Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back Massage Hurts My Ear

I like to think I'm a master - or mistress I suppose - of odd ailments. For example, motion sickness from playing video games, fainting at the eye doctor due to fear of the puff of air from the glaucoma tester, stitches from catching a frisbee and poor night vision due to spraying perfume in one own's eyes when attempting to use it as eyeshadow remover (I wasn't the smartest 7 year-old). The latest is an ear ache from a back massage. I guess I didn't position my head perfectly straight in the face hole on the massage table and now my ear is killing me, with pain extending down to my jaw. Bets on how long it will last? I predict 43 hours.

Friday, July 25, 2008

$0.28 of Free Raspberries

Kevin's parents and granny are staying with us for one night before heading to a cabin they rented in Quebec. So off Kevin and I went to the Market to buy some fruits and vegetables for dinner. One stand had a fabulous deal on raspberries because they got their shipment late and wanted to get rid of everything before the weekend. They had half a flat (about 6 grocery store-sized containers) for $10, or a basket about half the size for $8. Kevin and I had $9.72 combined. We pulled the "but it's all we have" with sad faces routine, and success! $0.28 of free raspberries. Still got it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Last Day in Winnipeg? Not So Fast...

Today started off with an early lunch with Mark, my former co-worker from ENSIS. He was out of town for our reunion last Thursday, but managed to fit me in on my last day in Winnipeg. We ate at the Pony Corral Pier 7 patio. Mark is now a V.P. at Librestream, a company that offers a mobile video collaboration product. I remember back when ENSIS first invested in Librestream, the product was so top-secret we couldn't even talk about what they did. Oh, venture capital. Speaking of which, some of you ENSIS folk will enjoy My favourite t-shirt there says "Your Mom Is Not A Valid Test Market". You can also buy the company, but every time someone new visits the site the price goes up a dollar, so act fast. Anyway, Mark and I had a really good visit and the patio weather was great, so I'm glad we made time to get together.

After lunch, I was off to visit our family friend Janet and her 3 kids, Ariel, Cameron and Ethan. Her husband John is fighting in Afghanistan right now, but he should hopefully be back by September. I couldn't believe how big the kids are now! We didn't have a lot of time together but I got a tour of the house and an update on all the kids. Ariel showed me her collector Barbies (need I say awesome) and her favourite video game where you cook virtual food. Girl stuff is the best! Janet's always been good at sports, so it's no surprise that Ariel is amazing at ringette, Cameron loves hockey, and Ethan is already starting to skate. I don't know how Janet does it all on her own. Especially with 2 rottweilers added to the mix!

Back at my parents house, I was finally able to have one dinner at home with them before my flight back. However after dinner when I decided to double check my departure info one last time, I discovered my plane was taking off right then. My original flight was canceled and I had been looking at the wrong set of papers! And I had, of course, booked the last flight of the day. Well, one more night in Winnipeg won't hurt. Departure at 7 am. I hope. I think that's the first time I've completely missed a flight due to my incompetence. I showed up a day early to the airport once, but that doesn't count because I didn't actually miss the flight in that situation. I was all the wiser the next day.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Christmas in July

It's a tradition for the 6 Pack girls (nicknamed in high school because there are 6 of us - not because of beer drinking) to hold a Christmas party every year, no matter how late it has to happen due to scheduling conflicts. Because of my move to Ottawa, we set the record this year by holding our Christmas party in July. I have a pretty tight agenda on this Winnipeg visit, so the only opening was Sunday morning, 10 am. Despite the horrible state we left her in last night, Jenn made it to brunch! Albeit with the same hairdo, but I'm not judging.

We met at Buccacino's with Christmas presents in tow. After recapping to Jenn what happened last night and enjoying the brunch buffet, we moved on to opening presents. It had been so long, we had forgotten what we had bought for each other and what we had even asked for, so it was a real surprise. Among many nice things Karene picked out for me (we rotate who buys for who based on order of birthdays), I got the The Muppet Show Season 2 DVDs. Now I remember why I only have Seasons 1 and 3 - it all makes sense! We're considering making Christmas in July the new tradition.

After brunch, my mom and I went to a wedding shower in Beausejour for our family friend Stacey, better known as "Stacey from the farm". If there's one thing that can be said about Beasejour, the women sure know how to make dainties! Stacey's dad also bought so much Arbor Mist there was enough for every lady to have her own bottle. We played a get to know the bride and groom game and were given papers to write down our marriage advice. Mine was, "The key to happy co-habitation is NO RABBITS!" Stacey took one in before, so she'll know what I'm talking about.

After we got back to Winnipeg, I headed off to Genie's house to meet her and Noemi for pizza and house tours. Genie's house is a bungalow with a really big yard. The best feature is the awesome bathroom upstairs that she renovated, with root beer walls and a jet tub. A close second is the one wallpapered basement wall that is overlaid with velvet stripes. There is a ton of closet space. What I wouldn't give to have a purse closet like Genie. Darn you bunnies and your closet of hay!

A short car ride later, we all arrived at Noemi's. Noemi's house is a 2-storey, also with a huge yard. For those that don't know, she'll need it, as the Ly's will soon be a family of 4. Unleash the uninvited tummy rubs! Noemi's just in the process of renovating the kitchen so I didn't get to see the full effect, but judging by the new counter tops, it's going to look fantastic. I also love the balcony off the main bedroom.

It's been a whirlwind tour. I leave tomorrow for Ottawa, but will be back in another month.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I Love You Too Jenn

My mom made a BBQ for family and friends today. We had way too much food and visited for a good 6 hours. I checked a suitcase on this trip so I could bring everyone little gifts from IKEA. As a courtesy to Winnipeg readers, I have include links to the top "Bring an IKEA to Winnipeg" petitions here: 1, 2. Also, has anyone heard from the Jets lately? Never give up.

Meanwhile, Jenn was being thrown a surprise bachelorette party. I missed the pre-festivities including laser tag (very Jenn) and the stripper (those were separate ev
ents - there's no magical venue that offers strip laser tag), but joined the girls at Pony Corral for dinner. So digression... what would you name your strip laser tag company? I might go with "The Right to Bare Arms".

You know the night is going to be pretty wild when 25 women are packed onto something called the Bada Bing Party Bus, complete with "dancer" pole and free energy drinks. All the girls were given shot glass necklaces and Jenn came around pouring while we drove to the first bar. Don't spill on my precious Trustfund jeans! Nooooo!

The first bar stop was Alive (the former Au Bar or Wise Guys, depending on your age). It was only 9:00 so the bar was pretty dead except for about 4 bachelorette parties. Jenn's sister had prepared a book of tasks for Jenn to complete. My favourite was a sheet of stickers with titles such as "Best Pecs" or "Worst Pickup Line" that she had to go around sticking on boys. She also got called up on stage to dance with the live band. I joined as one of her backup dancers.

Next stop was Blush. Activities there included getting a guy to leave a message on Henry's (Jenn's fianc
é) phone, cheers-ing with strangers and a whole lotta drinking.

Back on the bus, poor Jenn wasn't holding up so well. It probably didn't help that we all kept chanting instructions at her such as "dance, dance" or "cry, cry". A true highlight of the evening, in response to "speech, speech", was Jenn's deeply moving, "I love you, and I love you, and I love you, and I love you," speech. It will be interesting to see how our brunch at 10 am tomorrow morning works out.

Post bachelorette party event note: photos of Jenn at her party have been suspiciously hard to come by. Come on, they can't ALL be incriminating!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tess Just Married... Again!

Maritess (a.k.a. Paige) and Jorge finally had their church wedding ceremony today after a 9-year delay after the civil ceremony. That was 4 boyfriends ago for me! Including many bad dates in between.

The girls met at Jenn's in the morning to get ready. My dress was made with measurements I emailed to Tess and I didn't get a chance to have it fitted, so it was my first time seeing it and trying it on. It was pretty big, but a few safety pins and a quick sew job later, it was wearable. There's a great picture of me in my underwear on Jenn's couch, s
ewing my dress, which for obvious reasons, I decided not to post here. Obvious reasons being you have to pay me $10 first. Sales of my LynnXXX operating system are slow, so I need to make up the lost revenue somehow.

We packed Jenn's vehicle like a clown car of bridesmaids and headed to the Manitoba Legislative Building for pictures. Pictures went on for about 2 hours, then Tess's family whipped out this entire lunch buffet from the trunk of a car. Another hour of pictures later, I was pretty sunburned. Not really a problem for the other girls. The photographer actually called me "Whitey". Then after being corrected, "Liz". Apparently he's not good with names.

After a slurpee stop on the way to the church (Winnipeg is the slurpee capital of North America, so it only makes sense), the wedding was underway. It's official - Tess and Jorge are married! They drove off in a hummer with a "Just Married Again" sign on the back. Awesome.

Dinner was at Rembrandts in Lockport, which is a restaurant and conference centre run by Frances, our friend from St. Mary's. The food was excellent and Tess's daughter Vina gave an incredible performance of Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing. Someone should YouTube that now, before she's famous. Just keep her away from boys named Bobby!

Special thanks to Noemi for being my wedding date. Her daughter entertained me with a 10-minute discussion of macaroni as well.
The wedding was lovely, but the best part was seeing everyone again. Good thing there's still 2 days left of fun-packed activities.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

ENSIS-tini Reunion

My first day back in Winnipeg since Christmas 2006! My mom and I went shopping at Polo Park for most of the day. We found some new clothes for her, we both got some new accessories and nail polish, and I introduced her to the miracle of Spanx.

At 4:30, she dropped me off at Earls on Main for the ENSIS-tini Reunion. All previous and current employees of ENSIS that I could track down were invited for drinks on the patio - just like the old days. Thirteen of us hung out and caught up on news. We also tackled important issues such as should Bruce shave his mustache? Unanimous yes. Does Earls serve the same white wine to everyone and pretend it's different varieties? Likely. Should we have reunions more often? Definitely.

It was so great to hang out with everybody again. I guess as of next Thursday, ENSIS will officially become part of the GrowthWorks Canadian Fund and entrance to the ENSIS alumni club will be closed. I can't wait to see the alumni pin-up calendar in another 10 years. Yikes!
Missing from photo: Bryan and John

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I wanted to dye my hair blonde before my trip to Winnipeg so what salon would be the most logical place to choose? Salon? Nah. I went to some stranger’s basement instead. To be fair, I had been to this woman once before and there were no issues. This time, not so much.

I entered the house to the sound of screaming children. Apparently the hairdresser’s kids had missed their naps that day and they were not in a good mood. After the screaming from the smallest one wouldn’t stop, she let her come down to the basement and poke me/step on my feet/ shoot a blow dryer at me for the 2 ½ hour appointment to shut her up. Lovely. Plus there was some bonus screaming and random singing throughout.

I could have dealt with the kid, had my hair been perfect, but instead I ended up with a golden-orange stripe around my roots. I left with dignity, had Kevin confirm that I did indeed have a stripe and it wasn't just my contacts going bad, cried for 20 minutes, told myself that other people go bald due to serious illnesses so I should suck it up, cried for 1 more minute, then started packing for Winnipeg.

Luckily I still had 1 day to get my hair fixed. My co-worker recommended Byblos, known for good colour jobs. They were very nice and the lady they booked me with, Lucy, managed to get rid of the stripe. My hair is now worth $210. I charge $2/minute if you'd like to touch it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sean & Sam at Bluesfest

It was the last night of the Ottawa Bluesfest today and mercifully, the rain held off. Since Kevin's work was a sponsor this year, we were able to get into their patio for a free drink. There's nothing like drinking cheap chardonnay out of a plastic glass. For free!

We watched Sean Paul first, who insisted on wearing a leather jacket despite the hot weather and bright stage lights. He had an entourage that randomly came to hang out on the stage doing nothing and some cheesy back up dancers. I couldn't understand anything he said, so it was just like listening to his cd's. Don't know why I like him, but I do.

Sam Roberts was next. He put on a good show and we had a good view even though the crowd was so big. He did the obligatory encore, then we left before Donna Summer came on to close out the festival.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Kevin and I went to Saunders Farm today to check out their hedge mazes. I wasn’t expecting much – something on the level of Tinkertown as compared to DisneyWorld – but it turned out to be pretty cool. They had 10 mazes, a water park area and a playground for kids. In the fall they also have a haunted house and a corn maze. Since I'm a nerd, I should clarify that the farm has a mix of labyrinths and mazes. A labyrinth has only a single path and a maze has multiple branching paths. Labyrinth is also a stellar film directed by Jim Henson and starring David Bowie. I just searched the word "trifecta" to see if I could find a synonym for 2 components - bifecta? I declare the movie a bifecta of awesomeness.

We were at the farm for a few hours, although a good 45 minutes was spent waiting for a wagon ride. The first time an employee told us to wait at the wrong spot and we missed it, so we had to wait again. I tried throwing a tantrum, kicking and screaming on the gravel path, but stuff like that happens every 10 minutes there, so the employees didn't care. Plus I had already had an ice cream cone, so there wasn't much else I could bargain for.

Two of my favourite mazes were the Mile Maze because it was the hardest, and the Musical Maze because who doesn't like to make a bunch of noise ringing bells? Hopefully we'll visit again in the fall for the Halloween corn maze, because it looked huge. (It was only knee-high on our visit.) Plus it will give me a chance to dust off the Britney Spears costume.

Friday, July 11, 2008

German Rum

My co-worker Ralph, from Germany, came over for dinner today. He keeps trying to convince us to move there. I did learn some German at our European conference last year that could come in handy. I was trying to order a rum and Coke, but the bartender couldn’t understand me. When he finally got it, I asked him how to say rum in German. Apparently it is “ba-car-di”. True story.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Team Bonding

I awoke to a lovely day in Perth. Unfortunately it was an hour before my alarm was supposed to go off, to the sound of machinery noises. Some genius decided to schedule a pile of dirt in the parking lot to be moved at exactly 7:00 am. Clearly an important task. This tiny bobcat took an hour and a half to do the job so there was beeping every 2 minutes each time he reversed. It angried my blood up.

I was a last minute replacement for a golf game with my co-workers at Links O'Tay, the oldest operating golf course in Canada. I called Kevin the night before and he offered to meet me halfway with my clubs, but I said I’d have to wait and see how drunk I was after dinner. He said, “Yeah, me too.” Needless to say, I had to rent golf clubs. I was also afraid of getting booted out for wearing a sleeveless top with *gasp* no collar, but no one yelled at me. For my sake, we played best ball and I declared a rule of do-overs whenever I felt like it. By the end of the game, everyone had resorted to using unlimited mulligans. I like to take credit for the moral decline.

After a quick lunch, everyone met up at our boss’s cabin for swimming and dinner. Our golf ran a bit late so I missed the water skiing. Just close your eyes and imagine photos of me doing awesome tricks. With perfect abs. I water skied once when I was 12, so this obviously would have equated to me being even better 20 years later. Most people spent their swimming time jumping off the roof of the boat dock. I opted out because I was a) scared, and b) told that I should check my bathing suit top after jumping as bikinis tended to shift upon lake entry. Sounded like advice based on real-life experience. I already managed to escape ridicule by successfully following Google maps yesterday and I didn’t want to steal attention from Barb’s Renfrew mishap by flashing my co-workers. I stuck to basic dog paddling.

After dinner and a campfire we went back to the hotel. I overheard more partying in the suite next door so I knocked and joined in. All the ladies were having post-dinner drinks and we ended up hanging out until 2:00 am.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Worldwide Gathering in Perth

Eclipse staff from around the world gathered for team building in Perth this week. Sounds very exciting, except our worldwide staff is made up of only 18 people and we travelled to Perth, Ontario, not Australia. It claims to be the "prettiest town in Ontario", as chosen by TV Ontario in an unspecified year. Hmmmmm.

Perth is just over an hour away from Ontario, but I'm terrible with directions and was paranoid about getting lost and being late. Luckily Barb and Janet took all the pressure off. They missed the first exit on their drive and ended up in Renfrew, about an hour and a half away in the wrong direction. I think it'll be a long time before they live that one down.

We're all staying at the new Code's Mill Inn.
I lucked out with my hotel room. I’m right next to the party suite. Basically an extra big room that the hotel gave to Sharon W., for organizing all the meeting arrangements. From my room, I could hear joviality going on in the suite so I knocked on the door and joined the party. We had pre-dinner drinks, then went across the street to Fiddleheads for dinner.

Well, after 32 years I finally broke down and tried poutine. I didn’t love it. I’m not big on gravy to begin with. And now I can’t talk about how I’m Canadian and have never tried it. Darn you poutine! I also had a pasta dish with emu, which I’ve never tried. It just tasted like beef, but the meal wasn’t the greatest, so it might be better if I tried it again. I reserve judgement.

We closed down the restaurant, but many from the group still wanted to try and find another bar. I wasn’t optimistic about our options in Perth on a Tuesday night, so I went back to the hotel. I tried out the jetted bathtub instead of bar hopping. Instead of the usual jet thingys (the technical term), the tub had pinholes all around the base, providing more even bubble distribution. The downside was I couldn’t figure how to turn them off! I’d press the button and they’d shut off, but the lighted button would continue flashing. Then 15 minutes later they’d come on again - even after there was no water in the tub. I couldn’t call down to have someone turn them off for me because I had already washed off my makeup. And the fact that I would look like a loser. I found out the next day that it did this to clean the water out. If I had just stopped screwing with it and pressing the button every time the jets came back on it would have stopped. Tip to the new Codes Mill Inn – leave some instructions in the guest rooms! The majority of us are idiots. Put that in your employee handbook.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bluesfest is Eclectictastic

Kevin’s work gave us free tickets to Ottawa Bluesfest. Bluesfest started as an event for blues music, but is now more a festival for music from all genres. Our night out included Snoop Dogg, the Loved Ones and the Weakerthans. Eclectictastic!

When we arrived, we witnessed Snoop Dogg on stage smoking illegal substances openly in front of the crowd. Or I should say, smok'n illegal substances openly in F-R-to-tha-izzont of tha crowd. How did we get by before’s “tranzilations”? also has a translation feature that will “shizzolate” tweets on Twitter. I’m registered on Twitter, have never used it, but still have 7 people following me. My goal is to see how many followers I can procure without ever actually typing anything in.

The Loved Ones – meh. They were a punk band we’ve never heard of.

Kevin owns Weakerthans cd’s and t-shirts - i.e. is an official fan - so he probably enjoyed them more than I did. They’re from Winnipeg, so of course, we are connected within 6 degrees. Actually 2. Our friend Rob is housesitting for the lead singer John right now. John announced that he’s looking to put a new curling team together this year, so put the word out. (Sorry Rob, guess this means you’re cut.) The Weakerthans encored with One Great City, subtitled “I Hate Winnipeg”. The song is excellent, yet angers me at the same time. They’re from Winnipeg, so they do have license to mock, yet how can I condone the statement that the Guess Who suck? We have so few celebrities to cling to! Who else is going to sing at every Grey Cup/Junos show/Pam Am Games ceremony/Salisbury House opening? Don’t anger the Guess Who!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hog's Back Falls

We’ve barely done any geocaching this summer so with nice weather today, the time had come. Kevin also promised me ice cream. An important component of geocaching.

We went to Hog’s Back Falls on the Rideau Canal, so we could spend a nice day in the park. However most of the caches in the area ended up being in very un-picturesque locations such as a lamppost in the parking lot and bushes next to the Canada Post offices. We did still take a nice walk by the water. We found 5 caches and are up to a cumulative total of 235. Kevin also came through on his promise and the excursion ended with a vanilla cone at Dairy Queen.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Love Thy Neighbour(s)

Two couples that live on our street came over for dinner today: Maia & Erwin and Amy & Andrew. Amy’s a vegetarian so Kevin and I did our best to cook a menu largely made up of recipes we’d never tried before. Except for having to make a 2nd batch of meringues for the dessert (I shake my fist at you and your baking directions Jamie Oliver), it all went well. Although I’ve decided I’m not a big fan of bean burgers. Other than the fine company, the highlight of the evening was finally cracking open our last bottle of ice wine.

It’s nice to know that if our house is being robbed we now have at least 2 sets of neighbours that will care.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Free Long Distance Calls to Me

Apparently Vonage has a local access feature I never knew about. People in Winnipeg can call me for free by dialling 480-9716 (that's in area code 204), then following the prompts to call me at my home number. No long distance charges for you! If you're calling from somewhere else in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., France or Spain, you can look up other local numbers.

Let the gabfest begin!