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!