Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas


Wishing all a very Merry Christmas!



Sunday, December 08, 2013

And so it continues

Ah yes - it continues indeed!

I was to fly in to Pittsburgh this evening so that I could spend Monday on site with the client. But alas - if you haven't checked the weather across various cities in the mid-west and through to the Eastern seaboard (specifically Chicago) you might want to check it out.

I once again find myself in a Chicago hotel looking at an afternoon departure tomorrow. Oh well - only God can control the weather!

So alas - I will relax in my room and make the most of this little delay in my week.

I am a single traveler with carry on luggage and the ability to get a hotel room. There are so many others out there with children, or who can't get to their luggage, or who can't afford a hotel room. And so for this I am blessed.

Good night from Chicago all1

Friday, December 06, 2013

Hiatus

Over these past two years I have noticed how my creative side goes into hibernation if life is stressful. 

When I worked with the interior design firm, my friend, the designer, always commented on how she gravitated towards the color green when she was stressed. Green was her least favorite color. Good thing so many of our clients like green. And trust me, there was a period we did a lot of green color palates. 

To be honest, green is one of my least favorite colors as well. Well other than Rider green of course. And over this last little bit I feel like I have been choosing a lot of green in my life. 

I can't tell you why it has felt extra stressful. Perhaps I am just needing a little vacation. Perhaps I'm looking for something out of life that requires a lot of effort to attain. My family has had a tough season with both pops and mom trying to gain strength. Friends have had challenges and I haven't been there in ways I wish I could be. The seasons have turned to dreaded winter. Traveling for work makes me feel disconnected from everyone. I haven't been able to cook, bake, photograph, explore my desire to paint, enjoy live music, relax at home and many other activities nearly as much as I would like. 

So all that to be said... It's not that I don't still love to write on here. It's not that I won't go through many cycles of heavy writing and then hibernating. So please continue to check back. I know this to shall pass. Sometimes it is just about carving that time out for yourself! And I'm hoping to do a little more of just that.

Maybe they have an online painting course or photography course I can take. Perhaps I can plan just one fun thing a weekend to cook or bake (orange creamy butter rolls perhaps?). Perhaps finding new ways to invest in friends will get us through this time. Perhaps I should write those letters home a little more often. Perhaps....




A traveling man

Well I'm not exactly a traveling man... But I am a traveling. And I'm quite confident I have written a post or two on this topic before but I'm fresh off a variety of experiences so thought I would share again. 

You see I chose a job that I knew was going to take me on the road a lot of weeks. Granted I was somewhat naive in thinking that the the means wouldn't be so bad at all for the ultimate goal that we were after! And many weeks it is okay. But there are those times where I question if the end will even come close to justifying the means. 

I'm sure you are all wondering where I am going with this... So without further adieu let me tell you what the last month of travel has contained:

1. An unexpected overnight in Chicago. 
I was all excited to get home and start my birthday weekend. I booked myself on a dreaded United flight through Chicago and treated myself to a little upgrade at check in hoping that would help. Happy birthday Me! Only to be left sitting at the Chicago gate with lots of time because I never heard them announce my delayed flight was finally ready for boarding. (As an aside, of course I was sure that a flight was going down. Why else would the Lord bring me all this way only to cause me to not hear my flight. I heard every other flight on either side being announced. But alas, the reason as to why that occurred was not due to a plane crash nor was there an apparent providential encounter at the hotel, on the flight the next day or anywhere in between.)

2. Two hour delayed flight when traveling for my company meeting. Sitting on the plane unsure if we were going to beat the storm. Only to have Jimmys flight be delayed the next day - again unsure if he was going to beat the storm. But we made it eventually. I landed at 11:30 pm only to have an alarm ringing at 4:30 am so I could get online with my client on the east coast. 

3. Crazy snow storm in Calgary resulting in a harried drive to the airport, another delayed flight while sitting on the plane watching the air traffic controllers in bellaclavas trying their hardest to get us out all the while avoiding a stuck truck and plane. Hmmmm in any other situation men surrounding the plane wearing full on ski masks would not be normal nor assuring. Gotta love Canada (and maybe Russia?)

4. Ice storm blowing through Dallas and the eastern sea board. Rebooking on a crazy early flight that has me up at 3:30 am trying to beat the storm into Toronto and home to Calgary. Hoping that my Canadian pride will be rewarded by an airport that doesn't need to shut down at the first sign of weather. 

Yes... All of that since Nov 14 and it's only Dec 6. Ugh. I even had a week home for American thanksgiving. Lol. Is it obvious that I'm ready for a real vacation!

So now that I've told you all the down sides, the up side is everyone throughout this past month has been incredibly helpful. Spending hours booking, re-booking and giving me accommodations. Men and women working through terrible weather conditions to get me to and for. Understanding friends and family when I need to rearrange plans. Enjoying the perks of being a frequent flyer with a more comfortable experience in business class. And maybe a couple holiday beverages at Starbucks when the tears are on the verge of falling (or just maybe already were falling... ). 

As I type this I'm hoping Chicago will be good to me today and get me to Toronto. Little Canada I'm coming. I promise!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Coming home

I'm flying back to Calgary tomorrow and so very excited. Cannot wait to see some good friends. To make a real home cooked meal or 7! To enjoy the fall air. To snuggle up by the fireplace. To stock up on books at the library. To have more than two pairs of shoes to choose from. To use my hair straightener. To go to a grocery store. To enjoy fresh fruit. To snack on veggies. 

Yup pretty darn excited for all those lovely ordinary little details that I used to take for granted. It will be good to be home. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I love fireworks


Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's a Good Day

So now that I have a little distance from the situation I should share that Dad didn't exactly have a little accident. Rather, he rolled the full grain truck. And for those of you who know trucks it was a tandem - for those of you who don't this truck is bigger than a 5 ton but not a semi - somewhere in between. And for those of you who know farmers, you can only imagine the variety of tools, objects, buckets, etc. that might also be in the truck - for those who don't imagine what your vehicle looks like after a road trip and then add in the odd hammer, screws, nuts, bolts and on a good day some heavy wrenches and ratchets. Oh - and on this fine day - a grocery bag of mail.

Dad had an army of angels with him that day. When so many other freak accidents turn out fatal . . . God blessed our family so greatly and kept him in the truck cab with a few cuts and bruises, a broken back and a broken bone in his shoulder. Nothing that time can't heal.

As you can well imagine, I just couldn't bear to put this in black and white last week. Our family's emotions were too raw. My heart breaks for all of you that have experienced this and even more for those who were not as fortunate as we were.

And today, well today is a good day. Today - my incredibly fantastic sister (who has been a rock through this whole process) got to take the vehicle to the city and load our bruised and broken pops to bring him home. The first step in a  long recovery but an important first step.

Welcome back to the farm Dad! I know mom missed you!!

It hasn't been an easy few weeks for mom and dad. Mom had her hip replaced just 4 weeks ago and is just starting to get a little more mobile. She has been doing fantastic with her recovery and I am sure is so relieved as well now that Dad is home.

Grandpa's little house hasn't had so much activity since the last Berkan Christmas was held there - I am sure of it . . . Kim will be leading exercises every day at 9 if anyone wants to join in . . . canes are optional.

Love you: Trevor, Kim, Joshua, Rhyder, Chase and Hunter - thanks for making room for Mom and Dad.

Love you mom and dad; be good for Kimmie now!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cherry Certs

As I mentioned, last week was a touch trying (perhaps the understatement of my year) and what made it extra hard was to not have anyone there with me. 

I don't really have any friends in Pittsburgh per say... My client has some really nice people but none that I have established a relationship with outside of the office. Jimmy was at home in Calgary. And my family was working through Dad's accident in Saskatchewan. 

It never felt so good to get home to Calgary as it did on Friday. To have full access to phone and email. To have a support network I could reach out to. To have a hug... Lots of hugs. As you can well expect, this Monday had never been so hard to leave. 

I was at the airport buying my regular bottle of water for the flight when I noticed cherry Certs. The package promised me they were the 'original' mint. Without a second thought I plucked the package off the display, paid for my items and immediately proceeded to unwrap the certs and pop one in my mouth. I was not disappointed in the least. 

It immediately took me back to simpler times. Riding in the car with Aunty Shirley on the way to church or errands. At a random red light she would dig in her purse, pull out a package and pass them around. 

It isn't a hug or a friend in Pittsburgh but it is a little taste of family and friends back home in Saskatchewan. 

Wishing now I would have picked up a second package...

Friday, September 13, 2013

A few tidbits

I'm constantly learning new things about myself. Revealing new truths in my little brain about who I am evolving into and often times evolving through. This week was no exception...

This week I realized how much knowing the little details helps me to cope during times of duress.  Weird I'm sure but that's okay. It's me and we all have a little weird in the person we know as me. 

With pops' little accident there was so many unknowns that we were dealing with over the first little bit. And as my mind was trying to wrap around that I found myself asking or wanting to ask the dumb questions... Are the sheep okay? How did the truck look? What ditch? What was the truckers name? Has Dana changed any in looks since i last took the school bus with him? Where is mom sleeping? Who is coming in to visit? What was dad wearing? What was Trev wearing? Heck, what was the whole family wearing? What are the nephews doing? What vehicles did they take to the city? I'm telling you they were dumb dumb dumb. And when I voiced some of them I could sense am exasperation/frustration on the other end. I am sure it seemed like I was either questioning if everything was under control or others couldn't believe that as we waited to find out what dads state was I was concerned about the sheep. 

It wasn't that I thought that any of these details were important. It wasn't that I didn't care more about dad than anything else in the world at that moment. But looking back I realized they served so many other purposes. 

They helped me feel connected to the activity and fuss that was happening in the periphery. Being so far away I needed that. Especially as it felt like I knew less than a random person in town. 

They were things that could be open and shut. Questions I could ask that could be answered. I didn't like not knowing so much that it helped to feel like I could know a little bit.

And perhaps one of the biggest drivers,  these questions kept the communication lines open with me. Like a little girl coming up with every reason one could to delay bedtime, I was grasping for every excuse I could come up with to text someone. Anyone. To check my phone for news. To make sure the messages were still going through. Rather than waiting in silence I could fill the void and not wait completely alone. 

So weird hey??

But alas... That is the fun of life. We grow. We mature. And as we get to know others... Often the biggest revelations are about ourselves. 



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer Drives

Summer was getting into full swing and Jimmy and I took the opportunity to sneak away for a little date. A drive has always been one of our favorite summer dates and this day was no exception.

We headed out with thoughts of honey, a baseball game in Okotoks and lunch at the Chuckwagon Cafe. Although we didn't stop for honey we did start with the most delicious meal. The wait was a touch longer than we anticipated so we took advantage of the sun and our to go coffees and soaked it all in. I will say that Jimmy declared it the best eggs Benedict he has ever had! Big claims people but every bite lived up to it!


We had a little time before the ball game started so took a meandering drive over to Okotoks. We saw some of the devastation left behind by the river. For much of it, it would be too hard to capture on film or is too personal and I surely wanted to respect others pain by not photographing it. This Winnebago however sums it all up. Who knows where it came from but to be discarded by a river in such a manner is just a small example of the fury it released that weekend.



Being that Trevor and Kim were in the planning stages on sheep, these sweet little faces and freshly shorn bodies and all the fun memories I have of Aunt Emily's sheep when I was little ... Well... I couldn't help myself... Aren't the alpacas the sweetest?



We finished off our date with a favorite summertime past time of ours, some local baseball action. Now that Calgary doesn't have any teams, we have found a new place to grab a hot dog, sit in the sunshine and listen to the crack of the bat!


Such a perfect date Sunday!

Monday, September 09, 2013

The minivan

So I realized at the airport this morning that my sparkly diamonds were missing from my left hand . . . alas in my rush out to the door to catch my flight I had left them safe and secure in the jewelry box.

Jimmy and I giggled via text over the fact that it was a free week off for me - joking only - of course.

Then I land in Pittsburgh and go to pick up my rental  - well - it appears that they are incredibly tight on cars and offering me a complimentary upgrade . . . to a bright red minivan . . .

No worries at all now Jimmy - I will just look like another hockey mom car pooling the pick-ups!

Where was the fancy mustang I was upgraded to last week?

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Elk Water

We had the most delightful time with the family at the lake again this year. It started with the facts that Jimmy and I did not get lost on our way (as we did last year), we were much better organized and so only had a couple stops on the way out (one year - maybe one year we can figure it out so that we have no stops) and as I was a year into Structure I was able to take Monday, the first off!  The only down point was that Dad wasn't able to join us until Sunday (but when he did . . . he came in with his smile flashing - oh yes he did)!

And it was a fantastic weekend indeed. The lodge mom rented was lovely, the boys were full of giggles and snuggles, and the weather was indeed beautiful for the end of June. We ate like kings (Kimmy put together the most yummy of menus), we found a reason to have ice cream every day, we hiked and played soccer, roasted hot dogs and went for drives.

So alas - you don't really care about my ramblings as much as you want to see the photos especially when they include my adorable nephews so here you go.













Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Countdown is on

3 sleeps until heading out with the family. So much to do!! But I have all my lists and a plan of attack... Treats to make and treats to buy. Stores to visit! Games to pack and surprise items to hide away! Birthday presents and get better presents! There is laundry to be done and groceries to buy. 

Thank goodness for lists; it makes this crazy girl just a bit more sane!

Now off to bed as work starts before 6am for this week...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Home safe and sound

Have lots to share but for now please know that we are back in Calgary safe and sound; Our friends and family are all safe and sound with homes intact; It will be a busy week enjoying being in the city and preparing to head to the Saskatchewan/Alberta border for some fun times with the family.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sunshine Bound

In one short sleep I am sunshine bound. And for 4 delightful days I will be able to enjoy the sunshine. For 3 delightful days I will get to catch up with my cousin Kristen! For 2 delightful days, Jimmy will be able to join in on the fun. For 1 delightful day we will be thrilling ourselves at Universal Studios. For 1 delightful day we will be lounging poolside.

As if that wasn't enough to make you deliriously happy, we will be following those delightful days up with 14 more delightful days in Alberta. During which we will spend 4 delightful days with my family in Elk Water. And we will spend 3 delightful days with Julie, Lonnie, Steph, Troy and Ben enjoying stampede. And we will spend many delightful moments with many of you reading this from Calgary.

Then when you think things were not about to get better, well, they aren't. But that is most certainly one of the most delightful 2 weeks I have had to look forward to in a long long time!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Perhaps there is so much road kill around these Pennsylvania parts because the speed limit signs are not even regarded as a suggestion . . .

Mercies - there was 4 poor little animals within the 20 minute drive from the airport on Sunday. Tonight I was driving 60 mph in a 40 mph and cars were still whizzing past me.

Mercies I say!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pittsburgh for another week

Well after a turn around that was entirely too quick I made it here for another week. 

Minimal drama ... Just a take down by police at the security screening area across from my gate; a suitcase that was packed to the brim but managed to fit in the overhead compartment; a late night drive to my hotel for the week praying I wouldn't come across any frolicking animals. 

And I must say... I'm trying out a new hotel and its pretty darn good. 

Night all!

Happy Father's Day!

Wish we could be closer to celebrate our pops in person but alas that is not to be today! So instead we shall wish our dads the best, thank them for all they have done and tell them how much we love them.

This day is for you Dads! Enjoy it in style. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Home Tomorrow

Yay - so very excited. I am quite delighted at the thought of checking in on my flowers that were so diligently planted, see my beautiful poppies in bloom, give my hair a little TLC with Jeffrey, see the girls for a few, sleep in, find a Cleopatra costume, hang out with Jimmy, see a snippet of sunshine (maybe?) and get recharged for a busy week next week.

Shall be a good time!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Strip District and Infamous Sandwich Shop

I promise - this is my last post about my 18 hours in Pittsburgh.

So after a fantastic sleep and a morning of work, I had everything packed up and I was ready to grab some lunch in the Strip District on my way to the airport.

I had heard about Primanti Bros. and their crazy sandwiches and was told I just had to try them. So try them I did! Well at least a bite or two cause in all honesty, the majority of the sandwich did not fit in my 'clean' eating program. However, I had to at least try a bite or two - right?

In addition to this being the original Primanti's, the strip district was full of cool little sidewalk 'pop-up' kiosks, stores, restaurants and people. Historic buildings and characters were a plenty around there as well. Here are a few pics that cannot even begin to do it justice.


 In case you are wondering - that is huge slices of thick bread, with the meat of choice (chicken for me) provolone, French fries, coleslaw and tomatoe slices . . Crazy! but delicious. I then proceeded to pick out the veggies and chicken . . .  hahaha





I could have spent hours strolling the street rather than the single hour I had for lunch and wandering. Oh well - next time.

So there you have it - a glimpse into Pittsburgh. Pretty cool city - hey??

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pittsburgh Continued

 After my fun dinner, I wanted to explore a little more. Of course I should wander across the bridge to the ball park . . .


 

It was fun to hang outside the stadium, hear the cheers and check out some heroes of day's gone by.



 
The city all lit up was stunning!



The hotel was a gorgeous building! This hotel has served as an office building, a WWII hospital, a nightclub and now a beautiful hotel.




And of course I needed to come home and continue watching the ball game from my room. I loved it!

Just when I thought it wouldn't get any better . . .  the Pirates won . . . and they set off fireworks!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Animal Update

You know that cute little furry guy in the photos down below . . .

Well we knew it wasn't a beaver nor a muskrat. We thought maybe a mink because the fur looks so incredibly silky.

But it is not a mink either.

My incredibly intelligent and back country knowledgeable friends Jay and Shannon declare it a Marmot!

So there you have it - we saw a lovely little marmot. Cuter than a beaver it certainly is!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Sun will come out, tomorrow

I am itching to get some dirt under my fingernails. To dig around and pause to admire the earthworms. To plant all the beautiful flowers that I spent Sunday wandering through the greenhouse to pick out. 

There are two trays waiting to find their new home. Herb pots that are begging for some dill and mint. New lovely planters that will make the dhalia and george washington begonia pop. there are last years planters who know a pansy and snag dragon well. 

Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow.... There'll be sun!!


Saturday, June 01, 2013

Summer Cruisin Continued

I promised you some more photos from our Mother's Day cruise in the mountains and here they are - finally!

We headed out through Kananaskis trying to avoid all the Canmore and Banff popularity. As we came around a corner I was looking out amongst the escape of trees and noticed something strange. Jimmy was already driving slow as it was a gravel road that was quite curvy. I quickly squealed to Jimmy to check it out - there was a man buck naked squatting down amongst the trees. We couldn't really tell what he was doing - but regardless - it shouldn't have called for him to do it naked - should it? Not really something I could take a picture of - but I am sure you have the mental image regardless.

Our adventure continued, alternating between gravel and pavement for a while. We had just crossed back onto pavement and so stopped to put the top down. The sun was shining and it was gorgeous out. This little critter slowly strutted his stuff across the road and so we were able to pull over and get a picture. Not sure exactly what it was but we are leaning towards a mink? Beautiful coat regardless!




We had packed a picnic lunch and were looking for a nicy, sunny spot to sit and enjoy the outdoors. We finally decided at Upper Kananaskis Lake that it was now or never. We could see these dark clouds rolling in over the mountain pass and knew the weather was not going to hold out. The wind was picking up blowing across the still frozen lake so we huddled in our sweaters and enjoyed a very quick 'picnic'!





You can really see the weather in this pic! Chilly!!



When the sun was shining, the mountains were exceptionally stunning! 


Such a great first topless cruise of the season.

Meat and Potatoes and Delightful Dinner Guests

Meat and Potatoes is a delicious downtown restaurant in Pittsburgh that one of the client employees had told us about. The food is fantastic, the ambiance is really cool and it has a really fun and energetic vibe. I had tried it out once with my colleague on the project and knew that it was amazing. So when I was staying in Pittsburgh by myself, I wanted to go back and enjoy it again.

To confirm I wasn't missing out on something better, I asked the front desk attendant about the restaurant when I checked in. Her eyes lit up as soon as I mentioned the name. Excellent - this night was shaping up fantastically!

The hotel lobby was incredible but I was starving. I couldn't wait to run up to my room, drop my things, and start out on my walk to the restaurant. I jumped in the first elevator and headed down the hall. Upon opening the door, I heard myself gasp a little. I did not realize I was checking in to such a beautiful hotel for the night.

I found myself taking a little longer to wander through the room. I had two full walls of windows, the one bank overlooking the front street of the hotel and the other overlooking the river and PNC Park where the Pirates play! The windows even extended into the bathroom. It was such a stunning view!

But alas - I was still starving. So a quick change and I was off.

I headed down the street weaving upstream through the crowds as they headed towards the ball park behind me. I couldn't believe it when I turned left down Penn street - there was the Heinz Performance Hall that I had driven past the last time I stayed in Pittsburgh. I had no idea that I was so close. Just past the theatre was Mean and Potatoes - the patio was open, people were still spilling out into the lobby but I was in luck, as they were about to seat a couple from the bar, I could pull up a stool and grab a seat there.

I walked over to the bar, which was in the middle of the restaurant. The couple gathered their things and I bee-lined to grab one of the seats they were leaving. A gentleman had come in right behind me, overheard my exchange with the girl, caught that I was dining alone and quickly grabbed the other seat for himself.

As I was investigating the menu to determine what I was going to order, the guy started to chat with me a little. By the time our meals had arrived, we had learned where each other was from, that we both travel a lot for work, we enjoy good food and both prefer to stay downtown in a city verses off in the suburbs.

Then somewhere during our meal, he mentioned he does music for a living. I asked him if he played an instrument, he countered that he does video and follows that up with volunteering that right now he is touring with the Dave Matthews Band.

OH MY MERCIES!!!!!!!!!!

I tried to sneak in a breath, ensure I was putting on my best poker face and then calmly let him know that we just saw Dave's summer tour in Dallas AND that if my husband was sitting next to him, he would kiss him as he loves Dave. (Inside I wanted to ask him if he could get us an invite to a bbq with Carter but didn't think that would maintain my cool exterior however telling him that Jimmy would kiss him certainly did!)

He commented on how funny I was and how much fun he was having chatting up the Canadian. We talked about his hatred for pizza and baseball. I told him he was crazy on both accounts. We chatted about how you cannot get good Mexican in any country outside of the US and Mexico. I told him my love of corn tortillas and how those are rare to find in Calgary. He told me how he introduced corn tortillas to his girlfriend in London and she now has a similar love but can't find them there either. I suggested he package up a care package for her. Yes, yes I did. She can thank me for that!

We enjoyed watching the bartender shake the cocktails. We exclaimed over our delicious meals. We talked about my plan to visit Primanti Brothers the next day and his desire for those sandwiches to find their way on the tour bus. We laughed and told stories. I told him about the funniest interview I had ever conducted and he told me about his buddy who was so excited to introduce him to this cool local bar with great food, TGI Fridays.

I didn't think that this reality good get any better, but then a bunch more of the crew showed up for dinner. We had such a fun time chatting - I didn't get any good Dave stories per se but there was some good natured ribbing, chatting about tour bus stories, etc.

I knew that to maintain my composure, I needed to pay the tab and head out. It took every ounce of determination to take my leave and walk out the door first. I couldn't let them think that I was some roadie girl. I am smart, intelligent, and they are just people. People that happen to tour with Jimmy's favorite band EVERY day. People that put on the concerts we have spent good money to attend. But just people all the same.

Soooo, I walked with my head held high, prayed I didn't trip, made sure I was at least a block away before I excitedly dug in my bag for my phone, dialed Jimmy's number and squealed the exciting news to him! Too fun!!!

Oh and on the left of me was another guy eating alone. He was in from Montreal, a sports reporter to cover the hockey series. He also happens to know Kris Letang. And Kris Letang is good friends with the owner of Meat and Potatoes. So the story continues that the poutine on the menu is all as a result of Kris Letang requesting it from his buddy. However, in what some might consider expected Quebec fashion, the reporter was a little 'stiff' and didn't want to partake in our conversations much. Oh well - his loss!

P.S. Meat and Potatoes was as delicious as always! I had this yummy salad and a small little fig appetizer. Delicious!

Friday, May 31, 2013

It feels like I have so much to tell you from yesterday and today that I don't quite know where to start. So until I get all my words figured out, I would like to leave with you a couple cool pictures:

 The view from my awesome hotel room
 The theatre hall on my walk to dinner
 Walking across the bridge
The Pirates ball park at dusk

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Secrets and groaners

Can I let you in on a little secret? I just finished packing my bags. No - not because I fly home tomorrow but something that is almost as fun. I am going into Pittsburgh tomorrow to spend the night. Now that it is so light out - I can still take a couple of hours to wander around and so thought I would take advantage of it.

I have an errand to run for mom on my way which works out perfectly. And then after that I am going to check into a beautiful hotel that I got a great rate at. I will valet the car. Then I will wander on down to this most delicious restaurant (I will be sure to tell you all about that later).  I have been scouring the menu to pick the best 'clean' meal (yes - there is a story behind those rabbit ears; I will be sure to tell you about that later as well). And, of course, I have to stop to take a photo of my magnolia tree. You will love it.

After a delightful night sleep, I will get up a bit early to do some work and then pack my things before I head out again. This time I apparently need to try out Pittsburgh's famous sandwich shop - again scouring for my 'clean' option. I'm planning on a little more wandering, people watching and a stop or two before I need to jet back to the airport to start the trek home. 3 flights - that's not so bad!

And in closing - you already know that I appear to be the type of person which others feel comfortable opening up to. And as such - I got a joke for you from my local Safeway employee (hmmm hhhmmmm - another story)

What do you call a bear with no teeth . . . ???







Wait for it






Scroll







Keep scrolling






It is coming . . .






Just a little further







A gummy bear . . . !!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fresh off the Boat

One of the delights in being with Jimmy is that I get to call 3 of Canada's most beautiful provinces home.

Saskatchewan will always be home for me although you probably often hear me call it 'The Farm'. It brings with it natural expanse, beautiful sunsets, big skies, gorgeous fields of blue and yellow fluttering in the wind. It has stunning valley's and gorgeous wildflowers. It's lakes are always begging for you to stop by with a picnic.

Alberta is my current beloved home. It welcomes me with its majestic mountains and deep deep blue waters. Driving through the ranchlands in the foot hills never fails to make me fumble for my camera and try to snap a million pictures. It's incredible views from mountain tops and glimpses of Calgary's gorgeous downtown all lit up make me smile every time I see them.

Nova Scotia is the latest to add itself to my repertoire of home. Gorgeous ocean bays calling for me to take a dip. Bountiful trees and hills. The scent of the sea water lingering in the air. Lighthouses and rock faces. And, of course, fishing boats and delicious fresh lobster.

While those who come from any of these spots I call home can't bring me mountains or sunsets, they can bring lobster. So when C. Ann was home for a week, she packed her bags full and picked Jimmy and I as two of the lucky ones to partake in the feast! Delicious.

Also - take note - C. Ann makes the best seafood chowder I have ever had. Yes, yes she does!!!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Anne of Green Gables

We went to Anne on Saturday night. Wow - it was so very good. It had all the familiar characters. The pain and humor. The sadness and joy. The actors did such a fantastic job and the set, well the set was stunning! I wish I could have had a chance to take another picture or two but I barely snuck in the one with Anne and Dianna below. Suffice it to say, if they were trying to portray the beauty of PEI through the set - they did a fabulous job!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunny Sunday's

Today is a perfectly spectacular day.

Why you wonder?

Well . . . let me tell you

1. It is delightfully sunny out

2. Jimmy and I are about to head outside and do some lovely yard work

3. C. Ann is home with fresh lobster for us

4. I have a delicious potato salad and dessert to make

5. I am leaving all house work for next weekend (don't think less of me - Jimmy is off to his boys golf trip this week and the house can last through the next couple of days)

6. Life is good and we are so very blessed

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I have an alarm

I was up and off to the airport bright and early this morning for my 7 am flight. And early morning fly days seem to guarantee that I don't get the best sleep the night before so I am often a touch groggy. Today was no exception.

The reason I am off to the airport today as opposed to tomorrow is that I am taking part in a big sales presentation. This is my first sales presentation with Structure and I am not going to lie, I am a little bit nervous. As I love the sales part of a project life cycle, I really want to do well, and so that is adding to the twinge of anxiousness that I am feeling.

As always, the line up for an early morning here is crazy! And as always, I zip past all the waiting passengers to get into my frequent flyer line and feel a little bit guilty. I take off my belt as I am waiting to get my passport scanned. The bag is open and the liquids container is ready to grab. I have truly become quite efficient at getting myself through security. Shoes off - check. Nothing in pockets - check. Wearing the right jewelry and clothes so as to not set off an alarm - check.

Through the scanner I go - all is passed - but lucky me - I am chosen for a hand swab. Sure - no problem. Swab away.

'Alarm. You alarmed. I have an alarm!' the TSA quickly spits out. You can see the frantic feelings crossing her face as I am feeling completely calm thinking that they will swab a couple things and we will be good.

'BANG!!!' a tray topples over to the ground right by my feet. The personal effects are so backed up that the pressure of all the bags coming through the scanner causes a tray to flip over and land on the ground. Trying not to laugh (as I found this part really funny) the entire airport does the collective lightning fast head twist and stares at me. 'You alarmed!' she is still saying. 'I have an alarm!' Ah the irony.

The TSA agent continues to call on her collar walky talky oscillating between 'I have an alarm' and 'You alarmed'. Finally an agent comes to help her. It takes three people to gather all my belongings as they lead me in my bare feet into a janitor/private screening closet. The floor is filthy and there is not much room for 3 of us. The gentleman drops my trays and goes back to his post as the one lady closes the door. The last time I was in this situation, I had just landed in Dubai and I was quite confident that this could not be worse.

The one lady, let's call her Alice, begins to pat me down. Alice instructs me to face the other lady, we will call her Bertha. (Bertha is also the lady who did my initial swab) Alice is quite delightful, she speaks in a calm voice and calls me honey throughout the process. She asks me to watch my bags as Bertha unleashes her fury upon them. I barely notice the pat down as she checks every pattable area on my body.

Bertha though? Well first she swabs my computer. Then she moves onto my shoes. Next is the laptop bag. (As a side note, please be aware that just because I travel with carry-on does not mean I travel light; I have been on the road for a week people; you need clean clothes!)Well she roots this way and that way. My fedora is crushed. My papers are crumpled. My chords are all disheveled. Finally she feels like she has a decent sample from my laptop bag. Alice comes back in and indicates - I'm clean.

But Bertha is not convinced. Next up - my suitcase. Bertha struggles lifting my suitcase to the counter to the point where Alice comes over to take an end. She plops the whole thing precariously on top of my shoes. Now everything is teetering this way then that. she opens the first zipper to find some dirty laundry. Into the pocket with dirty laundry her arm goes swabbing all over. Then she opens the main compartment. Knee highs in travel bobbles go flying. Undergarments are poking this way and that in the wake of her swabbing. Alice is back again with the swabs and is finding that I continue to check out clean.

Bertha is not taking chances! She pulls out my flip flops and proceeds to put the dirty bottoms all over my dress pants. She makes a comment about needing to do all my shoes. Oh dear - keep digging. I have two more pairs of shoes in there - I am a girl after all. She is pushing and shoving things around. My brush is snagging on a sweater. I can't take it any more. I meekly say 'Excuse me; If it would help, perhaps you can take a few things out. I have a presentation today and would like to keep those pants clean." I pray a silent prayer that wasn't too forward or inappropriate. Bertha snaps her head up - giving me a stunned look. "Oh sure, sure" she says. Do you want the flip flops here? There?

I smile and thank her for understanding.

Alice takes the last of the swabs.

I am clean.

They open the door.

I put on my shoes.

I gather my two trays, bag and suitcase myself and walk out to a counter.

Sigh.

I open the bags and begin to put everything back in order.

Bertha is off to her post knowing she did her job thoroughly.

My pants only had one spot. I was able to rinse it out.

And now - off to that big presentation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy Hump Day

Wednesday's are for celebrating everything you accomplished this week and looking forward to 2 more days to get the rest of what you need to do done.

And this week Wednesday is my Thursday as I am actually gonna make it home Thursday night! (Insert wild applause here)

So as a result, I am already looking forward to the weekend . . . won't be quite as perfect as last weekend, I am sure. However, it does entail fresh lobster (sure hope that can be considered a clean meal . . . but don't tell me if it isn't Sarah!); tickets to Anne the musical; an evening with great friends; working on the flower beds and catching up on sleep!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

America's Pastime

Baseball is a sport that I grew up with. I didn't grow up playing it, per say. Oh sure there was the family reunion games, the youth group games and of course 'spring training' during phys-ed class. A camping trip was not complete without Dad, Trevor and I packing our gloves and playing a game of catch and we spent more than one summer evening in the yard catching pop-ups while dad or Trev batted balls out.

But through all that, I never loved playing ball. I wasn't great at batting. Oh I gave it a go and came up swinging. And when I did tip the ball, it rarely went past the infield which meant my only chance to get on base was to run like the wind or hope for an error. Playing the field meant playing far far far out. Which still wouldn't be far enough out when the farm boys came up to bat. So of course that meant more running hoping I don't trip in a gopher hole. And then throwing as hard as possible as the token 'cut off' infielder would run out to the middle cause there was no way my throw was making it back to first or second or let's face it, usually third. Third only because I was certainly not quick enough to catch that big farm boy at first or second base. And catching - I was pretty good at catching - but my hands are delicate flowers - and so having the hard ball slam onto that sensitive padding would always cause a stinging sensation I never loved. I would much rather play with Dad as he would listen to my pleas to take it easy on me. But of course Trevor was the more willing partner in crime and so more than a few games of catch ended with me being mad at Trev and stomping off. (Yes, I maybe had the odd temper tantrum growing up).

I don't want you to get the idea that I disliked sports growing up. I quite loved basketball. Oh I could shoot hoops for ever. And I didn't mind the odd volleyball game - well truthfully - I really liked volleyball. Frisbee, now that is something that I loved catching. No matter how much it hurt my delicate hands. Figure skating? Well let's just say I was self-taught but I could twirl for hours on the dugout as I belted out my karaoke version of Buddy Holly's Everyday! So it wasn't the fact that baseball was a sport. But there was just something about it that I didn't love playing.

Not only was baseball an activity to fill the lazy nights of summer, it was also on the TV a lot. Most Sunday afternoons, you could find mom and dad relaxing and cheering on the Blue Jays. Grandpa had this old black and white TV that was so fuzzy even with the rabbit ears, we couldn't find the ball after it was hit but that didn't stop him from tuning into the ball game (well that and Shirley, but that is a story for another time). When the Blue Jays came to Taylor field to show off their skills, we were there cheering them on. A couple of my biggest 'star' crushes were ball players: Jose, Kelly G and Roberto were so cute!

Yup, ball filled many a summer in its variety of forms. And through it all - I have learned to love watching baseball. Watching the big boys on TV or going to a minor professional game. I enjoy it all. My first live baseball game was with a girlfriend at the Seattle Mariners long before I was dating Jimmy. My love for baseball is certainly authentic and that makes it extra sweet now that I have a boy travelling partner for many of my adventures.

So when it was suggested we go to a Rangers game this weekend, I was all up for it. Add in two of our favorite couples joining us. First row seats right above the score board. A winning team. A back catcher that I have a soft spot for. Gorgeous weather. A lazy Sunday evening. And you have the perfect setting to revel in America's pastime!




I love baseball (and my dear friend Kristen) so very much that I even found myself posing with the mascot. Yup - that is how much of a good mood catching a lovely baseball game puts me in!

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Garden

We are so very blessed with great friends in our life! Friends who live near and friends who live far. Friends who we have known for 'ever' and those that are somewhat new to our lives. Friends we see almost every day. And friends we don't. And so this week, this bright sunshiney lovely week I dedicate to all of you friends.

I know I am not always the best at reaching out. I know I am sometimes shy. I sometimes ask too many questions and oh so often not enough questions. I forget. I overbook. I miss important dates.  But I want you each to know - not a day goes by without thinking of you. You name is not mentioned without a smile. Your presence makes things just a little more right.

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever.”
― Alfred Tennyson

Music does a soul good

We headed to Texas this weekend to visit some dear friends. These dear friends have a common love of good music and Dave is on their favorites list. So it was perfect that we could all enjoy the second show in the Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour. The concert was a perfect addition to an already perfect weekend!