Friday, May 30, 2008
I did this the other night and Kevin thought the dream was about spiders, but I think it was a premonition of the hot yoga class we tried last night. Okay, it actually wasn't that bad except for the crow pose into headstand. Squat with your hands on the floor, balance your knees forward on your elbows, take your feet off the ground, then stand on your head. What the?
Maybe if I spend hundreds of dollars on lululemon clothing, my yoga-ing will improve.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I did get to see a big brown and white snake. I may have entered Arizona accidentally at some point.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday we tried to go to the Great Glebe Garage Sale. The Glebe is a really nice neighbourhood in Ottawa, and for the last 20 years, they've held a coordinated sale one day each summer. We (i.e. I) didn't get moving until about 11:00, so it was nuts! We drove up and down the streets for about 20 minutes then gave up and went home when we still didn't find parking. Garage sale shopping from the car definitely isn't that interesting.
Sunday we cleaned out the garage because it was full of cement dust from getting our driveway redone. Par-tay! Then Kevin's aunt and uncle from Toronto stopped by for a late lunch. We pretty much napped for the rest of the evening.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Kevin and I headed over to the United Nations for a tour. The security tent alone was worth the trip - tourists getting yelled at for taking pictures and not moving to the appropriate metal detector - welcome to America! The wait for a guided tour ended up being at least 2 hours so we looked around the public part of the building a bit and left.
We spent the rest of the day touring the fancy American department stores: Bloomingdale's (very expensive), Barneys (outrageously expensive) and Macy's (expensive). Although we couldn't afford anything, I did get to touch some Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik shoes at Barneys. I guess I'll have to hold out until they start collections at Payless.
After several weather delays and annoying teenage girls in the airport wait area, we made it back to Ottawa. Air Canada gives you free booze if the flight is late. Just what you need - angry patrons full of vodka. I took a mini bottle of rum with me out of spite.
At home, the pet sitter had left a note that Spuckler somehow jumped out of her cage and the fence around the cage while she was getting their vegetables and attacked Savvy. He seems to have fully recovered but had these loose hunks of fur hanging off his butt. Poor guy. I'll have to knit him a butt toupee.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Gerry, who we're staying with, has a golden retriever named Bear. After breakfast we went over to Central Park to take Bear for a walk. We tried to find 2 geocaches, but the first location was too busy so we gave up. You can only stare at the walls of a tunnel pretending to examine the rocks for so long, before people think you're child snatchers. We did manage to find the 2nd one without people noticing what we were doing. Central Park was especially busy today because it turns out the AIDS Walk was taking place. Although we weren't wearing the ribbon, we were able to walk in it for a bit without being accosted.
Our friend Gina from Toronto arrived in New York for training, so after our walk, we met up with her at her hotel and went to Soho for shopping. Soho has all the fancy stores. You start to become numb to the crazy prices! Not numb enough to actually spend the $600 on a pair of shoes, but enough that it doesn't seem surprising.
The weather wasn't great, so we stopped at a café for lunch when the rain picked up. We also had a really hard time getting Gina a cab. Apparently 3:30-4:30 is a magic time where there's a cab vortex as shifts change over. So there's taxis everywhere, but none of them will stop. She eventually ran into the street, kicking a few babies and small children out of her way, and stole a cab from a group of people that were naively waiting at the curb.
After more shopping, Kevin and I had a Cajun dinner at one of his favourite spots from his New York days - the Great Jones Café. We both had shaggys - spicy ginger ale with rum. They were freakin' spicy all right! Tastes like burning.
With the sun going down, we walked over to the Empire State Building. We paid a ridiculous amount of money so I could go to the very top. Although the ticket is vastly over-priced, it was definitely cool to see so much of the city from up high and watch the sun set.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Halfway through the day we met up with Kevin's former co-worker Mike and his girlfriend Melinda for lunch. Gerry joined us too. We went to Essex, which had an awesome brunch special for $16 that included 3 mimosas. Kevin and I actually showed up early for lunch so we pre-drank 2 mimosas as well. We had a good view of the bar and they were using real champagne!
I think my favourite part of the day was seeing Times Square at night and the Broadway show. We bought half price tickets to Avenue Q, which I've been wanting to see for years now. It won the Tony for Best Musical in 2004 and is basically like real-life, dirty Sesame Street for adults. Songs include It Sucks To Be Me, If You Were Gay and The Internet is for Porn, to give you an idea.
We obviously were exhausted at the end of the day and finished off with dinner at Il Violino.
It was weird to finally see all the larger than life New York landmarks in person. Surreal. The subway and people were also much more normal and friendly than as depicted on tv. Law & Order has been lying to me! Donk donk. (That's the Law & Order sound bite.) Zero shootings and stabbings witnessed as of yet.
What's that you ask? Of course I'll keep everyone fully updated on future throwing-up episodes. If there's enough demand, perhaps I can track my progress via an Excel chart.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
A lot of the plants ended up being things that are pretty ordinary, but some of the stands had some really different varieties. The prices were generally decent too. We really wanted to get some evergreen shrubs to fill in our front flower bed and some trilliums - Ontario's provincial flower. We snagged the last 2 trilliums at the show and bought a bunch of other random flowers and shrubs.
We went to Loblaws and Home Depot as well, to pick up a few more filler items. What did we find? A whole table of "rare and unusual" trilliums at Loblaws! At least we were able to buy a few more. Kind of killed the caché though.
We spent the rest of the day planting our herb and vegetable garden at the side of the house and all of our flowers and shrubs in the front. I managed to break the top off of all the tulips when I moved them, because I'm delicate that way.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
A trip to the Market wouldn't be complete without indulgent over-spending at Trustfund. Gina needed a new pair of jeans and couldn't decide on a style, so she bought 2. That seems to happen a lot at their store. By coincidence, Gina is going to New York for training next week so Kevin and I are going to meet her there and bring the jeans once they're hemmed. Very jet set.
After all the spending we decided to have dinner in. We bought trout, vegetables, potatoes and fiddleheads. None of us had tried fiddleheads before but they're big in Ontario this time of year. It's really a wild baby fern, rolled up in a ball. Turns out they taste like asparagus (but not quite as good).
We tried to watch a movie afterwards and picked Awake. Hated it. There were way too many graphic surgery scenes. And it sucked. The one redeeming feature is Jessica Alba - if you're a man. Gina and Tim both fell asleep.
We never really did tour any tulip gardens today, but yay Tulip Festival!
Friday, May 9, 2008
The flight back was uneventful. I watched The Golden Compass and Mad Money. Both were more disappointing than expected, so I'm glad I didn't pay to rent them.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Everyone was tired so we had dinner together at Annabelles and went our separate ways. I had a lemon mojito this time, but it paled in comparison to the raspberry. I'm hoping to do some shopping in the morning before my flight.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Then it was off to our party at a restaurant called the ThirstyBear. The restaurant brews some of its own beers and has a really neat location in a historic brick building in downtown San Francisco. We had the 2nd floor of the restaurant closed off and it was packed! We had just over 300 people and maxed out the tab in a record 2 hours and 15 minutes.
There's nothing like handing over your credit card to pay for a $10,000 party.
Our buddy Mik Kersten from Vancouver (middle) took a picture at the end of the party with me and my boss Ian (right).
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The first day was 9 hours long and pretty busy. We didn't get any food at the party in the evening because the line was so long, so a group of us went to a sushi restaurant called Sakana afterwards. Excellent! We made Luke eat the fish bones that came with the bill since he was our token Asian.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I was starving by 4:00 so I headed out to find a place to eat, and ended up running into my friend Tim, who works out of Mexico for one of our member companies. He joined me for dinner, but we had a hard time finding anything open. We ended up having cheese and drinks at Café de la Presse first. I was too shy to force him to go shopping with me, so he grabbed the GPS from his car and we tried to find a geocache. Unfortunately, the GPS wasn't built for off-road directions and it wasn't accurate enough to get us close. We wandered around Yerba Buena Gardens a bit and gave up.
By then, restaurants were open for dinner so on my hotel's recommendation, we decided to try Lulu for some seafood. It was really nice. Somehow the couple seated at the next table got the impression that it was Tim's birthday, so that was a bit weird. We just played along.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I decided to pick up all my deliveries and get them over to the conference centre so the next day I could just do set up. It was quite the work out carrying everything over. The doorman offered to help once I had 1 last box to bring over. So far, only 1 sign is missing.
Due to getting up at 5 am and the 3 hour time change, I was starving by 4:00, so I headed out for dinner. The concierge recommended a restaurant called Annabelles, just down the street. I had the best mojito ever! They used raspberry rum and the drink menu claimed they “burned” (in quotations) the mint instead of muddling it, although the waiter had no clue what that meant. They’re probably just guarding the secret recipe. Duck salad and vanilla crème brulee, and I was done. I was pretty much asleep by 8:00.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The city had the street we were going to closed off and blocked by a police car, so we had to drive around the block to get into the designated parking lot. Every side street along the way was being guarded by people in white jumpsuits. Once we got around the block and got close, we were stopped by the first set of jumpsuits who told us to continue driving ahead. The second set of jumpsuits asked for our postal code and allowed us to turn into the parking lot. The third set of jumpsuits told us to again drive ahead and stop at the drop off. Once we parked and popped the trunk, there were at least 5 people in jumpsuits to take our few paint cans out of the trunk. Other than us, the entire drop off was empty. I think they managed to employ about 50 people that day.
Hazardous-waste free, we headed off to some garden centres to get herbs for our garden. The coolest find of the day was a pineapple mint plant at Loblaws. Let the mojito season begin!
For dinner, we met up with Kevin’s friend Matt and his wife Cindy. We went to Shogun, which is kind of like Ichiban or Benihana. The best part is when they light a stack of onion on fire like a volcano. Mmm, flaming onion volcano.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Our neighbour Erwin invited us to his 30th birthday party today. Some new neighbours, Andrew and Amy, moved in across the street from us around Christmas and they were there too. Erwin is originally from