Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009- A Yuletide Mission!

With the year scurrying to an end, we decided to hold a yuletide Christmas, complete with all the festivities we could find in e-town. Janice, Sean, Stephanie, Meghan, Bonnie and I began our quest with an attempt to see Christmas Reflections at Fort Edmonton Park, a cute, old fashioned Christmas complete with sleigh ride and bakeries. Nearly sold out a month in advance, we were forced to skip this event - who would have thought old-fashioned Christmas was fashionable?

Christmas Baking Night - Sapna's Place, Dec. 20th

From Christmas bake sales and markets to attempts at skating in -19 degree Celsius weather, our mission was a half-success. Baking at my pl
ace was a blast - armed with an assembly of kitchen gifts, five recipes and puppy treats for Kiara, we concocted a smorgasbord of cookies - most of which we conveniently donated to office lunch rooms. Too many calories for more than one night! We ended the night watching the classic The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Charlie Brown Christmas after eating too many treats and red wine.

Kiara and the gang watching on our Grouchy Wine Night (Meghan, Janice, Bonnie, Steph B, Bonnie, Sapna, Meghan, Sean)

Christmas Day, December 25th - Kiara opens her first gifts

I think her visit to Santa was by far the cutest picture!

Boxing Day Heaven!

Of course, the best part of the Christmas season -- after cranberry jelly -- is the free time to shop until you drop. With a two week hiatus from tutoring, and nearly a week off work, I had time to shop, read, cook, eat, and enjoy my puppy. 8 am on the 26th, Janice, Sean and I wer
e at West Edmonton Mall, clearing out Firoz's discontinued Sicily line - 90% off $200 sweaters!!! Not to mention the superior service, including the fashionistas that showed us exactly how to "bunch" a sweater at the ends and keep us looking taller and skinnier.

Rutherford House, Edmonton's historic site is last on the list - and takes most of us back to the our elementary school field trip days. A piece of Edmonton's history with a Christmas holiday touch - we're meeting tomorrow afternoon in the Arbour Restaurant for High Tea.

Happy New Year everyone - here's to a great start to the next decade!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Puppy Love!

*Facebook users, please scroll down and click View Original Post on the bottom RH corner of the "note" to read this properly!!!

After two days of frustration running after, correcting, and crate training my puppy, I was in love. A Mensa puppy according to the vet, Kiara learned to knock at the door when she had to use the bathroom, on the third day. Sit, Come, Down and Stay are all good...although we are still working on "Fetch" and warming her up to her kennel! To those non-dog lovers, skip this entry, it has little to do with adventurous travel - but can you resist the eyes of a little puppy?

"Wow, this car is the perfect bed...zzzzz"

"Tug of war is the best game ever - even with a blanket - why can't I play it with my leash??!"

We picked her up from the breeder in Calgary and she slept the whole way home! Shaking with nervousness, she accepted her new life away from her siblings. While the first two nights were hell - yelling so loud I could barely believe it! Something so tiny makes that much noise?! When beside any gentle human, she is in bliss. Leave the room and she cries - but she's learning!

Kiara - Gaelic for "little black haired one", camouflaged on my couch.

Training books suggest that you make a kennel super comfortable, so I bought a baby dog bed with cozy stuffing, a new toy, and treats, trying to entice her into the kennel. She's too smart though...what does she do? The second me or my roommate let her out of the kennel - she slams the door closed. Seconds later, she realizes "Wait, all the cool stuff is in there!" , runs back, drags out her ball, dog bed, and blanket, one at a time, and places them in the living room where I'm watching tv.

Me and my baby after her first bath

"I feel all fuzzy like a cat!"

Crawling under the table for a den - "Chewing the bone is hours of fun!...well, hours divided into minutes where I switch to chewing my rubber ball, blanket, and occasionally something I know I'm not supposed to, like my mom's shoes! I keep out of her closet though...that is out of bounds!"

"This is the table I like to den under, after I drag my flavour of the moment-toy around the entire table a few times and settle on a spot"

"A kennel? You're kidding, right? I'm staying right here with you"

Unless of course there'se a baby around. Kiara LOVES's like she knows she's baby too. Check out this pic (coming soon!) of Kiara and Sheena's three month old daughter, Alyssa, chilling in the baby rocker. We were at a coffee shop on the weekend (yes, I take her everywhere), and she whined when the kids who were petting her went on their way..."why can't I go play with you???")

Kiara loves to exercise and seems to have endless energy, even though she is let out at least twice a day. Every morning at 6:30 am, we go on a 45 minute walk/jog (She's more fit than I am...and at lunch hour I'm back again to play for an hour. Not to mention the hour in between work and tutoring, and two hours before bed. I think I'll have to join The Running Room's running club). At least the one online, so I can schedule the interval minutes in. She's a crowd-pleaser though, so on the weekends it gives me a chance to slow down - I even found a hair salon (The Hair Station) who said it'd be fine to bring her while she gave me a stylish cut...will have to try that!

Well it looks like I've taken on a different type of adventure. Don't worry though, this blog isn't going anywhere. Her kennel has a 5 year warranty and is international major airline approved, so I'll be sure that she's coming with me for long term travels (ahem...Europe!)!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Oktoberfest to Rocktoberfest - Prost!

Decidedly different, the Shaw's annual Oktoberfest to Rocktoberfest was a great way to spend Halloween. From halloweeners, to beer girls, to the costume-shy, a mix of people (very few Germans!) created an amazing night. Kristin, Sean, Connie, Carol and I rung in Halloween with cheer. While the menu was German, they ironically only had Canadian beer - Where's the Erdinger Weissbier?!

Settling with our Molson Canadian, we enjoyed the crazy way they moved from traditional German polka dancers to a night of rock. While the veggie fare was limited to pretzles, spatzel and black forest cake (unfortunately just Save-on Foods brand) - and Canadian beer- the event made up for it in its flair. I may have to join the bandwagon and make this an annual event!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Perfect Housewarming Party

On October 24th, 2009 I threw my first houseparty, with quite the turnout (facebook replies, you lie!). A simple affair of 30 people, a smorsborg of Halloween cupcakes, tiramisu, crackers, Crispy Minis and various cheeses - and enough alcohol to feed an army - it was perfect. The infamous flu kept a few away from the fun, but it was a great mix of friends from everywhere. Unfortunately, the picture collection is slim, and doesn't even include half of those there...but we were too busy drinking ;)

From Big Shiny Tunes 14 to various radio stations to ecletic MTV, our background noise ranged from music to the Oilers vs. Flames hockey game. My cupboard is now stocked with wines of all kinds, gin, tonic, regular Coke that awaits its Bacardi companion, and collections of beer.

From top left: Steph, Sean, Ryan, James, Kendra

Bottom Row: Tracy, Lindsay, Kendra, Katie, Steph, Janice, Meghan

After weeks of rearranging dates and planning, it finally turned out a success. Expecting only a handful of people, I had a houseful. Maybe Shakespeare said it best

"Expectation is the root of all heartache"

You all know what this means...houseparties, bring it on! There will be more, bigger and better than the last!

P.S. If you need a good realtor, I can hook you up ;) Thanks James for helping me find my first home!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ottawa & Gatineau: Our Capital, Multicultural City!

A whirlwind long weekend in Ottawa proved to be an adventure! Very Edmonton-like in its atmosphere, minus the tough trucks and lack of Autumn foliage, Ottawa's uniqueness brings a hint of French culture to a small Canadian city. Speaking simultaneously in French and English, residents switch from one to the other as if they were the same - a wonder I wish other cities had.

Lorina & I wandered the market-ridden streets like Dalhousie, boutique shops on Murray and York, and the classic city centre mall called Rideau. Friday evening I tried my first Beavertail ; a deep fried resemblant of the elephant-ear desserts at the Scandivanian tents at Heritage Days.

Saturday we embarked on a 12 km hike in Gatineau, Quebec. Although the Ottawa transit system is far superior to Edmonton's, and includes an amazing bus-only lane and $3 ride to the airport, we did find it difficult to find someone who could tell us how to get to Gatineau sans auto. After way too many detours, we arrived for our hike and shivered our way to see bright autumn colours and Pink Lake's scenery.

Monday, I decided to explore the city as Lorina headed back to the office - unfortunately I was a week too much into off-peak season, and museums were closed Mondays! I hear the Canada War Museum is a site to see. The Royal Mint and Change of Guards are worth it too; I saw it 14 years ago but it was memorable. In lieu of the museums and art galleries, I created my own historical walking tour, showcased in the slideshow below.

Just a simple weekend of breakfast at Cora's, which was good but uncharacteristically cold (Lorina tells me her Lucie breakfast was not up to par), buying jewelry at markets, and coffee with Lorina's friends - it was an excellent break from my hectic lifestyle. I even had the opportunity to meet Dennis and Naomi again at Royal Oak pub near Ottawa University, in another mini Singapore reunion - this time not halfway across the world!

After Canmore & Seattle this summer, small weekend trips seem ideal; maybe I'll make it a bi-monthly tradition!

Check out the slideshow ! Facebook users, please click View Original Post at the top of the "note", as facebook does not support embedding video.