Friday, March 28, 2008

The Return of Jenn and Moe

Jenn and Maureen couldn't leave their meeting early on Thursday, so they ended up changing their flights and staying an extra night in Ottawa. Girls night out take 2!

Jenn didn't pack any extra clothes so first we went downtown to Rideau Centre to find her a new shirt. Then for dinner we tried the Black Tomato in the Byward Market. It was packed, but we had good timing and got the remaining open table. The food wasn't as awesome as I thought it would be, but the wine and the company were excellent. We couldn't decide on one dessert, so we shared a piece of peanut butter pie and a piece of chocolate pecan pie. Is it wrong that I always focus on what a restaurant offers for dessert over the main course?

Then it was back to the self-proclaimed "unsurpassed luxury" of the Southway Inn again. Jenn had managed to talk the hotel staff into upgrading Moe into a suite, which seemed to have an Arabian Nights/circus tent, red and yellow-striped theme. Enchanting. I lasted till about 12:30 and we did another round of good-byes.

I've got my fingers crossed for yet another snowfall, causing a shut-down of the Ottawa airport and girls night take 3!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jenn and Moe Visit Ottawa

There were 2 exciting events yesterday. First, I had my audition to get a family doctor. Basically a pre-appointment to see if I could qualify for an actual appointment. Success! Those years of tap and jazz really paid off. Let the illnesses begin!

Second, and much more exciting, Jenn and Maureen were in Ottawa for a meeting so I had an evening out with them. What's the first place you take visitors from Winnipeg? IKEA, of course! Jenn brought a spare suitcase so she could load up, but she didn't really buy that much. Then we went to the liquor store to get some bottled Bellini's, but apparently the LCBO doesn't carry them any more.

The big news for those of you who haven't already heard - Maureen is engaged!

Jenn and Moe had lots of wedding talk over dinner at Zuni Grill, a restaurant near my house. For dessert, we shared some cheesecake and sat around talking for so long the waitress had to give us the polite "the restaurant is closing in 15 minutes" warning. We headed back to the Southway Inn, glamorously located in the middle of nowhere, a 5-minute drive from the airport, and talked in Jenn's room till about midnight.

I can stay up late and abuse my body with cheesecake now because I have a family doctor! Whee!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Belated Birthday for Kevin

Yesterday Kevin and I went out for his official birthday dinner, since I was away for the real date. We ate at Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar. The building the restaurant is in used to be a car dealership so it seems a bit weird from the outside - like a giant showcase. But the restaurant was really nice inside and had great drinks and food.

The crème brulée wouldn't make my top 5, but fortunately it was made with brandy. Unfortunately it had chunks of prunes in the bottom. T
he crust was excellent though!

I spent most of Saturday and Sunday sleeping, so I'm out of stories.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Not a Good Friday After All

So my plan to sleep for 2 hours before heading to the airport and sleeping the week off on the plane backfired somewhat. I was supposed to connect through Chicago, but they had a bad storm and all the flights through there got delayed or canceled. I managed to rebook on a flight through Toronto, but had to switch airports and wait another 6 hours.

I Facebook stalked people I met at the conference on my laptop for a while then zombied around the San Francisco airport shops, trying to stay awake. I figured if I closed my eyes for a minute I'd fall asleep, miss my flight and be stuck in the airport for another day.

There's nothing like eating 3 meals at the airport: bad eggs and potatoes for breakfast, airport sushi for lunch (need I specify it was bad?), then mediocre vegetable stir fry for dinner. Where's a reception with an open bar when you need one? Withdrawal!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Last Day in California

Today was the last day of EclipseCon. Despite only 4 hours of sleep and incorrectly setting my alarm, I made it to the 7:00 am run. My group managed to run the whole way this time too, with no walking.

After the last session of the day, a few of us had a brief meeting to start planning our European conference in November - argh. T
hen it was off to another party. This one was at David's Restaurant, at a golf course around the corner from the conference center. It was supposed to be a night of drinking for Europeans, but there was a whole mix of Americans and Canadians as well. It was the last night, so I stayed to the very end of the party then ended up at the lobby bar until 2:30 am again.

I have an excellent picture of me with McLovin from Superbad from this night. I'm not ashamed to attain fame through association.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kevin's Birthday - Bring on the Booze

Happy Birthday to Kevin! I gave him a call today to send birthday love.

I didn't make the 7:00 am run again. I started to feel the pain today, but there's only 1 more day to go.

Kevin's boss gave a talk in the afternoon that was pretty cool. The room was packed! Towards the end, they did a demo using flickr and Kevin tried to hack it so that photos of the rabbits or me would come up, but it didn't work. (They call Kevin "bunny boy" at work, so revenge would have only been fair.)

After the talks were done, a few of us headed over to In-N-Out Burger for dinner. A true American experience, apparently. They only have 4 items on the menu not including drinks: hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger and fries. I really shouldn't have missed the run this morning.

Back at the conference there was another reception... with 2 chocolate fountains! 1 white chocolate and 1 milk chocolate. I can't be trusted with chocolate fountains in public (other people don't seem to like my fingers in there), so I stuck to the drinks.

There was also a post-reception party with more drinks. After that the head of the company opened up a $2,000 bar tab in the lobby. That lasted 90 minutes. I somehow made it to 2:00 am and set the alarm for 6:00.

You Know You've Made it When...

My fame is official. I'm a bobblehead! One of our member companies in Texas created a bobblehead of me as one of their prizes.

Only Office fans will understand: Take that Dwight Schrute. "I am awesome! I am awesome!" (should be chanted in a stairwell)

Is it a little bit creepy that someone out there will end up with a doll of me on their desk? Or what if the fame goes to my head and I shave it bald and end up in rehab?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's Tough Being Popular

This morning was the official opening of the conference and I already had complete laryngitis. I'm sooooo popular, I have to talk to everybody. I did make it to the 7:00 am run and it was a lot harder than I expected. There were 20 of us and the majority were pretty serious runners. I guess I'll have to hit the treadmill harder when I get back to try and train my short legs to keep up.

The highlight of day was being featured in a popular Planet Eclipse blog written by Ed, from IBM in Toronto. It's a whole series of me pretending to be nice to people before beating on them in order to force them to do webinars. Eveyone's personal fave was me choking David, one of our Board members. I've only known Ed since September, so it's a bit scary that he already has "Evil Lynn" figured out.

In the evening there was a reception in the sponsor hall. I suspect the dinner theme was "deep fried". You get an extra drink ticket if you wear a sticker that says "Ask me about...". I filled in laryngitis. Hilarious.

After the reception I went out to dinner with a bunch of friends that work at Oracle. When we got back, the lobby bar was the place to be and I lasted until just after midnight.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fame! (sans Leg Warmers & Headband)

I made it in to California on time yesterday and immediately started running into people in the hotel. It was funny that with the blonde hair and glasses some people took a minute to recognize me. Makes me think that Superman's Clark Kent disguise may have been plausible after all. Soon after, I went to lunch with Darin from Winnipeg. He's the one that lives next to my parents and set me up on the blind date with Kevin.

There were 2 good parties last night.
My boss had a drinking party for bloggers in the lobby bar, then the head of the company had a party for staff and the Board of Directors in his hotel suite. I kept the partying in check but still didn't make the 6:00 am group run the next morning. I decided 3 hours of sleep would be more beneficial to my health seeing, as I had stayed up a full 24 hours.

I've been meeting so many new people and seeing a lot of people that I only run into once or twice a year, so I'm already starting to lose my voice. Figures - I just bragged last weekend that I haven't had laryngitis for 5 years. That'll learn me.

The biggest event for me today was the awards
ceremony. My boss asked if I wanted to co-present and I said no, but that I wanted to be in all the pictures. He doesn't like getting his picture taken, so it worked out well. There were probably some people who didn't know who the heck I was, but who cares, I posed in all the trophy shots any way. I'll be famous on flickr! High aspiration, I know. I did force my way into 12% of the photos from Monday. Here I am with Doug, the conference's program chair. Note the "Trouble Maker" ribbon on the bottom of my name tag. (Staff got to choose their own titles.)

The day ended with a reception out by the pool. It was a bit chilly, but since most of you reading are in Winnipeg and Ottawa I'll keep my mouth shut about the cool California temperatures or risk a beating when I get back.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I got some highlights done yesterday, so I’m semi-blonde now.

I’m off to Santa Clara, CA today for EclipseCon. Yes, it's as nerdy as it sounds. I got up at 3:00 am to get to the airport. In Pacific time, that’s midnight, which is going to totally mess me up. There are 2 parties tonight, so I hope I make it through.

The stopover is in Chicago. That airport is one of my favourites because it’s home to the rudest McDonalds in North America. Not a slogan that they’ve used in their advertising as of yet. As an aside, I tried the new cinnamelts and meh. Plus they are suspiciously absent from the McDonalds online nutritition calculator. Hmmmmm. Perhaps when all metrics are "0" it's not necessary to include that item online.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bunny Burgling - Like Cat Burgling but Much Louder and Clumsier

Yesterday I discovered Spuckler knows how to open doors. She does several sessions of boxing at the bottom of our bedroom door and jiggles it just enough that the catch disengages. Then she pushes it open and hangs out under the bed. I kept thinking I left the door open and then I caught her doing it.

You’re one step closer to being a crazy bunny lady when you have to baby gate the house. Not for the protection of your baby, or in this case fur baby, but so that they can’t get close enough to annoy you while you’re sleeping. Is it wrong to cage children? (That oughta get me off the hook from babysitting for friends any time soon.)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Baking & Booze, Brunch of Champions

I went with Jen to get some pastries and brunch at Niche today. On the walk there Jen got stopped by a lady from NOW magazine for their street style column. She had a brief photo shoot and interview. She was ticked because she had debated about footwear before we left and ended up wearing practical boots. She made the lady promise she would crop her boots out from the photo. (Mar. 31, 2008: and she totally didn't!)

On a style note, Jen is originally from Manitoba and doesn’t own a pair of mitts! This is what Toronto does to you.

At Niche, I ended up eating a scone and 1 1/2 cookies… but with salad, so it was totally balanced. On the way back, we stopped for a bottle of wine. The man asked if we were shopping for red or white. Helllooo? White! Only lushes drink red in the morning. Classy ladies like us picked a gerwurztraminer. We had a quick glass at Jen’s apartment and then headed to the bus station.

Jen had a cold while I was visiting and I started showing symptoms about an hour in to the bus ride. But I made it home without throwing up!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ooh La La!

The weather actually was kind of sucky today in Toronto, so I take back my scoffing. Somewhat. We took the streetcar and went out to brunch at Bonjour Brioche. I had an awesome croissant and some mighty fine French toast. We also took 2 tarts to go.

We went to a bunch of bookstores and newsstands to find a copy of the Calgary Herald so Jen could do some apartment scouting, but it didn’t work out. We stopped at a few shops on the way home and tried stuff on, but didn’t buy anything.

For the evening we ordered in from I Love Sushi (why walk a whole block ourselves?) and watched some Cashmere Mafia and Sex and the City episodes, of course followed by makeovers. No tickle fights in nighties. This time. We tried to go for blue and pink makeup with afro for Jenn, and green makeup with ponyhawk for me. Results were frightening. It probably didn’t help that we were drinking champagne - Veuve Clicquot – ooh la la! Looking at the results of our photo shoot, I think America’s Next Top Model would have themed it “$2 hookers drinking $70 champagne.”

Friday, March 7, 2008

Jen Moves 3,468 km Farther Away - Not that I'm Counting

I took the bus to Toronto after work to visit my friend Jen (formerly of Consumers Distributing fame). She just got an awesome job in IT with WestJet and is moving back to Calgary. I got in around 10:00 pm and walked to her condo. She tried to get me to take a cab because the weather was “bad”. I’m from Winnipeg and Ottawa, darnit! She should know a few snowflakes can’t slow me down.

We talked for a bit, ate some grapes, then went to a club called Velvet Underground for her friend James’s birthday party. She lives right downtown so it was just at the end of her street. We did a bit of dancing then headed home to sleep.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Abominable Monster Snow Storm

We had 28 cm of snow yesterday! It wouldn't be so bad if our snow banks weren't already about 8 feet tall. (I do realize I mixed metric and imperial measurements. I'm tricky that way.) The roads were manageable once you got off the side streets, so Kevin went in to work. Mainly because it was bagel Wednesday at IBM. I stayed in and worked from home.

Sore... from... shoveling. And we're supposed to get about 16 cm more by Monday.

The only thing about the weather forecast that makes me feel better is seeing it's -23 in Winnipeg. -34 with the wind chill. It's a toasty +2 here. Mwa ha ha ha ha!

Evil laughing hurts my sore back.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

5 Down, 1 To Go

As officially announced on a 2 hour, 18:58 minute conference call last night with the 6 Pack girls, Karene is engaged! Yes, to Kelly, you smart alecks. They were recently on a cruise and Kelly proposed on stage at one of the shows. Preparations are already underway, with the wedding date planned for August 2009. Video footage of the proposal is available - send email requests to Karene.

So all "when are you getting married" attention is solely on me now. The cheese stands alone, so to speak. Although I could still quickly elope and be #4 ahead of Jenn and Karene.

I have already volunteered to make an unscheduled, drunken speech at Karene's wedding reception. Highlights will include my theories on how the couple met (prison pen pal program, he got her name off an AIDS walk list, etc.), various threats to Kelly that he should treat Karene right followed by the evil eye, and a short tap routine.