Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I survived my first Black Friday shopping experience!

I have always been a little curious about the whole idea, so when my friend Kim asked me if I wanted to go this year, I said "sure!" Every year, Kim and her friend Karen head over to the river to do some all-night shopping at Birch Run. This year we mixed things up a bit and went to Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills.

My day started with an 8am class on Thursday. I must admit, I tried to have a little nap in the afternoon, but it was not a successful mission. I was wide awake so I just decided to give up on the dream of some extra mid-afternoon sleep. We left Kim's place at 11:30pm and after stopping for our coffee, crossed the border into Michigan. Along the way, we saw some poor suckers set up in tents outside of Best Buy and Walmart stores. I cannot imagine going that hard core.

When we hit the mall, we circled like sharks to find a parking spot and the closest entrance was "The Children's Place". I couldn't believe my eyes when we walked in to see a huge line-up, but more importantly, people had KIDS IN STROLLERS. People...it's 2am...these children need to be in bed! Craziness! Actually the craziest thing I saw was perhaps not the kids in strollers, but rather a woman that barfed right in the middle of the mall at exactly the same moment that I happened to be walking by. What are the odds? Augh...gross!

The shopping was pretty fun, with a few deals to be had, but nothing earth-shattering. It really was more about the experience than the deals for me. I was trying stuff on at Banana Republic at 4am and commented to Kim "I'm not even tired, this is wild!" We stopped for breakfast around 7am and headed back to Port Huron to hit Birchwood Mall. I think we had run out of steam by then, but we carried on nonetheless.

By the time we reached Kim's house at 1pm I was ready for some sleep and had a 2 hour nap before heading back to London. And so, my very first Black Friday shopping experience. Success.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Happy birthday to my sister Connie. Today is her birthday...which falls exactly 7 days after my sister Jo-Anne's birthday.

Sisters are such a unique and awesome relationship, I always feel a twinge of sadness for girls/women that don't have a sister. Sisters can drive you crazy or be your biggest support. You can tell your sister things that you would never dream of telling anyone else and expect the same in return.

My sisters couldn't be more opposite. It really is an interesting spectrum that I am right in the middle of!

Jo-Anne is the oldest and 8 years my senior. When we were kids, this age gap seemed huge and as a result I was the annoying little sister! I didn't know I was so annoying until years later when she broke the news to me. Devastating!

As we got older, she moved out to go to school and I moved into her bedroom. Finally, my own room! Jo-Anne has always been an excellent encouragement, always knowing the right words to say and giving perspective when you're in the middle of a situation and can't see things from the other side.

Now that we are adults, Jo-Anne & Nick and their boys have become a big part of my life. We both live in London and are able to connect more often because of the close proximity. She is always very thoughtful in including me in their family and I love being a part of it.

Connie is next up from me in the line. We shared a room until we were teens and had a pretty tight bond because of it. We would stay up late talking...mostly me asking about her exciting life and listening to her stories...because she was older. Lots of time was spent playing with Barbies, baking and tons of craziness. She could make me laugh with the simplest things.

Even after she moved out, I would hang out at her apartment (and later her house) and often stay over. When I think of Connie I think of spontaneous adventures...like putting up the Christmas tree at 2 in the morning... just because we could! With Steve and Madison in the picture now, we still have the same fun...just with more people. I'm so lucky to be part of their family too!

So, I'd like to wish both of my sisters an awesome birthday and say thanks for the memories, moments and hope there's lots more to come! Love you lots.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Etiquette. Is it dying?

I have recently come back from an "etiquette lunch" at Fanshawe. It was offered to all students in my program as an optional experience. The lunch was at Saffrons - a fine dining room at Fanshawe . Throughout the lunch, we got tips on what is acceptable and expected during a business lunch as well as more formal parties.

For the most part, I think I have behaved acceptable in the past...however, did you know you are supposed to tear a small piece of bread and put it in your mouth rather than biting it off? Hmm. I did not! It was pretty informative and the food was really good!

The thing I thought was ironic, however, was that during the tutorial people were talking to those next to them with total disregard for what the host was saying. There is nothing that bugs me more. I have noticed this a lot lately, whether it is in a meeting, at church, or the biggest offender - in class. I think it is so rude, not only for the person that is supposed to be speaking, but also for those that want to listen.

OK...I'm stepping off my soap box now. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wiggling with Liam

My nephew Liam turned three this summer and as is the Auntie Janice tradition, we got to spend a special day together. There was a bit of a delay from the time of his birthday to the big day, but there was good reason. We were going to see the Wiggles at the JLC.

Liam is an adorable and rambunctious three year old that loves music and dancing. So, I thought The Wiggles performance would be perfect for him. I, in fact, am a long-time fan of the group from down under. Well...ok maybe not, but I took my niece Abby to see them 8 years ago. Jo-Anne had Liam practicing his dance moves and by the time the big day arrived he was primed and ready to go!

I picked him up at daycare and we headed downtown. After a walk around the Covent Garden Market, we stopped for a special treat - a cupcake. We checked out all of our options, and Liam picked a nice chocolate one with a pumpkin candy on top. He was very careful while eating the cupcake. I'm not sure if this was to avoid getting messy, or more likely, to ensure every bit went into his mouth. It was hilarious to watch this whole procedure!

The Wiggles performance was apparently either under or overwhelming as he wasn't interested in singing nor dancing, but rather going to my house to make "scary pumpkins". We had made the mistake of telling him that we would be making jack-o-lanterns after the show. So, we ended up leaving the Wiggles behind and digging our hands into cold slimy pumpkin guck! What fun.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today is November 11, which to most of us means Remembrance Day. Leading up to today, there are many special features, commercials and vignettes played on TV to help us remember the sacrifices of those that fought for our country. They usually bring a tear to my eye.

Today I am remembering my Grandad. He was a paratrooper in the second world war - where he met and married my Grammie. I don't remember Grandad talking about the war very much and I wish I had more time to get to know him and ask him questions.

I'm also remembering a dear old friend, Gord. Gord was a war veteran that lived in Petrolia and could frequently be seen riding his bike around town and stopping for coffee with anyone that would take the time. Over time, we developed a friendship and I think I learned a lot from Gord.

So, I hope you take a few moments to remember today.