Monday, December 21, 2009

I wish cars were like clothes

Unfortunately, adorning your car with the staples isn't quite as fun as fixing up your closet with the same.

Nope, the staples of a car....like brakes, master cylinders, struts and the like just aren't any fun. Imagine if it was, though?

If I could strip my car down to its skivvies and then start layering on what fits best and looks the sharpest, regular car maintenance would be a cinch! I can picture it now: oh, a naked wheel thing? Let's dress it up with a brake pad. Perfect!

What's that? An oil leak? Can I see your assortment of patterned seals? Thank you, I think I'll take the Burberry one.

As I write this post, thinking more and more about how car maintenance could be more fun for girls, I think I may just be on to something.

Screw Canadian Tire and Lordco, I'm heading to Holt Renfrew for my next tune up.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Old people are funny

My granny is the sweetest great grandmother I know, even when she tells you the same story three times in a 60 minute period, even when she toots getting in and out of the car, even when she slices bread unevenly.

At 91 years old, she still lives on her own in a little two-bedroom apartment.

She's the cutest little thing ever, but when I called her the other day, she was getting pretty feisty on the ol' telephone. And just what had her up in arms, do you ask? Well, the "big guys" had moved the post office from its own little spot behind the dental office to [insert gasp] the drug store! And not just to the drug store, to the back of the drug store so "you have to walk right across the store, just to get your mail."
While I had to sympathize with Granny, I had to hide my smirk the entire conversation. It was the cutest thing ever. When I asked her to tell me the story, she obliges.

"Well, Canada Post says that they're not getting as much mail anymore. Everyone's faxing and e-mailing, so there isn't as much going through the system."

Yes, Granny, everyone's just faxing up a storm these days - LOL.

She continues.

"Everyone's so mad about it. And I don't blame them. You can't get any parking by the drug store as it is, now it's going to be even harder with everyone going in to get their mail. And they didn't just put it in the drug store, they put it way at the back by the pharmacy. Everyone's carrying their parcels all the way through the store. Oh and in this weather, everyone's trapsing through the whole store and just making a mess of the floor. I was in there today and it was just awful. Just a mess."

Unfortunately for Enderby, it does suck that they had to move the post office, but the folks who don't e-mail or "fax" are having a hard time understanding that buildings cost money. I would have to agree with Canada Post on this one - it was time to move from their own building.

But, before all the Enderbyites start hammering me for my support, I will also agree with my Granny Mildred that the drug store probably wasn't the smartest place to put the post office.

I mean, after all, who wants to see a dirty floor when they go in to pick up their Christmas packages?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Billy and Barks

Barkley (right) is already teaching his foster brother, Billy, bad habits.

Pretty cute though, hey?

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lost it!

Well, Kelsey pointed it out: I failed!

In all honesty, December was a pretty silly month to start NaMoBloPo (aka a post a day for an entire month).

But, just because I actually have enjoyed challenging myself to come up with topics that don't necessarily have to do with my everyday life, I'll continue to write daily for the rest of the month.

Obviously I'm not going to make any promises, but I will try my hardest to remember.

I have to keep remembering to do it at night because, unlike branch administrators and newspaper journalists, I can't post from my work desk.

Wish me luck for the rest of the month...and thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

We attract only the finest employees

During the latest "boom" here in Fort McMurray, anyone with a heartbeat could land a job. Tim Hortons and Wal-Mart were paying people somewhere in the neighbourhood of $17 an hour to take orders and count change. This isn't the first time you're reading about this, I know, but I'm feeling the need to do a small rant that combines the labour shortage with my hatred of grammatical blunders.

Over the past few months, there have been three distinct things that have annoyed me about various radio stations up here. I'm sure there are more, but there are three that stand out, specifically.


#1: The mispronunciation of "address".

In a radio advertisement airing for a woman who was going to give a little spiel about social media at the college, the voice person pronounced address like he was writing numbers on an envelope:"Come hear Lady Soandso as she gives a global ADD-ress on social media...".

Are you fucking kidding me? It's ad-DRESS on social media, you moron. I don't want to send social media a postcard, I want to hear a speech about it.

Now, mispronouncing it is one thing, but this ad surely had to go through other people before airing. How did this grammatical blunder sneak through?

#2: Two hockey commentators announcing the local Junior 'A' Oil Barons game with various phrase screw-ups and then this beauty: "the goalie certainly isn't showing signs of uncomposure, that's for sure".

What are you TALKING ABOUT?! Uncomposure? How about he's staying composed, he's maintaining his composure, he's doing a great job backing up his teammates, he's standing strong in the net, he isn't looking shaky, etc. etc. etc. Now, I know it's live radio, but come on.

The two announcers also went back and forth about what phrase to use after a player from the opposing team lambasted an Oil Baron and received a game misconduct. "You know how it is, 'you make your bed, now you have to lie in it', or, i think that's how the saying goes, or 'you do the crime, you have to serve the time'. The other announcer backs him up, "I'm not sure what it is, but I'm sure there's a saying in there somewhere."

Ugh. I promptly switched the radio station.

#3: The radio guy who emphasizes the wrong words.

About six months ago I was driving to work with my co-worker and good friend, Kristen, when the most annoying radio announcer came on to the station (Rock 97.9) to deliver the morning headlines. I immediately picked up on his improper accenting and became seriously annoyed.

"In today's news: Xcompany ANNOUNCED today that their unnamed PROJECT would be delayed indefinitely. Spokesperson Tom Harry BACKED UP their release by saying they REMAINED committed to the COMMUNITY."

I'm sure that I'm not showing you just how bad it is, but every single time I hear this guy read the news on the radio, I have to change the channel because he continually emphasizes the wrong parts of the sentences. "Today the ALBERTA GOVERNMENT announced it had RUN out of H1N1 vaccines. People who have NOT YET received their vaccines will now have to wait for more to ARRIVE." Now, but accenting the last word, the listener automatically thinks there's more to come, but nope, it always just ends. There's no quote from a spokesperson, or anything.

The way he accents the end of the sentence, is almost how you would talk if you were asking a question: The Alberta government did WHAT?. SO annoying.

What's worse? He has now changed jobs and reads the news for my favourite radio station. FML.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Teen Moms

I know MTV isn't known for having the most educational programming out there, but every now and again you can take a little something away from one show or another.

Today's nugget came from the show Teen Moms. And just what was that nugget? It was this: never have a child!


Okay, that might sound a little harsh, and I probably will have kids one day (breathe out, Mom), but for now, I'm content just taking care of me, the Brodster and the Barkster.

If you've never seen the show, it profiles various teenage mothers (who look as though they range in age from 15 to 18) and their boyfriends/fiancees (who look like they're about 12 years old for the most part). Some of these young ladies have chosen to keep and raise their children, and others have put theirs up for adoption.

Just watching the ones try to deal with their babies on a day-to-day basis stresses me out.

If I had it my way, I would select a child from an assembly line and then be able to put it away when I didn't want to play with it anymore. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my future child(ren)), that scenario isn't really accepted "socially".

I know that I'm older than these girls and some of the things they do are definitely highs chool-ish, but they also really do take care of kids (i use the term "take are" loosely). Seeing the little kids squawk and bawk makes me want to do the same thing.

Aah...I wonder if this feeling will pass? I sure hope so!

In the meantime, I'm going to PVR Teen Moms just to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Illegal weather?

If mother nature could commit crimes, I'd be throwing her ass in the slammer for this one.

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Admitting you have a problem is the first step

My name is Lanette Lundquist and I have a problem. I have a wedding file.

There, I said it. A wedding file, complete with magazine tearouts of cakes, favour ideas, table settings and other things one would want to see at her wedding.

I never really thought this was a big deal until my sister said she'd run in the opposite direction whenever I announce I'm getting married so she can avoid bridezilla. Immediately after hearing her comment, I asked Brody if he thought I would be a bridezilla. His response? "I hope not." Followed by: "I'm sure you'll get stressed and bitchy". And then: "It's bound to happen if you marry the coolest guy on earth. Aka me." Aahh...okay. Thanks for making me feel better, babe.


Following this conversation, I revealed to a male friend of mine that I had a wedding file. His response? "Definitely bridezilla material."

Great. Unfortunately for me, it sounds like those unlucky women I want to stand beside me during one of the most important days of my life, may not want the job.

But honestly, I don't think I'll be a bridezilla. Wanna know why? Because I have THE WEDDING FILE! My wedding is basically planned - minus a few minor details (i.e. proposal, ring and groom).

After a day or two of giving this some serious thought, I basically forgot all about it. Well, kind of.

I remembered I had this account at a fantastic site called theknot.com. I decided to sign in (it took me one try to remember username and password). Guess what I found after I logged on? An immediate redirection to a site called "thenest.com" with a message that said "You've been married for 1,226" days.

Oh my lord. I DOOOO have a problem. Or, at least I did. Apparently I thought my target wedding date would be August 17, 2006.

Well, somewhere along the way, my plan went awry. But, as much as I hate it when things don't go according to plan, I'm okay with this one falling off track.

I wouldn't have been ready to get married on August 17, 2006 (even if I did have the favours, colours, napkins, cake and food picked out [jk]). The person I am today is different than the girl who was planning her wedding in 2002/3.

In fact, the next time I'm in Calgary, I might just track down that wedding file and empty it out. Start fresh. Because you know, I'm sure my taste in dresses has changed in the last six years.

And in case you're interested, it sounds like I'm going to have to start a recruiting campaign for the positions of Maid of Honour and bridesmaids. Tell your friends.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The internet and me

I am sad to admit the internet could consume me. It could literally open its wide jaws and swallow me whole.

Seriously, I am fascinated with the amount of information in cyberspace. I could head to Google to find a substitute for cornstarch and, two hours later, find myself still staring at the screen, only I'd now be reading Hillary Clinton's thoughts on Obama's new committments to Afghanistan. Or, I'd settle in to update my financial spreadsheets and end up reading about ETFs, RSUs and TSXs for hours on some money management blog.


Maybe it's my quest for learning, or maybe it's my tendency to be easily distracted, I"m not sure. If I really think about it, it's probably more likely related to my lack of social life at present time, but the only thing I know for sure is that my laptop should be deemed off limits for a while.

I have to go back to the time when it was okay to wonder about things. To be uncertain. To fly by the seat of my pants. Actually, now that I think about it, is it even possible to "go back" to flying by the seat of your pants if you've never actually done that before?

Let me see what Google says...

Monday, December 7, 2009

The YMCA in Fort McMurray

Dear Fort McMurray:

Please, oh please, will you construct a new leisure centre and/or fitness centre in Timberlea?

I am tired of going to the YMCA dungeon to work out. While I appreciate they do the best they can with the resources they have, the place is just not fit for purpose. There are no windows. The ventilation is less than ideal. The equipment - the pieces from 1979 and the ones from 2009 - is broken too often. There is only one squash court and the place is so busy after 6 p.m. that it's almost pointless going there because you can't get a full workout in unless you stick around for three hours waiting for equipment.


We pay a good fee ($57 a month) for a facility that isn't fully operational. I shouldn't have to see six treadmills and four ellipticals "down for maintenance" in December with signs on them from October.

What happens to our $ every month? Surely my membership fee alone could have paid for some new dumbbells. Or a few months of a few of our memberships could pay for some maintenance people to get up here and fix the cardio equipment.

Oh wait, the young guy at the desk did tell me they were going to paint it downstairs. Unfortunately, you know what they say about putting lipstick on a pig...

Part of me feels guilty for writing this and putting down the facility, but the other part of me is angry that I have to pay such a fee for a facility that doesn't seem to be well taken care of.

Just where does my $57 go every month? At least if there was a premium facility in Thickwood/Timberlea, the Y would be forced to step up their game a little.

Until then, I'll put the pressure on in my own passive aggressive way and continue paying my monthly fee.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's Christmas time in the city

Since I'll be a gift making and baking machine today, I thought I would phlog as opposed to blog.

Here's what I will turn into beautifulllll gifts for my friends in Fort McMurray.

I'll post an "after" photo so you can see what I made outta this mess of ingredients.

As a side note, for anyone wanting to go the inexpensive and thoughtful route for Christmas, homemade gifts like this, while more meaningful, are no less expensive...(at least if you grocery shop in Fort McMurray :) )

Best wishes everyone. Let the holiday season begin!

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Take that, you southerners

To all of you people who criticize us and call us crazy for living in this "god-forsaken dirthole" of Fort McMurray, I would like to tell you all to stuff it.

As those in the southern part of the province struggle with four-foot-high snow drifts and shutdown highways, we are enjoying (fairly) clear skies. Sure, it's chilly, but it's not unbearable.


Up here, we have come to terms that winter has begun.

We do not cry when it snows three inches (we celebrate that it's not six or eight or ten).*

We do not mope when it's -20 outside (because when the wind hits and it's -20 here, it's actually -30).*

We do not spend the better part of the winter months criticizing our city's inability to clear snow.*

While I can't exactly say we all embrace the winters here--because trust me, they do suck-- we live with them. We know they arrive in November/Decemberish and end in Aprilish.

However, the one great thing about the winters here is that they make you appreciate every single morsel of sunshine and warm weather between May and September. Seriously, few people appreciate summer like the people here.

In the heart of the summer months, it's broad daylight in the wee hours of the morning (I can't tell you how many times I've sat straight up in my bed afraid I was late for work, only to glance at my alarm clock and see that it's 4 a.m.), and it's light out until 11 p.m. (at least). It's nice to be able to start double-header baseball games at 6 p.m. in April on fields with no lights.

Another point I'd like to make is that many people who live here can afford to take a winter vacation to help break up the cold weeks. I know there are many who can't, but it's definitely a perk if you can plan your dollars properly to enjoy this winter indulgence.

So, before I end up ranting about how much I like this place (because, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, I've kind of fallen for it), I'll stop here and tell you all to re-think the next time you want to bash us for living up here.

*denotes the fact I may perform this action in future without any backlash from readers

Friday, December 4, 2009

Shout outs!

Blogging comes and goes in waves for me. I post often, then I post rarely. But one thing stays the same: I never take a break from reading blogs.

A few of my favourites include:

The Kelsey Chronicles
Blog Voyeur turned Blogwhore

Classic Times (although this would be 10x better if I could actually RSS it into Google Reader)
Bethis
The Rest is Still Unwritten

Million Dollar Journey

I will link to these tomorrow since I'm typing this on my BlackBerry as I listen to machine guns and hand grenades going off upstairs.

Don't think for a second I don't hate Call of Duty as much as my sister.

It's like I live in Afghanistan.

FML.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tricker

Here's my second post for tonight - only to tell you I'm not actually going to post a real post.

I'm tired and need my beauty sleep.

Tricked ya!

Whoopsy!


One day into my quest to post every single day for the month of December and I fail. Terrible.

Why did I fail, you ask? Well, I wish I had a great answer like my house blew up, or aliens stole my internet connection, but the truth of the matter is that I simply forgot.

Between packing up my belongings for my nearly two-week housesitting and petsitting gig, getting to the house, acquainting myself with the dog, feeding her, walking her and unpacking my junk, blog posting slipped my mind.

So, to make up for it, I'm bringing you two posts for today. Here's post #1...

Title: Loss of an idol

This week, thousands of people around the world lost a hero as one of the most powerful, influential and inspirational sportsmen was labeled a cheater (and apparently, rightfully so). Their dreams of seeing Tiger Woods surpass the records set by class-act Jack Nicklaus, deflated. Their memories of green jackets, Ryder cups and one of the strongest father-son bonds ever televised, all washed away, replaced with an image of a cheating husband and father.

As I sit back and wait for the flood of late-night jokes to pour in, I am left to wonder just where Tiger went wrong.
Sure, he's had his fair share of critics over the last decade or so. He cursed at missed putts, dropped drivers after wayward tee shots and even threw clubs following shanked approach shots. But, through it all, few could deny is insatiable hunger for victory, his intense competitiveness and his unwavering dedication to the game of golf.

He inspired thousands to pick up a club and head to their local courses and even more to turn their TVs to the golf channel on championship Sundays.

I am one of those thousands. Golf became exciting when Tiger entered the scene. A teenager beating old men at their own game. The Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby of the links. Along with the rest of North America, I took notice.

Photo courtesy: Lawrence Donegan's Golf Blog

Now, after years of watching him hunt down pack leaders on Sunday afternoons, I am waiting to see how he emerges from this latest challenge. He's down more than a few strokes this time.

The other interesting part of this story is the overwhelming amount of support Tiger is receiving. Newspaper articles are riddled with readers' comments: "He's only human" "Let him deal with his mistakes in privacy" "We still love you Tiger".

I can't recall a time when a celebrity husband and father of two young children has received so much support following a scandal like this one. And this goes beyond a one-time slip up. We're talking about an alleged 31-month affair.

If there's one thing I know for sure, though, it's that I won't be able to cheer for Tiger like I did before.

In this case, the moral compass beats out my appreciation for a competitive spirit.

Tiger, you've got some serious explaining to do.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just for you, mama.

For nine entire months, she let's you live inside her.

For the next 17.25 (approx.) years, she let's you live inside her house.

For the rest of your life, she will let you come back into her house if you ever needed to.

She, of course, is your mother, and I would like you all to know why mine is one of the greatest.

Here are ten things I love about my mom (whose birthday is today!).

1. She is the strongest woman I have ever met. She is one of few women who can hold everyone else up when all she wants to do is break down.

2. She can fix anything. Washing machines, dishwashers, recreation vehicles, hot tubs--you name it, she can repair it. Her nickname is MacGyver.

3. She will never admit it, but she is just like her mother. She is a fantastic cook, she gets sh*t done, and she doesn't like to admit she's wrong...and I love her for all of those traits.

4. She is the hardest worker you can imagine. Regardless of the job, she will give you 100% of her energy until the work is done. Now, if someone would just drop a great opportunity in front of her, I'd really appreciate it. She deserves it.

5. She never expects anything. She is surprised by a hug, a flower (or a dandelion), a cooked meal, or a phone call from a daughter.

6. She made the best birthday cakes. Over the years, I've enjoyed loonie-filled kitty cats, princesses with big skirts and even a sewing machine.

7. She has really great taste in men. Even though she turned him down for three years before she finally went out with him, she ended up falling in love with and marrying one of the best men to ever grace this earth - my daddy!

8. She is selfless. Like many mothers, my mom put the families needs before her own. She was gone long days sometimes, but all her hard work was for the family.

9. She is ambitious. Learning from her mom, she has an entrepreneurial spirit and a can-do attitude that not many people possess. You give her a challenge and she'll find a way to overcome it.

10. She is a great mom. She gave us enough rope to let us trip ourselves, but never hang ourselves. She shared her mistakes so we could learn from them. She taught us when she didn't think we were watching. She made it to every basketball, volleyball and softball game she could. Most of all, she gave her all.

Mom, I hope we make you proud.

Love you so much. Happy 48th Birthday.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A slow return

It seems like I just don't have anything interesting to write about...yet again.
I sometimes have these brilliant ideas when I'm out and about, running errands, having coffee, doing work, etc. But inevitably, I come home ready to blog, sit down at the computer, read my BlackBerry notes to see which idea I'm going to write about, and then suddenly, the novelty has worn off and the topics are bland.


This is why it's easier for me to photo-post. I know some of you find these boring and even go through my sister to give me a nudge to write a REAL post, but I guess I just need a little inspiration.

Where should I look for inspiration? The weather? Work? Crazy roommate antics?

I don't know for sure, but I know I'm going to start fleshing out topics that aren't necessarily about the day to day happenings of my life.

I know I've said this before, but if I don't do it now, this blog is going to die a slow and painful death. In fact, I already feel rigamortis setting in.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What not to do while making popcorn

For those of you who may have taken the "Bonnie Lundquist how-to-make-microwave-popcorn" class, here's evidence that you should NOT actually put a plate below the bag of popcorn to help "make sure all kernels pop".


Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Halloween

This was how halloween happened in FMM.


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Sunday, November 1, 2009

I am still alive!

Hello? Hellooooo? Anybody out there?

Whoa. I can't believe it's been this long since I've posted anything on here. I can't even really blame it on being busy. Sure, there's been quite a lot going on, but I've definitely had my fair share of downtime I could have used to write posts for your perusal.



So, just what has happened this month? Let's see. There was a trip to B.C. One family wedding. And my birthday. And a 10K race. Mom and Dad's anniversary. One superb birthday/housewarming bash in Fort McMurray. A motherload of work at the ol' office. And then, to top it all off, a sprinkle of Halloween. Ooh, and who can forget some amazing playoff baseball!

Here we go from the top:

The trip to B.C. - Brody and I drove from Calgary to Enderby on Friday, October 9. A fairly uneventful trip turned interesting on the otherside of Revelstoke when we lost our headlights. Well, we lost the low beams. After a short pause at the creepy truck stop between Revelstoke and Sicamous, we decided our problem was not fuse-related and therefore unfixable at that particular time. We highbeamed everyone between the truck stop and our final destination. Luckily it was later at night and there wasn't too much traffic on the road. Still, we pissed off our fair chair of fellow travelers, most of whom were driving large semis.

Wedding - A big congratulations to my little cousin Jenna and her new husband, Brett. The happy couple married in Salmon Arm on Saturday, October 10. It was a chilly, but gorgeous, fall day and the bride, bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen looked fab. It was nice to see some family and watch my 91-year-old great gramma get picked up in a bar (by an old drunk guy who was so well known at the establishment he had his mug framed on the wall). Unfortunately, we didn't get to see Granny cut the rug with the old dude.

My birthday/Mom and Dad's anniversary/10K race. These are grouped into one category because they all fell on the same day! October 11 was a busy one for the Lundquist and Ellis families. Brod and I had to leave the previous day's wedding early because we had to wake up at 5 a.m. on my birthday to prep for the race and then drive an hour and 10 mins to Kelowna. We made it in time, met up with his sister and brother-in-law and were off to the races...literally. Penni and I ran the 10K while Brendan joined the rest of the crazies for the full marathon. I clocked a time of 1:05:03, which was faster than I hoped, but a time I expect to improve the next time I run a 10k. Penni steamrolled through the 10K with a finish time of around 54 minutes and Brendan beat his 4 hour goal for the marathon by two seconds! Congrats to everyone.

After the race we enjoyed breakfast with Penni and then headed home to Enderby for a big turkey dinner with the rest of the family. The day ended with a few presents - for me and for my parents - and lots of laughter. I love being home for the holidays. Happy 29th Mom and Dad.

Housewarming and October birthday bash: October 24 marked the night when the young mixed...errr, sat along side...the old in a housewarming and birthday part at our new residence on O'Coffey Crescent. A good time was had by most of the attendees and the evidence of a good night littered the countertops the next morning. Happy Birthday to my fantastic friend and fellow birthday-er, Kristen Palmer. I should also use this space to send happy October birthdays to my great friend Dana Prevost, fellow blogger and proud daddy, Lars Konge, my bestest uncle J, and a host of others who celebrated their special days this month (Sheila, Kailyn, Scott, Brendan, and of course, my late and lovely, great grandpa - Grandad).

Mish mash: The rest of the October 'stuff' will fall into this category because this post is getting long and I'm getting bored (which surely isn't a good sign for the readers). Halloween was uneventful for me, but pretty eventful for others in my household. Kels dressed up like Lulu the Lemon (hopefully you can all make the connection there) and Scott was someone I'd never heard of until a few weeks ago - the Dos Equis man (who is apparently the [self-proclaimed?] most interesting man in the world? I dunno, it was weird to me :)). They both looked lovely and had a good time with a Facebook profile page, a gay cruise ship director/sailor, Tinkerbell, a mexican, a playboy bunny, Eve and Harry Potter. While they were out carousing, I enjoyed a quiet night in with a few girlfriends and a couple bottles of wine.

For those of you who have been watching the MLB post-season, you haven't been disappointed. Rarely have I seen a playoff stretch feature this many exciting baseball games. The only way I would like it even more was if the TO Blue Jays actually got to participate. In their absence, and due to my inability to cheer for the bought-and-paid-for, penant-winning Yankees, I am forced to cheer National League this year. Go Phillies.

Sorry for the long update my friends. I promise to refrain from going MIA in future.

PS - Because I feel like it, I'd like to share with you, one of my favourite quotes.

"In a world where celebrity equals talent and where makebelieve is called reality, it is most important to have real love, truth and stability in our lives."

Lord knows we could all use a little more of those.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

See ya later, grill!

It has been 17 months since the orthodontist in Vernon stuck a wire and hunks of porcelain across my top set of pearly whites and 16 months since he did the same thing, only with metal brackets, on the bottom set.

And now, after a year and a half of wire changing, short-term pain, and "F" slurring, I'm happy to report that I have only three more sleeps until these monstrosities are wrenched off my chicklets.


What will I do when they're finally off? I don't know...because I've done a lot of stuff I shouldn't have with braces on. I'm eaten toffee, I'm chewed candy, and I've munched on chicken wings and ribs (discretely and only in the comforts of my home, surrounded by my closest friends and family). I'm not planning to run out and sink my teeth into an apple, but I AM looking forward to the day when I can pick up an ice cream sandwich and just bite the damn thing (the same goes for sandwiches).

Other items that have proved difficult to consume since early 2008? Strawberries, salad (or anything with lettuce), apples, peaches, nectarines...the list could go on.

I am SO looking forward to WEdnesday afternoon when I finally don't have to worry about having lukewarm water by my side if I'm eating something that requires a "direct bite".

People have said that you can't psyche yourself up for the appearance of your teeth post-braces, but I don't care, I'll just be happy to have the damn things off. While I'm grateful that I didn't have to put up with a full mouth full of metal and hot-pink elastics for a year and a half, I did have to endure months upon months of corporate meetings (while in a brand new job). It'll be nice meeting people who may actually think I have some level of experience and credibility instead of them thinking I'm just a 14-year-old grade nine student who's there to "job shadow her mom".

That does bring me to the one thing I WILL miss when I'm brace free, and that's being asked "Who's younger, you or Kelsey?".

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Second place? Yes please!

While driving to work yesterday, I heard about one of the craziest—most dangerous—radio contests ever.

Now that a day has passed, I can’t remember what you had to do to win, but it was the prize itself that was most concerning. What would the winner take home? A $1,000 Tim Horton’s Gift Card…accompanied by a “Front of the Line” pass! This pass would allow you to march right up to the front counter, bypassing the entire line. Now I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the typical Tim Hortons-goer, but up here in Fort McMurray you’d be putting your life in your hands if you decided to play your Front of the Line card.

Seriously…can you honestly imagine walking past 15 (or more) 250-lb. shift workers who’d been standing in line at least 20 minutes?

The Front of the Line card sounds like a Meet Your Maker card to me.

This is one contest where I’d gladly take second place.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My intro to FMM

Many people have heard me talk about the crazy welcome mat Fort McMurray laid out for me last April, but I wanted to support my claim with photographic evidence.

This photo was taken April 20, 2008 at 11:47 a.m.


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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Supervising

I'm just making sure these boys do everything correctly while installing struts and swaybar links on my car.

Another day in the garage, no big deal.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Blue screen of death

This is never a good thing.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Game on!

Yesterday afternoon I answered a call on my cell phone from someone responding to my leaf blower/weed eater ad on Kijiji (a free classifieds site). The only problem? I don't own a leaf blower/weed eater. He rattled off the telephone number. It matched.

First thought: FML.

So, I go on to Kijiji and sure enough, there it is in all its free advertisement glory: my phone number alongside a snazzy picture of a 3 in 1 yard maintenance tool.

I e-mail Kelsey telling her about the situation, knowing she'd get a kick out of it. She did.

Thankfully, I only received one call about the gardening contraption.

Then, my phone rings this afternoon and I notice the caller ID lists an unfamiliar number. I think to myself: great, someone else looking for the god damn leaf blower.

Nope. Not this time. This time the guy on the other end of the phone is asking about the BlackBerry Curve I have for sale--ON KIJIJI.

First thought: you cannot be effing serious.

Sure enough, he rattles off the phone number, I tell him I don't have one for sale and we hang up. I once again check Kijiji and there it is, my phone number listed with a pretty bang-on description of my phone.

Only this time. Something's funny. Something about this ad is a little....familiar.

First of all, the reason the person in the said ad is giving up this BlackBerry Curve is because he/she has got a work BlackBerry and doesn't need a pesonal one. Interestingly enough, I carry two BlackBerrys (one for work, one for personal....or one for drugs and one for prostitution, if you will). The listed PDA was also silver and had been "kept in a case" so it had minimal scratches. Hmm...also familiar. But the real kicker? The abundant presence of exclamation points!!!!!!!

For those of you who know me, you will know that I absolutely hate multiple exclamation points on anything. There is nothing you are writing that requires that many punctuation marks. One mark will do, thanks, we get it, it's important.

I digress.

So, after thoroughly reviewing the ad, alight bulb goes off: someone is pranking me!

A quick call to my little sister verifies my suspicion. But, not only did she list it in the Fort McMurray kijiji site, she also put it on the Edmonton site (only for more money).

So far, I've only had two calls on the BlackBerry, but I just want her to know: She has no idea what she's got herself into.

Watch for more information on the Sister Prank War coming your way soon.

*Blow Whistle*

It's game time!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Leave my nest alone

For the fourth time in 16 months, I am collecting boxes and weeding out closets in preparation of an unplanned relocation.



In April 2008 I made the decision to move from Vernon, B.C. to Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Then, in July 2008 I moved from company-provided housing into a generous friend's house. This friend provided me (and later, Kelsey) with a great rental deal. Unfortunately, six months later, he and his gf decided to move back into the house. In keeping with his generous nature, he let us stay until his gf's house sold and offered us the luxury of being able to stay in the house AFTER they moved in if we weren't able to find a place right away. Fortunately for him, we found a place a few blocks away and moved out.

That brings us to our current situation. We moved into our four bedroom duplex in April, just before Scott's arrival. Our time here has been quite enjoyable--plenty of room, separate bathrooms, a west-facing deck, and of course, our amazing pool.

All was going well until yesterday when we got word that, once again, a landlord had decided to move back into his rental unit. This wouldn't be so bad if we weren't happy with where we were living (especially for the price) and hadn't just moved in five months ago.

After a few hours of running around to view a number of possibilities yesterday, we finally narrowed it down to three options: O'Coffey Crescent, Saline Creek Drive and Wood Buffalo. After debating back and forth about which one should win, I made Scott and Kelsey participate in a highly-scientific points-based scoring system to select the winner. Using a scale of one through five, we agreed to settle on one score for each of the following criteria: furniture, price, yard/deck situation, bedroom separation and parking. With grand totals of 18 points, O'Coffey Crescent and Wood Buffalo ended up in a tie for top spot, but ultimately, O'Coffey won due to its close proximity to our current location. Saline Creek had two downfalls: the first was that the landlord lived downstairs and the second was that the previous tenant doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire while inside the house (100% serious here). However, the plus side of this story is that the house has been completely rebuilt. Still a creepy omen though.

We are now just waiting to hear from Landlord Lori of O'Coffey Crescent. Then, the $3,000 damage deposit and $3,000 first month's rent will be in her hands within days. Yup, that's right folks, welcome to Fort McMurray. You need a frigging downpayment just to get a rental unit. I guess this is why they don't recommend coming here sans-employment.

So as you are all enjoying the last few days of summer, please think of us in this little ol' town sweating our asses off as we pack boxes, load and unload trucks.

Oh, and Landlord Lori: don't even think about moving back.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The pros and cons of moving

Awarding points on certain criteria seems to be the best way to make a rental decision.

Thoughts?

Lanette
Kelsey

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pool time!

Who says the summers in FMM aren't nice?

It's August 29, it's 31 degrees outside and I'm lounging in our ultra-amazing pool on our back deck.

Now if only someone would bring me that margarita....


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Monday, August 24, 2009

Two minutes a day

Only my sister, the Queen of Clean when it comes to teeth, would give her dog a toothbrush as a toy.
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Suburbia

Aahhh.....how suburban.
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Edmonton storm

You may have heard about the storm that caused the Big Valley Jamboree stage to collapse. I came through Edmonton about a half hour ahead of it, but could see it forming. I took this shot with my BlackBerry closer to Calgary. As you can see, I was heading into sunn weather as the storm got going behind me.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer vacay is on the wayyyyy

This post was drafted July 30, but for some reason my internet was freaking out and wouldn't post. I"m not going through and fixing all the tenses and dates, so just pretend like it's three days ago, okay? Thanks.



Wow - I am so looking forward to my two blissful weeks of vacation scheduled to begin at approximately 5 p.m. on Friday, August 7.

Just what will we be doing on said vacation? A lot. In fact, we may even need one of those vacations from our vacation that I hear people mumbling about every so often.

On Saturday I'll drive to Calgary in the Rav (note to self: get Kelsey to make amazing playlist and burn to MP3) and then spend Sunday prepping for the arrival of Brodie's mom and dad from PEI. They arrive in Calgary on Monday and will depart from Kelowna on Aug. 13. After a few days in Calgary, we'll take them to Banff where they'll stay with Brodie's sister and brother-in-law before the six of us head to B.C. to spend time on with my parents and grandparents on the houseboat. It should be nothing but glorious, as long as the weather holds.



(Okanagan Valley, photo: Robert Leon)

We're planning to camp in Clearwater with my parents for a few days once Brodie's parents head back to the island and then we'll spend four days basking in the Okanagan summer....golfing, beaching, visiting with old friends, etc. Sounds strenuous, doesn't it?

With everything that's going on at work, it will be nice to put it all aside for a couple of weeks. Once our vacation is over in BC, we'll head back to Calgary to attend Laura and Tyler's wedding before I head back up north to prepare for the winter.

I hope you all have some kind of rest and relaxation programmed into your summer calendars.

Enjoy the heat and the water while it lasts, my friends.

See some of you soon. xoxo

L

Monday, July 27, 2009

Judgey McJudgerson

Fine, I’ll admit it. I’m a judger.

Today, I’m in a particularly judgmental mood. This is mainly because I’ve been traveling for most of the day and am playing one of my favourite traveling games: Spot the Fort McMurray-destined passenger(s). I wish I could come up with a more succinct name for this game, but so far I’ve been SOL.




Since I moved to Fort McMurray last year, I’ve claimed that there is no place like it on earth. It has quirks and idiosyncrasies you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.

One of these odd-ball traits is the people it attracts.

After I teach you about the traits of a Fort McMurray-destined passenger, I guarantee you’ll be able to walk up and down any airport wing in Canada and identify the departure gate for Fort McMurray.

Drawing on my personal experience and the experience of my friends and colleagues, I’ve come up with he following list of items to help you pick out the people headed for Tar Sand Land.

1. Outerwear labeled with any of the following company names: Suncor, Syncrude, CNRL, Albian, LongLake and/or Total. Outerwear includes, but is not limited to, ball caps, jackets, golf shirts, hoodies, backpacks and/or toolboxes.

2. A triple denim combo (aka the 3D ensemble which likely includes jeans, shirt and jacket worn at the same time). In many cases the denim will be extremely light in colour (thank you to Jesse Hall for this submission...and for complaining when I didn't give full credit when I first posted).

3. Camo gear: while this is more likely to occur in the fall and winter months, it can also be spotted in the summer months.

4. Any piece of the aforementioned clothing paired with a motocross, ATV or Sledding magazine.

5. Steel-toed workboots with cargo shorts of any type. The boots are normally black, brown or tan in colour, cover the ankle and have a heavy sole.

6. Men with a slightly “dirty” appearance. These people will probably be wearing one or more pieces of the clothing outlined above and will look as though they could never quite be scrubbed clean, regardless of the number of showers they take.

7. Tattoos. Now you may be saying “that can hardly be a Fort McMurray identifier”. But, stay tuned my friends. You want to look for the ones that look like they were completed in maximum security prisons. They may have spelling mistakes or may not be legible due to blurred ink.

8. Lack of females (and old people). You can quickly spot the Fort McMurray departure gate by looking for the one with the highest ratio of males to females. In my experience, the ratio is typically 15 to 1, or more. The old person ratio is about 60 to 1.

9. A language that sounds like an awkward combination of Scottish, Irish and English and is extremely difficult to decipher. If you hear the word “Byes” or an alarming number of verbs ending in ‘s’, you have found the spot! At any Fort McMurray departure gate you will find a large number of Newfoundland-born travelers. Keep your ears tuned in for the following phrases: “I loves me some cod cheeks”, “Where you to?”, and “Whatta ya’at?”

10. And finally, the last thing that should help you spot the FMM-destined traveler: serious conversations about cold hard cash. The men will likely be trying to out-dollar one another by comparing hourly wage rates, the number of overtime hours they work and how much their last pay cheque added to their bank accounts.

Side note: Another trait that didn't quite make the list, but definitely deserves an honourable mention: mustaches.

Now that I’ve shared the secrets of the trade, I challenge you to head out to your local airport and spot the gate!

Other fun places to play: airport restaurants, check-in lines and flights you know connect to Fort McMurray flights.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Swapping blogs

Okay everyone, we might be a day late, but my blog swap partner Mai, of "Maisquared", and I have finally exchanged posts. As Mai describes below, we both decided to focus on our respective "current places of residence". Enjoy, my friends (and thanks, Mai). You can find my piece here: Blog Swap

My 2nd 20sb blog swap! Yay! Thanks Lanette for your great piece about Fort McMurray, Alberta for my own blog! For this 20sb blog swap we decided to talk about our respective homes to give our audiences different insight .

In one month I will be an Austin resident for one full year. In the year that I’ve lived here I’ve been able to explore a lot about myself, but sadly not a lot about the actual city I’ve lived in. Ever since I was born, I’ve lived all over the world from Bruxelles to Manila, Bahrain to Beaumont, and Boston to Austin. All these cities have made up pieces of my personality so it should be fitting that a city like Austin would influence my core as I begin to experience my 20s in the vibrant city that is Austin.

When I decided to move away from Boston (where I went to college), I looked for a city that had the same feel and personality as Cambridge, MA (home to MIT/Harvard). Rich with diversity and culture, community/political involvement, vibrant music scene and relatively cheaper than other major cities--Austin was the place for me!

I travel a lot for work but Austin already feels like home to me. Of course there are times where I complain about loneliness on my blog, but in all honesty I am the one to blame for being such a hermit. Austin has a lot to offer and my goal for the summer was to explore it in all it’s summery glory!

To give you a sense of what it is like here I thought I’d give you tour of my city via blog. This would be where I would take you if you were one of my guests here in Austin!

The day after I returned from my summer tour, I experienced the amazingness that is Barton Springs! For those of you who don’t know, Barton Springs is this amazing natural spring in Austin that stays 62 degrees year round. This is the perfect cure for triple digit heat! It’s a weird natural pool that endangered salamanders found ONLY in Austin call home. It looks like a pool but it’s ALL natural! In the deeper parts of the pool you can touch long pond grass and in the shallower parts, are algae covered rocks.


After an early morning/afternoon dip at Barton Springs we’d head over to Sno Beach- the BEST sno cone place ANYWHERE. It isn’t just pieces of lumpy ice, it is shaved ice and more than that it isn’t one syrupy mess. Everything just melts in your mouth beautifully!! I consider myself a sno cone connoisseur, and even though I haven’t lived here long, I’ve tried out about 7 sno cone places in Austin and no place can make a sno cone like Sno Beach. It’s a nice $2 treat (and that’s WITH extra cream on top) and sometimes this is the budget treat I give myself when I can’t shop at Anthropologie.

We’d head back out towards South Congress also known to locals as SoCo. SoCo is where it’s at during SXSW if you want to avoid busy 6th street but still want to catch great music. The street is concentrated with local boutiques, restaurants and airstream eateries (where else can you eat out of a bevy of airstreams?!?) Good eats can definitely be found on this street! Photos compliments of my friend Stefanie (http://captainstefanie.blogspot.com/)


(http://www.travelmuse.com/articles/austin/austin-restaurant-guide)




I love the sense of community that is here in Austin. People love going out, listening to music and experiencing all that is Austin. People support local businesses here and I rarely ever go to fast food chain when there’s such a great selection of local restaurants and even local fast food places in town.

After a stroll down SoCo, I’d drive you to The Cathedral of Junk! The best personification of Austin’s motto “Keep Austin Weird.” Photos Here


(http://www.flickr.com/photos/_alix/sets/72157616841605450/).

After exploring some amazing treasures, it may be time for an early dinner in historic Hyde Park. Hyde Park Bar & Grill for my meat eating friends (serves great veggie options for me too!!) or Mother’s CafĂ© for my vegan/vegetarian friends. People here love their food, our local farmers market may be small but people here eat organic all the time! Local restaurants serve the best ingredients and take pride in their food. Dessert at Quack’s Bakery for their fine cake slices, cupcakes, cookies or Dolce Vita for amazing gelato.

After dinner, we’d hit one of Austin’s hundreds of local venues for some live music. If it’s Monday, TC’s Lounge on the east side of Austin is where it’s at! They have amazing live blues and the owner always cooks up something nice, complimentary as part of the $5 cover! After a few drinks down on 6th street (a great place to people watch), time to head home!!!

Austin is everything I wanted in a city, and I’m so glad to be able to call it home. It’s hard to explain but Austin is way more than a city, it’s an entire culture separate from Texas and anywhere else I’ve been to in the entire country (and I’ve been to A LOT). Thanks for letting me take you on a tour of Austin via blog! Thanks Lanette!

Mai

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blog swap

Just wanted to let you know that I'm participating in a blog swap. This means I put together a post for someone else's blog (with whom I was randomly paired up through Twenty Something Bloggers) and the someone else is drafting a post for my blog.

Look for the post here by the end of tomorrow. You'll be able to find the post I wrote at: http://maisquared.wordpress.com. If it's not there when you check, make sure you check back.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My summertime BFF

You can't beat a Starbucks iced mocha in the summer, even when the FMM Starbucks workers forget the whipped cream.

That's what you get when you have Safeway employees working the 'bucks.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Someone looooooves me!!!

Love you, too Brod!

Thank youuuuu.

Xoxox


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Friday, July 3, 2009

From the Vancouver Island to the Alberta Highland, 'cross the prairies, the lakes to Ontario's towers...

In a departure from my regular rants about transit experiences and simple recollections of the day's or week's happenings, I've decided to dedicate this post to the greatest nation on Earth, my dear, sweet Canada. I probably should have posted this on July 1, but better late than never.



First of all,I want everyone to know that I don't think our country is perfect, nor do I encourage everyone from all around the globe to pack up their worldly possessions and head our way. Rather, I want to express my love for a country that has shown me nothing but limitless opportunities and freedom to do what I want (PS - if that phrase is redundant, I don't care. It sounds nice.)

I could sit here and come up with a 100 things I love about Canada list, but I'll save the lists for another day and force myself to write a little more eloquently.

As a Canadian, I have felt the powerful surge in my chest as 'Oh Canada' blasted from my local arena speakers when the hockey team took the ice for an important playoff game, and from the PA system in elementary school when we were expected to tuck our chairs into our desks and stand neatly behind them, singing, and from the television as I sat fixated on the Canadian Olympic teams standing atop the podium.

As a Canadian, I have flown across the skies from one side of the country to the other, watching beneath me, the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the rich fields of the prairies, the forests of Ontario and the rusty sands of Prince Edward Island.


As a Canadian, I have worked hard for everything I have. My first job, at 15, had me pumping gas at 'Canada's gas station' so I could buy my first car - a 1987 Ford Mustang LX. When I graduated, I jumped provinces and held three jobs in preparation for University. While I might long for the European post-secondary education systems funded by the governments, I am proud to say that I put myself through school.

As a Canadian, I take solace in knowing I can fall ill, have an accident or seek medical treatment without having to worry about my insurance--even though I might have to wait for hours, days or even months for certain treatments.

As a Canadian, I am thankful that I can put six bills in my wallet and know which one is which without having to read the numerals in the upper right corner.

As a Canadian, I appreciate the freedom I have to practice any religion I want, even though I don't actively practice any of them.

As a Canadian, I love the fact that I can travel around the world (even though I haven't) and know that I will be welcomed with open arms.

As a Canadian, I say to all of you: Stop. Take a look around and appreciate the beauty and the freedom we enjoy every single day.

Happy Belated Canada Day.

Fun Canadian Facts:

1. Canadians eat more Kraft Dinner per capita than any other nationality
2. The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883
3. With only three people per square kilometer, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world.
4. We have a beaver as our national animal. How dirty amazing is that?



Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It just wouldn't be right

My once-a-month Calgary trip wouldn't be complete without at least one transit story. How silly of me to think that I could actually make it through five days of bus and c-train riding to and from work without at least one painful, ridiculous, hilarious, uncomfortable and/or annoying experience.



Today, though, tops all previous stories....even my story about the drunk girl who fell flat on her ass in the middle of a mostly-empty train and laid there talking to herself for at least one stop before calling everyone redneck motherf*ckers and finally climbing, unsteadily, to her feet.



Yes my friends, today a lady got on the train, sat right between a fellow rider and me with something peculiar cupped in her open hand.



I look over, think what the eff is that and then snap my head around once more before realizing it was a dead....da da da....a freaking dead bird!!!!. And no, it wasn't just some poor regular-sized robin. It was one of those disgusting pre-feather, infantile baby mouse look-a-likes...eyes closed, pink skin, black beady eyes and about the size of my thumb.



It had clearly passed on, so my question is this: why, oh dear god why, would someone ever think it was a good idea to pick this up from the ground, carry it on the train and then display it for her fellow passengers.



The sight was enough to make the guy beside her move to a stand-up location until he reached his stop.



Do we have to add "no transporting dead animals" to the list of prohibited public transit behaviours?



Come on people, we don't want to see that crap!





Signed,



Annoyed

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Monday, June 15, 2009

View #2

See previous post about this glorious contraption.
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We heart Scott!

Kelseys bf went and surprised us with the pool Kelsey and I have so been longing for (and whining about) for the last 6 weeks.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Again, it has been too long

Over the last several months my blog has become more of a picture book-- a "phlog" if you will.


Why is this? I think it's because it's just too easy to whip out my blackberry, snap a pic and e-mail it to my blog. Plus, what better way to keep people updated on the latest happenings way up here in Fort McMurray than to actually see what I'm doing, or see what I'm looking at, in real time?

To some degree this should be acceptable, but unfortunately I've fallen into the scary trap of relying solely on the photos to keep this blog afloat. This must come to an end!

From this point forward I will commit to more frequent posts, regardless of the meaningless content they may contain.






For now, it's probably time for an update:



The Slow Sox (the lame name of our softball team) currently have a record of 8-2. Pretty sweet, if you ask me. The nice thing about this team is that we always have just enough girls, so I have yet to ride the pine this season. Overall, the hitting and fielding are going well, despite a couple of errors in the last game (one of which included throwing a ball directly at Kelsey's ankle--ouch!).



I've also been spending a solid amount of time donating golf balls to the local courses. This season, nothing is getting in the way of my sub-100 round. This has been a goal I've been solidly pursuing for the last two years. Last year I didn't play as much as I am this season, so I'm confident it will all come together before the end of September. So far I've shot rounds in the 105 range and a nine-hole round of 45, so I'm in the running.



My training for the 10K in September is also progressing fairly well after a three-week hiatus. Despite a numbness in the outer part of my right foot, which seems to be caused by some tightness and funky stuff in my lower back, I'm continuing to pound the pavement, confident I'll have no problem reaching the 10K goal in just a few months.



Work is crazy-busy, but that's nothing out of the ordinary. We're all working as hard as we can during this period of uncertainty. Hopefully by the end of the third quarter the merger stuff will have worked itself out and everyone can get on with their "normal" lives - whatever those may entail. Personally, for me, I'm embracing the time I have and getting as much experience as possible, not worrying about what the future may hold for me. I am a firm believer in whatever happens, happens for a reason. Does that mean it would make losing a job any easier? Absolutely not. Do I hope I have a future in this new company? Absolutely! I work with some of the smartest communicators out there and I'd hate to lose out on more years of working alongside them. Only time will tell, though.



This weekend we have had some glorious weather in good old Fort McMurray. Today it was in the 28 degree range downtown, which I think translated into about 30 up here in the Timberlea area. As you can see from my previous post, I spent about an hour lazing in the hammock longing for the sun to wash away the terrible farmer's tan I have from golfing and playing baseball. I made a bit of progress, but the 60 SPF sunscreen I bathed in before going outside did its job in deflecting most of the rays. It wasn't until today that I realized I'd purchased suncreen with a 60 SPF. I usually don't stray above 30, so this was clearly a mistake. Oh well.



In other news, I am so happy the Penguins pulled off the underdoggish on-the-road victory against those pesky Red Wings. Now, let's get something straight: I have nothing against the Wings; I was just really hoping the Pens could pull it off. I wanted to see Sid the Kid be the youngest captain to ever hoist the Stanley Cup, so I say good on ya boys.

This week will bring a little more baseball and hopefully some more sunshine before I get ready to head to Calgary for 10 days on the 22nd. Because Brody and I had planned to go back to the Okanagan for our traditional Funtastic weekend, we both have the 26 - 29 off. It turned out that we didn't have enough people to put together a team this year. While it's sad that I won't get to spend the time hangin' with my parents and playing ball alongside my daddy, I'll get to spend some much-needed quality time with the Brodster. Here's hoping the weather is great for us and we can get a round or two in.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summmmmer!!!

This is how ill be spending my afternoon if anyone would like to join!


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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Anger mgmt 101

Kels and I spent a good couple hours pulling weeds and potting plants today. She potted, I pulled.

I have to say, there is something rather therapeutic about stabbing a sharp metal tool into the ground and pulling evil out of the earth.

I might just like this gardening thing after all.

Hapy summer everyone (except those of you in Calgary who woke up to 10 cms of snow. Sorry 'bout your luck.

Muah!

Xo
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Whoopsy!

We pulled this beauty can of apple sauce out of the pantry tonight....I've been carrying this baby around for four years.

Sick.
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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fort McMurray summers...

For all the complaining we do about Fort McMurray's horrendously long line-ups, its chilly winters and its empty shelves, I felt it necessary to counteract our sentiments with a little bit of positivity.

Its 10:07 p.m. on May 31....and look how light it is!

Now, if only I could get to sleep...

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sun and sips

Summer has begun.

And Mother Nature, don't think for a second I won't hunt you down should you decide to change your mind.


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Homeowners

We are moving up! This is our very first lawn mower, purchased today at Canadian Tire for $249 buckaroos! Of course, I would rather have spent that on paint and decorations, but we would have been the worst neighbours on the block!

Here's a pic of Barkley supervising Brodie as he puts the oil in our new grass chopper!
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Monday, May 11, 2009

I don't care what they say

I still love you, boys!

Canucks fan forever :)
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 2

Meal #2...again, delicious.

One workout down (core synergistics). I'm already sore and I just finished 30 minutes ago...


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Sunday, April 26, 2009

P90x

This is my first meal from P90x and it is absolutely delicious. I didn't make the wild rice that was supposed to go along with it because I thought I'd be too full. I was right!
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kelsey must be in town

A headline from today's Calgary Herald: Vancouver police warn of potentially armed mentally ill woman
 
Yup, Kelsey must be in the lower mainland.
 
 
 


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Puppy mills, backyard breeders and such

For quite some time I have encouraged those who are considering purchasing puppies, to rethink their decisions. This, of course, is based on my own personal experience with my pup, Barkley. Those of you who know me personally know that I have enough archived puppy horror stories to fill a national library.


But, this post isn't about those horror stories. It's about shedding light on pet stores, backyard breeders and puppy mills.






I know, I know, you'd never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, right? You know what to look for: The dingy, cramped, feces-covered crates and the skinny, malnourished, diseased puppies. Those are dead giveaways. I thought the same thing when we bought Barkley, even saying ro Brodie:"If this place isn't clean when we get there, there's no way I'm buying the dog." He agreed.


But, we got there and we heard a familiar story. The lady, who had three children, decided to breed her purebred basset hound with another basset hound in the Salmon Arm area because "her kids wanted to see what it was like to have puppies." That seemed pretty reasonable to me. She had the history of vet checks and vaccinations with her and "Bo" (later renamed Barkley), came with a leash, collar, and a puppy food brand recommendation. The environment was clean, Barkley's "mom" was at the house so we could make sure she looked healthy and had a good disposition. Nope, definitely no puppy mill here!


But, sometimes it's what you don't see that's most important. There was no agreement to sign saying that we wouldn't breed him. There was no health guarantee against common problems like hip dysplasia. And, the "seller" certainly didn't tell us to bring him back if, for some reason, we were unable to take care of him or felt we had to give him up. He was ours for the taking - and she even knocked off $100 from the $600 original asking price because he was the last one left of the litter.


We handed over the cash, packed our new pup into the car and drove away, none the wiser that we had just supported a backyard breeder--the single largest contributor to pet overpopulation.


If I knew then what I know now, I would have been apalled at what she was doing--especially since I'm sure that after we bought Barkley, I saw at least three more ads in the local paper for "tri-coloured bassets" from the same Salmon Arm phone number.


So, you're buying a puppy. What should you do to make sure you don't make the same mistake?


Do your research. ADOPT a puppy from a rescue organization or from the local SPCA. Do you have your heart set on a purebred? Keep your eyes open and don't rush. Purebreds regularly make it into the shelters. You will find a great puppy, trust me.


If you don't want to go the adoption route, make sure you work with a reputable breeder. And what does reputable breeder mean?


A reputable breeder will ALWAYS:
  • Be breeding dogs for the sole purpose of bettering the breed (temperament, physical features, etc.)

  • Screen potential purchasers to ensure their puppies are going into loving, comfortable homes

  • Guarantee the puppies from health defects

  • Always be willing to take a puppy (or even a full grown dog) back if, for any reason, you are unable to take care of them. They do not want to see their puppies turned into an SPCA

  • Have a waiting list for puppies (in most cases, at least)

A reputable breeder will NEVER:

  • Advertise in the local paper or on a free classified sites (see the last point in the above list).

  • Sell their dogs to pet stores for sale to the general public (again, the breeder wants to know where the pups are going)

  • Be in it for the money. Reputable breeders barely break even, and likely lose money, when they sell their puppies. They invest a ton of money into ensuring their breeding techniques are sound and for the right reasons.

  • Breed a dog under the age of two years old

  • Agree to ship a puppy to the owner without having met the new owners first.

  • Charge extra for providing registration papers

Don't be fooled by fancy websites and important terms like "CKC Registered". CKC registered only means that both of the "parents" are registered. If the breeder is willing to do ANY of the things under the "NEVER" list, then you do not want to support that breeder in anyway.

So, what does this mean for you?

In my opinion, it means you should never be shopping for a dog at a pet store (unless it's a rescue dog or an adoption dog), you should never look through your local paper or a classified ite for a dog.

What do you do if you've obtained a dog in one of these ways? Don't worry about it! You have saved your pup from a less-than-ideal environment and now have the opportunity to provide him with a loving, sound home. Do I feel good knowing that I inadvertently supported a backyard breeder? No, I don't. But, there's nothing I can do about it now except love my pup and make sure that if I ever get another dog, be sure that I'm adopting, or purchasing from a reputable breeder.

Do your Internet research, go to the Canadian Kennel Club website and look up registered breeders for the dog you want. Ask lots of questions.

Here are some great sites that highlight what you should look for in a breeder and how to recognize a backyard breeder:

Backyard breeder vs. reputable breeder

Where to buy a pet

Finding a reputable breeder