Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Today will likely be the last time I'll be checking in to the blog before Christmas, so I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday season. Thank you for another great year here at "Jill's World"!!

It's been a tough year for my family, and I've been grateful for this space to share my feelings, to remember, and to just vent. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your messages of comfort during the dark days. Let's hope 2011 brings happier times. I have had wonderful support from family, friends, co-workers, and all of you here in the Blogosphere. I love you all! xoxo

Enjoy every moment with your families and friends - soak up the Christmas cheer. It only comes once a year!! Eat every cookie you come across, belt every carol at the top of your lungs, tear into each present as if it's the last one, drink every drop of alcohol that crosses your path, and make sure to hug every person you love!
Merry Christmas and Happy 2011!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year!

It's happening again.

I shouldn't be startled by it. It happens every year.

We're on the homestretch to Christmas Eve. The big countdown has begun. We're talkin' 3 days now. THREE. So yes, at 5 AM, my eyes start popping open. And I lie there and think of all the little last minute things I need to do. The shows and movies I still need to watch. What I need to take to my Mom's for Christmas Eve and morning (silly, I know, since I live two minutes away, and anything I forget I can quickly run back home for). I think about the food and the drinks.

I wonder how things will be different. I hope against hope that things will be the same.

We had our first taste of "new" family traditions on Sunday at Aunt Marion & Uncle Eric's, and I think we got along pretty well. It made my heart happy that we were able to get together, as we always have, and still celebrate, despite the aching loss we faced only a few short months ago. We're all still coping. We're all still grieving. But we were able to join together in the Christmas spirit; eat, drink and be merry.

Now, the Young side of the family forges ahead with our Christmas Eve traditions, even though we know it won't be the same, either. So along with my excitement and anticipation, the worry mingles. How will it be different? Will we be able to have as much fun as we have in the past? After going through the first Christmas dinner on Mom's side of the family, I now know it's possible. Maybe not the same, but being with family is so important. We'll get through it together.

Oh, and the other thing that I worry about this time of year? Yep. Getting sick. This year, it's especially important to stay healthy since my dad has had pneumonia several times recently, and if any of us bring him so much as a little germ, we will be banished from the house.

So I'm downing Echinecea and Vitamin C, praying for good health, sucking on mints and hoping this tickle in my throat is just a figment of my imagination.

In other news... We went belly dancing! You'll have to take my word for it, since I have no pictures, because the instructor was a little paranoid about being in them, and also...well, I was just shaking my booty too much to be bothered getting my camera out! We sweated. A lot. And we laughed. A lot. Good times!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Don't Do Surprises.

So, as many of you already know (even though I try not to talk about it 24/7), I'm going to Cuba in January. It's my first trip ANYWHERE (okay, I lie. Midland, Michigan was good to me this summer. But it wasn't Cuba.) - so I'm pretty stoked about it.

The reason I'm going to Cuba? My friend Kerry is getting married, so a whole gang of us are going down to do it up with her and her hubby-to-be Jeff. A week of fun in the sun? Being actually AT one of those beach weddings where the couple's pics are so hot and beautiful with white sand and blue water all around them? Free booze all.week.long???

Hellz yeah. I'm pumped.

Now, tonight is Kerry's bachelorette. My friend Brenda is the one who organized and planned the evening. Originally intended to be the traditional bus tour of the Pontiac, she was forced to alter her plans when one of the only 3 regular stops (for Karaoke in Charteris, you have no idea how wild it can be!!)...well, it CLOSED. Can you believe it?!? No more John Henry crooning in Charteris??

Tragedy. Plain and simple.

(But this probably explains why, when up there in October, after going in with some friends, the waitress who came to take our drink order promptly asked us if we wanted to buy the bar. She said the owner was selling for a super-low price, and it would be a great investment. Keep in mind this bar is smaller than my bedroom. When we all show up on the bus, quite often we don't all fit inside. And it had deer heads hanging on the walls. It was a classy spot.)

So anyways, Brenda was forced to re-work the Bach plans, and has decided to keep them top secret. EXTREMELY top secret. From what I understand, only a few select people have been informed of where we are going or what we are doing, and all have been sworn to secrecy. All we know is that we're going on a bus, we can dress comfortably (PJ's if we want! she swears), we need to bring drinks with us because it will be "quite a little drive", we are not going to eat anywhere, we are not going bar hopping, we are not going to be outside, we are not going to see strippers, and we are not going to some workshop to make our own "toys". (This was the idea I came up with last night. I couldn't think of anything else.)

Where the hell could we be going, people?

Like I said. I don't do surprises.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Wouldn't Be Complete Without...

Over at Stacy's blog, she's playing a little game today. List 5 things that Christmas wouldn't be complete without. Here's my list!

  • My mom's delicious cookies and squares. She starts baking the beginning of November and stores up for the holidays. This year, she gave me a tin to keep in my freezer and share with my friends and co-workers. I ticked her off by telling her she ruined my favourite Christmas shortbread cookies by throwing dried fruit in them, but truthfully, I'm in love with my mom's baking. I'm sure all of us have favourites that our moms or grandmas make. It's a tradition at our house to sneak down to the basement and steal a few before the big day!!

  • The Big Christmas Morning Breakfast Battle. For years, my family has been trying to get this tradition right. But it would appear our tradition is just fighting over what the "right way" is to do it. When we were little, we ate brekky after presents. Now that we're older, we've started eating a little before and a little after. (We'll see if we can restrain Caden and Danica this year...) My mom used to slave over a frying pan making bacon and eggs for everyone, and usually spent much of the time complaining that it was such a mess and the egg yolks would break and it was a real pain in the ass for her. So a few years back, she started making "Wife Beater". (More commonly known as Wife Saver, but we never call it that.) It's a breakfast casserole made of bread, eggs, bacon, onion, peppers, and cheese. Mom can make it the night before and toss it in the over a half-hour before it's time to eat, whenever that may be. It's easy and it's deeeelish. The problem? My sister doesn't eat eggs. And my brother, bro-in-law, and dad don't like it. The only thing we seem to agree on is Mom's sticky buns. They get eaten before presents because no one can resist diving into the sugary, sticky goodness. I can guarantee the rest of it will be another battle this year.

  • Watching Miracle on 34th Street on Christmas Eve afternoon. It's just me. Nobody else in my family cares. But for me, Christmas Eve day is, quite possibly, the longest day of the year, waiting for church and the party afterwards. So for the past 15 years, I've been watching Miracle on 34th Street in the afternoon to kill some time. It's one of my favourite Christmas movies of all-time, and I save it for Christmas Eve every year.

  • "Silent Night", played by Rolly on guitar at the end of Christmas Eve service. With the lights off, candles lit, and everyone singing's pure Christmas magic.

  • The Coconut Song...Young Family tradition, usually sung at least 13 times on Christmas Eve. I hope we still get to sing it this year :)

Cousin Chris didn't make it home from TO for Christmas last year, so he actually called us just so we could sing The Coconut Song to him. This is cousin Bucky holding the phone up so he could hear!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Little Girl!! xo

The Wild Thing turns 2 today!!

Tonight, we celebrate... We celebrate the fact that she is happy and healthy, talking a lot now, tormenting her big brother, playing with dolls and lipstick as much as trucks and hockey sticks, pretty independent with her shouts of "I DO IT!!", her willingness to help out (even when you don't want it), her big blue eyes and curly blonde hair, and that can you not celebrate that smile?!
Happy Birthday Danica!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Playing Crazy Eights!!

Finally. We're finally getting snow!! The promise of 35-45 cm on Sunday didn't happen. It came as rain instead. Booooooooooooo!! But today, we're getting a nice little blanket, and that makes me even more excited for the holidays.

So what can I do to pass some time before Christmas? How about playing Crazy Eights, blog-style? I got this idea from Keeping Up With Kelly & Co. Play along if you'd like!! :)

8 Favorite TV shows
1) Grey's Anatomy
2) Criminal Minds
3) Friends
4) Sex and the City
5) Young & the Restless
6) Being Erica
7) Survivor
8) Sens hockey games

8 Favorite Places to Eat and Drink
1) Kelsey's
2) McDonalds
3) Jack Astor's
4) Wild Wing
5) The Bamboo
6) St. Hubert's
7) Montana's
8) Gavan's

8 Things I Look Forward To
1) Christmas Eve!!!
2) Playing with Caden & Danica
3) Cuba in January
4) Christmas dinner at Aunt Marion's
5) New Year's Eve
6) Going to the movies (hopefully sometime over the holidays!!)
7) Spending time with family and friends
8) Winter activities

8 Things that Happened to me Yesterday
1) My muffler almost fell off my car. Thank God for the guys at work fixing me back up again!
2) Worked
3) Decorated the office for Christmas
4) Quickly cleaned my house (a lick and a promise, my mom would say!)
5) Watched some holiday specials - A Garfield Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town
6) Fell asleep on the couch and woke up freezing - my front door had blown open! eeeek!!
7) Was invited to the Sens game. But then had to turn down the ticket after my mom reminded me car has been rather unreliable these past few days.
8) Went to bed!

8 Things I Like About Winter
1) Christmas
2) Snow
3) Sliding
4) Sens hockey
5) Snowmen
6) Christmas lights
7) Warm blankets and cozy couches
8) Going for walks with snowflakes falling down

8 Things I am Passionate About
1) My family
2) My friends
3) Playing guitar
4) Writing (my blog!)
5) My TV Shows
7) The Sens
8) Edward & Jacob

8 Words or Phrases I Use Often
1) F*ck (I say it too much)
2) Frig off (I say that too much, too)
3) Holy cow
4) G'day
5) Good morning, Mountainview Turf, this is Jill speaking (I usually say good morning even if it's in the afternoon)
6) NO WAY!!
7) Gimme a break
8) Oh my God

8 Things I Have Learned From the Past
1) Life is short
2) Each moment spent with loved ones is precious
3) It's amazing how strong you can be when you have to be
4) Never count your chickens before they're hatched (cliched, but so true)
5) Mom and Dad are usually right
6) A few deep breaths can work wonders
7) Crying helps
8) Laughter is usually the best medecine!!

8 Places I Would Like to Visit/See
1) Ireland
2) Somewhere down south (Cuba, I'm coming!!)
3) Graceland
4) Nashville
5) The rest of Canada - down East, the prairies, the West Coast!!
6) Australia
7) Las Vegas
8) Disney World

8 Things I Currently Want/Need
1) My own house
2) ...or at least to paint the house I'm renting
3) a laptop
4) My credit card bills to just vanish
5) A new car
6) To lose 50 lbs.
7) A friggin boyfriend, geez.
8) For my family to have the best Christmas possible

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Christmas Carol

As Christmas fast-approaches (or slow-approaches...I can't believe how long December days can feel while waiting for Santa!!), I find myself immersed in holiday movies and TV specials. Before last night, I had already watched Elf, Home Alone, Four Christmases, and part of "The Grinch". (I know. It's only half-an-hour long, with commercials, and I still fell asleep before it was over. Pathetic!)

I thought I was well on my way. Until I started counting the shows and movies I still have to watch. Still on the to-do list are:

  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • The Family Stone
  • Its a Wonderful Life
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Eight Crazy Nights
  • The Santa Clause
  • and all my fave tv shows, such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Frosty the Snowman", "Shrek the Halls", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "Mickey's Christmas Carol", "A Garfield Christmas"

...and I should probably watch "The Grinch" again since I missed most of it the first time!

But there's one story that always seems to be told, in many different ways, around this time of year. And that is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol is the beloved story that tells the tale of the cruel and miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge, who is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley. Marley informs Scrooge that before morning, he will be visited by three spirits. Sure enough, throughout the night, Scrooge is shown scenes from his past, present, and future by three different spirits, and sees that if he continues in the way he has conducted his life thus far, he will end up dying all alone. By morning, Scrooge has a new outlook on life, and he shocks his family, friends, neighbours, and especially his employee, Bob Cratchit, with a new cheery, generous attitude.

A quick Google Search of A Christmas Carol brings up many different adaptations over the years, in literature, theatre, film, and television. I'm sure we all have our favourites. My own personal favourite is "Mickey's Christmas Carol", when the Disney gang, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and of course, Scrooge McDuck, join together to create an animated version of the story.

I know a few people around here who are big fans of the Muppets' take on the classic story.

Last night, I finally got a chance to sit down with Luke & Amanda and watch the most recent version released, which my friend Sara let me borrow. Another adaptation by Disney, starring Jim Carrey in a life-like animation of the story, which was just released last year.

It was wonderful! I can only begin to imagine how much more thrilling it would have been to see in theatres last year in 3D. But since I usually only watch the Mickey version of the story, I was surprised at how scary it could be! I jumped - more than once. The spirits are...well, they're kind of creepy. Especially the ghost of Marley. I think that scene might have been better suited in a Halloween movie!

But overall? I loved it. It has instantly become one of my favourites. I recommend it - but just not for young children.

What's your favourite version of A Christmas Carol? Is there one particular show or movie that you make sure to view every year?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

SO WHAT Wednesday!

I'm feeling uninspired, blog-wise. So rather than remaining silent for another day, I decided to play along with:
SO WHAT if...
  • ...I'm leaving for Cuba in 37 days and I don't fit in half of the shorts, tees, dresses, and bathing suits I bought? It's Christmastime, dammit, I can't diet now!!!
  • ...My car is a 13-year-old dinosaur that might quit on me any day now. Nobody else in my town has a '97 Rav 4 with black roof racks!! When people see me coming, they're ready with a wave!
  • ...My credit card bills are massive. I'm happy with my purchases. All of them. So piss off.
  • ...The next time I go to the store I need to spend over half of my shopping budget on chocolate. I'm making lots of Christmas treats that require melting chocolate, okay?!
  • ...My fish tank is so dirty that you can't even see the fish. I open the lid to make sure they're still swimming around. They're okay. I'll get to it someday...
  • ...I watched 3 Christmas movies on Sunday. It got me in the spirit, and I can't think of anything more productive that I should have been doing! (Oh...right...the fish...frig!!)
  • ...The Sens are horrible. It'll be okay. And Wade Redden's still hot. I don't care if he's not even an NHL'er anymore.
  • ...Stupid London, Ontario got 3 feet of snow over the past few days. WE'RE gonna get our own dumping on Sunday. So THERE!!
  • ...I listen to Bruce Springsteen's "Merry Christmas Baby" at least four or five times every day. It makes me happy!

So there's my "SO WHAT Wednesday" rant. Felt good! Feel like playing along? Hop on over to Life After I "Dew" and link up!

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Villain Gets the Last Laugh

It's a bad day to be a Sens fan.

I've been pretty quiet on the Sens front this season thus far, mainly because I've been less than enthused. So far the 2010-2011 Ottawa Senators have been a terribly inconsistent bunch. They strung together, like, four wins about a month ago and had me excited for a few weeks, but otherwise...dismal. Very, very dismal.

You know they don't win much when Amanda was overheard whispering to Luke during last night's game, "Have they won any games yet this year?"

They have. But not many.

Granted, there has been a lot going on off the ice in the past month, with the unexpected passing of assistant coach Luke Richardson's daughter. For a while there, it could be said that their minds and hearts were elsewhere. It was excusable.

But last night, they should have been pumped. There was no excuse for a lacklustre, half-assed effort. Because one of the biggest villains in Ottawa Senators history - right up there with Alexei Yashin - was in town.

It was the return of Dany Heatley. And Sens fans had been forced to wait for this reunion for over a year and a half. They were ready.

Too bad the team wasn't.

While Ottawa has been chastised for not selling out last night's game, they were 18,000 strong, and they came prepared. Chants of "HEATLEY SUCKS" rained down before the first puck-drop. They came armed with signs spewing all different kinds of malice. This one was my favourite:

They booed him when he touched the puck. They ran down to the glass in groups and chucked their old Heatley jerseys on to the ice. Those who chose to still wear theirs blacked out certain letters so it instead read "HATE 15" on the back. They roared when he took a penalty for high-sticking his former teammate and buddy, Jason Spezza. The booed loudly when he was credited with an assist on one of San Jose's four (unanswered) goals.

By then end of the night, they were even chanting "DANY DOUCHEBAG! DANY DOUCHEBAG!"

So it really is a shame that the team on the ice didn't display the same intense fervour and passion as their fans did.

Rather than celebrating a huge win and rubbing Heater's face in it, this morning the papers and sports call-in shows are all talking about what an embarassing game it was. What a massive disappointment it was. People are pushing panic buttons. (Literally, on the Team 1200 morning show TGOR, Steve and JR were actually pushing a panic button, with sirens and robot voice and all.) Fans are calling for them to completely blow up the team and start over. Names like Fisher and Alfredsson - cornerstones of the franchise - are being tossed around as trade bait.

Earlier this week, even in the wake of that pathetic loss to the lowly Oilers, it was fun to be a Sens fan again. The hype of Heatley returning to Ottawa was easy to get swept up in. It was exciting to see the anticipation build, and hear about what people were going to put on their signs, and what they were threatening to throw at him.

This morning? The hype is all gone. And all that's left is the sick feeling in my gut, knowing Dany Heatley - slimy little vermin that he is - got the last laugh.

And as the Sharks head out of town, we're left with this mess of a team, and no sign of hope.

No. It's not a great day to be a Sens fan. Not at all.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Sexiest Christmas Song Everrrrr

So, many of my friends in the Blogosphere have been taking part in a 12 Day Christmas Challenge, which I would have liked to take part in but wasn't on the ball enough to get my act together in time to jump in on Day 1 with the rest of them. It seems the holiday season kind of crept up on me this year, and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to write blogs about Christmas two weeks ago.

But now it's December. Now, I'm ready to go. Bring on the wrapping paper and bows, the multiple viewings of The Grinch and Elf, the chocolate cookie bark and gingerbread houses, the trees and lights...Bring on the Christmas season!

Today, they're all talking about their favourite Christmas songs. I've had my iTunes Christmas playlist on rotation for the past week, and today I even added some new additions thanks to getting some new ideas for downloads from Kelly's list on her blog (thanks Kelly!)

I've got lots of favourites. Too many to choose from.

But I've got a little twist on the topic, and my question to you is this: What do think is the sexiest Christmas song?

I think there are a few heavy contenders out there. For instance, "Santa Baby" by Madonna. Pretty slinky and sexy, right?

How about "Baby It's Cold Outside" - I'm thinkin' the Rod Stewart/Dolly Parton version, but any rendition will do. Conjures up images of snuggling by fires, wrapped up in blankets, while a snowstorm rages outdoors...oh yeah, baby!!

And of course, there's one of my all-time faves, Elvis crooning "Blue Christmas" - and I especially love the recent release of Martina McBride joining him in singing it. Super hawt. (But I think I might be a little biased, considering my crazy Elvis obsession. Young Elvis is so yummy...)

However, there's one Christmas song that takes the #1 spot in my world. Every time I hear it, it almost gives me goosebumps. It's that sexy. And these honours belong to Bruce Springsteen with his holiday hit, "Merry Christmas Baby". I luuuuuuuuuurve it!!

After watching the video Lindsay posted on her blog today of Wayne Rostad's classic "Christmas in the Valley", I had a hard time not putting him on the list. I mean, just go check out Wayne's sexy 'stache and the way he leans against the building whilst strumming his guitar...Drool-worthy, ladies. Absolutely drool-worthy. ;)

Got a song that you think tops The Boss for Sexiest Christmas Song Everrrrrr? Share it in the comments section!

Enjoy the tunes!!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

December, Baby!

Happy DECEMBER!!!!

I love December. It means parties and good food and even better drinks and presents and family and friends and twinkly lights and decorations and holiday specials and Christmas carols and snow...
Wait. What's that? No snow? In Canada? On December 1st?

I know. It's so so so sad. Like, how am I supposed to turn on all my Christmas lights tonight without any freakin' SNOW???

It's been pouring rain here for two days now. Here at work, they estimate that if it had come as fluffy goodness, we'd have two feet. There's a chance it could change to flurries by tonight, they say, but for now, it's just rain. Ugly rain that makes everything brown and muddy and depressing. This isn't the month for brown and muddy and depressing. It's the month for snowflakes and sparkling and white cold awesomeness.

Where is it?! Where is IT!?!?

Hopefully it comes soon. It just doesn't feel like Christmas without a little of the white stuff on the ground...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Murder at Dale's 50th Birthday Party!!

Some of you have been wondering why I've been so quiet this week. Where is the Murder Mystery recap, dammit?!? Where is it?!?!

Truth be told? I haven't been doing anything. I've just been breathing.

Because for the past month or so? I wasn't breathing. At all.

As many of you already know, and as I've talked quite a bit about on this blog, I'm a worrier. I panic. I wallow in anxiety. And when I'm stressed out, I.don't.breathe.

So, while preparing for Murder Mystery, holding practices for the cast, and planning all the details and decorations with co-director Brenda, I was literally spazzing out. I had several members of my cast that loved to wind me up and make me nuts. Towards the end, I was even starting to pray for some illness - not bad, just something contagious - to hit me a few days before, so that I could hide away in my room until it was all over.

Of course - of course - I didn't need to worry. But there ain't nobody in the world who could've assured me of that beforehand. (Just ask B!)

Once again, it was a great show! About 190 people crammed into The Shamrock Lounge (aka the Lions Hall) for Dale MacKechnie's swanky 50th birthday celebration. (Major coup? Getting Dale to play himself, only a few weeks after his actual 50th Birthday!! Score!!)

Security was tight that night (another amazing feat - getting my brother and Wayne to man the doors in black suits, head-sets, and shades - they looked pretty spiffy if I do say so myself!), but somehow, eight undercover spies managed to gain access to MacKechnie's lavish party, and all became suspects after he was murdered. His body was found on the balcony shortly after the party began - he had been strangled.

Wayne and Luke - our Door Security Guards

Fortunately, two of the attendees from last year's events at the Trickle Creek Lodge had become police officers, so we welcomed back Kaptain Keharn Flake (Troy Cote) and Deputy Bess Diddler (Steph Belanger) to solve the murder.

Troy & Steph in costume as Kaptain Flake and Deputy Diddler

After arriving on-scene, they quickly began interrogating the suspects: Ivan Oder (Joe McCleary), an American spy with a bad temper, posing as a security guard; Camille Sol (Tammy Cheslock), an agent from France, working as a maid; Paddy O'Furniture (Bill Young), a member of the IRA, giant leprechaun, and bartender; Jessica Tom Collins (Marie-Eve Provost), a CIA agent and Dale's grief-stricken fiancee; Duke Bigalow (Derek McColgan), another member of the CIA and handsome gigolo; Natasha Kozlov (Lise Nobert), a Russian spy posing as a famous singer; Simon Rickman (Marc Kingsbury), a double-agent and computer whiz; and Anita Mandalay (Joanne Marcotte), hired by Dale to be the "woman of the evening" and entertain the male guests.

Those of you who have been to one before know how it goes after that. They spent the next three hours pointing fingers at one another and defending themselves, while the crowd roared with laughter and enjoyed a delicious dinner.

You don't get much better than that!

It was a fantastic night, and I once again must thank my cast for dedicating their time and energy to this fundraiser that the Quyon Lionettes host, and it is definitely one of the highlights in the community. Also, to Brenda for putting up with my crap; to the Lionettes for allowing us to tackle the project once again; to all who helped out along the way; and to all who came out and enjoyed the show.

Our Security Guards with the dead guy

I wasn't sure it was possible to top last year's Murder Mystery. But MC Patti Davis announced that we were successful in doing so, so kudos to everyone involved!

In the end, it's always worth it.

And I'm able to breathe again.

This is what I look like when I breathe again. Okay, maybe it was the rum.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Doing It for Daron

As my last post indicated, it's been a stressful week. With Murder Mystery finally almost here, and a million other things going on in my life, it's easy to get swallowed up in the hype and anxiety, and entirely lose focus.

But this week, I've also had perspective. Because sometimes, there are bigger things going on in the world, and thinking of them is a fresh - and sometimes painful - reminder that no matter how stressful and worrisome my life feels right now, there are people with bigger problems. Real problems. And sadness and pain that is incomprehensible.

My anxiety over Murder Mystery seems so small and insignificant in comparison.

Last weekend, Ottawa Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson & his wife Stephanie lost their youngest daughter Daron after a suicide attempt. She was only 14 years old. The news of Daron's death stunned the community, and we felt the sharp disbelief close to home as well, since the Richardsons' have roots in Shawville.

I can only imagine the pain and grief that Daron's family and friends are experiencing. It's terrible enough to deal with a shocking death, an accident, a sudden end to a beautiful life. It's quite another to deal with that loss knowing she took her own life.

But Luke, Stephanie, and their eldest daughter Morgan have done something very courageous in the wake of this tragedy. Rather than hiding the details of their daughter's death and dealing with it secretly, they have been open about it in hopes of removing the stigma that comes with suicide. Their hope is that by sharing their pain with the public, it will bring awareness to teen suicide and how important it is to open with your child and be understanding of their moods and issues.

Yesterday, Scotiabank Place was filled with jersey-wearing men, women, and children, but for once, it wasn't for a hockey game. A 2-hour celebration of Daron' s life was held, with her family, friends, students from her school, the entire Senators organization, friends from around the NHL, and many members of the community coming out to grieve with her parents and sister.

Apparently none of Daron's family or friends saw this coming. She was a gorgeous girl with so much going for her - a privileged life thanks to her father being a former NHL'er and now coach, an excelling student at Ashbury College, a talented athlete with a bright future in women's hockey...

Nobody knows exactly what was going on beneath the surface to compel Daron to end her own life. We may never know.

But today, we wear purple in Daron's memory, and in the hopes of bringing awareness to teen suicide.

No child should ever feel that hopeless or that lost.

Make sure to let the people you love most in your life know it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Can you say *STRESSED*?!?!

I hate this week. Wanna know why?

It's the week of Murder Mystery. And it's the middle of November.

Know what that means? It means I'm stressing about two very major things:

A) Murder Mystery. Natch.
B) The fact that I have ONE FREAKIN' CHRISTMAS PRESENT BOUGHT AND THAT'S IT while the rest of the world is done their shopping and already has it wrapped and hidden in a magic closet waiting for the big day.


So. Murder Mystery first. Could I ever find a cast that doesn't love to wind me up and watch me go squirrely every. single. day? Don't get me wrong. I love them. They're going to be awesome. And this time next week, I will have written a lovely blog about them, blowing sunshine up their butts, and thanking them for being the bestest cast ever.

But until that day, I will worry. Worry about them not knowing their lines or getting drunk or doing a scene backwards or - God forbid - dropping f-bombs on-stage.

Throw that in with all the other little (and big) things that need to be done in preparation for MM, and I'm pretty much a basket case. Take today, for example. I woke up at 6 AM, half an hour before my alarm - I get SO pissed when that happens - and the first stupid little though that went clanging through my brain was, "We don't have a finale. We've never even thought of a clever ending."

Awesome. Two practices left, one being dress rehearsal, and we don't have a way to finish the thing off!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

The good news? I've got lots of super-smart people around me who have awesome ideas and who love to remind me that this thing always works out, no matter how sure I am that it's going to blow giant chunks.

(And if any of my cast is out there reading this, please don't be offended. You really are all awesome and I love you immensely. And you won't blow giant chunks. I just worry about it every year. It would be weird if I didn't.)


The other stress factor, as I mentioned, is stupid Christmas.

Again, don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. Absolutely my most favourite time of the year. And this year, I should have less to worry about because I basically cancelled presents with all of my friends (Cuba, here I come!!), and I only have my immediate family to buy for.

Even better - my family ruled that I buy the couples "couple presents" instead of individual gifts, because it's not fair that I buy them each a gift, while they slap "Love, Him & Her" on theirs. Perfect-o.

But you know what? It's superhard to find a gift that is suitable for both. And they really really suck at giving suggestions. Take Luke's wonderful idea from the weekend: " can get us a two-man bicycle. But don't worry if you can't afford that. You can get us a unicycle and she can ride on my shoulders."

hahaha. Funny boy.

(I shouldn't act all cool and sarcastic, because I actually did laugh. A lot.)

Anywayssssssss... Yes. It bothers me that everyone is finding awesome websites and taking lunch hour shopping trips and finding amazing deals and using wonderful bonus discount codes. 'Cause I've had zero luck.

Bah! STRESSED!!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Giveway from Kelly - Check It Out!!

I've been blogging for about 4 years now - whoa, can't believe it's been that long! - but I don't feel like I really entered the Blogosphere until recent months. Up until then, I wrote my own blog, read one or two others that my friends wrote, and that was about it.

Then, all of a sudden, it seemed like everyone around me had a blog! And before I knew it, I had a long list of blogs that I anxiously looked forward to checking each morning. Also, many of my friends joined the blogging community recently after forming their 101 Lists, and I've really enjoyed following their accomplishments!

A trend that seems to be popping up a lot are Blog Giveaways - read a blog, enter for a chance to win free stuff...pretty cool, right? I have yet to attempt my own giveaway, but I have some ideas...stay tuned!

I haven't actually entered for a chance to win many giveaways, but I couldn't resist when I saw the opportunity over at Keeping Up With Kelly & Co! I've been a follower of Kelly's after a friend recommended I check her out, and she always makes me smile! (Plus, I'm super-jealous of her - they got SNOW - and lots of it - over the weekend! LUCKY!!!)

Kelly's offering her first giveaway, and it's a pretty sweet deal: a $55 gift card for CSN, a $5 gift card for Starbucks (that I'd just love to test out on a Gingerbread latte!), and an adorable owl pendant from Forever21 - anyone who follows Kelly's blog knows how much she loves owls!

Be sure to check out Kelly's blog and her'll love it! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How Come I Never Knew This Song?!?

On Troy's birthday, my cousin Kayla (who might be a "horrible blogger", but is definitely one of the best cousins a kid could ever ask for!!) posted this as her status on Facebook (and I assume it was in his honour):

May God bless you and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true.
May you always do for others,
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung.
May you stay...Forever Young.

I loved it. I immediately plugged those words into my Google search engine, wondering who wrote this perfect, perfect poem.

So tell me. How is it that I've been around for 27 years, and never knew this was a Bob Dylan song?!?

I loved the words so much that I downloaded it, and since Monday, I've probably listened to it on my iPod 1,000 times. The lyrics are beautifully bittersweet, but I also adore the music; the instruments. It's a song that I instantly connected with, beyond the fact that I love the simple phrase "Forever Young", beyond the fact that it's my family name.

I just can't believe I'd never heard it before!! It jumps instantly onto my 101 Favourite Songs list!

Aside from the Dylan tune, I've made a few other musical discoveries this week that I'm lovin' right now.

- The new Kings of Leon album, Come Around Sundown...absolutely awesome.
- "Good Life" by One Republic...can't get it outta my head.
- "Maybe" and "Be OK" by Ingrid fact, I've downloaded a whole whack of IM's songs, definitely going through a phase...

I love making musical discoveries! They make my heart sing.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true.
May you always know the truth,
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong.
May you stay...Forever Young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift.
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung.
May you stay...Forever Young.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Happy Birthday Dog

It's been exactly three months since we lost Troy. Today would have been his 37th birthday...

Yesterday we gathered at his resting place and we sent balloons up to him in heaven. I guess this day will never be easy, but it was nice to be surrounded by family as we took a moment to celebrate him & his life.

Bet it's going to be a rockin' party up there today!
We love you & miss you Dog. xoxo

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Scariest Night of my Life...

...Okay. That might be a bit of an exaggeration.

Or maybe not. I was pretty scared.

But in the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd share with my Blog readers the "funny little trick" that was played on me last year around this time.

It really doesn't take much to scare me. I'm a 'fraidy cat. After seeing Paranormal Activity last year, my friends didn't find it all that scary, while I had to sleep with a light on for weeks. In fact, I sleep most nights with the hall light on now, because my over-active imagination conjures up all kinds of spooks and freaks to haunt me when I can't fall asleep.

Last year, though, I was going through an "old-school scary movie" phase, and I was re-visiting the Scream series that was so popular during my high school days. I found all three of the Scream movies on DVD and watched them leading up to Halloween. I also told my roomies, friends, and anyone else who would listen just how much I DETESTED the Scream mask, and how creeped out I was by it. Even seeing it hanging in the stores gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Anyways... after watching one of the Scream movies with Sarah, Susie and Brenda, we all got ready to go out to Gavan's. We hung out all evening, dancing, playing pool, and drinking, then I decided to go ahead home. Sarah kept telling me to stay, that they'd all be leaving in about half an hour anyways, but I insisted I was tired and wanted to go. Because we only had one key amongst the roommates, Sarah tried to "scare tactic" me into staying. "There's only one key, if you go home now, you have to go to bed and leave the front door open so we can get in! You'll get scared!!"

Nah, wouldn't be a problem. I assured her I was tired enough that it wouldn't matter, I would fall asleep no problem.

So she gave me the key, and I walked up the street to our place alone. It was dark and windy; the shadows on houses and buildings from the street lights were creeping me out, and the branches on trees were swaying, hitting rooves, while dead leaves skittered down the sidewalk, making an eerie soundtrack for my walk home.

I walked quickly, I admit it, with a few glances over my shoulder to make sure no one was following me. (Paranoia...I have it!)

When I got home, I left the front door unlocked for Sue and Sarah, and trudged upstairs to my room. There was a mess of clothes on the floor, and some more stuff on my bed. I went to pull my comforter down on my bed, and realized there was a silky black something lying there that wasn't mine.

I picked it up. Turned it over in my hand.

And the Scream face stared back at me.


I rolled my eyes, sure it was just a joke that Sarah or Sue had played on me, and tossed it out into the hallway, slamming the door behind me. I sat down on my bed, heart pounding, trying to rationalize. Of course it was Sarah or Sue who had left it there, right?

Of course it was.

...oh, but what if it wasn't?

The mere thought had me leaping off my bed, skirting past the mask lying on the hall carpet, racing down the stairs, and flying out the front door. I ran all the way back down to Gavan's, wind whipping the branches, dead leaves rustling everywhere, and every shadow a possible killer, lurking, waiting for me...

I was huffin' and puffin' pretty good when I walked back into the bar, and everyone looked at me, a little surprised to see me back, and to see me so red and sweaty and distressed.

"Who put the damned Scream mask on my bed?"

Sarah literally cracked up. She had put it there, hoping to scare me before we left, but I didn't find it then. She had actually forgotten she'd left it there, and hadn't intended to scare me like that.

The perfect Halloween prank. And a night I'll never forget!

Trick-Or-Treat!! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jesse Williams...Shirtless

My sister once told me she doesn't check my blog when she's at work because she never knows when half-naked men might pop up.

I don't think it happens that often. But if that's a problem for you, you might want to shut 'er down right now.

There is plenty - and I mean plenty - of eye candy on Grey's Anatomy. It is, quite possibly, the hottest show in TV history. Shepherd, Sloan, Hunt, and of course my all-time favourite's drool-worthy. Seriously. It's like this special little treat creator Shonda Rhimes has wrapped up and delivered to the women of the world every week.
God bless her and her vision.

Last year, they added a new little bit of candy to the cast: Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery. He survived the shooting at Seattle Grace-Mercy West last spring, and I've decided to put the Blog spotlight on him this morning, the day after he strutted around shirtless for us last night.


I don't think I need to say anything more on this topic. I'll let Jesse's pictures tell the story.

There is more than one reason I love Thursday nights...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Big Day for B-days!!

Five years ago today, a pretty important little person came into my life...

Happy 5th Birthday to my nephew Caden!

I still can't believe he's already 5 years old. Seriously, where did the past five years go!? Unbelievable. Seems like only yesterday Mom & I were pacing around the house, ready to pull our hair out, practically going hysterical waiting on the news.

Finally, on October 14, 2005, shortly after 9 PM, we got the call to tell us Caden Christopher had arrived, weighing 6 lbs 6 ozs. After making a few calls to spread the word to family & friends, I went down to Gavan's where the Quyon Ball Banquet was taking place, and there were hugs all around.

It was also pretty special to tell cousin Dale that night that the newest addition to the family shared his birthday. So today, Dale turns 50 and Caden turns 5.

Let the celebrations continue!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fudgie's 50th

Sunday night, after a massive, super-delicious turkey dinner, I joined family and friends in celebrating my cousin Dale's 50th Birthday.

As some of you may know, I'm a bit of a worry-wart, and as I alluded to in my last post, I've been worrying about what family gatherings - particularly Christmas - will be like after the unexpected losses we suffered this summer.

Young Family Christmas Eve is all about the guitars and singing, and I was afraid it might never be the same again. And I'm sure it won't ever be the same again.

But at Fudgie's 50th, I was so relieved to see this:

Leaf fans...but I love 'em

Uncle Garry & Kayla

Auntie Mo on the kazoo!

Uncle Garry entertaining with Gail, Kayla & Vikki

The Birthday Boy & Donna K

I think we're going to be okay after all.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Playing Tag

So apparently all my friends in the Blogosphere have decided to play tag. First, I was tagged by Lindsay at A Small Town Kind of Life to answer a set of questions, and then I was tagged by Stacy at Stacy's 101 List to answer a different set of questions. I won't be tagging anyone else since, between Linds & Stace, I think they've tagged all my Blog friends! haha!

But I will answer their questions, so here it goes:

From Lindsay...

1. If you were stuck on a desert island, what 4 items would you bring with you?
- My Blackberry...'cause I don't go anywhere without it, and it would provide contact to the outside world, a camera, and music! ;)
- My guitar
- A toothbrush
- Paper & a pen

2. What is your favorite thing to do when you have nothing to do?
I love watching movies, and when there's nothing else going on, that's usually where you'll find me - on the couch or at the theatre, with popcorn, watching a movie!

3. What is your best asset?
Eeek...hate this question...not sure I have a "best asset". My writing abilities? lol

4. What is your favorite restaurant and why?
I have lots of favourite restaurants, but all-time? I'd have to say Kelsey's. Since discovering their 4 Cheese Spinach Dip, I've been to Kelsey's a hundred times! :)

5. What do you prefer, fancy night out on the town or movie/chips at home?
Fancy night? I'm not a fancy kind of girl - so I'll take the movie and chips (and dip!) at home any day!!

6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
ANY where in the world? Definitely Ireland. That's my dream...

7. What is the number 1 thing on your Christmas list this year?
Honestly, haven't thought about it. A laptop. HAHA! Not a chance!!

8. What is your favorite holiday (which holiday and why) activity?
Well, it has always been Christmas - specifically Christmas Eve...But this year (and every year from now on) will be different, since two important people will be missing. I'm worrying about Christmas this year, about what it will be like and how I will feel, and how my family will get through it. We're fortunate at our house to have Caden & Danica, because Christmas really is about the kids, and I'm sure they will bring us great joy!!

Aside from that - my favourite part has always been the party at Patti's, the singing and the laughter and the Coconut Song. And I hope that we can continue that.

From Stacy...

1. What is your favorite thing to cook?
I'm just really getting into a cooking and baking groove these days, but my all-time favourite is still spaghetti sauce!

2. What is your favorite TV show and why?
A tie - between Friends and Grey's Anatomy. I have all seasons of both on DVD, and both make me laugh in completely different ways!

3. If you had a $10,000 shopping spree to anywhere, where would you pick and why?
Oh geez...this is lame, but can I say Wal-Mart? LOL

4. What song are you likely to sing at karaoke in a bar?
hahaha...we just discussed this last Friday night...and Sarah & I decided that "Any Man of Mine" is a perfect way to crank a Karaoke party up!! I also love to do Bobby McGee (with Vikk)!!

5. If you could take any kind of class, what would you take and Dance/Art/Photography?
Either painting or a photography class. I wish I was more crafty... But I love to dance too, so if I was in better shape I'd probably want to look into some kind of fun dance class!

6. What is one thing that you couldn't live without and why?
Tough one...In fact, really tough I'm going to take the easy out, without getting emotional about stuff like pictures or my guitar, and say my TV! haha! You know people who challenge themselves by not watching TV for a week? No way I could do that!!!

7. What is your favorite season and why?
I love all seasons at their time, but I'm a big fan of snow and cold and Winter is definitely my favourite season :)

8. What is your favorite color and why?
Ooohh...I always answer "Yellow" to this colour, because it's such a sunshiney colour, but truthfully? Red, Black & Gold baby. GO SENS GO!!

Okay. Phew. Done playing tag for a while!! Happy Friday & Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Ode to my Road

Stanton Road is pretty much the best road in the world.

Not literally, though. The road itself? It's terrible. Years ago they put down that crushed-rock-over-tar crap that, after driving over it for years, eventually turns into a poor excuse for asphalt.
Currently, the road is decaying. Absolutely falling apart. Filled with pot-holes and crumbling away at the edges. It warrants a visit from the Municipality's road repair crew once every few months with their shovels and trucks full of cold patch.

It got worse during the past year, as the bridge was being re-built on the Mill Road, so traffic was diverted to the other arteries in and out of town, one of them being Stanton Road. The heavier traffic and large trucks and equipment that travelled it caused pretty severe abuse to the poor little half-assed road.

But I digress. The physical state of the actual road is neither here nor there.

The fact of the matter is, Stanton Road is the best road to live on. Hands down. No doubt in my mind.

Even though I no longer actually live there, I still call that quiet little street in the suburbs of Quyon "home". I am just two minutes down the street, and I spend a lot of my time there still at Mom & Dad's, so it really is home to me. In fact, living right on Clarendon, in the middle of town, has made me realize just how much I miss that road, and how much I'd love to somehow get back there someday, permanently.

Back there, I don't have to worry about listening to people shouting on the streets outside my bedroom window, and listening to crazy drivers squeal their tires or rev their dirt bikes at all hours of the night. (Ahhhh the joys of downtown Quyon!)

It makes me miss home. It was a great neighbourhood to grow up in.

In some ways, I got a raw deal as a kid. When I was little, the neighbourhood was full of girls, and they had the run of the place. I was just a little pest that couldn't keep up to them on my bike and who talked too much, so they were much happier to just leave me at home to pout.

By the time I was in my "childhood prime", all of those girls had grown up or moved away. And the street was filled with boys.


Whether they were on bikes, rollerblades, playing street hockey, or shooting hoops - Stanton Road was all about the boys.

It wasn't ideal. I was older than them, and once again, I think they may have seen me as more of a pain-in-the ass than anything. But most days, they humoured me. They let me supervise their wrestling matches or referee their street hockey games. (Not sure why, because they never listened to me. I still have nightmares about the time I tried to give Bucky two minutes in the box for swinging his stick at Kenny's head, and he then turned and swung his stick at my head). They used to have "concerts" in Patti & Randy's garage, and while I was never actually invited to take part in their lip-synching performances of Backstreet Boys songs, I was allowed to pay the 50 cents to get in and watch them. (Best 50 cents I could have ever spent - I wish there was video footage of those performances...)

And then there was the pool. Kenny & Bucky's in-ground pool was the source of many great summer days. Races and obstacle courses and diving competitions and never-ending games of Marco Polo...those were good days. Patti would often have to drag us out of the water against our will. (And Kenny & I were the "fish" - we usually pushed the limits and she'd have to threaten us with something major to get us out!)

By the time I was a teen, the neighbourhood boys were conducting epic games of Rat Race that attracted kids from all over town to our neck of the woods. Deep ditches and gullies, cedar hedges, bushes, play structures, fences...perfect for hiding in the dark! Back in those days, warm summer nights on Stanton Road were filled with shrieks and laughter.

The dynamics of the road have changed since then. There aren't many kids left on the street, and it has now turned into what we fondly call "Stagger Road"...where the neighbours rotate from garage to garage, sharing pints and stories and good times. (And sometimes, when a few too many pints have been shared, you only have a few feet to "stagger" home).

Canada Day Committee Party 2010 - waiting on fireworks

Canada Day Committee Party 2010

Texas Horseshoes 2007

Stagger Road Party 2007

Stagger Roaders for Life

It's a great place to live, and a great group of people to call neighbours and friends.

Heaven truly is Stanton Road.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

101 List: Launched

For those of you who haven't yet made it over to the new Blog that is going to follow my 101 List, I'm going to post the list here too.

Started: September 30, 2010
Scheduled to finish: June 28, 2013

1. Eat egg rolls from the Golden Palace

2. Make a dinner from scratch for my friends

3. Learn to knit a dish cloth or scarf

4. Take a trip down South

5. Cook a turkey

6. Make a scrapbook for Danica

7. Write a song and play it on my guitar

8. Host a poker tournament party at my home

9. Lose 20 lbs.

10. Get another fish for my tank

11. Write a novel (at least a rough draft)

12. Have a girls night/sleepover

13. Dabble my toes in the ocean

14. Organize a Schock cousin dinner out

15. Go for a ride on a snowmobile

16. Make spider-dogs over a bonfire

17. Go one whole week without logging on to Facebook

18. Plan a “girls day” with my mom & sister

19. Read 10 books in one year

20. Complete a song on Hard on Guitar Hero

21. Try a food I’ve never tasted before

22. Pull an all-nighter

23. Sing a song on-stage at Gavan’s

24. Organize a Young cousin dinner out

25. Make a dinner from scratch for my family

26. Make an iTunes playlist of my 101 favourite songs

27. Go to a drive-in movie

28. Visit my relatives in TO

29. Have a sliding party

30. Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the alphabet

31. Take my first plane ride

32. Make a Gingerbread House with Caden and Danica

33. Attend at least 3 Senators games per season

34. Go for a minimum half-hour walk each day for a month

35. Go to a real Spa

36. Spend a day baking with my mom

37. Do something significant (to be determined) in memory of Jeff and Troy

38. Organize my photos

39. Attend a midnight movie premiere

40. Up my PAR (pre-authorized remittance) givings at church by $5/month

41. Wash my own car at least once

42. Spend a day at the beach

43. Take a road trip

44. Make something from every section of my Betty Crocker cookbook

45. Get a DVD player for my room

46. Take a train somewhere

47. Organize my closet in a way that it STAYS organized & doesn’t go back to mayhem a week later

48. Go one whole week at work without complaining

49. Paint a picture

50. Walk for a cause

51. Go to a museum

52. Buy myself a lottery ticket

53. Go for a boat ride

54. Don’t hit snooze for one whole week

55. Go a whole day of speaking (or attempting to speak) French

56. Plan my dream trip to Ireland

57. Go up the CN Tower

58. Buy my own (artificial) Christmas Tree

59. Go to the local trout farm and actually CATCH a fish

60. Bake a birthday cake for someone

61. Go Zip-lining

62. Get a tattoo

63. Go on a Haunted Walk

64. Give blood

65. Get back the 2 dresses that I loaned to someone a long time ago

66. Build a snowman

67. Complete a 1000-piece puzzle

68. Drink a Guiness

69. Donate to a food bank

70. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years

71. Go camping

72. Watch a classic movie I’ve never seen before

73. Read Wuthering Heights

74. Carve my name in a tree

75. Dye my hair a dark colour

76. Organize my recipe collection

77. Spend an entire dreary day watching movies

78. Pay off at least half of my line of credit

79. Get an updated photo taken with my family

80. Fall in love

81. Buy a new-to-me car

82. Go to an Imax movie

83. Acquire a taste for red wine

84. Go a whole week without swearing

85. Spend a day with my grandma touring her stomping grounds

86. Be on the Christmas House Tour

87. Go for a hike in the Gatineau Park

88. Buy a laptop

89. Write a blog entry for Jill’s World or Jill’s 101 Adventure every weekday for a whole month

90. Carve a pumpkin for Halloween

91. Go to High Falls

92. Order something wacky off the menu at The Works

93. Plant my yellow rose bush outside

94. Spend a day being a “tourist” in Ottawa – on the Market, Parliament Hill, etc.

95. Drive on the Queensway

96. Get a psychic reading

97. Rake leaves and put them in big pumpkin bags for Halloween

98. Wear a bathing suit in public without putting shorts on over it

99. Direct a Murder Mystery that someone tells me is “the best one ever”

100. Come in 2nd in the Car Rally

101. Donate $5 to charity for each task I don’t complete

From here on in, I'm keeping track of the list over at Jill's 101 Adventure so be sure to check it out!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day Zero

Today, after reading some Lists of 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days that my friends have created (and have blogs to follow them), I was inspired to create my own.

Strangely enough, up until today, I've never been interested in creating my own list. I figured that I couldn't afford to do the extravagant stuff, and the little stuff...well, I'd get around to doing it without a list.

But today, something changed. I don't know why. Like I said, the urge just hit me. I visited the Day Zero website for ideas and within a few hours, I had created my own account and list of 101 Things. Basically, for those of you who are wondering, it's just a list of goals and and tasks that I've often thought, "Hey, I'd like to try that..." but never have. This list is my motivation. It will be interesting to see how many of them I can accomplish in the next 1001 days!

To keep up with my list, I've made the decision to create another blog, seperate from this one, on which I will publish my list and as I check things off the list, I'll blog about them, and hopefully post some pictures too.

Today is my Day Zero. Tomorrow the list will go up and the adventure will begin.

Feel free to check out the new blog at : ...come along for the ride! :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Mighty Fall...

On September 24th, Wade Redden and his wife Danica welcomed their first child, a healthy baby girl, into the world.

How did his NHL employer congratulate him?

The NY Rangers put him on waivers. He cleared them and has now been assigned to their farm team in Hartford. He has also been given permission to seek other options, for instance playing in Europe.

After discussing this sad news with my mom & dad at breakfast this morning, I sighed dramatically and said, "Thank God I didn't end up with that guy..."

They laughed at me, which was the whole point of saying it - just a joke. But seriously. I keep thinking of Danica Redden and wondering how the wife of a fallen NHL star deals with this sort of thing. I suppose you sign up for an uncertain future when you choose to marry someone like him. And I suppose there are enough positives to outweight the negatives.

Everyone knows Wade's been making big bucks the past few years while his on-ice production has slipped miserably, turning him into one of the biggest laughs in the NHL.

It hurts my heart just to think of how his star has fallen.

So that's why my thoughts turned this morning, not necessarily to Wade, but to the woman at his side. The woman who just gave birth to his daughter, on the same day he lost his job in the NHL and was told he might be able to find work across the pond.

The dream career, over. The applause & cheers, long faded. The spotlights & high-life, done.

But maybe, this is when real life for the Reddens begins. Maybe, just maybe, Mrs. Redden is glad to watch the door close on her husband's high-profile roller-coaster career as a hockey player so that can be a normal little family now.

Just speculation. But it makes me wonder.

On a much happier note:

...Huge Blog congrats to my friends Sara & Graham, who welcomed their own adorable baby girl on September 21. Charlotte Elizabeth weighed in a 9 lbs 2 ozs, and she's as cute & cuddly as can be! Best wishes to the new family :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010



It's one of my favourite words. I probably use it way too much.

How did your lasagna turn out last night? Awesome.

How are the Flyers doing in the playoffs? Awesome.

Did you hear that new Eminem song? Yeah, it's awesome.

How are your fish doing? Awesome.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the word and how awesome it is. Just say it. Makes you feel good, right?

After the two tragic deaths in my family this past summer, my friend Sarah got me a "cheer up" present - The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha. On the way to Midland, Amanda and I passed the book back and forth and read some of the chapters out loud to help pass the time (and oh, how long the time was on that trip...) It was amazing how many times one of us would exclaim, "Oh I've done that!" or "I know exactly what he means!"

Basically, it's things like wearing underwear straight out of the dryer, finding money you didn't even know you'd lost, the fantastic assortment of drinks left in your fridge after hosting a party, getting high fives from a baby, hitting a bunch of green lights in a row, or my personal favourite (and the entry Sarah had marked for me)- hearing a stranger fart in public.

You know. The little things that happen during your day that aren't all that major, but just make you smile and say...AWESOME!

The Book of Awesome actually has stemmed from Pasricha's very popular Blog, 1000 Awesome Things, which I now check every day. And you know what's really awesome? When you hit an entry that you completely relate to.

Like today's. "Trying on your new clothes as soon as you get home from the store." I totally do that!! And it is absolutely AWESOME! Nothing more fun that coming home from a day at the mall, totally exhausted and jittery from the buyer's remorse, then going into my room, putting on everything I just bought and relaxing because, yes, it does look as good as I thought it did in the store. Yes, it still fits. Yes, my mom's going to freak when she finds out I bought jeans that came with holes in them, but I don't care. Because they're awesome.

Both the blog and book have given me reasons to smile at times when I didn't think it was possible. So if you ever need a pick-me-up or just a great way to start the day, check it out!

It's ...AWESOME!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

From Fish to Puppies...

Don't worry, guys - I'm alive and well. And so are my fish.

Jackson and Marley seem to have adapted well together and happily share the tank now. Bringing Jacksie home was little nerve-wracking, as my partner-in-crime Brittany discovered shortly after leaving the pet store (and shortly after they locked the doors behind us) that there was a leak in the bag that he had to live in for the next few hours while we did groceries.

He was a trooper though. Not only did he survive and make it safely home, but he & Marley both survived my over-dosing the tank water with a purifying treatment last week. I put in 10x the amount of treatment that should have gone in, but aside from swimming fast for awhile and acting kind of crazy (maybe they were high?), they're still kickin'. In their extra-clear water.

Now maybe it's because I've successfully kept fish alive for the past few months, or maybe it's because so many people I know are having or have had babies lately, but now I've got this new itch to get a puppy.

I have no idea why. My parents had my pet dog Jake put down when I was about 10 years old, while I was away at camp - (and people wonder why I think I'm the scarred middle child) - and since then, I've never had a desire to have another dog. And I think my friends with pets would tell you that I'm not much of a dog person.

But after I stumbled across the picture of a puggle, I fell in love.

Puggles are a cross between a pug and a beagle. According to my Google research, they are a smaller dog (usually never get to be bigger than 25 lbs) and they are very friendly and playful. They have lots of energy and love to go for walks.

I think the puggle is made for me. And I really, really want one.

I keep reminding myself that I don't really like dogs. They are needy and whiny and make messes. When you want to go somewhere for any length in time, you have to find someone to watch them. They bark and jump and annoy me.

Still, I find myself searching Kijiji and other websites for puggle pups for sale in the Ottawa area.

I must be losing it...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My Fish Babies

As many of you already know, I became a mommy this summer.

A mommy to two beautiful little goldfish.

The day I met my new fish was the day of our annual Mountainview Golf Tournament. I wasn't having the best day, and I couldn't wait to leave the golf course and get to the ball field in Carp, where the Flyers were playing in a tournament. But first, I had to stop in at home and pick up Sue, Sarah & Brenda.

Little did I know they had a surprise waiting for me - my birthday gift was a tank, already decked out, with my little Presley and Marley swimming happily away in it!

I was so happy I almost cried.

Finally, I had my fish that I'd been wanting for months. And they were so pretty!

Unfortunately, Presley didn't seem to be doing so well. Each day, he got more and more strange. He stopped swimming around quickly (and he'd been pretty zippy that first day, so I knew something was wrong). He kind of just floated in a corner behind one of the little fake plant thingys. When I put food in, he didn't seem interested. And he just looked bad - he always seemed to be gasping or something.

But I've never had fish babies before, so I wasn't sure. After a few days of watching the fish hide in the corner, I thought, "Maybe I need to shake him up." So I stuck the net in the water, scooped him up, shook him a little, and dropped him back in.

Worked like a charm! He swam around like a maniac!

The next day? Not so much. He was kind of dead.

Apparently, signs of fish distress are hiding, not eating, and gasping for air. Ways to avoid distressing your fish? Don't net them.


So that left just Marley, the bigger, heartier looking goldfish. I worried about him quite a bit those first few days after Presley's death, but he actually seemed to start doing better. He swam around more and got really excited when I put food in the tank. Marley was thriving.

But still, I worry about him being all alone in there. Okay, I know - fish only have 3-second memory spans. He doesn't even notice that he's alone in there. He doesn't care.

Even so, I've been wanting to get him a new friend. And that's exactly what I'm going to do tonight. Tonight, I'm going to pick up Marley's brother, and I'm going to name him Jackson. He's going to be a black goldfish with big bulgy eyes. Ugly little mofo. But that's kind of how I've been feeling lately, and I think Jackson will make a lovely addition to my fish family.

Hopefully he lasts more than a week.