December 24, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 24

If you are not already tracking Santa, you should be.
And, yes, Virginia... there is an app for that.
Ho ho ho!

December 22, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 22

Well, this was pretty awesome.
I was on my way to pick up my fella this afternoon,
and had to pull over to let this horse-drawn wagon pass.
That's not something that you get to say every day.

December 21, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 21

When flour comes along, you must whip it.
When butter comes along, you must whip it.
When sugar comes along, you must whip it.
It's not too late.
I say whip it. Whip it good.

December 20, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 20

Matt Nathanson's cover of The Kinks "Father Christmas".
Click through to the Soundcloud page to download.
Now you can take it with you.
You. Are. Welcome.

December 19, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 19

This. Is. Cool.
Android users can take their phones caroling with this little holiday feature.
Just type "let's go caroling" into the Googles, and a magical, karaoke-esque app opens up.
Then, all you have to do is sing along.

December 18, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 18

There are those who always buy the best gifts and those who need a little help.
If you are in the latter group, have no fear!
My friend Shel has shopped for you and she has the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
Visit her blog for gift ideas, and check back daily. 
There's so much amazing stuff, like the silver pendant (above) from Citrus Silver.
I haven't seen anything on there that I wouldn't want.

December 17, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 17

Homemade Christmas treats.
'nuff said.

December 15, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 15

Fact: you don't need to go away to get away.
Especially during crazy season the holidays, even a night in a nice downtown hotel is enough to recharge the ol' batteries.
After our night at the Fairmont, I think I am ready to face the next two weeks.

December 12, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 12

It's not too late to order custom holiday cards.
Just upload a photo, choose your design, add a greeting, and you're done.
It's really that easy...and it's cheap!
Use the code CHRISTMAS to receive 50% off and free shipping. 
Then just sit back and wait for your cards to arrive.
(Maybe have a cookie or two while you wait.)

December 11, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 11

As far as awesome events go, Help Portrait was right up there as a highlight of the year.
I realized this year that in addition to selfies, the Mascot and I needed to have some real pictures taken.
When I heard about this great project, I knew we had to do it.
Last Saturday, we went down to Aspire Studios and had a fun session 
with the talented and incredibly bubbly Trish Palud.
It was a great deal - for $60, we got three great pictures (including the one above)
and 100% of the proceeds went to Siloam Mission.
According to my calculations, that sixty bucks will provide a hot meal to 20 people.

December 10, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 10

This is my most-favourite magazine in the whole world.
Page after page of drool-worthy bikes and tons of info on active transportation...
and they're Canadian! What's not to love?
If you have someone in your life that lives to ride or rides to live, consider a gift subscription.
Right now, you can get a whole year of Momentum for $12.95 to give to your favourite bikey person.
But, don't worry about me. I sent the link to Santa ages ago.

December 9, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 9

This is the Mascot's advent calendar.
Twenty-four bags of treats strung from a festive little garland.
The bags contain everything from chocolates to lottery tickets to soup.
(It's ok, he doesn't read my blog.)
We had to hang it above the kitcken cupboards this year
because it was too long to go anywhere else.

December 8, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 8

It's horribly addictive.
Don't suffer alone - make a double batch and share.
You can find the recipe on my blog.
I'm sorry.

December 7, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 7

Do you like beer?
Do you like dessert?
Do you like beer that tastes like dessert?
This ale is smooth and chocolatey and vanilla-y and so, so good.
If you are going out tonight and want to try something a little bit different,
I strongly recommend that you try one of these.

December 6, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 6

This song breaks my heart every time I hear it.
I used to think kd lang did the best version, but I think these guys have her beat.
Sorry, kd.
For my dad.

December 5, 2013

Ad Astra 2013

Trust me - the Mascot is in there. Somewhere. 

"Ad Astra" is Grant Park's annual performing arts show, which features hundreds of singing, dancing, acting teenagers, giving their absolute all in front of family and friends. In past years, the show has clocked in at just shy of 13 hours (or, so it would seem.) This year, however, they trimmed the program drastically, split some of the numbers over two nights, and got it down under two hours including a 15 minute intermission. That meant parents got to see more of their own kid and less of everyone else's.

The Mascot was in three out of 10 numbers - a song, a dance, and the finale. You can accuse me of being biased all you want, but I think he was awesome... especially during the ballet piece when he was lifting the girls. I even had one of those "Oh, my big, strong boy!" moments. It was all very, very* awesome.

*The second very is for the Grade 7s, who did "What does the fox say?", complete with strobes, black lights and smoke. So good.

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 5

I love things.
Tiny Feast is a wonderful new shop in the Exchange that sells things. 
It is the place to shop if, like me, you like things.
There is nothing in Tiny Feast that wouldn't make a terrific gift.
Hint, hint.

December 4, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 4

Our tree.
It's funky and sparkly and doubles as a light-source.
Can you spot the sequinned whale?

December 3, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 3

If you are not a fan of this movie, well, you're a cotton headed ninny muggins.

December 2, 2013

Small Business Saturday

It started out like any other Saturday:

"What do you want to do?"
"I dunno... what do you want to do?"

But, it wasn't just another Saturday. It was Small Business Saturday. So, instead of answering back "Um, I dunno...", I said, "Why don't we have lunch in a locally-owned restaurant, shop in small, independant stores, buy cupcakes from our good friend Pam - I hear she's having a sale today - and then maybe have dinner somewhere small, local, independant and neighbourhoody?" (I didn't mention taking a nap, but for us, a nap is usually implied.)

So, we did just that.

Here's my fella after eating a very yummy lunch at Elements at the U of W. Doesn't he look happy? That's because we just finished two huge bowls of hot & sour ramen soup - beef for him, tofu for me.
After lunch, we drove over to the Exchange District to poke around in Toad Hall Toys. I was too excited to snap a picture (ok, ok, I was too busy playing with the hand puppets), but it was every bit as magical as ever. Maybe even more so. I picked up a few little gifty things and then we wandered up the block to Cake-ology for some cupcakes.

In honour of Small Business Saturday, they were having a 2-for-1 sale on cupcakes. It never occurred to either one of us to only buy one, so we each got to pick two - R chose marble with strawberry buttercream and classic red velvet, I picked spice with cinnamon buttercream and banana with nutella buttercream. Not bad for a fiver!

On the way home, I got another brilliant gift idea. We decided to stop in at McNally Robinson. I found what I was looking for before we even made it through the doors, which meant lots of time for perusing magazines before heading home for a cupcake and a nap.

Since we were on a roll with the whole Small Business thing, and no one felt like cooking, we went to one of our favourite neighbourhood pubs, the Grove, for a late dinner. Despite the fact that we were there well past a "normal" dinner hour, the place was hopping and showed no signs of slowing down. Luckily, we were able to get a table within about 10 minutes of arriving.

This salad (apples, blue cheese, candied walnuts) was absolutely delicious and completely cancelled out the cupcakes that we ate before our nap. I'm not going to say anything about the fish and chips that followed it. Not a word.

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 2


Orla Kiely's Holiday Collection for Method 
~ available at Target
I can't even tell you how good the peppermint-vanilla smells. I bought both the dish soap and multi-use spray and they actually make me want to tidy up. It's a Christmas miracle!

December 1, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 1

Gingerbread and Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
Sliced Almonds, Yogurt Pretzels, Gingerbread Boy Sprinkles
~ Tutti Frutti on Corydon

November 19, 2013

It's beginning...

I was beginning to feel a little bah humbuggy about the impending holidays, but this past weekend seems to have lifted my spirits just a tiny bit.

On Friday night, we lit the Christmas tree at City Hall with the help of a children's choir, a bunch of firefighters, and a crowd of revellers. (No, really, they were revelling!) It was just enough to put a wee bit of festive into my step (and out of my wallet); that night I bought my first Christmas gift online!

I did my grocery shopping early on Saturday, which left me the afternoon to drag the Mascot around the new Target. While we were in the Christmas section picking out our annual ornaments (a game controller for him and a sequinned whale for me), the boy raised an interesting point - we don't have a tree. We did... but it broke last year after being over-adorned one too many times.

The second problem was that I didn't actually *want* another tree. Even in my ungrinchy state, I just wasn't feeling the whole evergreen thing. We need something lighter, funkier, this:

Cute, right? And it lights up!! We are going to decorate it with metallic balls in red and three shades of silver. And maybe something slightly rustic, just because that's my schtick.

There's plenty of room underneath for presents, but that is probably going to be a moot point as the kid seems to just want cash and contributions to his Euro-trip fund. Maybe I'll store the vacuum cleaner under there.

October 31, 2013

Crazy, healthy.

Last weekend, I had the privelige/honour/joy of seeing Home Ec superstar and cookbook author (and tv personality and comedian...), Mairlyn Smith, give a talk at the Manitoba Association of Home Economists conference. (I even blogged about it.)

I have met Mairlyn on several occasions, but this was the first time that I had the opportunity to get her to sign one of her books for me.

I love what she wrote.

October 30, 2013

Bloody Nails!

This year, thanks to some horribly-timed dental work, I won't be dressing up for Halloween. Instead, I have decided to let my nails have all the fun with some spooktacular (and super-easy) nail art.

To create this slightly-gross, but work-appropriate, look, you'll need: black and blood-red polish, nail polish remover and q-tips, and your favourite base coat and top coat.

Step 1: after your base coat has dried, apply two solid coats of black polish and allow to dry. (My fave is Essie's "Licorice". It's jet, jet black and covers completely in two coats.)

Step 2: choose which nail (or nails) you want to "bleed" and remove some of the polish with remover on a q-tip. I chose to remove all along the nail tip and down in a random, drippy shape.

Step 3: add your red polish by dabbing a well-loaded brush into the bare area of your nail(s). You want to fill in the space with a thick, even coat. (It should look like blood dripping, not a weird french manicure.)

Step 4: let the red polish dry before adding a nice glossy topcoat to all nails.

Step 5: admire your horrifying handiwork.

October 21, 2013


"If we wish away our laugh lines we wish away the memories that made them."
Corny? Possibly... but to be completely honest, I wouldn't wish a single one of my laugh lines away. They are 41 years in the making, you know. 
No botox, wrinkle cream, surgery or voodoo for this girl. If the crinkles around my eyes tell the world that I smile and laugh A LOT, then bring 'em!

October 15, 2013


Yesterday I joked that I was mostly thankful for the movie Pitch Perfect and chocolate almonds.

While there are shreds of truth in there (Acascuse me?), I am really most-thankful for my son, the ever-mentioned and ofetn hollered at Mascot, the rediculously cute guy that I have been calling my fella for the past 5 years, 3 months, and 28 days (or so), my dad, who now parents me from beyond (and sometimes in the form of a blue jay - long story), and my mom (aka Mumji), who's voice is what keeps me here*.

With those four out of the way, I can get on to the business of listing some of the random things that I am thankful for:

- My wonderful, carefully-curated collection of friends. I love them all to bits. Even the weird ones.

- My Group Power and Spin classes and all the energy that I get from them. The more I expend, the more I find is returned. Funny, that.

- On a related note, I am thankful for good health and a thick, shiny coat. And the ability to lift heavy things with enthusiasm.

- My job. As crazy as it can get, it is like an education and an experience wrapped in a blueberry pancake and served in a commemorative tote bag of chili.

- My sense of humour. Oh, lord... without it I think I would've gone bonkers by now.

- Irony. See humour.

- Aveda "be curly" curl enhancer. In a perfect world, highly effective, nice smelling hair products would flow from special taps in our bathrooms. Until we can make that happen (we should maybe get rid of world hunger first), there is this stuff.

- Clean air, clean water, farmers who grow good, clean food. And coffee. Cups and cups of coffee.

*Ok, wait...that's a Jann Arden lyric.

October 11, 2013

Say cheese!

There used to be a time that I could get the kid to pose for all sorts of photos. Even when he was at the age when he never stood still, I could get him to at least pause and smile for the camera.

Now that he's 16, this is the best that I can expect to get. Without bribery.

You have to look close. The lanky thing in a camp shirt. Right behind me, darting out of the shot. Yeah. That.

Don't get me wrong, it is a very nice picture of part of his torso and I am glad to have it. It's just that he's growing up so freaking fast - taller and bolder and stronger and more confidant. I'm not all that sentimental, but lately I have been feeling that if I don't capture the moment, I won't have anything to compare it to. Will I remember that sweet face when he returns from two months at camp next summer with a weird, patchy beard and hair hanging in his eyes*?

I guess that I should've known this would happen. There are approximately four photographs of me that were taken between age 13 and 18. Or, I should say, there are four photos in existence. I went through a weird time with my hair** in the 80s.

Scrolling through the photos on my phone just now, I guess I shouldn't really complain. I do have more than 4 current pics of the boy. And he's even smiling in a few of them. My days of cramming him into a big mixing bowl a la Anne Geddes are long gone, but I'll take what I can get.

*Ok, that one probably won't happen. The boy's hair grows out, not down. Like mine, it gets bigger instead of longer. At least there's no question of where he came from...

**Yeah, this is a recurring theme. Jacob can blame me for his curls, but I have never been able to figure out where mine came from.

October 10, 2013

Forget 50 Shades

I think I have found my perfect shade of grey - CoverGirl Outlast in Non-stop Stone. It's perfectly trendy, without looking trendy...and it's not quite the same colour as my car, so I don't look like I am trying too hard.
And I have also discovered that it is impossible to take a flattering hand picture. I tried gripping an object, but it reminded me too much of the old Consumers Distributing catalogue. (The ladies know what I'm talking about. Bow chicka bow bow.)

October 7, 2013

Good things come in big and small packages.

Friday: I have this thing about entering raffles...especially when they are for a good cause. Since I wasn't planning to participate in the Run for the Cure, I bought a few tickets for a raffle at the CIBC in Winnipeg Square. (That's practically the same thing, right?)

Anyway, I was just minding my own on Friday afternoon and, out of the blue (pink?), I got a call from a very nice lady telling me that they had made the draw and I had won! I went down right after work and picked up my prize - a very lovely pearl and silver bracelet (value:$110). How awesome is that?

Saturday: Christmas came a little early for us this year. Hot on the heels of her own kitchen reno, my mom sent us a brand new fridge! It's a GE bottom-mount and it is COOL. Both literally and figuritively.

The only thing "wrong" with it, according to the Mascot, is it's lack of giant cardboard box. Apparently, when he heard that we were getting a new fridge, he started fantasizing about making a box-fort. (I am assuming that, for boys, box-forts are fun at any age.)

Sunday: Two of my favourite things are pie and pizza. One of my favourite people is my friend Heather. On Sunday, my friend Heather had me over and fed me pie and pizza. In that order. She is the best.

In the words of the Mascot, "That Heather is quite a dame." That she is, kiddo. That she is.

October 2, 2013

Making a Splash

Thirty minutes before the start of my Aqua Zumba class, I was sitting in my car in the rec centre parking lot, trying to think up a plausable reason NOT to go. After 15 minutes, I decided to put all of my fears* aside and go inside. Gulp.

Once I was out on the pool deck, though, I realized that I was just being silly. The nine other gals who were assembled were having a conversation about bounce-testing their bathing suits. They were all in groups of twos and threes, but I managed to slip myself into the group and joined in on the giggles. This would be fun....right?

Right. But it wasn't just fun, it was FUN. Like, laugh-out-loud, splashy, silly, OMG fun.

The instructor did all of the moves on dry land (sometimes with the help of a chair), and all that we had to do was follow along. Or, at least, make our very best attempt. (It was our first class, after all.)

After many, many laughs, and a darn good workout, our 45 minutes were over. And, had there been a hot-tub in close proximity, we would've kept the party going.

*was I going to fall out of my bathing suit top and/or drown.

September 30, 2013

A weekend of culture... sort of.

Part of my job is doing really cool things, like going to street namings and flag raisings. On Friday night, we took part in Culture Days by "officially" opening the Listening Lights on Market Avenue. I was afraid that we wouldn't have many people out, but we ended up attracting a nice little crowd. (Thank you, Twitter.) And I didn't even mind working late or hanging out in the rain.

After the opening, we wandered over to Bannatyne for a pizza at Corrientes. My half was amazing - arugula pesto, smoked salmon (for authenticity, please pronounce the L in salmon), sunflower seeds, goat cheese, red onions, and a fresh arugula salad on top. Seriously nom. My fella had something with chicken. I think. Too busy eating.

The first part of the day was pretty typical - Starbucks, Costco, the gym, more grocery shopping, more Starbucks - and, come to think of it, the second part was pretty typical, too - dinner, movie, SNL. The bestest part, other than discovering that my T-fal ActiFry makes perfect wings, was watching The Iceman. I had to watch with one hand over my face, but it was so, so good.

After a fun class at the Reh-fit, I hopped on my bike, collected my fella, and embarked on a big River Heights adventure, which, of course, included beers at the Grove. I had a big, yummy toasted wheat beer...followed by a big, toasty nap. Perfect.

And, of course, Sunday night's big event was the finale of Breaking Bad. It, too, was perfect.

September 27, 2013

I heart donuts.

Did I ever tell you that I have this thing about finding random hearts in nature?

I'm not sure if a Tim Horton's box can be considered "nature", but I was delighted when this little beauty showed up in my office today. And, the best part? It was an old-fashioned plain - my favourite.

September 23, 2013

Weekends are delicious.

When it comes to tucking into a big bowl of noodles, one of my very favourite things is the Spag Boo at Cafe Carlo and one of my fella's favourite things is the Fett Chile at Cafe Carlo. (See? We're a match made in heaven!) To avoid the chance of ever getting bored with the Boo/Fett, we try to limit our visits there to once every several months, or until the cravings get too strong.

This weekend was one of those "can't wait any longer" times, so we made our resos for Saturday night and started fasting.

As usual, the service was endearingly pokey and the food was fantastic. Due to some glitzy re-branding, my beloved Boo is now called "Mediterranean Spagattini", but it was just as good as ever. So was the bread. <--- joke="" p="" private="">
On Sunday, we decided we'd better venture out on a healthier persuit, so we packed a picnic, loaded up the panniers on my bike, and headed for a sunny spot in Omands Park. It was a beautiful first-dau-of-fall. And the sandwiches were pretty good, too.


September 16, 2013

Socks, rocked.

Things that rocked my socks this weekend:

Friday night was absolutely perfect to join the "Canola Girls" for an elegant little fall supper. Of course, in true Canola-style, we were shuttled out into the middle of somewhere (a farm close to Newdale, MB) and treated like royalty. Dinner was prepared by the amazing MJ Feeke from Benjamin's in Selkirk and I have no problem admitting that I went for seconds on the veggies...and potatoes and salad and bread. We also had the chance to take part in a frank and open discussion about GMOs with a real, live farmer and someone from Monsanto (I know!) It was great to see the gang again and I was more than just a little jealous when the Be Well campers got on their bus and headed for the Barn in the Bush.

Saturday night, my fella and I put on our dancing shoes and went to the Pyramid Cabaret for Factory Reset Redux. The event was both a fundraiser for two community AIDS organizations and a tribute to former Happenings DJ, Eldon Ross. (Oh, how I loved Happenings.) The music was amazing, as I expected it to be, but it was seeing all the familiar (yet slightly older) faces and dancing 'til two that made my night.

On Sunday, I started to panic about the number of bikeable days left this year, so I grabbed the chance to take Norma Jean out on a loooong bike ride. Instead of my usual "to the park and back", I decided to go out to Assiniboine Forest and then out to the Perimeter via the Harte Trail. The trail is fine, packed gravel and winds along an old railway bed. For most of it, you have farmland/forest on one side and houses on the other. (That being said, the semi-urban setting is still pretty rural; I even saw a big deer wandering down one of the side streets!) The whole adventure took a couple of hours and I managed to put another 34kms (round trip) on my bike.

Honourable mentions: scrambled eggs, bagels and sangria for breakfast on Saturday (followed by a 2 1/2 hour and pizza made with fresh dough from Deluca's. Twice.

September 9, 2013

Vive le Weekend!

Things that made me ridiculously happy this weekend (in no particular order):

The 4th annual Winnipeg Tweed ride. This time, with 100% more fella! We had a blast winding around Wolseley, Assiniboine Park, and Wellington Crescent before heading downtown for a picnic on the lawn at Dalnavert.

My first drink in the Palm Room at the Fort Garry Hotel. I ordered a Kir Royale, because why wouldn’t I?

Laying on a blanket in Assiniboine Park. Also, sitting on a lawn chair in Assiniboine Park. (Ever notice that you feel guilty for laying around the house doing “nothing”, but a simple change of venue makes it perfectly acceptable?)

Finding my favourite brand of Oatmeal at Costco after months of being forced to eat icky porridge oats. Where did it go? Dunno, but I’m glad it’s back.

A Random Act of Saskatoon Pie. Thanks, Heather!!

Being the meat on a Shel/Susie sandwich at the 100 MileDinner. So many laughs, such good food. I also got to take home the centerpiece because I had the “worst seat in the house”. We also got a shout-out for adding to the "cool factor" of the evening.

August 21, 2013

What I did on my summer vacation, part one - Hecla, Mb

Well, the Mascot just got back from a full FOUR WEEKS at camp. We didn’t have a lot of time for an epic family vacation before he left, so we decided to take a 3 day/2 night trip up to Hecla to do… nothing.

Nothing but relaxing, swimming, reading magazines, eating, watching movies, walking, snapping pictures, laughing, sleeping and just loafing about.
And, unless you are a golfer, Hecla is the perfect place to do nothing.
We started our trip on Wednesday morning with some errands and brunch, and then pointed the car north on Highway 8. Less than two hours later, we arrived safe and sound (despite a bizarre killer bee near-incident) at Hecla Island. $12 bucks (cash only!) for a park pass and we were in!
Our first impression of The Lakeshore Hecla Resort was “Oooh…ahhh…oh!” The Mascot is fairly easily impressed, but the lobby and then, finally, the room pretty much blew him away. We had already called dibs on the beds (I always like the one furthest from the door), so we quickly settled in and made ourselves at home. Once I was unpacked, I almost started to wish that I had brought more things; there was SO much storage space in the room and in the bathroom!
Once we had a little decompression time, we headed down to the pool area. J had his goggles, I had my fancy bicycle magazine, and we had nothing but sunshine and time. I read while he swam and, really, it was just about the nicest, quietest 90 minutes of the past decade. We were less than 200km from home and felt like we were a million miles away.

Of course, all that relaxing works up quite an appetite. And a thirst. We changed into our third outfits of the day (the best thing about of traveling has to be the arbitrary clothing changes) and went out to the patio for dinner. The kid had chicken fingers and fries (because he’s a kid) and I had fish tacos and a pail of wine (because I am a lush). Everything was fresh and delish, but it was the scenery that stole the show. Absolutely perfect.
After dinner, we went for an epic walk on something called “Lighthouse Trail” and, guess what… we found not one, but TWO freaking lighthouses. I was in heaven. As soon as my pockets couldn’t hold any more pebbles and I had taken enough photos, we headed back to the hotel to watch a movie and eat cake. Again, heaven.
Day 2
I woke up on Thursday morning with a slight shmoo torte-hangover and decided to hit the fitness centre to work up a sweat and work off some guilt. When I got there and saw the lone treadmill facing a tv, I changed my plan and headed outside to tackle Lighthouse Trail again. It was a warm, sunny morning, but there wasn’t a single person outside, so I made like I was the Prancercise lady and shimmied my way through the woods. It was oddly enjoyable, but I would’ve DIED if anyone had witnessed it. DIED
I had slowed to a perfectly normal walk just in time to emerge from the trees and came face-to-face with a doe. As in, doe a deer. A really big, really beautiful female deer. I had one of those rare, life-affirming moments where you stare into the eyes of a majestic animal and feel yourself get stronger and braver. No, really. I did. And you are not going to get *that* running on a treadmill. It took me a very long time after she wandered off into the woods to turn around and go back to the hotel. I did a little yoga (because no one was watching and WHY NOT?) and then sat on the rocks by the older of the two lighthouses, listening to my iPod and building teeny, tiny pebble inukshuks. Serenity now.
The rest of the morning was spent convincing the Mascot to get up and go for breakfast, waiting for and then (eventually) eating breakfast (clearly a different staff than at dinner), and then sitting by the pool and reading yet another niche magazine (mid-century modern homes) while J swam. As you can imagine, it was EXHAUSTING.
We decided to take a break from the hotel restaurant and drive to Gull Harbour for lunch. It was a blazing hot day, but the screened porch of the Lighthouse Inn (yes, another lighthouse!) was cool and breezy. I was randomly craving tuna salad and fries, so that is exactly what I had. I think the kid had a chicken burger, but it was gone so fast that I am not sure.
After lunch, we made the big 10 minute drive to the very quiet and historic Hecla Village for ice cream, which we managed to find (in sandwich form) at the General Store. We took some time to wander around the town’s cemetery and take some cool pictures at a century-old log house before making our way back to the hotel for a wee nap.

It was a beautiful evening, so we decided to eat dinner on the patio again. We had heard that pizzas were pretty good, so we each ordered one – veggie and feta for me and pulled pork for the Mascot. While we waited (and I made my way to the bottom of a noggin-sized Caesar), we watched three young siblings who had abandoned their dinners to try their luck at catching frogs in the ponds beside the patio. Unfortunately, none of them fell in. So much for dinner theatre!
Anyway, the pizza was fantastic; thin, crispy crust with a good dusting of cornmeal and just the right amount of charring from the wood-fired oven and, in the case of my “Veg Head”, lots of grilled, marinated veggies and cheese. The Mascot, after plowing his way through most of his 15” pie, said that it was the best hotel food that he had ever eaten. High praise, I tell ya.
We spent the rest of the evening holed-up in our room watching movies and YouTube videos. Good times.
Day 3
I shouldn’t have been bummed to wake up to rain, especially after two days of perfect weather, but it did put the kibosh on my plans to walk to the lake. Instead, I rolled over and grabbed another hour of sleep and then hauled the Mascot down to breakfast.
Again, it was a painful wait to get our food (which was really surprising, considering how great dinner service was on both nights), but once it came (French Toast for me, chocolate chip pancakes for J), it was ok; nothing extraordinary, but we were just so happy to get it that we tucked right in.
After breakfast, there wasn’t much left for us to do except pack up and check out, so that’s exactly what we did. And there, I suppose, is where our story ends. (Unless, of course, you’d like to hear about the ride home and how it’s possible to hear “Blurred Lines” approximately eight times in two hours…?)

August 7, 2013

Countdown to Tweed

I don't know about you, but I am getting very excited about the 4th annual Winnipeg Tweed Ride, taking place on Sunday, September 8, 2013. 
This year's ride will be in two parts, allowing participants to tally-ho as much (or as little) as they want. For those who are really keen to tweed it up, there will be a noon start at Vimy Ridge Park, then a leisurely cycle through Wolseley to Assiniboine Park.
After a wee snack by the duck pond, we will regroup at the Pavilion for the start of the second leg of the trip. Departing at 2pm, the group will cycle around the park and then take Wellington Crescent all the way to Broadway. (Ciclovia/Many Fest will be on, so there will be lots of bikes, people, and activities, including a wine tasting and live music!)
We usually pose for a picture on the steps of the leg before making our way to Dalnavert for croquet and another snack. And then we'll wrap things up in high-style in the Palm Room at the Fort Garry Hotel around 4pm.(Hobnobbing is hard work, I tell ya.)
Leave a comment (or email me) if you would like to join in the fun, or just want more info. This will be my third year taking part and I think this one will be the best ever! 

You want some fries to go with that shake?

Read my review of the T-Fal ActiFry here.

July 26, 2013

Feeling Fringy – Dungeons & Dragons Improv

As part of our pre-camp Fringing activities, the Mascot and I attended a late-night performance of the Dungeons and Dragons Improv show.

This was our third show and, just like our previous ones, it did not disappoint. The cast was as clever and silly and quick-witted as ever, but with a whole new set of characters (and a few guest stars.) My favourite character, Cosro the Terrible, wasn’t a part of this production, but I was happy because the same actor was back as Taxx, a thoroughly lovable (and thoroughly out-of-it) wizard.

The action and laughs were non-stop and my only complaint* about the whole show is that an hour was too short. But, as they say “you gotta leave ‘em wanting more”… which is why I have plans (and much-coveted tickets) to see the show again tonight!

Our review: 4 geeky thumbs up!

*My other complaint had nothing to do with the show, but OHMYGOD, the girls behind me were so vacuous that my hair was blowing back.

Free Press Review
FP Rating *****
Average Reader Rating ****1/2
Oh, this little show’s grown up so fast — five years old already and still with mostly the same outrageously funny cast.
Heck, we suspect the 2013 edition of the nerdalicious DnD Improv Show features the best mix of characters yet, a Game of Thrones-y bunch, from the noble Sir Gregory Gallahad (dashing Toby Hughes, natch) to the adorable dragon Deloris (Katy Bennett, cheekily stealing the show in her best role of this series). There’s also a deliciously sinister talking chicken.
Look, it doesn’t take a bowl of magic pipeweed to understand why DnD sells out every time: take 14 of the best improv comedians in Winnipeg (Fraz Wiest, who plays zonked-out wizard Taxx, might actually be the funniest person in the city), give ’em swords and sorcery and decide their fate with dice. If you like awesome things, find a way to come and play.
— Melissa Martin

July 24, 2013

Feeling Fringy - Wonderfully Amusing

Fact: In 1983, I was hauled up on the stage of a magic show to have swords stuck through my neck.
Fact: Thirty years later, I found myself on the stage of a magic show, this time to participate in a little “arts & crafts” segment.
Fact: Both experiences were equally thrilling and both left me without a shred of a clue as to how the tricks were performed.

Last week, the Mascot and I had the pleasure of seeing the Fringe show “Wonderfully Amusing” at the John Hirsch Theatre. Did it live up to its name? Absolutely. The show was funny, clever, fast-moving (but not too fast-moving), and hugely entertaining. Comedian Matt Falk and Magician Chris Funk were hilarious and engaging and well-deserving of their standing ovation.

I was amazed by everything I saw, but the Mascot played it cool for a couple of tricks that he claimed to know how to do. (There were a few, though, that I could tell kinda blew his mind, which, to me, was worth the $10 that it cost to get in.) There were a few card tricks, a little slight-of-hand, some mind-reading, and lots of audience participation. Although no rabbits were pulled from hats, there was a bowling ball dropped from a sketchpad...

Our review: 4 big, enthusiastic thumbs up!

Free Press Review
FP Rating: ****
Average Reader Rating: ****1/2
Calling your show Wonderfully Amusing can be considered risky or cocky. Thankfully, comedian Matt Falk and magician Chris Funk are pretty much right on the money with the title of their 75-minute production.
The likeable pair play off each other like skilled veterans and both local performers get a fair share of laughs. There is plenty of audience participation during the illusions and no seat is safe if you want to avoid getting on stage.
Some highlights include a variation of Russian roulette, an arts and crafts segment, a bit of sleight of hand with a 10-dollar bill that is almost better in slow motion and a grand finale that earned them a well-deserved standing ovation on opening night.
And, of course, there are some card tricks, because what would a magic show be without a card trick? Funk asked. “Original,” Falk deadpanned.
Wonderfully Amusing is entirely entertaining.
— Rob Williams

July 23, 2013

Color Me Rad!

This past weekend, I took part in Winnipeg’s “Color Me Rad” event at Assiniboia Downs. It was the first colour-run for our city, and based on what I had read from friends who had participated in similar runs, I knew that I had to do it. Plus, a portion of proceeds went to Camp Manitou, a place that is near and dear to my heart.

Despite a horrible traffic jam that caused me to miss my “wave”, I made it to the park in time to meet up with a friend who was fresh off her own run.

I joined up with a big, excited group at the start line and after a few minutes of instructions and banter by the MCs, we were off! The route took us around the paved areas Downs park and then, once we were past the first colour-bomb station, out through an adjoining field. The colour stations were set up every kilometer, which was a fun way to count-off the legs of the race. At each station, we were either pelted with handfuls of coloured cornstarch, or sprayed with water-based paint. It was fun to see everyone get progressively more colourful, as most of us started in white.

The “race” itself was unusual not just for the colour aspect, but because it was the least competitive running event that I have ever witnessed. All ages, shapes, sizes and abilities turned up and took part… and it wasn’t even timed. I ran the whole 5k, but I would say that the majority of participants walked the route after the first kilometre. The weather could not have been better – not too hot, not too windy – and, although the ground was a little bumpy in places, the route was pretty easy to navigate.

Once we were across the finish line, we were given water, our pictures were taken, and we had more opportunities to get coloured-up at the “colour party” dance party. Oh, and there were free McDonald’s frappe samples for those who like that sorta thing. After hanging out for a couple songs, and getting even pinker in the process, I headed home and began the fun (and surprising! Who knew my toes would be purple?) process of getting clean again.

June 28, 2013

For immediate release

For Immediate Release
Friday, June 29, 2013

Jacob J Brings Home Stellar Report Card
Ecstatic teenager allowed to keep electronics; advances to grade 11
Winnipeg, MB - Following a productive second semester in the tenth grade, Jacob J proudly brought home an impressive final report card. By earning grades that ranged from 77 to 97, the Winnipeg high school student successfully completed grade ten and, much to his own delight, prevented the disposal and/or sale of his Xbox, Wii, computer, clock radio, iPod, cellular telephone, television, PVR and Nintendo DS.

"Hooray! I get to keep my electronics," said the ecstatic, video game-addicted teenager. "It would have been a long, dull summer with nothing but a stick and a rock to keep me occupied. What good are thumbs if you can't use them?"

Jacob's second semester grades were the result of hard work, dedication, and a suspiciously "light on the academics" timetable.

On his final report of the 2012/13 school year, Jacob received 97 in drama, 85 in Triple Threat, 79 in Physical Education, and 77 in Spanish. The passing grade in Spanish is particularly impressive because the majority of the students in the combined class had previously taken "EspaƱol" and it was Jacob's first attempt at learning a foreign language.

Jacob's mother had nothing but praise for her brilliant (and unusually tall) son. Upon receiving word of Jacob's grades, the remarkably youthful Rebecca Hadfield let out sigh of relief.

"Academically, the boy takes after me," said Ms. Hadfield. "He can also credit me with his talent, dramatic flair, sophisticated palate, keen wit, sparkling personality, sense of humour and good looks. The red hair, however, remains a mystery."

The summer months will be full of adventure for the freckle-faced 15 year old, who has been accepted into the prestigious Leaders in Training (L.I.T.) program at Manitoba Pioneer Camp. Jacob plans to spend some quality time at home enjoying technology, indoor plumbing and processed foods until his departure for camp in mid-July.

Unless he is eaten by a bear, Jacob will make his triumphant return to Grant Park High School in September.

- 30-


June 25, 2013

New Bike Smell

Ok, so where did we leave off? Right. The bike ride home.

It should be noted at this point that during the entire time my bike was in the shop, I was obsessed with the idea of buying a newer, lighter, shinier bike. I had it narrowed down to exactly two: a Raleigh Sprite and a Brodie something-or-other that, let’s face it, I could NOT afford.

It should also be noted that I live a half-block away from Lifesport Cycle.

So, in the interest of getting to the point, approximately 2 minutes after getting home, I was in Lifesport looking at pretty bikes. After a quick loop around the store and a look at all of my options, the owner casually mentioned that he “might have a Raleigh Sprite in the basement.” Eeeee!

There was one failed attempt to find it, but then it appeared as if by magic… and in pieces, fresh out of the box.

“We can have it ready for you tomorrow.”

“Can you have it ready for me tonight?” (The next day was Bike to Work day and I NEEDED a perfectly functioning – ok, cool – bicycle.)

“No problem… I’ll just get so-and-so here to put it together for you. Come back at 7:30?”


Less than two hours later, I was riding her home (in a torrential rainstorm!) If it hadn’t been raining so hard, I would have taken her around the block around all the blocks. But, the next day, I had the chance to ride her to City Hall (stopping at at least four Bike to Work Day “Pit Stops” along the way) , take her to an after work party at the Forks, and then take her shopping in Osborne Village.

Oh, and her name, by the way, is Norma Jean.