Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On The Help and The Hunger Games…

Last night, I had hot buttery popcorn for supper.  (Don’t judge.  I ate nothing but lettuce and dirt all day to make up for it.)

I went to see The Help last night in theatres with some of my favourite girls.  As you know, I read the book a few weeks ago, and love love loved it.  I knew immediately that I had to see the movie!!


My verdict?  Did.not.disappoint.

I had only heard one person who had seen the movie who didn’t really enjoy it, and that was because she was led to believe it was a comedy.  Having read the book, I knew that this was anything but.  Sure, a few light-hearted moments, or ironic guffaws of laughter, but overall, very serious racial issues from the early ‘60’s in the South weren’t much of a laughing matter, were they?

I was so glad the movie stayed true to the book.  The actors who brought to life the characters of Aibileen, Minny, Skeeter, Hilly, Elizabeth, Celia, and so on, were almost exactly as I envisioned them when I read it.  And trust me, you want to punch Hilly in the face even more watching her on screen as you do reading the book.  If that’s even possible.

I was impressed with how much of the book they were able to cover in the movie, and with only a few tweaks and adjustments in chronological order, kept very close to the book.  I even enjoyed seeing the ending play out on-screen more than I did reading it.  I suppose there was no way that we were going to a get a neatly-tied-up-happy-ending – it just wasn’t that kind of story – but the film brought it to a more satisfying closure for me.

Overall, I was so glad I read the book first, but still really enjoyed the movie.  I recommend both!!

Now, onto another great book that I just recently finished reading:  The Hunger Games.


I was intrigued by the hype surrounding this series, and especially by the blog posts Mom2MemphisAndRuby has recently devoted to it and the up-coming movie in March 2012.  People are comparing the hype to that of Twilight.  So of course, I had to go and buy all three books and dive right in.

I flew through the first volume in less than a week, immediately wrapped up in Katniss’ story, wondering how she would survive the Hunger Games, and if there was any way her and Peeta could possibly get their happy ending.  I don’t want to divulge too much about the plot for those of you who haven’t read it  yet, but let’s just say it’s a pretty intense book and some pretty horrible stuff happens.

So I have a few problems.  Loved the book, but I made the mistake of starting it without looking up the actors who have been cast to play the parts in the movies.  I did that after I finished reading the first one.  And the guys they’ve picked to play Katniss’ love interest, Peeta, and her best friend, Gale? 

Not really what I pictured.  They’ll have to grow on me, I guess.  Just like Robert Pattinson eventually did…

the hunger games (That’s Peeta on the left, Katniss in the middle, Gale on the right)

The next problem?  Don’t let the word “Games” fool you.  This story is filled with brute violence and bone-chilling murders.  And it involves a bunch of teens fighting for their lives.  This ain’t no picnic in the park.  It makes Edward and Jacob seem like a couple of pansies.  I was cringing reading about it.  How the F am I supposed to go sit in a movie theatre and watch it?  I’m a chicken.  I don’t handle blood and gore very well.

I’ll have to keep enduring episodes of True Blood to prepare myself.  There’s lots of blood and guts flying around there.  eeep.  I’ll also have to rope some friends into coming with me.  After I told my friend Sara a bit about it, she has already bowed out.  (C’mon, Sara, it can’t be any worse than the night we spent in the theatre watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre re-make…or rather, hiding behind our coats staring at each other!!)

Any fans of The Hunger Games out there?  What do you think of the actors they’ve cast?

Oh!  I’m guest posting over at Nay’s blog Cover to Cover and Everything In Between!  Go check it!! :)

Oh!  Oh!  OH!  LAST DAY TO ENTER MY 50 FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY!!!  I will be back to announce the winner tomorrow, along with Part 2 of the Meet the Flyers Series!!  Don’t miss it!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Meet the Flyers: Coach Papi, Albie, Bakeshop & Tron

For those of you who have been around for awhile, you might have noticed that I haven’t devoted as much time or blog space to the Quyon Flyers this summer as I usually do. My brother chose to only play in league games this year and gave up playing the tournament circuit. For that reason, I’ve missed the tourneys, and so it’s felt like a lackluster ball season for me.

But that’s all about to change! The Flyers wrapped up their regular season a few weeks ago with the first undefeated record the Greater Ottawa Fastball League has ever seen, going 15-0-3 to take first place heading into the playoffs. This has earned them a bye through the first round, which is currently being played out now, and places them in the Final Weekend Showdown, a new format in place this year that will see a double-knockout tournament played in Quyon on September 9-10th to determine who the league champion will be.

That’s right. I’m finally going to spend a weekend at the ball park!

To gear up for the Final Weekend Showdown, I thought it might be fun to do a few “Meet the Players” posts, to introduce you to the team and help you get to know the guys on the field that I will likely be telling you all about in a few weeks. (I know some of you know them already, but just play along, okay?)

Quyon Flyers

I even did a few interviews with Coach Kenny Fleck to make these player bios even more authentic. Like real sports reporting, or something. Cool, right?! But don’t be surprised if I veer off track in my introductions and end up telling stories about them that have nothing to do with fastpitch softball…

So before we go any further, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to meet Coach Kenny:

Le Terrien

Kenny & his stache, “Le Terrien” – at the 2010 Worlds (yes, they named their mustaches)

Kenny is my cousin. Grew up next door to me on Stanton Road. He used to play for the Flyers, but in recent years, he has moved into the position of Coach/Manager. He’ll still put himself into a game at first base if need be, still wears the ol’ #9, but he seems to really enjoy steering the ship. He is more commonly known around the league as “Big Papi”, but honestly, I just can’t bring myself to call my “little cousin” that!

Over the past few years, Kenny has coached the Flyers from a young and inexperienced team into the GOFL powerhouse & ISC-ranking team that they are today. (Watch out, folks, Kenny’s head is about to burst out of his ball cap right now…)

Kenny coaching

I think one of my favourite moments of the past season was when Kenny disagreed with a call and he charged out on the field to make his feelings known to the base ump. Sort of reminded me of when we were kids, and I always got stuck being the ref of the neighbourhood ball hockey games. Kenny used to get up in my face back then too, so I sympathized with that ump…

At the Final Weekend Showdown, Kenny will be attempting to bring home the first GOFL title for the Flyers. I wish him and the team the best of luck!

Now that you’re all familiar with Kenny, I’m going to introduce you to the players, going alphabetically. So today, we’ll start with #7, Nick Armitage.

The Butcher

Nick and his mustache, which I think he called “The Butcher”

Nick is known to his teammates as Albie, but I personally prefer to call him Dom.  And if I’m not mistaken, his French-speaking fans call him “Dominic Boucher”. Nick is a veteran on the team, having played with the Flyers since the very beginning. In fact, Nick’s grandfather Ronnie, along with my own dad (and others), gave many of these young men their first start on the ball diamond when they were just little boys. I like to proclaim myself the “Flyers #1 Fan”, but I’ve been told by several of the players that I’m second behind Ronnie. Apparently I missed the boat on buying them that pitching machine…

When I asked Coach Fleck for some insight into Nick’s game, he told me, “He plays both the infield and the outfield as well as anyone in the game.” One thing I can tell you about Nick is that I don’t think he even realizes his own strength. The guy is built – pardon my language – like a brick shithouse. As a friend of my brother’s growing up (actually, I believe we’re related somehow), Nick and his grandparents spent a lot of time at our place when we were kids, and I ended up on the crying end of many injuries suffered at his hands. One time, when he was really little – maybe about the age of 5 – he was crawling around the floor pretending to be a dog, and he actually BIT my bare foot. I’m not even joking. And when I went whining to my mother about Nick wounding me, she’d always brush it off, saying, “Oh, he can’t help it, he doesn’t realize he’s hurting you.”

nick playing 3rd 2

Albie is a family man now, and I’m sure his wife Tammy and daughter Keira will be in the stands, hopefully cheering him and the Flyers on to their first league title during the Final Weekend Showdown!

Next up, it brings me great joy to introduce you to my favourite Quyon Flyer, Mike Baker:


No mustache pic of Mikey, unfortunately

Some of the guys on the team have asked me over the past year just why Mike, or “Bakeshop” as they call him, is my favourite. Well, you see, first of all, he wears my favouriter number, #6. And you know what? I just love Mike’s story. As the youngest member on the team, he took advantage of a duel with the team’s pitching machine at their fundraiser 3-pitch tourney last summer, completely owning it and impressing the “powers that be” enough to earn a try-out with the team. Mike’s first at-bat in a Flyers uniform? He hit a homerun. The boy oozes athletic talent and confidence.

Seriously. What’s not to love about Mikey?

Mike 2

Mike with teammate Matt on Canada Day

Coach Fleck can’t help but concur with my observations. “As the team’s rookie, the kid can run like no Flyer before him. He can also play middle infield as well as the outfield,” the coach raved when I asked about him.

Another reason I love Mike? He loves my drunken alter-ego Sadie. In fact, he calls me Sadie all the time, even when I’m not Sadie. A few weeks ago at the bar, he introduced me to someone saying, “This is my friend Sadie. And I am her favourite Quyon Flyer.” Oh, and that’s another reason I love Mike. He doesn’t get embarrassed when I tell people he’s my favourite. Mikey embraces it.

He’s a great young addition to the team, and will surely play a key role in the Flyers’ performance in the Final Weekend Showdown. I’m certain my favourite Flyer will have a memorable weekend!

The final player for today’s meet & greet is Troy Cote:

troy 3

I apparently need to take some pics of Troy in a ball uniform…

Wearing the #19 jersey, Tron – or Jumbotron, as I like to call him – is in his second year with the Flyers, and has been a great addition to the team. In my interview with Coach Fleck, he noted that Troy is adjusting nicely, and also added, “He knows his role and will do anything to help the team win.”

Yet, I wonder sometimes how Troy feels taking coaching advice from Fleck, when it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that he was baby-sitting Kenny, or “Butternuts” as he fondly calls him. That’s right. Troy was the “big kid” on our block when we were growing up, and spent many nights organizing the neighbourhood boys in games of Rat Race or ball hockey.

I recall one evening when Troy was playing a game of softball out in Kenny’s yard with the younger kids, and I was sitting out in my own yard next door watching them. When my brother Luke was up to bat, he swung so hard at a pitch that when he missed, the bat flew around and smacked him in the back of the head. Luke fell to the ground howling, while Troy couldn’t help but burst out laughing. My mom came flying out of the house to see why her darling baby was screaming his head off, and as soon as Troy saw Mom coming, he tried to stop laughing and pretend he was concerned!!

Troy & Luke

Tron & Luke a few weeks ago at the wedding

Now years later, Jumbo will be arriving at the Final Weekend Showdown as a newlywed, and I hope to see his new bride, Steph, in the stands to help us cheer on the Flyers. Good luck, Troy!!

So there’s a quick glance at the coach of the Quyon Flyers, along with three of the players. On Thursday, we will be just a little over a week from the FWS, and I will be featuring Tim Craig, Curtis Daley, and Joran Graham here on the Blog. Be sure to come back then and meet some more of the players who will be vying for the GOFL title!

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY!!!  Two days left!! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Is it wrong that I’m sad we didn’t get even a little bit of a hurricane?

No Irene up here.  A little wind yesterday, and that was it.  Which was totally expected – JJ & the rest of the weathermen had us well assured that we wouldn’t see so much as a sprinkle of rain.

But I still feel a little sad that we didn’t get to take part in the hype.  I realize how bad that sounds – especially coming from me, the child who freaks out over a mild thunderstorm or a mild tornado watch.  The child who thought she was going to die in a flood just a few short months ago.

And I’m sure the people who were evacuated from their homes along the East Coast and had severe damage due to the high winds and rain are probably not impressed that I was wishing we’d get just a smidge of their catastrophe.  Just enough to make me feel like I was in the Hurricane Irene Club.

Yeah.  It’s wrong.  Very wrong.  I hope those of you who were in the midst of it are safe & sound.

So.  Good news.  I lost 3.8 lbs in the past week.  Which isn’t quite what I was hoping for, but I guess it’s better than nothing.  I had visions of drastic weight loss in the first week.  Like, 10 lbs.  Something really awesome like that.  I guess that wouldn’t have been healthy, though.  BUT…It’s a start, right?  And I’m starting to feel much better, even though I think my ankles are the only part of my body that looks skinnier.  And that could just be a delusion, I’m not sure.

Alrighty, so I’ve got a busy day ahead and I’ve got something cooked up for the next few weeks – a four-part series that I’m really excited about.  So that’s what I’m working on, and if all goes well, you’ll get to see the first installment of this project tomorrow.  Stay tuned. 

In the meantime, go enter my GIVEAWAY…only a few days left!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Confessions of mac & cheese loaf cravings and deep-fried babies

Friday is my favourite day of the week.  No doubt about it.  And one of the many reasons I love Friday?


Linking it up with Mamarazzi.


I confess…that I’m so super pumped to announce that I HAVE NOT CHEATED ON MY DIET ALL FRIGGIN’ WEEK LONG.  This is epic.  And so much better than confessing that I DID cheat.  I didn’t!  Not once!!  Only healthy stuff!  Twigs and berries and water all.week.long!!!

I confess…I was about half-way through Monday – Day 1 of the diet – when I started craving weird things.  Like, you know that gross mac & cheese loaf?  I’ve never liked it.  Who puts pieces of macaroni and cheese in a slice of lunch meat??? 


But I wanted a slice of that crap SO BAD.  I also would have died for mozzarella sticks with the garlic sauce from Rachel’s Restaurant.  Of course, that restaurant closed 10 years ago.

I confess…that I talked out-loud to myself last night before going to bed, because episode 1 of Season 2 of True Blood disturbed me so much.  I walked up the stairs, going, “See? There’s nobody chasing you up the stairs.  You don’t have to run.  And there…no vampires in Susie’s room.  Or in the spare room.  And no, don’t look in that room because the light bulb is burnt out and it will scare you.  Hey, no vampires in the bathroom either!  Whaddya know.”

I confess…that I’m very excited for book club tonight.  And I don’t think it’s normal for a person to be that excited for book club.

I confess…that I once dreamed I had a baby, but it was the kind of baby you buy in the frozen foods section at the grocery store, like a bag of fries. (?!??)  Then you just had to open up your McCain frozen bagged-up baby, throw him in the deep fryer, wait 10 minutes, and TA-DA!!!!  Baby.  Wipe the grease off and you’re good to go.

I confess…that I think of that dream sometimes and worry about what it means.

I confess…I really need to find a boyfriend with a cottage and a boat.  These are things that are suddenly important to me.  I think next week I’ll do a Single Girl Files post on my requirements in a man.  Perhaps that will shine some light on why I’m still single…

I confess…that I got super-excited when I read in the local paper that there’s a Conway Twitty tribute band playing at the Shawville Fair next weekend.  And then I realized I’m old.

Happy Friday, gang! Don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY, if you haven’t already.

Have a lovely weekend :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

When a tornado’s a-comin’, I run to my mama’s

Weird natural phenomena this summer.  Really weird.

I live in a part of the world where we might get a bad thunderstorm once a year, if that.  And by “bad”, I mean some big booms and some lightning, but that’s about it.  Very rare to have anything extreme.

This summer?  It’s been a whole ‘nother story.  We’ve had crazy wind storms that have knocked out power, knocked down trees (and even knocked down some people’s pool fences – ahem – Randy…); excessive rains and flooding that washed out a part of the highway near our town and it STILL isn’t open yet; wild thunderstorms with lots of lightning…NOT my cup of tea.  At all.  Combined with Harold Camping and all of his messed-up-math doomsday calculations?  eeeeeeeep…

So you can just imagine the glee I felt when our favourite local weatherman, JJ Clarke, announced that we were under a TORNADO WATCH on last night’s 6' o’clock news while I was at my mom & dad’s.

“Wha….Whaaa???  A TORNADO???”

Of course, JJ tried to brush it of as no biggie.  “Just a watch, not a warning.  No need to panic, folks.”  Sure, J.  That’s realllllll comforting coming from a guy who – no offence – gets the weather wrong more often that not. 


I know it’s not his fault.  It’s like this weatherman club they have.  You can’t get in unless you tell the odd fib.  Plus, with a tornado recently touching down and causing major damage in Goderich, I suppose the weathermen are being on the cautious side around here.

(PS - I have no idea where Goderich is, but it was all over the local news.  So it must not be far away.)

Still…my trust in JJ’s weather reports is not strong.  So when he tells me that we probably won’t get a tornado, I’m thinking there’s a good chance we will.

My survival instincts kicked in.  “I think I should go home and pack a bag and stay here for the night,” I said to my mom.

She kind of rolled her eyes.  Real protective mother I have, eh?  “You’ll be fine,” she said.

“But…BUT what if we DO get a TORNADO??  I’ll be all alone!!  WHAT WILL I DO?!?”  

(You can sense the panic, I’m sure, in the odd capslocked word and the many question & exclamation marks.)

My father’s immediate response:  “Go home and pack your bag and spend the night here.”

He knows me well.

So that’s what I did. Brilliant idea.  I was immediately reminded by a friend (and fellow former Stanton Roader) on Facebook, when I expressed my concerns over JJ’s report, that Stanton Road is like God’s Country.  No way a tornado could get me there.  Even better?  The fact that with the central air system and the noise of Dad’s machine down the hall that he sleeps with on, I couldn’t hear a thing outside anyways.  We probably wouldn’t have even known if there was a tornado out there until it ripped off  the roof of the house.


But good news.  No tornados.  Phewf.  I guess JJ was right this time.

Perhaps my bunk-at-mom-and-dad’s reaction was a little over-the-top.  It was just a watch, not a warning, after all.  But I got a little excited when my chair weeble-wobbled the other day because of the earthquake in Virginia.  If we’re so much as “watching” for tornados, chances are I’m already freaking. 

And we’re not trained for tornados in these here parts, you know?

If JJ warns me again tonight, I’ll do it all the same.  Because if I’m getting whisked away in a funnel cloud, I need to make damn sure my mommy and daddy are coming too.

NOW – before you go!   HAVE YOU ENTERED THE 50 FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY YET?!?!?  If not, please do so!!  And tell your friends!!  One week from today, I will be announcing the winner.  Good luck to all who have entered! :)

ALSO – You need to go visit Janette at The Johanson Journey because today she’s featured me in her Friend 2 Friend Post!  Woo Hoo! 

JJ's Friend 2 Friend[1]

How cool is that?!?  You’ll know which one I am, I’m the one with the long, rambling answers.  What else is new? ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jill’s 50 Follower Giveaway…Finally!!

It’s a good day!

It’s Wednesday – the week is half over!

And, because I love you all so much, I’m going to GIVE AWAY SOME LOOT!!!

Well, to at least one of you.

I’ve been teasing and reminding you all for a while now that I’ve had a giveaway in the works in celebration of hitting 50 Followers. And so you all dutifully clicked the “Follow” button, got me closer to 60 followers, in fact, and now it’s time for the big payback.

I wasn’t sure what to include in my first-ever giveaway. My favourite things? Just a bunch of random stuff? Perhaps a collection of my best MS Paint work (since clearly I'm really really good at it...) Then, on Sunday, while touring around the “Savour the Pontiac” exhibition in my small town, perusing the vendors and art displays, I had the brainwave to include some of my favourite “locally-grown” products in my giveaway.

So, without further ado…HERE IT IS:


There are four local businesses/artists featured in my giveaway. (Please note in advance that this giveaway is not sponsored by any of them, these are just little gifts that I wanted to share with you!)

First, we have Lavender Ridge, a family-owned and operated business in the neighbouring village of Luskville. Joanne Labadie is a familiar face to many in our community, as she’s often at local markets, fairs, and events, with her wonderful lavender-based creams, bath salts, lip balms, salves, etc. I chose two of my favourite Lavender Ridge products: The Bath Bombs and Bath Milk. Heavenly!


Another business that we are fortunate to have in our town is Sempels Honey. Like Lavender Ridge, Jean-Marie and Evelyn Sempels are well-known in our area for their “sweet” products – honey infused with different flavours, lip balms, candles, and more. From them, I picked out a supercute beeswax candle, a jar of honey infused with wildflowers, and a peppermint lip balm.


Next,we have my friend, neighbour, local artist and photographer, and fellow blogger, Shannon Purcell. Remember Shannon? She’s the one who made fun of my deer a few years ago, which resulted in a traumatic Christmas decoration ordeal… Anyways, I hope someday soon to commission Shannon to paint me one of her beautiful pieces of work, but until then, I will settle for one of her bookmarks that feature photos she’s taken – and I got one for my giveaway too!


Last but not least, we have my friend (who also happens to be my brother’s girlfriend), Amanda Belanger. In the past year, Amanda has started her own little business, Belanger Handmade, and her clutches and handbags are a hot item around here!! I’m going to include one of Amanda’s awesome clutches in my giveaway. Please be sure to check out her Facebook page to view more of her creations.


* Please note: This is not the actual clutch I will be including. This one is mine. (Isn’t it the cutest?!) Despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to track Amanda and her clutches down at the same time this week. (I’ll forgive her, though, since I’ve been working through my brother, who tends to be forgetful…Also, she has other things on her mind…like moving into her new house in a few days!!) But I will choose one from her selection to send, and I can guarantee it will be just as adorable as this one!!

To round out the giveaway prize pack, I’ve added some of my favourite candy. (And hey, I bought it all at our local store in town, Marcotte’s!)


And I’m also including some samples of some of my favourite products:


  • Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

  • Expressions Roll-On Lip Gloss in Strawberry Flavour

  • Herbacin Kamille hand cream

  • Perfumed Soap from Crabtree & Evelyn

  • Essie nail polish in the shade of “Clam Bake”

  • Avon Wash-Off Waterproof Mascara in Black

So there we have it!! My very first giveaway loot bag! One lucky reader is going to win it ALL. I hope it is enticing and that whoever wins it will love the products – I know I do! And hey, boys, I realize this is a “girly” prize, but don’t hesitate to enter. Would make a nice gift for your wife/girlfriend/mom…am I right?! It’s my way of thanking you for following my blog, listening to me ramble about hockey and being single and my fish and Justin Bieber and my allergies. Good times, people.

Alrighty. We’re gonna make the entry rules pretty simple.

Mandatory Entry

You must be a follower of my blog and leave a comment to say hi. Also, please leave your email address to make it easier for me to contact you. (If you need help on how to become a follower, just let me know. I’m lookin’ at you, Ma.)

Additional Entries

  • Blog about my giveaway and link back to this post.

  • Share this giveaway on Facebook.

  • Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to include @JYoung6 in your tweet so I can see it!

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. You have up to four ways to enter!!

The giveaway will be open until next Wednesday at midnight. I will choose a winner at random using that Internet winner-picker-thingamajig and announce who that is next Thursday.

*ALSO NOTE: The contest is open to anyone in North America...I will ship to you, my US friends! No worries!*

If you have any questions at all on the giveaway or how to enter, please send me an email at jillianyoung6(at)gmail(dot)com.

Once again, thank you thank you thank you. I love you all.

Happy Wednesday! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The water & ice cube diet begins today.

I talk quite a bit here on the blog about my dieting & exercising "attempts". But we all know that 98% of the time, I'm full of crap. I love food that is bad for me. Love it. And I love lazing around reading and watching TV and movies and doing nothing.

I'm a couch potato. No number of Wii exercise games and Jillian Michaels DVDs and Weight Watchers website browsing will change that.

Until now.

Remember when I mentioned that I was nervous about Saturday's shopping expedition for dresses for Lindsay's wedding? Well, I had every reason to be nervous. For starters, I have the terrible pressure of Lindsay threatening me that I have to drop 50 lbs. by the time of her wedding.

Kidding. KIDDING!! (Trust me, she's starting to hate that joke.)

No, this is a self-imposed You must lose weight or I'm gonna KILL YOU threat that I'm laying down.

Because on Saturday, after we found a dress that we all liked, the stupid lady who took our measurements (she wasn't really stupid, I was just mad at myself) told me I was closer to needing a PLUS-SIZED DRESS that, on top of being an entirely too-embarrassing size to even mention here, was also going to cost me $30 extra.

I thought for one split-second and said, "Nope. I will order the lower size."

She pursed her lips and looked at me doubtfully. "Really? Because, you know, it's easier to take a dress in if you happened to lose weight, than to squeeze into a dress that's too small if you don't lose weight."

I think my reply was something along these lines: "Oh, don't worry, I'm going to lose the weight. I'm going to fit into that dress."

I could tell she was skeptical. I don't blame her. She probably hears this from fat brides and bridesmaids all the time. And then, they end up scrambling at the end to shed pounds so that they don't break the zippers of the dress while trying to force themselves into it, all sausage-like.

The good news for little ol' me? I have nine months to work on this. I have lots of advance notice that I am gonna have to bust my ass to drop some weight and inches.

Yeah, I know. My mom has been harping at me about this since March, when Lindsay & Ryan got engaged and she asked me to be her MOH. I've actually had over four months to prepare for dress shopping, and I did diddly-squat about it. I could already have a head-start on this weight loss mission, but noooooo.

I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen. Magic? Divine assistance? Some kind of tapeworm that was going to do the work for me?

Whatever it was, it clearly didn't happen.

So now it's up to me. Time to hold myself accountable. And I have the incentive now. A dress that I must fit into by May 12, 2012.

It's do-able. I've lost weight before. I worked hard to do it, and that's what's gotta happen again. So from now on, you will only see me drinking gallons of water and licking ice cubes on sticks. Perhaps I will suck on a piece of lettuce from time to time for a special treat. (Again, kidding. Won't be that extreme. Hopefully.)

But drastic times call for drastic measures. Twigs and berries. It all starts today. And I'm hoping that every Monday from here on in, I can come here and brag to you guys about how much weight I've lost. I'm not telling you the starting number - again, far too embarrassing. But I'll be sure to be shouting from the rooftops when that number goes down!!

That being said, if anyone has any links to favourite HEALTHY EATING WEBSITES, hook a sister up. Lately all I've been doing is looking at recipe blogs and Pinterest recipes for things like that Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip cake, and Mac & Cheese, and Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Mexican Dorito Casserole, and Cheese & Herb biscuits. Yeah. Reallllll healthy stuff.

One more thing before I go. I haven't forgotten...

It's coming very, very soon!! I have most of the giveaway set & ready to go, I just need to add a few final touches. Hopefully by mid-week I will be able to finally share it with you. Stay tuned!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pouring my HEART out to you people…

You got it.  Confession Friday.  Linking up with Mamarazzi.


I confess…that the excitement of hitting 50 followers (56 now!!  holy crap!!) & my AWARD has made this week back to work - after a week off on vacation – much better than I expected it to be.

I confess…that I know people are being polite when they say “bless you” when I sneeze.  But seriously, people, I’m sneezing every 10 seconds.  If I sneeze more than twice in your presence, you get a pass.  You don’t have to bless me every time.

I confess…that I’m extremely disappointed in myself.  Bridesmaid dress shopping for Lindsay’s wedding tomorrow – it’s exciting, of course, but I was supposed to lose weight before this day.  I have not.  If anything, I have gained.  Awesome. 

I confess…that when my sister bestowed upon me official title of “family comedian” in yesterday’s comments (alongside her, the Golden Child, and my brother, the Superstar), I got a little nervous.  That’s a lot of pressure, man.

I confess…that True Blood may actually help me lose weight.  I can’t snack while watching it.  Too much blood and gross stuff going on there.  Kills my appetite.  This is a good thing.

I confess…that after ranting and raving about how amazing The Help by Kathryn Stockett was the other day, I was a little disappointed in the ending.  I’m not sure what I expected to happen, but the last few chapters seemed to drag, and I had so many questions about what happened to the characters when it concluded.  Still, an excellent read.

I confess…the peanut butter-chocolate chip cake that I made the other night also did not live up to my expectations.  Despite this, I have managed to eat almost all of it.  By myself.

I confess…that I love office birthday parties.  Today we’re celebrating Sue with St. Hubert’s and cake.  Fridays are already awesome.  Birthdays make it even better.

I confess…that after re-reading this post, it’s quite clear that food occupies too much of my  time and too many of my thoughts.  No wonder my Wii Fit reminds me daily that I’m obese.

Happy Friday and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Don’t forget that next week I’ll be introducing my very first giveaway!!  Get excited!!

Oh, and one more thing:  Please visit The Testosterone Three And Me ASAP!  She has recently hit her 500th post and is hosting a wonderful giveaway.  Go ENTER!! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Fish Tale. AND I WON AN AWARD!!!

Okay.  I confess that I’m a little nervous about sharing with you my latest tale of fishy woe.  Because the last time I talked about my fish, I got HATE MAIL.

That chick was mean.  Her words stung.  Hurt my feelings.

And then I shook my head and reminded myself these are fish we’re talking about.  Sure, lovely little creatures that swim around and are peaceful to watch.  But, at the end of the day, still just fish.  They have memory spans of about two seconds. and die when you look at ‘em sideways.  People flush them down toilets everyday.

So I’m telling my story, even if it does leave me open to more hate mail.

Bring it on, b*tch.

Anyway.  Moving right along.

As I shared with my Facebook friends yesterday, I have raised my fish to be tough mother-effers.  Gangsta fish.  Ghetto fish.  Marley and Jackson have lived through a lot.  Days when I let the tank get so dirty that you can’t even see them swimming around.  Green, slimey days of wondering what the outside world looks like.  I’ve tested their will to live, and they have survived.

But the other night, I pushed them to their limits.

It had been awhile since my tank had been given a real good, thorough cleaning, and after the pump stopped (from being too dirty, I figure), I decided enough was enough.  I had to clean it.

I began by scooping some of the old water out into a pail, then netting the fish and putting them in there.  I left them on my kitchen table and went about the gross job of completely emptying the tank of all the water, slime, rocks, and fake plant decorations.  Then I set about scrubbing the walls of the tank, the pump, and all the other fish-tank-parts that I don’t even know about.

While at the sink  working away, I kept hearing the odd “bloop” sound.  Every time, I’d check the pail and see the fishies still swimming away.  No worries.

But then I heard a BIG bloop, and then a repeated “whap-whap-whap” noise, and I knew without even looking that Marley had escaped the pail.

I checked, and sure enough, there the damn fish was, doing the funky chicken on the table, and then it slipped right off onto the floor.  It thrashed around some more while I shrieked and screamed and tried to figure out how the hell I was going to catch it.  Suddenly, it became very still, and I was sure my Marley was a goner.  I grabbed the big cup I’d been using to scoop water with, and gently eased him into it.  As soon as I did, he sprung to life again, and I squealed and dumped him back in the pail, fully expecting him to float to the surface immediately.

He didn’t.  He kept swimming.  Hallelujah.


I began working quickly, afraid he might try this trick again.  I re-assembled the tank with a new filter and the new tank accessories I bought them, then began pouring fresh water in.  As soon as it was up high enough, I tossed the fish back into the tank, and let them get acquainted with their new surroundings.

Still, I feared for Marley’s life.  Well, as much as you can fear for a fish’s life.  Not only had he flopped around out of water for a good three or four minutes, but I had also completely altered his environment.  Clean tank, fresh water, different tank stuff.  I worried it would be too much of a shock to his poor little fishy system.

I should know better than to underestimate my fish.  They are determined.  They do not die when you look at them sideways.  They are TOUGH.  Proud of them.

I know.  I’m the girl who laments daily that I want babies.  But I swear, I’ll take better care of my children someday.  Promise.

So my fish survived, I have 55 followers now and I’m getting ready for my first giveaway, and you know what else makes this a great week?  I WON AN AWARD!!

My very first bloggy award!!  The Versatile Blogger Award!!

versatile blogger

I’ve seen this jazzy green button on other people’s blogs and yearned for it.  Pined for it.  Wondered why nobody, in the past five years, had bothered to award ME with it.  I’m a Versatile Blogger, right?  I deserve a damn AWARD!!

Enter, my new blog friend, Kristine.  She’s originally from a town just across the river from my town, and through the magic of the interwebs, we have “met” and now read each other’s blogs.  She told me my recent tour of my town post made her homesick, as she once spent many great times at our local bar, Gavan’s.  Go visit her at Kristine’s Place!  Thank you so much, Kristine, for passing The Versatile Blogger award on to me!  Made my day!!

So there are RULES with the Versatile Blogger award.

1. Thank the person who gave the award and link back to them in your post.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

So here are 7 things about me:

  • I’ve had my ears pierced since I was 4, but only recently have started wearing earrings every day.  And now I’m kind of obsessed with earrings.  Even contemplating getting a second hole pierced so I can wear more than one pair at a time.  Send me links to your favourite Etsy jewelry shops.  I can’t get enough.
  • I can’t watch scary stuff before bed or I psych myself right up into believing there are intruders in my house.  Lately, with my new addiction to True Blood, it’s vampires.  All over my house.  I have to run up the stairs to my room and literally leap from the doorway into my bed.
  • I crave movie theatre popcorn, daily.  I would go to the movies every day if I could afford it, and if I could find friends to come with me.
  • I hate being wakened by an alarm clock.  I wish I could just go in to work whenever I wake up naturally.  I think I’d be a more pleasant person if that’s how the world worked.
  • I didn’t have any allergies when I was a kid, but as an adult, I’ve discovered I can’t hack cat hair or whatever is in the air in the spring and summer months that makes my eyes swell up and my nose clog.
  • I have an imaginary boyfriend.  His name is Dexter.  Waiters give me funny looks in restaurants when I’m out with friends and they ask how to split up the bills, and I point at nothing and say, “I’m with him.  Yes, I know.  He’s invisible.”
  • I love Wade Redden, Grey’s Anatomy, spaghetti, Elvis, my family, the Ottawa Senators, banana-flavoured popsicles, taking pictures, Edward Cullen, pool noodles, the Quyon Flyers, my friends, Friends, McDonalds, Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, my guitar, Friday, and Christmas Eve.  Not necessarily in that order.

And now, to conclude this long-ass post, here are 15 blogs that I would like to pass The Versatile Blogger Award on to!  Please visit any or all of these links - all wonderful blogs, wonderful people…and of course, very versatile. :)

Have a great day, everyone.  LONG LIVE MY FISH!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It’s “We Want To Know” Day

I missed WWTK Wednesday last week, so I can’t miss it again. Plus, SUPER fun questions this week. My family’s going to be thrilled reading this. Here we go!


As usual, WWTKW Q&A is brought to you by Mamarazzi and Queso. This week’s questions are all about my childhood!

{1} Did you live in the same town or move around a lot as a child?
{2} What were your parents like?
{3} Do you have any siblings? What were they like growing up?
{4} Share a short story from your childhood.
{5} What did you look like? (share a childhood pic for a chance to win a prize)

Here are my answers:

{1} Did you live in the same town or move around a lot as a child? I’ve lived in the same small town all my life, except for a year or so when I moved to the city for school/work. I quickly discovered I wasn’t a city girl, so I moved back home, and I don’t foresee myself ever leaving again. If you haven’t already taken the tour, be sure to do so. If for no other reason, to see the giant Elvis.

Our house on Stanton Road is still one of my favourite places to be. When we were kids, Mom & Dad sometimes talked about moving, and I’d throw a fit. Tears and all. Therefore, we never moved. I still think I’d cry if they decided to sell that house.

{2} What were your parents like? My parents were terrible. My dad cut me from the ball team when I was 12, and my mom wouldn’t let me take figure skating.

HA! Kidding. Well, those aren’t lies, but my parents were good to us. I think there’s a reason why we’re still a very close family. They’ve always been there for me, and despite my perpetual complaints of being the neglected-black-sheep-middle-child (yes, I have issues) – I’ve always known I was well loved.

66616_10150290117980554_554310553_15285555_8168403_n A rare photo of Mom & Dad – last fall, with their grandson Caden

{3} Do you have any siblings? What were they like growing up? My sister, Kara, is 6 and a half years older than me, the golden child, the daughter who did everything right. My brother, Luke, is two years younger than me, the family “superstar” who plays sports and is Mom’s darling baby. When I was in about grade 2 or 3, they had us write a paper on our biggest wishes. At the time, I wrote that I wished my sister would turn into a lizard and I’d let her our the front door, and I wished my brother would go back to being a baby and stay that way forever.

I told you I had issues.

But growing up, we had a lot of fun. I guess they were okay siblings to be stuck with. ;)

284773_10150740556010554_554310553_19969566_767559_n With my brother & sister at Troy & Steph’s wedding a few weeks ago

{4} Share a short story from your childhood. Do you guys want to KNOW why I have issues? Well, one big reason is because a raccoon peed on me. For reals.

My cousins Dave & Jeff had a pet raccoon for a while, and when it was still just a little wee thing, I used to love to hold it and cuddle it. It was so cute. It’s name was Bandit. Well, we were all at my Grandma’s one day, and I was playing with the raccoon, and of course the thing pissed all over me. Did you know that when raccoons pee, they pee A LOT? My siblings and cousins – and I think even my parents and aunts and uncles – were laughing at me, and I was so mad and upset. There’s a picture of us all with Grandma that day, and everyone’s got these huge grins on their faces and I’m just glaring at the camera. It was taken right after Bandit took a leak all over me. I was not impressed.

But now, when I think of it, I have to grin, remembering my cousin Jeff, saying, “Hey, Dave…You smell that? I think someone’s wearing Wild Musk…”

{5} What did you look like? (share a childhood pic for a chance to win a prize) I’m so so SO disappointed that I don’t have any pictures of me as a kid loaded on my computer. My aunt Linda even sent me some that she’d scanned a while back, and I went looking for them, and apparently I accidentally deleted the email! Frig!

I was a chubby kid. A fat kid. I can’t believe some of the clothes that I wore. I can’t believe how little I cared about my hair or my appearances.

Ahhh, the good ol’ days… ;)

Great questions, right?! Go visit Mamarazzi or Queso and share your own answers…because WE ALL WANT TO KNOW!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

50!!!!! …and Random Tuesday


I finally hit 50 followers yesterday!!!

See, all you have to do is some begging and pleading and dangling loot to gain a substantial following. ;) Thank you – to my cousin Chris, who officially logged in at #50, and to everyone before and after him who clicked that little ol’ “FOLLOW” button. I love you all. As I type this, I’ve actually hit 53 followers!! Wheeee!! My life is complete now!!

Now keep your pants on, because Jill’s 50 Follower Giveaway is coming up next week. I have to actually go and buy the loot before I show you the super-awesome gift you’re all going to be vying for and start the contest. Thank you to everyone who gave suggestions yesterday, I will definitely take them into account!

Don’t leave, it’s coming very very soon!!

Now for a little Tuesday randomness…

  • I have a new baby cousin!! Wahoo!!! Early yesterday morning, my cousin Dave and his wife Dawn welcomed their first baby, a boy, Dillon Jeffrey, weighing 8 lbs. 3 oz. I can’t wait to meet the new little branch on our family tree. His grandma says he’s just perfect!!

  • I signed up for a few weeks ago. Of course, Netflix is the way to go, but I live in pretty much the only house in North America that does not have high-speed or wireless Internet, nor can I afford to get it. So it is, where you sign up for a plan, they mail you DVDs, and you mail them back when you’re done with them. I’m on my one-month free trial, and so far, it’s going well. I’m working my way through True Blood, the hit vampire TV series that I’ve heard so much about. Truth? I was a little weirded out by it at first. But now, half-way through Season 1, I think I can say I’m hooked. If for no other reason, the hot guys. But it’s sure not the sweet innocent vampire/werewolf love of Twilight…

men of true blood

  • My 101 Adventure has become a total snoozefest. Summer is winding down, and all I’ve done is read books and watch movies. How depressing.

  • That being said, I’m almost finished reading my 10th book of the year, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and I love this book. I started reading it Friday morning, and if I’d had one more day of vacation, I would’ve finished it yesterday. SO GOOD. Like, can’t-put-it-down good. Looking forward to seeing how the movie compares. (If anyone wants to come see it with me, let me know!!)

  • I went to a lia sophia jewelry party last night, and I fell in love with some of the pieces. I ended up getting a new necklace, bracelet, and ring. I’m planning on hosting a party in September…that’s how much I loved it!!

  • My friend Lindsay recently recommended to me (and blogged about) Luxe Box by Loose Button. I was intrigued (and kinda jealous when Linds got her box of goodies last month), so I signed up for it. I know. Frivolous spending. I can see my mother shaking her head… But for $12, I got a sample of Pur Mineral powder, hand & body cream, lip plumping treatment, and perfume, along with a bonus pair of really sweet earrings. I think it was worth it!!


earrings 2

That’s the random floating through my brain this morning. If you’d like to share your Random Bloggy Thoughts with the world, go visit Stacy Uncorked and link ‘er up!


Thanks again for pushing me over the 50 mark!! You guys are the best :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting close to 50…

You know what the worst part about vacation time is?

The day it ends.


This morning, I wanted to throw my alarm clock out the window. I missed lying in bed til 8 AM, and then enjoying a cup of coffee and a few chapters of a book on my back deck while the neighbourhood is quiet and still. I missed listening to the birds chirp. I missed not having to rush to shower and dress and get out the door.

My holidays were mostly quiet and peaceful and relaxing, which is exactly what I was going for.


But I guess there’s only so much reading and watching True Blood and The Big Bang Theory that one person can do.

Back to work. It had to happen.

So I’ve gotta do something to make my first day back to work a little special, and that is announce that WE ARE GETTING DARN CLOSE TO JILL’S FIRST-EVER GIVEAWAY!!!

See over in the sidebar? See how many followers are there?


We are one away from the “I’m so happy I finally hit 50 followers after blogging for five years” giveaway. ONE!

(I might have to work on that title.)

So I haven’t actually put together my giveaway yet. But I’m going to go shopping soon, and I’m thinking of doing a “grab bag” of some of my favourite things – a book, nail polish, lip gloss, a magazine, a CD (maybe a burnt CD of my favourite songs…does anyone even listen to CDs anymore??) – you know, that kind of stuff. Unless a boy enters, then I might have to re-think this.

So my question to you, my awesome little posse, is this: What would YOU like to see in my first-ever giveaway?? Jewelry? Cosmetics? Books? Candy? Tea? A Wade Redden poster?? What do you have a “thing” for? I figure if you’re going to enter a giveaway, you might as well have some input in what you might actually win!!

And remember…we’re one follower away. Someone go tell their buddy to follow me and we can get this giveaway rolling!! :)

(PS – I made a really awesome-cool “button” for my giveaway using MS Paint – meaning, it was goofy and terrible and I loved it – but for some reason, it won’t post here. Frig. No wonder I haven’t got 50 followers in five years. I don’t even have any cool buttons!!)

**UPDATE** NEVERMIND I FIGURED IT OUT!!! Isn't it cool?! ;)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let me show you ‘round my town

So.  A lot of you already know where I live.  Some of you even live in the same town, or in the area.  And right now, I know what all of you are saying.

“Whhhaaaaa???  Why, Jill?  Why do we need a tour of Quyon??”

You don’t.  But the other night, I was out for a walk, and I thought, Y’know, this isn’t such a bad place.  In fact, it’s kind of pretty in it’s own way.  At least in some areas.

So today, when I went for my walk, I took my camera and photographed the highlights of Quyon. 

For those of you who are NOT in the know, that’s the name of my town.  Quyon.  (Pronounced “Kwi-oh”.  Yes.  I’m serious.)  Outside of our little city limits, it’s often mocked and mis-pronounced.  I believe it’s been traced back to some old native language to mean “muddy waters”.  Makes sense, considering we aren’t supposed to drink the water in our town 97% of the time…

It’s  a quiet little mostly-English-speaking village in Quebec (Canada),  nestled along the shores of both the Quyon River and the Ottawa River.  Despite being small and having lost most of our businesses over the years, we do have several claims to fame, which I will point out a long the way.

I only took pictures of what I considered to be “pretty stuff”.  You won’t find any pictures of the abandoned house on Main Street that the Municipality is threatening to tear down, or my neighbour’s house where people sit on the front porch and drink all day.  Nothing like that.  (Although that might’ve made for a more entertaining blog post…)

Also, I had a bit of paranoia, afraid that people would think I was being a stalker, taking pictures all over town, and that they’d call the police, so I was constantly looking around like  a weirdo to make sure no one was watching.  But I think I caught most of the points of interest, if you can call them that.

Here we go…

This is me.  iPod on.  Ready to rock.


And a picture of my house.  This is the church Manse, but since our student minister (and frequent commenter on the blog – Hi Nancy!),  already lives within driving distance, they rented it to me.  (Please note how tidy my bushes and flower beds are…wonder why…)


I live right next door to the church that I go to, Quyon United Church.


A view of main street from right outside my house:


This is a little further down the street.  The big brick house with the black roof is the home my dad grew up in when his family moved into town when he was a kid.


This is St. John’s Anglican Church.  Such a shame this beautiful church closed in the past few years…


Here is one little local business that has a big reputation:  McCann’s Chips, or “Mae’s” as it’s more fondly known to locals.  Mae has owned the chipstand for over 40 years, and people come from far and wide for the poutines and chicken burgers.  (It’s a two-minute walk from my place, and a big reason for my summertime fatty blahs…)


We’re also well-known for our watering hole, the legendary Gavan’s Hotel.  I’ve spent many  great weekends here!   In the picture below, you can see the mural that a local artist was commissioned to paint on the hotel to commemorate the history of the town.


Outside the front of Gavan’s:


Next we have Marcotte’s, the only depanneur in town and the hub of most of the activity, as you can see!


This shot is looking out at the soccer fields and fairgrounds:


Here is the Ag Hall, or as I call it, “The Elvis Building”.  Yes.  We have a giant Elvis.  On the left side of the building, you can see a stage where the annual Jamfest is held in early July every summer.


Some people in town are embarrassed by our giant Elvis.  I, personally, think it’s pretty cool.  The summer I turned 18, I was the student hired to look after the grounds down there.  At the time, Elvis was in pieces inside the building, and I spent many rainy days stuck in there with him as my only company.  We got to be good friends…


Skate park in the summer, outdoor rink in the winter:


The ball field, home of the Quyon Flyers, and where I spend many a summer night.


We have a rough campground.  As you can see, not too popular on a Thursday in August…


Here’s a picture of the park, and the Lions Hall in behind it.  We are currently trying to raise money to replace that old building, more commonly known as “The Beach Barn”.  It’s none too pretty, but I have many fond memories of events held there.  That old barn has seen some good times…


I love these signs at the park:


This is the flag pole at the Ferry dock, where we have our flag raising ceremony every Canada Day.  I love seeing that massive flag flying in the wind!!!


Scenery down at the river, at the boat docks:


There was a heron in the water!  At least, I think it’s a heron…


This is the Quyon Ferry dock, home of the Quyon Ferry, another of our claims to fame.  The Ferry runs during the spring/summer/fall months, taking passengers from Quyon to the Ontario side of the river.


A view of the mighty Ottawa:


I took a little break on this bench and watched the Ferry for a while:



This is St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  I’m not Catholic, but my God, what a gorgeous building, and definitely one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in town.


Here is our little library, which I just recently started going back to for the first time in years!!


Next we have St. Mary’s School, one of two elementary schools in town.  When I was a kid, it was considered the “Catholic” school, but now the religious denomination is no longer considered of importance.  It’s the French Immersion school.


This is just a picture of my feet… ;)


This is another loop I take down by the river…so peaceful down there. 




Coming up the hill to my place again…this is my back yard! 


Here is Kelly’s Funeral Home, which is kitty-corner to my house.


This is looking down the Mill Road, where the old Mill still stands, though it closed over a year ago.  The Quyon River runs under that bridge.


Looking up Main Street.  The building on the left used to be a grocery store that my aunt & uncle owned, but now it’s an apartment building.


Yet another funeral home.  This is Hayes’ Funeral Home.


And this is Onslow Elementary School, which was considered “Protestant” but is now the English school in town.  This is where I spent Kindergarten to Grade 6!


This is a snapshot heading back home again.


I know.  Kind of a sleepy little town, right?  Not too much excitement.

But I love it.  I walk these streets and every few feet, I have to raise my hand and wave at another friend or neighbour.  It’s not perfect, but it’s where I call “home”.

And hell, we have a giant ELVIS.  Seriously.  How cool are we?!?

Yeah, where I was born, where I was raised.
Where I keep all my yesterdays.
Where I ran off 'cause I got mad,
And it came to blows with my old man.
Where I came back to settle down,
It's where they'll put me in the ground:
This is my town…