and did some shopping.

This year, after my recent trip with Sylvie to Montreal, and since DH needs some new clothes, we decided to go to Montreal. I have to admit I have always been intimidated by driving in Montreal and I once crossed the same bridge eight times looking for the correct exit so I could drive down to Boston.

I'm older and wiser now, and with Google Maps, and my recent experience in Montreal, DH and I are ready to tackle the city, even with our Ontario plates.

So we're off to Montreal in a couple of minutes. I can't wait!

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Excitement at the Senators' Game

Friday, October 23, 2009

My hockey league gave away a set of tickets to the Ottawa Senators hockey game for the team managers for the winter teams. Since I managed the summer team, I wasn't eligible, but the winter manager offered me the tickets. Who knows better than she how much work it is to manage the team! I'm acting as treasurer for the winter, and that is a big help to her, so she wanted to thank me. I thought it was really generous of her.

DH and I decided to go to the game together. We've been going out so much lately, our two main babysitters are making a killing off of us! Megan came to babysit last night and we headed out to the game and got there about 1/2 hour ahead.

The game was fun to watch even though we trailed through most of it. There were a few lulls here and there, but with 11 goals in all, there wasn't much time to get bored. The Sens tied up the game with 1.6 seconds left to force overtime. What an exciting goal it was, too!

But that wasn't even the best part! My favourite part was going to the concession stand to buy a beer for DH and me and the lady (in her 30s, I'd guess) behind the counter wouldn't serve me because I didn't have ID. The drinking age in Ontario is 19, and since I'm double that, I'm not used to getting 'carded'. She said they ID people who look 30 or less. I was flattered but since my ID card was at home, I had to ask DH to buy the beer while I hid around the corner.

Imagine the ribbing I gave DH when he didn't get carded, despite being a year and a half younger than me!

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Pet Peeves, Part 1

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do you have any pet peeves? Most people do. Pet peeves are things that annoy a person for no good reason, or annoy a person more than you would expect.

I have a couple of pet peeves.

#1- when there is a ring of milk in the bottom of a glass.
#2 - lunch containers that were left closed for days and smell awful when unsuspecting dishwashers (me!) wash them. My dad used to do this to me all the time.
#3 - how DH always seems to leave one item from the grocery order on the kitchen counter. Why is he incapable of putting everything away?
#4 - when the person who used the car before me (I'm not naming names) has the stereo turned way, way up and I get in the car on a quiet morning and am "surprised" at the volume.
#5 - a tiny dribble of milk left in the bag. Luckily, this rarely happens.
#6 - when the light is on in the bathroom at work when I go in. Since it's a one-at-a-time bathroom, why would someone leave the light on when they leave?
#7 - when the new roll of toilet paper is beside the dispenser, rather than on the dispenser.
#8 - when people sniff incessantly. Blow your nose, for pete's sake.

As I think of more pet peeves, I'll post them.

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Nature Walk

Monday, October 19, 2009

We went for a nature walk yesterday. I got a ton of cool backlit photos of the kids. Only problem was, my lens was so dirty, the pictures all have a haze on them. Then I did a bunch of individual shots and was shooting in the wrong setting and I overexposed everything to oblivion. I couldn't tell until we were leaving in the car because it was so sunny, I couldn't see my LCD until then.
Most of the way through the walk, I used a bench and my hat to prop up the camera, and got this Maggie Holmes inspired photo.

Now to figure out which part(s) of my camera are dirty so I can clean them.

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Spooky Halloween Bottles

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I just love Halloween. It's so much fun celebrating the macabre, and who doesn't love getting dressed up?

I've been looking for free printable 'potion' labels to put on jars, or over wine or beer bottle labels.

I found these great ones at Love Manor's Flick stream.

I love the authentic 50's look of these labels over at Spook Shows.

And these twilight-themed labels at Hostess With the Mostess are cute.

If you don't want to be bothered with making them, you can always buy some at Grandin Road or the Oriental Trading Company.

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Larceny and Old Lace

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wednesday night, I played hockey and we tied 1-1 with a really good team we played in the summer. I was impressed with my own play, and my teammates really rocked! We have three new players this winter and they are all really good. It is exciting because my team doesn't tend to score a lot of goals, but these three might help in that department.

Thursday night, I went to see Larceny and Old Lace, a funny production about two old ladies who rob casinos for a living and think nothing of it! With a cast of 16 on a small stage and a 'front' door that opens and closes about 40 times, it was a hectic, madcap show put on by the community theatre of a small town near here. It was a good show.

My stepfather and mom were both in the play. This is my mom's third time in a show. In the first, she was one of 4 main characters, she was on stage for most of the show, and she kissed a man on stage! You can bet I was squirming in my seat during that scene. In the second show, my Aunt Janet was one of the main characters, and my mom played a detective. It was a smaller role than the show before. This time, she only has a few lines, but they are memorable, and this time she gets her bum patted by yet another man! Mom! You need to prepare me for these things! I was very nearly traumatized for life when I saw that!

One of the bigger characters in the show was a scary escaped convict named Mordred, played very well by my stepfather, Mike. The costume alone was great, and his acting was very good. I heard someone behind me exclaim that he had a good voice. He was a natural up there. I can assure you he has no tattoos (that I know of), or piercings, and he definitely doesn't have a mohawk or usually wear a dog collar or a leather vest with a skull and crossbones on it! No, really!

Great show Mom and Mike and enjoy the rest of the run!

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Modern Family

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I don't know if you've had a chance to check out any of the new TV shows that started this fall. I've checked out Accidentally On Purpose, Cougar Town and Modern Family, among others.

Accidentally On Purpose stars Jenna Elfman, one of my favourite sitcom gals, and the romantic comedy is light and fun.

Cougar Town was painful to watch. Courtney Cox's character is awful, and the amount of Botox between her and her co-star, Christa Miller is really sad. I used to love both of these actresses, but now their faces are frozen and their lips are puffed up and I just feel like crying because they aren't much older than me, and I pray that society is not demanding this kind of stuff in women of that age. I watched the first episode and refuse to watch it again.

I feel especially sad about the amount of Botox in Christa Miller's face, as I loved her as Kate on The Drew Carey Show. In one memorable episode, she tried to sing with the guys' band, and she was awful but the guys couldn't tell her. She would say "With me, you don't just get singing, you get dancing, too." I still laugh when I think about that. I cry when I think about Cougar Town.

By far, the best show in this suite of three is Modern Family. The first show was so funny, both DH and I were laughing. We loved Phil, the dad of three, married for 16 years, who thinks he's really cool, but is definitely not. Cameron, the husband in the gay couple is so funny! Now I'm becoming partial to Gloria, the smokin' hot latina woman who is married to the guy who used to play Ed Bundy in Married With Children. She's hilarious, gorgeous, and she gets a lot of the good lines. I can't wait to watch the show every week.

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Digital scrapbook challenge #14 and #15

Monday, October 12, 2009

Digital scrapbook challenge #14 was to scraplift this create page from the Creative Inspiration Blog, and post it to that site (by Wednesday). I didn't get around to posting it there, but I did finally finish it. I find it hard to 'pick up' transluscent elements, like the "2009" overlay on the photo. How do I do that without having to try 30 times and accidentally picking up the background paper or the photo 29 times? Christine?

It's my turn to post the digital challenge which is due for next Sunday. The challenge this week is to do a page where you are capturing photos from a few different days in the same week. Like this page.

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Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's the thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada. I don't know why the American and Canadian thanksgiving are at different times of year, but they are!

We get Monday off of work, but we always celebrate with a big turkey dinner and pumpkin pie on the Sunday night.

This year, my brother and AMF came over, as well as my dad. My mom was entertaining her husband's whole family who gathered from far and wide and were all together for the first time in a long, long time.

DH and I cooked the turkey and stuffing, some roasted potatoes, green beans and gravy. Tyler and AMF brought mashed sweet potatoes and rolls and my dad brought two huge pumpkin pies. They were so huge that we didn't even eat half of one! Needless to say, we sent him home with the uneaten pie. No need for more temptation around here. Before we ate, we all said something we were grateful for and Tyler suggested all holding hands around the table. It was such a lovely thing to do and everyone was so happy to be together.

After supper, the kids were in heaven with Gramps, Uncle Tyler AND Auntie Anne Marie to play with. The game Sequence came out and the older two were each helping an adult play.
I set up my tripod and took a photo of everyone. From left to right:
Gramps, Mr. Boy, DH, Sweet Pea, Uncle Tyler, Beth, Precious and AMF.
Have a great holiday.

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The Mural is Done!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The area above the bar in our basement was a little plain. We considered shelving for that area, a mirror, art, wall stickers, and so on. We just couldn't decide, and we didn't have a lot of money to spend.

I saw this great birch tree mural on Jen Loves Kev. I spent $5 to get her template for the mural and it's been sitting in my inbox since July or August. I didn't have an overhead projector to project the image on the wall so I could trace it in pencil. Last week, I had an idea to post my need for an overhead projector on Facebook and within a day I had one lined up! Thanks Tonja and social netorks!In the inspiration photo, Jen painted her mural with the gray paint of her wall, with a little white added. I was more interested in dark trees on a light wall, as the bar is a dark area with no windows and used mainly at night so something dramatic would be appropriate.

Here I am painting it this afternoon. Yes, I was wearing my jammies in the afternoon, and yes, I hadn't brushed my hair yet. And yes, I had brushed my teeth, in case you were wondering.

It took a good two hours once I had picked up the projector, figured out how to use it, projected the image on the wall, and traced it. I used the wall colour and added in a touch of Benjamin Moore's Buckhorn, which we've used in our entry and our den.

The after, taken from the other end of the bar.

I'm really pleased with the results, and it really adds something to the bar. Other than the labour and $5 for the template, it was free to do because I already had paint, painter's tape, and paint brushes. And DH loves it, too!

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Keep Your Stick on the Ice

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My hockey season started last night. I'd had about three weeks off since my last scrimmage, but I've been going to the gym a lot over the last month.

We played a really strong team last night, but I thought I had a really good game, despite the fact that we lost. We have a couple of new players this winter, and we're still working out the kinks, but I'm excited because I think we have some really good, strong, team players, and that we're going to do well.

I really missed the social aspect of hockey, too. We went out for beer after the game last night and it was a blast.

I played hockey at 10:00 p.m. Went up for beer shortly after 11:00. Got home around 12:20. Unwound a little more at home, then finally fell asleep around 1:30 a.m. I had to get up at 5:00 a.m. and, let me tell you, that was painful. I did have a nap for 90 minutes before the game, so that helped a little.

I used to work out on Thursday mornings at work, so now I'm going to have to re-arrange my schedule and figure out how to keep my workouts and still have rest days here and there.

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Cute Couple

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I was eating my morning snack in the cafeteria at work on Tuesday and they had the TV tuned to the CBC. They were interviewing Willard S. Boyle because he won the Nobel prize in physics for helping invent the CCD (the card that makes digital cameras and the Hubble telescope work). Besides being proud that a Canadian made such an important contribution to the world, I was really struck by the sheet joy and pleasure on the face of Dr. Boyle, and his wife, Betty.

Photograph by: Paul Darrow, Reuters, Canwest News Service

They had their arms around one another. They were dressed similarly. They looked similar. The way they seemed to be finishing each others' thoughts, really listening to each other, and enjoying every minute of being together was so refreshing!

I know very little about this couple, and I didn't even hear what they were saying. I was really just reading their body language. For all I know, they got married last year, but odds are, they've been married for 50 years and still love each other. So sweet.

I tried to find the interview on YouTube and on the CBC website, but I couldn't, so if anyone can find it, let me know.

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Just for Fun

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

DH and I decided to take a picture of ourselves today. I was disappointed that we never thought to turn the camera on ourselves at my brother's wedding. So now we have a reasonable, and recent photo of the two of us.I'm happy!

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Curiosity

Monday, October 5, 2009

I always like to learn new things. It's hard for me to sit still as I am always wanting to do something, try something new, or finish something I already started. I am so curious about human things like personality, self-esteem, confidence, persistence and the like. Maybe I should have studied psychology instead of political science. Last time I checked, seniors over 65 get free university admission in Canada, so I should plan to get a psych degree when I retire!

I was reading in the paper about a woman who knows two people who are fighting cancer, one of them being her mother. Cancer is a scary thing, and I have lost two very close relatives to it in the last two years. Now I find out that one of my university friends has it. I'm having trouble with this one because she's my age and things like this don't happen to people my age. I'm too young. She's too young. I can only imagine how hard it is for her, especially with three small kids.

So this article talked about resilience, something I hope I have, but I can always improve on.

"Resilient people, it seems, believe there's something greater than themselves in life, have a sense of connectedness to others, use their networks, believe there is justice even when life seems unjust and know in their hearts that they can affect change."

-Julie Beun, Ottawa Citizen, October 3, 2009

I feel that this quote is true of me, but I'm not sure about that very last bit about affecting change. Maybe I need to volunteer more, and not just in my childrens' classrooms, or on my own sports teams, or at the school dance. Can I affect change? I'd like to think so, but maybe I need to prove it.

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Rocking Downtown for DH's Birthday

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Today is DH's 37th birthday. Last night we went out to see my friend's band play in a bar downtown. We sat there with a bunch of friends who are childless. We don't see them very often. We had to leave the bar around 11:15 to get back in time for the babysitter.

Despite loving our kids madly, every once in a while, we wonder what childless people do with their days and whether it might be fun. I honestly can't remember life before kids.

So what do childless people do with their days? They renovate houses, exercise, go on trips, and have brunch out, for an hour or two. They shop when they like, garden and watch more than one movie in a day. What they don't do is get kid snuggles, and they don't get to see their child ace a test or get really excited about something new. They don't get to be the one their child comes to for comfort, and for the answers to everything. Being a parent totally rocks, even if we have to leave the bar after the opening band.

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Digital scrapbook challenge #13

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The challenge this week was to use 5 equally-sized photos.
I'm actually happy with how this turned out!

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Organized CDs

Thursday, October 1, 2009

DH has a lot of CDs. He's a bit of a music junkie. Our CDs have been stored in our bedroom, far from the stereo and stacked in a way that made them hard to access.

Once the basement was finished in the spring, and after the stereo was moved downstairs into the new TV room in the basement, one of the next tasks was to organize the CDs and get them close to the stereo.

DH and I chose the Benno CD racks from IKEA, compatible with the Billy system. Normally we avoid particle board, but in this case, the CDs were to be hidden in a closet, and we couldn't justify the cost of solid wood CDs racks for close to 500 CDs.

DH went to IKEA, on a Saturday no less, something he swears he will never do again, to pick up 5 Benno CD racks. A couple of days later, he assembled them.

A day or two after that, DH walked up and down the stairs many times over to transfer all of his CDs from the second floor master to the basement closet where he alphabetized them, again, and placed them in the CD racks, 8 to a shelf, with room for 12 in each shelf, so the alphabetizing could be maintained without moving all of the CDs. It's not visible in this photo, but there are two more racks to the right of these three, and they are half full.

We were able to use the 7 inch deep half of the basement closet, while still giving the kids access to the other half, 'adventureland', which is under the stairs.

DH was giddy with excitement and I'm happy the CDs are accessible and out of our bedroom.

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