June 27th

Day 179 — Day one of the holidays — and it was lovely.  Got up went for a nice long walk along a different path.  Not the usual 30 minute circuit Heather and I usually navigate when I’m working.  The air was warm, even though we’d had a helluva storm last night.  Lots of thunder and lightning, and, of course, rain.  But, other than a couple of slight showers that was supposed to be the end of the 40 days and 40 nights we’ve been enduring.

I did a lot of little things today — made pineapple marmalade, tidied the house, took care of small chores I’ve been putting off since forever.  I even found time to read my book outside on the deck a couple of times.  (In case you hadn’t figured it out, my deck is my favorite place to be in the summer time.)

For dinner I made crab cakes and salad with asparagus on the side.  Of course, I ate it outside.  Then I finished off a nice little glass of white zinfandel and read a few more pages of my book before going back out into the garden.

I love not working!

March 10th

Day 69 — A lazy, laid back Sunday.  Was expecting company, but their plans changed.  Was thinking of going in to town to finish off a few errands — had a nap instead.  Thought about working on the bannisters, which need some touch-ups; read and did jigsaw puzzles.  Then finished watching season 3 of Heroes with Tim while we drank a bottle of wine.  Lovely day!

Feb.1st

Day 32 — An interesting day of meetings — but concerns now about what’s happening with our pension.  The drive home was good – until I had to get on the Yellowhead from Henday and then everyone turned into an idiot.  Seriously, people!  Got home though, safe and sound.  A glass of wine and homemade pizza, a snuggle with my hubby and all was right with the world again.

. . .and now, for something completely different

. . .we had a terrific weekend.

It was my husband’s birthday on Friday.  I kidnapped him and took him out for dinner and a night on the town.  I booked us a hotel room for the night right smack dab in the middle of downtown Edmonton.

We went to Lux for supper.  Had a fantastic meal.  Steak, lobster mac (homemade macaroni and cheese with lobster– sounds weird, but it was fantastic!) potatoes gratin, asparagus, hollandaise sauce and a Cabernet  demi glace (which neither of us cared for).  We also had, by far the best caesar salad I’ve had in nearly 20 years.

Dinner was a leisurely two and a half hours and two bottles of a lovely Gewürztraminer.  We finished up with a an absolutely divine creme brulee with homemade almond shortbread cookies. When we finally left the restaurant, it was close to closing.  We wandered back to our hotel — a mere 5-minute walk away.  Then we decided that, what the hell, we’re on the town, we can stay up late and go back out.

We walked another 5 minutes to the Baccarat Casino, where we spent a couple of hours just playing the machines.  We broke even in the end and left just 15 minutes before the place was closing.

This little escape from normality was exactly what we needed.  We didn’t get out of bed until nearly 10:30 the next day.  With no phones to jangle us awake it was a real treat.

We went and had a really late breakfast and then decided to go shopping for a bit.  Out to IKEA we went.  I was bored after an hour and wanted to leave.  But I got a new rack to hang my pots from and a cute little shelving unit for the laundry room.

After that we went to check out barbecues, because I am in the market for a new one now that I have a new deck.  We checked out a couple of different ones, and I’m pretty sure I know which one I’m going to buy, and it’s not the $3500 Bull model, though, I am sorely tempted.  If we had won the lottery this weekend then I’d spring for it.  But, for our budget, I think I’ll go a little (quite a bit littler) cheaper. Really the barbecue I’ve decided on is a lovely one, much, much, much nicer than the one I’ve had for nearly 25 years.

If I can convince Tim to go order it tomorrow, I may have a barbecue by next weekend.  I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

So, that’s enough about the bbq.  We got home and spent the evening just relaxing some more. Watched the latest Mission Impossible movie.  It was okay.

Then today the kids came out for supper. Tim went for a bike ride with some buddies and I cleaned and cooked.  Got to sit out on my deck in the sunshine and read some more of The Help.

I am loving that book. I’m having no trouble keeping separated from the movie.  Both are excellent, I couldn’t recommend one more than the other, and I’d have to say it doesn’t matter which you do first.

We had a great time.  Took the kids to the park for a bit, then had supper and cake.

The hockey game came on, Landon and I argued a little bit about the worthiness of the Canucks.  His best friend came by with his new baby girl.  She is the cutest little peanut I’ve seen in a long time.  I got to cuddle her for a while, it was lovely holding a baby in my arms again.

Then, everyone left, and once again it was quiet.

It’s back to work tomorrow and my lovely, enjoyable, relaxing weekend will have become a memory.

 

 

Monday, and I’m b-a-a-a-ck

. . . that just never looks as good in print as hearing Jack Nicholson saying it.

Ah, well, the point is, I’m back.  My trip to New York was fantastic.  Just the break I needed.  Although. . .

. . . we had full, busy days — up early and then out pounding the streets and riding the subway.  It was just all too much fun!

We saw two plays while we were there — Wicked and Race.  Wicked is the untold story of the relationship between the witches before Dorothy and Toto ever make the scene.  It was wonderful — very funny, with lavish sets and a great story line.  Can’t wait for it to come here so I can take my grand-daughter, Hailey.  She would love it, especially Glinda, who is really a girly girl.  Race, was a dark comedy exploring society’s attitude towards well, what else, racial stereotypes and prejudice.  It was very thought-provoking while at the same time crazily funny.  A David Mamet play, so lots of profanity and no fear of saying the politically incorrect.  Loved it.

There is just something about New York.  I, like millions of others, simply love the place.  And I say that with the full knowledge that my love of the place is superficial and naive.  I am a tourist when I’m there, nothing more and I know little or nothing of the average life of a true New Yorker.  In our travels about the city — and those were confined to Upper, Middle and Lower Manhattan — we encountered very few real citizens.  Those we did were working and for the most part seemed resigned to answering the touristy questions we posed (and they’d heard for probably the millionth time).  They weren’t exactly friendly, but they were polite, which is okay.

The funniest thing I heard was when we were coming out of Tiffany’s.  (I bought myself a lovely little silver chain and initial pendant — surprisingly very affordable!)  A little boy of about 5 was complaining to his father about the streets being too busy.  His dad said, “I know, son, it’s because there’s so many tourists right now.  Unfortunately, we need the tourists to survive.”  I laughed right out loud.  With my pretty little blue Tiffany’s bag swinging gaily from my hand.  I guess Audrey shouldn’t have made the place so famous.

This was my second trip to the big apple and having been there once before really came in handy.  As Tim and I had taken the subway before I wasn’t at all hesitant about getting in to them again.  Each day we would go and get an unlimited ride pass and then we would take that subway all over the place.  Though the terminals themselves are nearly unbearably hot, the cars are blessedly air-conditioned.  Well, except for one.  Day two we’re down in the terminal waiting for our train.  It’s busy, lots of people.  We worry about getting separated when it’s that busy, so as the train pulls up we see a car that is practically empty.  We make a bee-line for it.  The doors whoosh open and we rush in — it’s stifling hot!  But now it’s too late to switch cars, so we’re stuck.  We laughed so hard at our stupidity, and, never made that mistake again!

Now, let’s talk about the food.  All of it was fantastic.  We ate at Tom’s Restaurant — the one from Seinfeld — our first night there.  Very good, homestyle meals.  Tom, I believe that was him, anyway, came over and talked to us — a couple of us got our picture taken with him.  He was a nice man who runs a landmark restaurant.  The service was fast and friendly, I would definitely recommend this as a place to go.  Other than that we ate hotdogs and kebabs off the street carts, had Chinese in China-town, dinner at Carmine’s — the BEST for Italian food — but avoid the drinks, too pricy and not sure they actually have any booze in them.  We also had Turkish food at a great little restaurant in Morningside where we were staying, breakfast at a French cafe,and  pizza at Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge.  Other than Grimaldi’s, where we stood in line in the sweltering heat for 45 minutes, but it was so totally worth it, we never had to wait for a seat in a restaurant, ever.

Around the corner from our apartment were a couple of grocers.  One was 24/7 and you could get anything you wanted there, any time of day.  And it was always fresh!  They had a wonderful fresh salad and deli bar, a coffee bar, vast fruit stands, freshly baked bread, cookies and pastries, a large dairy case, and a really good selection of dried and canned foods which reflected ethnic diversity.  This is where we picked up stuff for our breakfasts — it was called the Westside Market on Broadway and 110th.  There are lots of these places around, really worth checking out if you’re planning a longer visit to New York.

The only problem we ever had was locating a place to buy wine.  We could get beer anywhere, but buying wine was a bit of a trial.  Then we were told, on our second last day, to go over to Amsterdam Ave.   There were dozens of little wine stores over there.  Never fear, though, we made sure we stopped several times throughout the day for a drink at some little cafe or restaurant.  I think the most frivolous fun we

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had was the day we went and had drinks at the Plaza Hotel.  What a stunningly gorgeous place!  And we in our shorts and tees, covered in sweat and looking every inch the Canadian tourist.  But, they were extremely gracious and seated us in the champagne bar.  We had our server laughing and in the end I think we got a complimentary tray of nuts because of it.  Suffice it to say the drinks, a tray of cheese and crackers with  a few grapes and a halved strawberry, and a plate with two large pieces of bruschetta (the most amazing tasting bruschetta I’ve ever had!) cost us a pretty penny.  But you know what?  It was so worth it!  Drinks at the Plaza — you only live once, I say.

We did so much, saw so much, experienced so much — I could probably write all day trying to get it all down.  But I think I’ll take a break for now.  Post a few pictures from our trip and get back at it again tomorrow.