Monday, 21 December 2009

House Mouse

I am what you might call a house mouse. I like being at home, in my jogging pants with my slippers and my own things. Sure, I enjoy being social, but I'm never unhappy to just sit in my living room and putter. Jagger, on the other hand, gets restless. He likes to go out and see people and do things, especially on the weekend. This past weekend we had a rather lazy time. Lots of Christmas shopping and I worked on transcripts for the bulk of the weekend. On Saturday I didn't take a shower until 6:00 p.m. and on Sunday I just took a bath before bed. Lovely.

I can't wait for next week when it's nothing but lounging as far as the eye can see! I'm off work as of 11:30 this Thursday until 8:00 a.m. on January 4th and could not be more excited about it! Jagger's going to his parents from the 26th to the 30th, so I'll have lots of time to get lots of nothing done.

My plans for the week include...

- Reading, reading and more reading! I have an obscene stack of comic books waiting for me (including the entire Blackest Night series thus far - gah!) and I can't wait to settle into an entire afternoon of going through them all! I will also hopefully have lots of new Christmas books to keep me occupied, as well as lots of reading to be done for January's Graphic Novel Group meeting (it's Batman month!)
- DVD/Blu-Ray watching! I'm still behind on the LOST rewatch I'm participating in over on Nikki's blog so I plan on spending a solid day having a LOST marathon and can't wait! I also need to finish watching Mad Men season 2 and would like to rewatch True Blood season 1. Also, hopefully I'll have lots of new movies and TV shows to watch from Christmas!
- Knitting! I started knitting a blanket for some friends who had a baby...I started it in March, and the baby was born in August and it's still unfinished. Terrible. Knitting usually goes along with watching Mad Men (it makes me feel domestic) but never with watching LOST. I have to make notes while watching LOST. (I know, go ahead and laugh)
- Movie theatre-going! I'm already planning to go see NINE with my friend Jerri, and I still want to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox with my friend Jenn. Jagger and I also have plans to see Avatar with our friends Dan and Amanda, so there should be lots of movie attendance for me over the break! Movie-going also involves me wearing jogging pants, and often me wearing slippers as well.
- Purging of things! Christmas always makes me want to organize - out with the old, in with the new! I desperately need to go through things and get rid of lots of stuff, it should have been done after the wedding, but somehow I never got around to it. Hopefully I can get lots of this done while Jagger is gone, and then when we do get around to moving, it should be a breeze!

Beyond that, it should be a nice, quiet break. I'm house/dogsitting for the week, so that should be fun.

What about you? Any big plans to do something or to do nothing over the holidays?

Monday, 7 December 2009

Booky Wooks

I don't really need another reason for wanting to move out of the apartment, but I thought I would share with you all one of the major reasons for needing more room.

Well, more than one reason...I'm not sure how many there are, but probably close to 1500 reasons...
That is my main bookcase. Once upon a time, it was my only bookcase. I once spent a full eight hours buying this bookcase, bringing it home, trying to put it together, trying to return it, bringing it back to the apartment, gluing it together like crazy and finally being able to use it. This is what it looked like when I first put it together, only two years ago...

Look at all that empty space! I can't believe it was like that once! And that that was the only bookcase we had! Now in addition to this bookcase that is packed to capacity we also had to add this bookcase...

Not nearly as big, but just as packed. We also have a special little bookcase just for the comic books that are now slowly taking over the apartment...

It's not nearly enough space - that box is full of comics that need to be bagged and boarded and set up properly in files...things are out of control.

So yeah, it's time to find a new place for all these books to live. A house with built-in bookcases would be a dream come true.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Overheard...

We went to a London Knights game tonight thanks to our friends Kyle and Lisa who gave us some tickets - thanks guys! It was a great game with the Knights winning in a shoot-out. There was a family sitting behind us with some kids who has some hilarious insights on the game...

Kid 1 - "How do they know when to go after the puck at the face-off?"
Kid 2 - "Instinct."
Dad - "They watch the ref's hand."
Kid 2 - "Oh, right."
Awesome.

Then there was...

Kid 1 - "I'll be happy if the Knights win or tie, but not if they lose."

Good point, Kid 1.

It was also a McDonald's sponsored night, so there were special appearances by all the McDonaldland characters - check me out with Grimace!
The best part was when I explained to the guy over my shoulder who Grimace was. Great night. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Mid-century modern dreaming...

So, now that the wedding is over and done with, I'm officially throwing myself into house hunting, much to Jagger's chagrin. Just in the last couple of weeks I've really felt fed up with the apartment, and really need to get going on moving on. The apartment is just closing in on me and I keep knocking things over and tripping over things, it's just time to move on.

Our apartment is small, I know that. We've always known that, that was the whole point of the apartment. We decided to get something small and cheap so we would be forced to move on before we got too complacent. This April will be our third anniversary in our tiny little home. I do love our apartment, but enough is enough. Time to move!

Once we get through the holidays, we're going to talk to the bank and get the ball rolling. I'm currently obsessed with checking out houses on MLS (who isn't?) and looking for lovely interesting bits of furniture on kijiji.

I've become obsessed with finding midcentury modern pieces for our future dream home...I've been watching too much Mad Men, I think.

See the pretty? I would love to have fantastic pieces like this for all my storage...
The problem is, as usual I don't want to spend money on it. Hence, the following conversation last night...
Jagger - "What are you doing?"
Me - "Looking on kijiji."
Jagger - "Oh no, for what?"
Me - "I'm looking for vintage midcentury modern teak furniture. I've decided that that's how we should decorate our hypothetical house."
Jagger - "Oh, sure."
Me - "People know how much it's worth though. I want to find a bunch of cool pieces for crazy cheap from someone who just thinks they're junk."
Jagger - "So you want to rip someone off?"
Me - "Well, I guess. But nicely. I think it's going to be my project for the summer, scouring yard sales and junk shops for pieces."
Jagger - "Great."
I really don't think he shares my enthusiasm. I'm really hoping to stumble across some fantastic yard sale where some little old lady is selling all her old furniture and it's just fantastic stuff that she wants to get rid of for like a dollar or something, that would be a dream. Why don't people have yard sales like that? Why is it always people selling half used candles and furniture made out of dusty old wicker? I think TV has let me down on this, people on TV always find cool stuff at yard sales.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Is this annoying?

Whenever someone compliments me on something, like say my shoes, I tend to follow it up with "Thanks, I got it at blank for blank amount". I only say this because I don't tend to spend a lot of clothes, so I think it's fun to tell people that the awesome shirt I'm wearing only cost $7. My classic story is when I tell people about these two skirts that I have that were originally $120 each at Club Monaco and I got them on clearance for $20 each. Awesome.

My question is, is it annoying to give people that information? I always like hearing when someone got a good deal on something, but I've always worried that it bothers people. It's not like I ever have anything expensive on to brag about!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

So, how's married life?

This is pretty much the only question I get asked anymore. "So, how's married life?" To which I usually reply, "Pretty much the same as common law life." I apologize to anyone I've ever asked this question to, it's a pretty terrible question.

Yes, what I've discovered is not much has changed from being married, apart from the fact that now our focus has shifted to finding a house and then filling said house with babies.

There is definitely one downside to being married, one glaring flaw in my otherwise perfect husband...he's physically incapable of closing a box of Triscuits. At least, I assume it's a physical disability, why else would someone not close a box of Triscuits every time that you open them?

It's a sad, neglected disorder. I think I'll organize a charity fun run later in 2010 to promote awareness of this devastating condition.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Greater Good

Today is a very special day for my family. My mom does foster care and today we have to say goodbye to our littlest family member, who I'll call J.

J came to live with us when she was a week old and has been with us for her first year of life. In that time, we've had so much fun with her and have watched her grow into the sweetest little girl you could possibly imagine.

Seeing my mom so selflessly love and care for her has been truly awe-inspiring. Just when I think my mom couldn't be any more of my personal hero, she goes and does something like this.

J is lucky enough to have been adopted by a wonderful family, so today is our goodbye day with her. I know it won't be goodbye forever, that we'll get visits with her in the future and will be able to send her gifts and notes, but today definitely marks a change for my family. We just try to focus on the positive, that this is the best possible outcome for J, and that's what's important.

Today we're going to take her to Build-A-Bear so she has something special to take with her and we're going to get her 1 year pictures taken.

I've had my meltdowns and crying sessions over the last few weeks and I think at this point I'm feeling good about the change. As hard as it is to see her go, it's an amazing thought to think that we were able to be there for her for her first year when she needed a family, and that soon we'll have the chance to do the same for another baby.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

This is what will break us...

Less than two months into my marriage, it seems we have encountered a situation so difficult and consuming that it just might spell the end for us...


That's right. New Super Mario Bros. Wii. We got it on Sunday and have since spent a significant amount of time playing it. Sunday's playing time went well, we had fun and got frustrated, but nothing serious. Then last night we played it for a good three hours.
There was yelling.
There was cursing.
There was frustration and almost tears.
Somehow, we managed to make it to World 6. How we'll survive to the end of World 8 is beyond me. Bowser just might have us beat. The problem with the game is also what makes it fun - you can play together, which can be great, but not so great when someone keeps making the same mistake that ends up killing someone else. You can see where this would get dicey.
The game is super fun, and a real challenge. I'd say it's harder than Super Mario Galaxy (except for the swimming...stupid swimming worlds are keeping me from beating the game!).
I just read online that there's a secret World 9...yikes, we're not going to make it.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Licious Arts Photography


Next up, photographers! We just loved our photographers, they did such an amazing job. I met Zara at a bridal show in London before I even got engaged and I knew right away that she was the photographer for me! She is super laid back and easy to get along with and I just loved her work. She was super open to any of my crazy ideas for pictures (Let's share the iPod! Let's do Abbey Road! Let's read comic books!) and was just a blast to work with. Everyone at our wedding was surprised to see our roaming photographers taking pictures of everything and anything. Jagger described what he wanted out of the photographers for the wedding as such, "Imagine you're the FBI and you're at a mob wedding trying to get information." Yeah, great direction.

Anyway, Zara has great prices and an amazing product. We haven't received our wedding pictures yet, but you can check out some of our engagement pictures on her website!

She also does great family portraits and belly pictures for any preggos out there!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Essential Music Service

Continuing with my series on vendors, today I wanted to highlight Scott, our amazing DJ.


There he is, hard at work!
Scott is someone I work with who also has his own DJ service. I talked to him about hiring him straight away and he was so open and easy to talk to, he made my decision easy. He showed me all kinds of references, but was sure to tell me he didn't care if I hired him or not, that I could always ask him his opinion about any other DJs or ask him any questions I had. Of course, I wanted to hire someone I knew, so we went with Scott.
Scott was amazing to work with. We had a meeting before things got rolling with the wedding to tell him what we were looking for and to talk about specific songs. He was so easy to get along with and was more than happy to play whatever we wanted. He took suggestions in stride and knew all the right questions to ask. The result? We ended up with an awesome party with great music, a 90s dance party, just like I wanted!
Seriously, if you're looking for a DJ who is completely professional, knows what he's doing and aims to please, give Scott a call!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Shy Siren

As promised, I'm going to start a little series to highlight some of the awesome vendors that we worked with for our wedding. Everyone was incredibly helpful and provided amazing products, so I want to share the love!

Today, jewellery!

I came across Shy Siren when I was looking for the perfect earrings. After flipping through page after page on etsy I found these little wonders...



I was immediately sold! I purchased the earrings and almost immediately received a confirmation email from Sara at Shy Siren. I told her how excited I was about the earrings and that I was planning on wearing them for my wedding. She was flattered and super helpful, I can't say enough about how easy it was to keep in contact with her! I mentioned I was looking for a bracelet in a similar colour, but didn't see anything on the site, and the next thing I knew I received an email with pictures of a variety of beads and clasps and she was offering to make a custom piece for me for the wedding! It was amazing service, and the jewellery was perfect. They have super fast shipping and the product comes in the sweetest packaging! Cards and stickers and heart-shaped paperclips included! I was in love. I've since been back to their online store to buy a necklace that I wear almost everyday and swoon over their newest pieces daily.
If you're looking for reasonably priced, quality pieces that are excellent for everyday wear or for special occasions, check out Shy Siren!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Remembering.


Today is Remembrance Day, a day to remember deeds that were done long ago and to be thankful. As a child, I always loved Remembrance Day, which is probably a strange thing. There was just something about having those poppies handed out before the assembly, the poems that we would write about the war, the paintings of poppies (or coquelicot for us French immersion students) that made me feel like I was being trusted with something. Remembrance Day always made me feel grown up for some reason. I would wear my poppy proudly and bow my head during the assembly and try to be mindful of sacrifices that were made that I couldn't understand. Even now it's hard to understand, since no one in my family was in any war, it's easy to feel disconnected from it. However, I still get that feeling of being trusted with something on Remembrance Day, being trusted with a memory that must be carried on. I took the time at work today to sit quietly at my desk while the radio played O Canada and Taps before the moment of silence, and am wearing my poppy. I hope you all had a chance to do the same.

Monday, 9 November 2009

An Early New Years Resolution?

I'm not big on resolutions at New Years time...I always figured that if I wanted to do something, I would just do it because I want to, not because I changed the calendar. However, today I did make a change. It's nothing big, but we'll see how it goes. Today I started a food diary. I've never been the type to watch what I eat or anything, I'm usually quite content to eat what I want and just keep active to balance things out. I thought it would be helpful for me to have a better idea of exactly what I'm eating though. I have a terrible habit of grazing, and I know it's because I just lose track of what I'm eating. I'm that person who will cook dinner and eat all the ingredients along the way - some cheese here, a couple of pieces of pasta there (just to see if it's cooked or not, you know how it is) and before you know it, I'm full before I even sit down to dinner. So, I thought it would help to try to keep track and write things down as I'm eating so I have a record of it. We'll see how it goes, it might end up lasting a couple of days before I want to start hiding from it. Don't worry, I won't start blogging about all of meals, not yet at least.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Honeymooners!

All right, I have been promising to blog about our honeymoon, and I can tell you that I've been trying to get to it for weeks but it's taken me forever with all the pictures! Anyway, here is our New England adventure, I hope you enjoy it!


We left for our honeymoon the day after the wedding. At first I was dreading it because we were so tired, and the thought of a 12 hour drive to start our honeymoon seemed daunting, but we ended up having a great day for travel. The weather was awesome and on our way we stopped to buy a GPS to help us along the trip. We named her Denise and the trip just wouldn't have been the same without her. We didn't get to the resort until about 1:30 a.m., and on the drive there it was so scary! Denise kept taking us through these crazy back roads to get to our final destination and as we got closer to our resort we could just feel the mountains all around us. It was insanely dark and the woods seemed to creep right up to the narrow highway. Jagger was very helpful by making comments like "These are Blair Witch woods" and "Any minute now a civil war soldier is going to come limping out onto the road in front of us." This became a theme for the weekend - scaring Ashlie. Anyway, we finally to the resort and got checked in. We could only imagine what the scenery around us looked like, and in the morning we finally got to see it.





There's honey on our resort. There were train tracks that ran right through the middle of the resort - very strange.


We of course started the vacation with food. Our first New England meal was at the restaurant on the resort and it was amazing! I had the lobster roll - which is now my new favourite thing!




Yes, it was served with a side order of chips. When I saw it on the menu, I figured it meant chips like the British call fries "chips", but no, they meant really Humpty Dumpty chips. Anyway, the lobster roll was amazing. It's lobster meat dressed very lightly with mayo and salt and pepper, and in this case it was also seasoned with lime and cilantro, then stuffed onto a warm toasted roll. Genius.


Jagger got bourbon steak tips, which were also yummy, but not as good as my lobster!




His actually did come with fries.


The rest of our first day was spent driving around checking out the area. It was so pretty, everything is so old and quaint, we just loved it.


This was at nearby Crawford Notch, just before things started to get dark. The light was so pretty in the mountains, we got some great pictures.





We saw a young bull moose too, just casually crossing the highway. It was awesome to see a moose, we were pretty excited. Jagger's used to moose from when he lived in Northern Ontario, but they're still a big deal to me. We really wanted to see a bear, but no such luck.


For dinner that night we went to the local Red Parka Pub in nearby Glen. It was awesome, just great food and a really nice atmosphere. Prepare yourself for more food pictures.


We tried some local Tuckerman's Pumpkinhead beer. Jagger wasn't crazy about it, but I liked it. It was served in Mason jars, which I thought was fun. (It doesn't take much to impress me.)


Jagger had the filet mignon, and I had a barbeque chicken sandwich. We both got a cheese potato as a side, it still counted as a vegetable even though it was loaded with cheese.


For dessert we had this monstrous mud pie. Yes, we were definitely on vacation.


The next day we had planned on going to Maine for the day, but we woke up to crappy snowy-slushy weather, so we went back to bed instead. We decided to save Maine for the next day and spend some time exploring and shopping in the area close to the resort. We spent a lot of time in Jackson, which was a beautiful town with a covered bridge and everything.






See? How New England is that? I've decided that I love covered bridges.
We kept a low profile that night, cooked our own dinner and decided to head out early the next morning for Maine with one goal in mind - find Stephen King's house!
The drive into Maine was lovely, the scenery was so nice with the leaves and everything.

The picture's a little wonky because I took it while we were driving, but you get the idea.
We made it into Bangor, Maine pretty easily and had no problems finding Mr. King's house.


Boom. How awesome is that? Just another house on the street. How could that place not belong to Stephen King? It was so awesome, I was so excited. I like to think that he was inside at the time, and saw us taking pictures outside of his house and was deeply flattered rather than creeped out. People always mention the bats on the gates, which were definitely cool, but I was more taken with this lovely three-headed dragon a bit further down the gate by his driveway...



Awesomeness capacity reached.
Just as we were about to leave his house and head into the Stephen King specialty bookstore down the street, this little black cat came wandering out of his yard.
We reacted appropriately by freaking out. "This is totally his cat!" "What do we do?" I'm sure his neighbours were hating us by this time. She was just the friendliest little cat, we hung out on the sidewalk for a while and petted her until she found something she wanted to chase and we started feeling like complete creepers. We asked the man at the bookstore in town if he had a cat and he told us that "Steve" has dogs, but that that little kitty belongs to a neighbour. Apparently the cat just loves hanging out at his house though and is there all the time, so "Steve" probably feeds it. Close enough for me, we met Stephen King's cat! I was pretty amazed at how the bookstore owner kept calling him Steve too, I really felt like he might walk into the store any minute.
I left the bookstore with my prize, honey bought me a copy of "Danse Macabre" which I've been looking for for years - thanks, babe!
I love being spoiled!
After we left Bangor, we decided to head into Freeport, Maine for some dinner before going back to New Hampshire to our resort for the night. Freeport was a very interesting little town, the home of L.L. Bean! They have super strict zoning bylaws, so nothing is as it seems. For example, here is the local McDonalds...


Awesome. What's better than Colonial-style McDonalds?
For dinner, we went to The Lobster Cooker, just a little place we found in our travel guide. We thought it was a full-on restaurant, but it turned out it was more like a fast-food lobster joint, very weird. Jagger was happy though, because he got his fresh Maine lobster.

Some women like a man in uniform, I like a man in a bib.


I tried a second lobster roll, which wasn't as good as the first, but was still pretty darn awesome!




Mmm...pickles...


The next day we decided to try and see as many states as we could. We started off by going into Massachusetts to check out Salem. Our travel guide said that most of the Salem Witch Trial Museums were a little hokey and just wax museum kind of things, so instead we went for a tour of the House of Seven Gables.




This was the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne's "House of Seven Gables". I've never read it, but I picked it up in the gift shop! The tour was fun, but we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the house. It's too bad, because there was an awesome little hidden staircase that we had to take upstairs that was super narrow and scary. One woman totally freaked out and refused to go up it, it was awesome.


The house is right on the Salem harbour, so we were provided with our first view of the Atlantic Ocean...








Prithee do not lean though! It's a good thing they warned us in such an old-timey way!


All in all, Salem was very weird. It's just a super old town with very strange narrow little streets. We saw all we could see and decided we would head into Rhode Island. Denise took us for a drive through Boston, which I thought was mildly harrowing. Instead of taking a normal highway to get from Salem to Boston, she decided to take us through all these crazy suburbs where people make their own rules for driving. Thanks, Denise.




Providence was really, really pretty. I really enjoyed it. It was raining when we got there though, so we mostly just drove around and checked things out a bit before settling in for some dinner at the Providence Oyster Bar.





Jagger had the sockeye salmon...





And I had grilled halibut.


Both meals were amazing. I was so full after, I could swear I could feel my stomach jiggling as we walked down the street. It was a bad day to be wearing my skinny jeans.


On our last fully day in New Hampshire, we decided to ride the Cog Railway up Mount Washington.




That's the Mount Washington Resort, with snowy Mount Washington looming in the background. I took this picture while Denise was directing us to the Cog Railway. Instead, she decided to tell us it was in the middle of nowhere and almost made us miss the train. Funny, Denise.


Happily though, we did make a train and headed up the 140 year old tracks to the summit...


It was a steep trip. It took about an hour to get to the top, but it was totally worth it for the view!

That's my kind of mountain climbing!






The ride back down was just as lovely, but in reverse.




It was a bit of a splurge, but I would definitely recommend taking the train up to the top if you're ever in the area. It was an awesome way to see it. Fun Fact - Mount Washington is home to some of the world's worst weather. The highest wind speeds ever recorded were taken at its summit - 231 mph!
After we left Mount Washington, we decided to just tour around and take in the scenery before we lost the light. While we were there, it would be pitch black by 7:00 p.m., so we figured we would make the most of our time.





It was a really nice way to end the day, just the two of us touring around, stopping to take pictures and just enjoy ourselves.
We figured we had might as well have one last good New England meal, so we went into Conway and had dinner at the 1790 Homestead.


Jagger found another lobster...


And I had the seafood au gratin. Just awesome.
We made the long drive back the next day and came back through Montreal, just for a change. It was an awesome trip, we had such a great time. I definitely recommend honeymoons, it was so nice to have that week to just hang out and relax after all the stress of the wedding.
I hope you've enjoyed our trip! There's lots of pictures from the trip up on my facebook if you're interested!