Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween in Calgary

I had a 1 day turn around in Ottawa, then off to Calgary for the weekend! I abandoned Kevin so he had to give the Halloween candy out alone. Apparently we only got 16 kids so we have 32 boxes of Smarties to eat. Probably 30, when discounting my preemptive eating before Halloween.

Jen and Dani picked me up from the airport and it was already getting a bit late, so we decided to stay in. I brought a set of tiger ears and a sequined sailor hat in case there would be Halloween festivities, but no pictures were taken. Reluctance due probably to our last makeover/picture session debacle.

We had a simple dinner of popcorn, except with Himalayan sea salt. Jen’s friends accuse her of being fancy because she owns things like Himalayan salt, organic shampoo and a trunk of makeup. There’s nothing wrong with owning a trunk of makeup, people! I need at least 26 MAC eye shadows to choose from, to properly paint my mood on my face in the morning. Okay, I admit only 23 are MAC and the other 3 are drugstore brand. *Gasp!* Standard routine: toner, moisturizer, foundation, eyebrow shadow, 3 eyeshadows, 2 eyeliners, mascara, bronzer, 3 types of concealer, blush, powder and lipstick. Mascara base and sparkle topcoat are optional. All with the end goal of looking like you’re not wearing makeup at all. Darn you beauty industry! Why must your packaging be so shiny with promises of texturizing and highlighting?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Attention Idots!

Do you ever wonder what's wrong with the idiots in front of you at the airport that seem to have no clue how the whole flying thing works? Today, I was one of the idiots.

Digression: Using the word idiots always reminds me a letter we received from a customer when I was working at one of the call centres. He was really angry and started off the letter with huge block letters, "Attention Idots!" Yep, he misspelled idiots. Awesome.

So I partially blame waking up at 4:30 in the morning to get to the airport, but still. First, I did self-check in and left my passport on the scanner. I realized within about 5 minutes and went running back and of course, some nice Canadian in line had seen it and held it for me. Then as my bags are going through the x-ray at security they call for a bag check. I was thinking, "What the?", until realizing I packed a bottle of wine that the hotel gave me in my suitcase. They said I could go back and check my bag but I didn't want to risk losing any valuable documents again. Plus the wine was free and I had tried it at the hotel, so meh.

I'm surprised I didn't start discussing bombs or terrorism in a loud voice while boarding.

You'd think this would make me more sympathetic to other stupid travelers ahead of me in the future, but I predict no change. Idots.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tastes Like Burning

Still no sign of Kevin's camera. Hence, no pictures for the blog.

I've had Lucky Charms 3 mornings in a row. Sugar... impairing... brain function.

Yesterday was a really productive marketing meeting, then catching up on emails for the rest of the day. I went to Obi Sushi for dinner with my co-worker Wayne and it was pretty bad. The sushi, not Wayne's company. It was the type of place where for spicy rolls, they just squirt a pile of Frank's Red Hot Sauce on top. Heartburn, why must thou plague me so? It would be better if I said it in Japanese, so I could stay on theme. 胸焼け、なぜあなたは私を苦しめる必要がありますか? How did we live before Google translate? Although it probably actually says, "I'm a North American idiot that shouldn't eat so much horrible junk food." After a quick stop at one of the conference parties back at the hotel, it was off to bed.

Today, I was supposed to help my co-worker Denis with website testing but there was a bunch of snow in Ottawa so his flight was cancelled. Picture of Ottawa provided by Kevin. With his non-lost camera.

In the evening there was a sponsor party followed by a dessert party, hosted by my work. We had
s'mores! And cookies, cheesecake, other cake, and more cake My poor stomach. One more drink in the lobby bar with all the die hards, and I was done.

Monday, October 27, 2008

No Restin' in Reston

I was up early today to check on one of our meeting rooms and I got to have breakfast with the only other person up as early as me - Rich, one of our members from Connecticut. There was a hot breakfast, but also a kickin' selection of breakfast cereals, including Lucky Charms. I gave up buying sugary cereals this year and I forgot how much I missed marshmallows with my morning tea. You know it's a quality cereal when your leftover milk is green.

After a conference call and another meeting during the day, we had a party in the evening. I got to meet some really nice people including Jill from New Jersey who was so similar to me it was a bit eerie. I also got the latest kid updates and baby pictures from all the regulars. My boss Ian got a new Flip video camera and had people do short interviews with him in the hall. The best parts are when the people talking start waving their arms and you can see the beer in their hand.

Post-party I went to dinner at Jackson's with Ian, co-worker Wayne, fellow marketer Melinda from New York and new friend Matt from North Carolina. The waiter started ID'ing people, but I had ordered iced tea and missed out on the ego boost. He claimed he would have ID'ed me, but I'll never know for sure.

Downsides to the evening: horrible heartburn from too much greasy food and I lost Kevin's small digital camera somewhere (the old one at least, but I still feel horrible).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

White House Disappointment

This week I'm in Reston, VA, which is right outside Washington D.C., for a conference. I came in half a day early so I could take some pictures outside the White House and around the National Mall. Turns out the Marine Corps Marathon is today so all the roads in that area are closed off. Thwarted! I wandered around the shops in the area instead and had lunch at Jacksons - beet salad, lychee cocktail and lemon meringue pie. The lunch of champions.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hiddily Ho Neighbourinos!

Today the time came to put away summer sandals and get out the winter shoes. Boo! I've had a pair of basic black shoes for years that I wear so often there are holes in the bottom. Every year I vow to buy new shoes but I hate shoe shopping so much, especially when combined with the resulting blisters, that I end up putting it off. When I went to unpack the old shoes this time, they were gone! I threw them out last spring to force myself to buy new ones. I tricked myself! Darn you, self!

Our newest neighbours, Amy & Andrew, that moved in across the street last December had us over for dinner this evening. They also invited our second newest neighbours, Erwin & Maia. We got a tour of their house, including a bathroom that's as bad our black and green tiled monstrosity. But theirs has wood panelling! Luckily, that's just one room in their basement and the rest of the house is very nice.
Amy has ties to Bekta, the #1 restaurant in Ottawa, and her cooking didn't disappoint. Squash soup, salad, pork (credit to Andrew for the meat preparation), vegetables, apple pie...! Drink highlights included white wine with cassis to start and an iced apple wine from PEI for dessert. Good thing getting home was just a short stumble away.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Terror at Saunders Farm

Our friends Tricia and Bogdan (Bogcia) joined us for a night out to haunting season at Saunders Farm. We started with the Barn of Terror. The most terrifying part was the horrendous line-up. There definitely were some scary moments, but I cowered behind the people in front of us, which gave advance warning of people jumping out with various weapons.

I was disappointed that the corn maze was closed in the evening, so our ticket couldn't get us in to that part. We were also falsely promised turnip bowling. There was a corn cannon and apple slingshot, but they cost extra. I prefer to whip vegetables at things from my yard for free. Without waiting in line. Also, the kettle corn was pre-made in bags, not fresh.

On to the Field of Screams. After waiting for about 20 minutes, one of the farm workers asked the line to shift over into another area and we got bumped back a bit. This woman behind us started complaining that people had cut her and started picking a fight with Tricia, even though we had been even farther ahead of her before. Oooooo, scary! Once in, a guy on the paths got us pretty good when he jumped up from behind a fence. Mostly it was just awkward with people making scary noises in your face while you laughed and laughed.

Snack time! Beaver Tails and hot chocolate. Kevin took the obligatory "Lynn with all her candy and pastry" photo.

Finally, the pièce de résistance, the Haunted Hayride. Sans hay. That lineup was huge. They tried to entertain while you waited by having some guy twirling fire. We encouraged children to chant, "Eat it!" [as in the fire] to him. The hayride had some good effects: falling billboard, explosion sound effects, guy in hockey mask chasing with chainsaw and spinning tunnel, to name a few.

We were pretty cold by the end so we went to Bogcia's house with a pizza and watched Run Fatboy Run with drinks. Excellent, especially considering David Schwimmer directed it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Overeating in Abundance

Kevin and I drove to Toronto for the Thanksgiving long weekend. Saturday was mostly spent preparing food, but we went out to dinner at Kelsey's with my brother in the evening. I had a terrible drink called a Frost Bite: mandarin and lime blended with tequila and chili flakes. It was neither spicy nor tart. Not recommended. Mike also had a really bad Caesar salad. But of course, we pretended to the server that everything was great. You can only expect so much at Kelsey's to begin with so why try to squeeze blood out of a stone?

Sunday, we got sent on an errand to Yorkdale Mall. Why was I not previously informed of this mall? They had a bunch of stores I didn't know were available in Canada: Bath & Body Works, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma. I also had time to stop in at Bebe and H&M. I didn't buy anything, but I'm coming back. With more money.

Sunday night was the big Thanksgiving dinner - 18 people! I tried to eat a normal portion and ended up only feeling uncomfortable, rather than horribly sick. My only regret is not eating less proper dinner in lieu of more pumpkin pie. Kevin mocked everyone who took smaller pieces of pie and had a full piece of apple and pumpkin. Thus, opting for the horribly sick option.

Kevin's nieces brought the bunnies vegetable tarts. They were huge (at least for bunnies) and left grease stains on the packaging. Spuckler
ate a normal portion and left the rest for later. Savvy ate the whole thing as fast as he could without stopping. Savouring just interferes with his busy day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Drinking, Travel and Disease Mix Well

To thank our neighbours Amy and Andrew for collecting our mail while we were in Italy, we had them over for drinks. Between the four of us, we drank a bottle of Prosecco (well Kevin actually opted out and just had a beer) and a bottle of DD Leobard strawberry wine that my parents brought from Winnipeg the last time they visited Ottawa. That's some high quality drinking!

Amy and Andrew (Amdrew perhaps?) have some great travel stories as they put all their stuff in storage for a year to travel the world before moving back to Ottawa from Toronto. They've recommended Portugal and India as future options for us. They too base travel destinations around the quality of desserts available.

Andrew is a photographer and writes reviews of photography equipment. Amy is a cook, but she also acts when she can. Her latest gig is for medical and pharmacy exams. She's given a disease and symptoms and has to act as a patient for students to make diagnoses on their tests. She's bound by a confidentiality agreement, so she couldn't tell us what disease she was. I guess diabetes. And insist on pronouncing it like Wilford Brimley from the commercials - die-a-beet-ess.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pool Champion of the Office

For team building, our office had a pool tournament and beers this afternoon at Dooley's. We were grouped in partners and as marketing meddler, I assigned names to all the teams. I collaborated with my teammate Matt for our name: Winning Everything Renders Our Colleagues Kooky (WE ROCK). I was less generous with the others, such as Beauty and the Beast and Team Hazardous When Drinking Wine. We did get to pick our own individual nicknames as well. I chose Scratchy Lynn, which prompted my co-worker Denis to suggest, "Try washing".

Unlike our last bowling outing where I awarded gag prizes from the Dollar Store and had a huge, ghetto, green and gold bowling trophy that I bought on eBay for the ultimate winner, we had prizes of actual value this time - a $50 Amazon gift certificate to each member of the winning team.
Good thing Denis was running the show!

So guess where I placed. No, guess again. No, again. No, first! Matt and I had the brilliant strategy of sucking, while the other team cleared the table then scratched on the 8 ball because all of our balls were blocking their way. Our failure strategy failed to fail! Excellent (with tented fingers).