Monday, December 08, 2008
IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS...
This weekend my apartment took on a decidedly Christmas feel. The jigsaw puzzle that is my storage closet was dismantled one box at a time until we retrieved the tree and all the ornaments. I thought that was tough... Once we brought everything into my apartment, we had to re-arrange furniture several times before finding a way that everything would fit, somewhat normally. It was tricky but I think I'm happy with the results.
It's always fun putting up the tree and seems to "officially" start the Christmas season. I bought candy cane eggnog (still deciding if I like it) and had a chocolate fondue to help set the mood. After de-tangling the lights and carefully stretching out a couple of extension cords, we had lights.
An artificial tree with only lights looks a little pathetic, but as the ornaments slowly made their way onto the tree, it started to look pretty good! I just bought some new ornaments at Sam's Club a few weeks ago and I really like them. At the same time we were decorating, we were figuring out my new camera and its features. Check out the panoramic shot I did this morning. You take 3 photos in a row and it combines them! So cool.
So, the tree is up, the stockings are hung (I love that I have a "fireplace") and some presents are under the tree. Lookin' good!
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
My friend Sue & I were planning on renting a cottage for a weekend in October. Sue had been there last year with a friend and it was a nice getaway during a beautiful time of year. I thought it sounded like a good idea; catch up on some reading, talk, laugh, etc. When those plans fell through (due to cottage conflict) we changed our plans to a shopping trip to Detroit. Not quite nature, but we had talked about hitting Somerset Mall and this might be a nice alternative. Somehow, this idea ballooned into a trip to CHICAGO!!! It seems like everyone I've talked to lately had just been to Chicago or is going. So, why not? Taking the train from Port Huron to Chicago is really affordable and we were soon booking our trip!
It was so fun. We had to leave London super early in order to catch our 5:15am train in Port Huron. But, we just picked up a Timmy's and enjoyed the anticipation-filled drive. The Port Huron train station is a bit ghetto to say the least...not even a vending machine! Fortunately we weren't there long before boarding the train. We were able to get a little sleep as well as a lot of laughs on the train. When we finally pulled into the city, it was around noon.
We were just a short walk to the hotel and the sun was shining. What a great day! We were able to check in early and head out to explore the city. But back to the hotel for a moment. It was SO COOL! It was full of retro furniture and very funky. I loved it. And it was so close to everything. We were in the Entertainment District and right next door to a theatre that was hosting "Dirty Dancing".
So, we headed out to do a double decker bus tour of the city. Our tour guide was very entertaining as she explained the sites of the city. At first it was pretty cool but as the afternoon wore on, it got COLD. I was on the top of a double decker bus in the windy city and I was freezing! I couldn't wait for the tour to be over. When we got off the bus we were cold, hungry and had to pee like crazy! Our initial plan was to get deep dish pizza for dinner but since we weren't sure where to go to get it (and needed food intake immediately) we decided to go to a steak house that we passed.
It was the most hilarious dinner ever. We were both SO hungry. It was not your typical steakhouse, you ordered like a cafeteria with a tray and everything. After looking at the menu, I asked Sue what she thought she'd get. I was absolutely shocked when she said the 20 oz steak!! This is a woman that is usually a vegetarian!!! I talked her down and we each got the 10oz steak. I had mine with a side of macaroni & cheese, baked potato (WITH cheese & bacon) and garlic bread. Um, ya...what the heck were we thinking??
The next day we spent shopping on State Street. While walking down the street, I saw someone that I knew was famous but couldn't just place him. I made Sue turn around and we caught a glimpse of him talking on his cell phone. She ID'ed him as being on Spin City (and I later discovered it was Richard Kind) Cool. Famous person spotted in the windy city. We returned to our hotel in time to buy tickets for that night's performance of Dirty Dancing. My friend Jen joined us for the performance, which was a lot of fun. We had a late dinner and a tour of NBC which is where Jen works.
On the Monday, we headed out for an architectural boat tour. Despite the bitterly cold wind and near the end of the tour - rain, it was really cool. We had just enough time to see "the bean" and get our chicago-style pizza. By the time we got back to the hotel we were soaked, so we took a cab to the train station for a LONG ride home.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Someone told me
Its all happening at the zoo.
I do believe it,
I do believe its true.
Its a light and tumble journey
From the east side to the park;
Just a fine and fancy ramble
To the zoo.
But you can take the crosstown bus
If its raining or its cold,
And the animals will love it
If you do.
Somethin tells me
Its all happening at the zoo.
The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
Orangutans are skeptical
Of changes in their cages,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.
Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecy,
And hamsters turn on frequently.
What a gas! you gotta come and see
At the zoo.
~ SIMON & GARFUNKEL
When it came time to celebrate Jason's birthday, I asked him what he'd like to do. He decided he'd like to go to the zoo. We had both gone to the Toronto Zoo on grade 8 class trips, but hadn't been back since then. I was a little skeptical I admit, but it turned out to be such a fun day!
There was a special exhibit where we could touch stingrays. That was pretty cool.
I had decided before we went that I'd like to ride a camel. However, when I saw the pitiful camel they were leading around a small loop, I opted NOT to ride.
We saw orangutans swinging from their trees and even a baby orangutan nursing from its mother! But, the animal that mesmerized me the most was the elephant. They are just such enormous, graceful animals. We spend about half an hour just watching them shuffling around, raising their trunks and hanging out.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
My Man Tony
Last week, Jason & I witnessed the magic that is Tony Bennett! We had tickets to see him at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls. What a great spot...the theatre is small (1500 seats) and we were fairly close to the stage! At 82 years old, this man brings it! His voice is unfailing and he's still got dance moves. It was an awesome show...I was on the edge of my seat with a smile plastered on my face the whole time.
After the concert, we both really wanted to get an autograph. (I know that you're thinking it was just me, but Jason was more determined than I was!!!) If I had been on an aisle seat, I would've tried to get one while he was finishing on stage but based on the sneers we got from the 4 people we had to scootch past on the way in, there was no way I was making an exit before them.
Anyway, we hung around only to find out that he was meeting with "VIPs" after. Hmmm, how does one become a VIP? Gamble a lot at the casino I guess. At the tip of a concierge, we went up to the "R5" lounge to see the falls at night (and hopefully see Tony??) The atmosphere was really cool with a live pianist. It had potential. We sat for a while before I realized who was sitting at the bar behind Jason. No, not Tony...but Lee Musica...Tony's pianist. We recognized him from a DVD we had watched at home. Bt by the time I realized who it was, Jason was talking to the waitress and Lee Musica was on his way out. Awww, so close! (ok, not really but it was pretty exciting for us)
If you haven't already, pick up a Tony Bennett CD for your collection. You won't be disappointed.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
On June 30, my bestest friend Karla Ann got engaged. The next 3 months flew by in a flurry of planning, ideas, shopping, creating, cutting, pasting, etc. But it was all worth it in a day that turned out to be the most perfect wedding I've attended. There were so many details that were purely Karla! For example how she arrived at the end of the aisle in her green Beetle!
One of my favourite ideas was the seating chart. Each table was labeled by a different muppet and I dressed my Kermit in a little tux showing off the table arrangement! I LOVED it. And Kermie looked so cute.
Karla and I met when we were teenagers and were attached at the hip (or so it seemed) for many years. She is the kindredest of spirits and I'm so happy for her. I thought I would include the toast I prepared...
When Karla asked me to toast the bride, of course I was honoured, but my first thought was “how do I encompass all that I want to say into a short speech?” Karla is my dearest friend and I love her SO MUCH! I’m so happy to be here today as it means she has met her match. Mark is the perfect compliment to Karla and when I see them together, I know it was meant to be.
I met Karla when we were young and foolish…oh wait… we still are foolish (as you’ve seen in some of the video tonight) We have so much in common, it’s crazy! From our love of the VW Beetle to the Muppets. We are the kindredest of spirits and have some fantastic memories together.
Back in the celtic music phenomenon of the early nineties (I feel so old saying that!) we became fiddle heads. A fiddlehead – in case you are wondering – is similar to a deadhead but instead of the Grateful Dead, we followed Ashley MacIsaac. If he played in southwestern Ontario, we were there! He even knew us by name.
As you have witnessed already, I shared one of the most exciting moments of my young life with Karla Ann. A few years ago we made the trek to California with the soul purpose of going to the Price Is Right. Both of us were life long fans and it just seemed like a right of passage that had to be done. After many many hours of waiting in line on the street we made it into the studio. We were thrilled when someone right in front of us was called on down. WOW!
Many hours have been spent watching Anne of Green Gables, having sleepovers, talking, laughing, going to concerts, obsessing about how much we love Simon & Garfunkel, playing scrabble, and laughing some more. I miss the days when we talked to each other every day (sometimes more than once) Although we live in separate cities and have different lives now Karla is still my bestest friend.
She planned the most spectacular, super-creative wedding in just THREE months. I am constantly amazed by her creativity and ability to make anything she sets her mind to! I’d like to propose a toast to the most beautiful bride, Karla.
What a beautiful day...the pictures say it all...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
This was what my bathroom looked like this morning. No, I was not the victim of a violent crime. Just the victim of a bottle of OPI "I'm Really Not A Waitress RED" nail polish.
I was rushing to get ready to go to a bridal shower for Karla Ann. I was pretty much on schedule, in fact a little ahead of schedule, when I reached for the hairspray. Before I knew what was happening, there was a crash and a rather large splash of red everywhere. Fortunately I hadn't gotten dressed yet so I didn't ruin any of my clothes but my leg looked like I had just fought off a knife wielding assailant!
I quickly decided not to wear the dress that I had planned on and opted for pants instead. Removing that much nail polish from your skin is no easy task...especially when you have to leave the house in 20 minutes. But, I was able to get most of it off and leave in time for the party. However, I left the spill on the floor until I came home. I little nail polish remover and an SOS pad did the trick.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
It's hard to believe, but my little peanut is THREE! I've called Jesse "Peanut" since Jo-Anne told us she was pregnant and said the baby was about the size of a peanut. It just kind stuck. Jesse is the only one of my nieces/nephews that I was "present" for. And by present, I mean I sat in the waiting room on the incredibly hard benches for what seemed an eternity. Since he lives in the same city as me, I get to see him more frequently than my other kidlets. He's a pretty cool little guy who's currently passionate about Lightning McQueen and his buddies.
Liam came along 2 years (almost exactly) after Jesse. I wasn't able to be in the waiting room for him as I stayed with the Peanut. Over the past year Liam has emerged as a really good natured little sweetheart.
A few weeks ago we celebrated 2 birthdays for 2 boys in 1 party! It was a lot of fun, presents, cake, and noise! Following with tradition, I made a tickle trunk for Jesse, complete with some really cute costumes. It was a big hit. Especially after he watched some of my Mr. Dressup DVDs! Instead of lootbags, the kids all got a superhero cape with their initial on it. Everyone except Josh put them on immediately (I got to borrow Josh's...good thing we're both J's) and the funny part was that Jesse insisted on stripping to his underwear when he put his on. He became Captain Underpants!
Saturday, August 09, 2008
As is the tradition, when a niece or nephew has a birthday, we spend the day together doing something fun. It's hard to believe but my niece Abby recently turned NINE! It's nice that her birthday is in July because we can always do something outdoors in the sunshine. This year I picked her up and we had a picnic along the St. Clair River. It's such a nice spot to sit and watch the boats and just enjoy the view. We stopped by to see Grammie (her great) and then were off for an afternoon at Bluewater Fun Park. It has been a long time since I've been to a water park, but one trip down the speed slide and I was back in the groove! The weather was perfect - hot and sunny so splashes in the pool were a welcomed relief. Of course, what is a day at the fun park without cotton candy, bumper boats, mini golf, water slides and ice cream? We did it all! I think we were both exhausted by the time we got home.
Friday, July 18, 2008
WHAT A MARVELOUS NIGHT FOR A MOONDANCE...
When I checked my inbox to find a promotion for Van Morrison performing at The Fox Theatre in Detroit, I couldn't resist. Moondance is one of my favourite CDs and the Fox is such a gorgeous venue to see a concert. I had to act fast as the tickets went on sale the next day, but I was able to book it off and Jason traded a shift and we were all set.
My curiousity was peaked when I received an email the day before the concert with a few guidelines. The concert would start at 7:30pm SHARP. There would be NO late admittance. Cell phones, cameras and recording devices were not allowed and if used, would be reason for the individual to be removed from the concert. Alcohol would not be served and smoking was not allowed, even in designated areas. Re-entry would not be permitted. Basically if you showed up smelling like smoke, you would not be allowed in. Oh well...a few rules.
After getting a little lost in Detroit (there was a lot of construction) we parked and walked to the Fox. We arrived around 7:15, which was very unusual for us. We were ushered to our seats by some rather strict attendants (absolutely no line jumping) and the show started promptly at 7:30pm. Although I wasn't familiar with a lot of the songs, I really enjoyed the show. Good songs, great musicians. Although, as the show progressed, I started to wonder: where was Moondance, Caravan, Into the Mystic...hello? Brown Eyed Girl???
At precisely 9pm he walked offstage and was soon followed by his band. I thought we were breaking for an intermission, but the house lights came up, and the crew started striking the stage! WHAT??? Are you kidding? Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the show, but frankly, I felt a little ripped off. We spent 2 hours getting there and 2 hours home, parking, walking to the show, the price of the ticket and he performed for precisely 1.5 hours (without the songs I wanted to hear)
I will still enjoy Moondance but will always remember that night at The Fox.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
As I sit here watching The Amazing Race on my new 42" flat screen TV I can't help but wonder what it would feel like to be racing to the finish line on the real show. On Saturday, I competed in the London version of it! A couple of weeks ago, one of my co-workers emailed me to be a part of the "A Team" for The Amazing Grace Race. It was a fund raiser for the Monsignor Feeney Foundation.
Our team consisted of Allan (creator of many scavenger hunts - a great asset to the team) MJ, Allan's wife and a fiend on the cell phone with our "phone a friend", Sue up for any challenge and a stickler for details, and myself. What a fantastic team...we were out to win.
The clues were all written as riddles but we were ready for anything. We each had an A-Channel shoulder bag with all kinds of devices that might help us: calculator, French/English translator, cell phones, GPS, and of course, snacks.
Our first stop had us running in a human hamster ball, around pylons over ramps, up and down a hill...it was AWESOME! How many chances do you get in your lifetime to run in a hamster ball? Sue started out and we switched about halfway through. I couldn't believe how exhausting it was pushing/running inside a plastic ball with no airflow. What a rush!
We also had to row at London's rowing club, perform "You're So Vain" on the stage at Centennial Hall, play "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?", search through a nursery for 2 gnomes as well as answer PAGES of trivia questions!
Our team rocked their way through the day. We got four 10's (out of 10) one 9 and one 5. We were feeling PRETTY confident when we arrived back at the check in point. As they tallied the scores, we enjoyed a catered dinner. As part of the fundraiser, Blue Rodeo was performing a concert in the evening. Part of the prize for the winners was to meet the band. SO....when they came into the dining tent and said "Blue Rodeo would like to meet with Team Coulter and the A-Team" ....we were ecstatic!
I could really care less if I met Blue Rodeo, but I was about to win a 42" flat screen TV! Wahoo! So, I met Jim Cuddy & co. Got their autographs, photos, etc. and waited for the big moment. Both teams were waiting in the wings on the stage when they announced "and coming in second place today...the A-Team!" What? I demand a recount! We had that in the bag. We were ripped off! As the runners-up, we each won an i-pod docking station. It's a pretty sweet little machine, but it's no TV.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
My nephew Josh turned 7 a few weeks ago. I can't believe he's already SEVEN! Josh is a really cool kid. He's very much an observer. The strong, silent type...Josh takes everything in.
To celebrate his birthday, we went to Fanshawe Pioneer Village. Just as I thought, he loved it. We spent a lot of time watching the blacksmith pound away at the anvil. Then we headed down to the water to watch the sail boats and skip stones. Mr. Nature-Lover spotted so much wild life that I never would've noticed... a ground hog, bunnies, a beaver along with the regular ducks, geese, etc.
A stop at the video store to pick up "Over The Hedge", some pizza, root beer and we were in for the evening. Over The Hedge was really funny....a good choice. Of course, we played a little wii. Josh created a hilarious "mii" and we played golf. I have to say, I didn't suspect he was a golfer!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Yesterday Jason & I went to see The Cure in Toronto. We got the tickets way back in August and the concert had been post-poned until now. Anyway, seeing The Cure was cool, but guess who we saw in Starbucks before the show??? JIAN GHOMESHI! Isn't that crazy? Ok, I guess not really as we were right across the street from CBC, but still...
In case you don't listen to CBC, Jian Ghomeshi hosts a show called Q every afternoon. It has become a part of my daily routine and is the source of many conversations. I regularly talk about Q and Jian Ghomeshi with Jason and we even listened to him on the way to Toronto. We had some time to kill and wandered through the CBC building. (we even saw Mr. Dressup's tickle trunk and the treehouse!!) Then we headed across the street to Starbucks. After being there about 20 minutes, Jason said "hey, I think Jian Ghomeshi just walked in". No way...really???? I casually turned around but couldn't really tell if it was him. Jason determined that he had some kind of CBC ID and since we were just across the street ...yep, it was probably him. Yes, it was very exciting! ha ha.
The Cure was pretty cool too. We were way up in the 300's but the seats were not bad at all. Lots of great songs that totally took me back to my high school days. Although, I have to say, I have never experienced such a sticky floor!!! Ewwwww, it was like the floor was made of fly-tape or something. Oh, and the girl next to me had bad BO. That's not pleasant. Once I got past those 2 things...a great show. They came back for not one, not two but THREE encores!
Street meat on the way out...great way to end the day in Toronto. Nothing like a hotdog with mustard. Yum!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
THE HUNT FOR THE GREAT WHITE SQUIRREL
I've heard the legend of the white squirrels of Exeter, have you? In fact, there are websites dedicated to the rodents! I can't say I am a huge fan of the bushy-tailed creatures, but Jason seems to have a fascination with them. (all squirrels, not just the white ones) Last week he asked me if I'd like to get some peanuts and feed the squirrels with him behind his apartment on the weekend. I said sure, but I had an even better idea. Let's go and see for ourselves the great white squirrels of Exeter.
Our friend Robbyn joined us for our adventure. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday and we set off with visions of snow-white squirrels eating peanuts out of our hands. We stopped at SK Convenience, official retailer of White Squirrel Merchandise. The clerk gave us a brief history of the squirrels and wished us luck as they apparently "hide" when people come to see them. We were pretty confident when we purchased our bag of peanuts.
We headed off for McNaughton Park. It really is a beautiful park with a nice boardwalk, trees, flowers, other people enjoying the day...but no white squirrels. In fact, I didn't see ANY squirrels. Not a black squirrel, a gray squirrel...nothing. We walked, we looked, we called, we held out the peanuts - hoping the smell would coax them out. No luck. We ended up just eating the peanuts ourselves.
After a wildlife-less afternoon, we returned back to my apartment to find a WILD TURKEY in the parking lot!!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Since the big move a few weeks ago, my TV has been sitting on a little table in the corner with cables spewing everywhere. (as you can see in the photo in my previous post) It was kind of driving me crazy so Saturday Jason & I headed out to find a solution. After an amazing lunch at Waldo's, we started looking. First off - Tepperman's. Apparently they do not fit the lifestyle of my home. No luck. Next stop: EQ3. Nada. Sears Home...nothing. The Brick? Nope. How about Leon's? Ummm, no. I had an idea in my mind that I wanted a corner unit that could hold my movies but not have them open and on display. I was not finding this at any of these places. Mostly they were offering plasma TV stands.
Jason suggested Walmart. Really? Walmart? Are you kidding? I had to pick up a few other things so we headed there. Would you believe it...the first TV stand I saw was exactly what I had in my mind. AWESOME! And as a bonus, I got Jason's staff discount. We loaded it up in the cart and headed home. It took about 2 hours but we finally got it assembled and all my stuff loaded in. I'm so pleased with the results. Take a look.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
After nearly five years at my house on Central, the time has come to move on. In early January, my roommate Jodi bought a house. This set the wheels in motion for lots of changes. Searching for a new home can be overwhelming. So many factors to consider...location, landlord, condition of the apartment, price, etc. After two weeks of looking at lots of places of varying degrees of acceptable I was just ready to make a decision. I didn't want to look any more and was ready to rent one of two places that I thought were the best of what I had seen. Fortunately, on decision day, Jason spotted the "FOR RENT" sign I had been looking for.
We went to check out the place, which used to be a nunnery. The landlords are an older british couple and are just adorable. They are also very particular so the place was spotless and well-cared for. I loved what I saw... hardwood floors, an awesome fireplace, and lots of character. I'm so glad I waited!
So, after 2 months of searching, packing and organizing I am now moved in to my new place. Moving day proved to me that I have awesome friends. I actually turned down several offers for help! A big thanks to Murray (and his truck) Vasja, Elvin, Alex, John, Jason, Jo-Anne & Marj. They all helped things go smoothly and quickly.
Now, I'm just finding a home for all the contents of my boxes. It's a slow process, but I'm making some progress. I'm including some photos, but keep in mind they are from MOVING DAY so there are lots of boxes, etc. Hope to see you soon!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I LOVE FRIED EGGS!
OK, so I was just reminiscing with a co-worker and thought it would make a good blog entry. Yes, I'm trying to get back into blogging. Anyway...
When I was little, I'd say about 4 or 5 years old, there was a commercial on TV promoting a new lottery. The numbers were drawn on Friday so the jingle (and I wish I could sing it for you on here) was "I love Fridays....I love Fridays!"
My little ears thought they were singing "I love Fried Eggs" so of course, whenever we had eggs, I would sing my song "I love Fried Eggs, I love Fried Eggs" ha ha ha.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
MY INTERNAL ALARM CLOCK
So, are we all created with an internal alarm clock? I have noticed that mine seems to go off at 8am...whether I like it or not. It is so annoying. Most times I try and go back to sleep, but am only successful sometimes. The rest of the time I toss and turn. So...any suggestions on hitting the internal snooze?