It's NYE already?

How is that possible?? The last 365 days have made up the fastest-passing year that we've had in a long time but I guess that means we're having a good time! Haha.

A lot of our 2010 highlights are related to the change in scenery from Ontario to New Brunswick. Although technically we moved out to the East Side in late 2009, we consider 2010 our first year in The Maritimes. As expected, it's one of the best decisions we've made for ourselves. The boys love running around the yard and chasing after the various wild creatures that wander out from the forest. We love that we have almost total privacy...in a subdivision...10 minutes from town. It's the best of both worlds. 

Our adorable little house in the pseudo-country

There've been many other highlights too...

The Hubby's much happier with his job out here and has moved up the ranks to Foreman very quickly. He's currently running one of the largest job's his company has done (and he's doing a fantastic job despite the ups and downs that come with the construction biz). In fact, about two months ago he was given a company vehicle! Last night, we sold his beloved Jetta. I'm very excited to make the call to our insurance company this morning to remove the car from our policy!! Cha-ching!

My health has stabilized considerably when compared to 2009, which has been a seriously appreciated bonus. I'm still in a holding pattern and taking non-GTL steroids while I (not so patiently) wait for the new super-drug to become available but the cocktail lets to venture out of my house on an almost daily basis without too much concern. I've even able to go to a bar and/or a movie once in a while. All good things. 

In March, we took a last-minute trip to Mexico. It was our first trip together since we got married almost three years ago. We reconnected as a couple and have gotten even stronger as a couple since. I can't wait until I'm well enough for a European Vacation (fingers crossed for 2012!). When I look at this picture, which is enlarged and framed behind our living room couch, I wistfully remember the break.

A green iguana bevvy & a beach = Heaven
A very dear friend of mine got married in Quebec in August, which has since been dubbed the Best Wedding Ever. I just LOVE going to small weddings where you can actually meet "the other side." The whole thing turned into a three-day getaway with some of my closest gals and also facilitated the feverish start to a new friendship with a dude who's managed to glide his aviator-wearing face right into my heart. I smile every time I think of The Real World: Tremblant, where seven friends chose to rent a condo together...

There was some argument on whether this chair could be classified as "giant." I believe we settled on "moderately large." It's in the Tremblant village and is also the site for my accidental face-slap of a three-year-old girl...whoops!

The Hubby and I received amateur-baker status by taking 2 Wilton cake decorating courses last winter. Although labour intensive, they were a lot of fun (except for the teacher who was THE WORST *shaking fist). I practice my fondant skills whenever a birthday rolled around. By far, my most favourite baked creation of 2010 was my Hetero-Life-Partner's 27th birthday cake.

It was her champagne birthday. This cake also marks my first with special effects (haha...sparklers make everything better).
No wait, I think the Hubby's cake ties HLP's for first place...

He had a campfire party...so I made him a campfire cake!

I also got back into painting and had a wonderful time making gifts for my family. Just so we're clear -- I took a class at summer camp when I was 11, so I don't really know what I'm doing. It's been really fun trying to figure it all out. My favourite was one I did for my Baby Brother's birthday.

Baby Brother lived in Vancouver for a while. He loved to go for laps around the seawall. I grabbed this picture off of his FB. It's the longest I've ever worked on a piece and I think it shows (please excuse the flash). Truth be told, he almost didn't get it...I kid, I kid.

This summer also marked the first time we went tubing. Sure, I'd heard of "lazy rivers" at amusement parks and have floated around in a circle on more than one occasion but THIS is WAY BETTER than that. A friend introduced us to a company that rents tubes out on a nearby (and very long) river. They drive you upstream, drop you off and then you spend a few hours floating back. A friend once described it as "white trash spring break" and on a Saturday, it's a fairly accurate description. Whenever anyone came to visit during the hotter months, this is what we did.

Yes, your eyes aren't deceiving you. Even our cooler has its own tube. Best Summer Activity Ever, I can hardly wait for July.

So there they are -- some of the awesome-ness that was our 2010. I'm incredibly grateful for all of the great times we had and am looking forward to what 2011 has in store for us. So far, we're off to a fantastic start (details to be revealed at a later date...stay posted...no, we're not pregnant ;) ). 

We're not really New Years Resolution kind of folks and therefore, don't have any but I really want to give a SHOUT OUT to my HETERO-LIFE-PARTNER because she has decided that 2011 is the year she will QUIT SMOKING!! *confetti eruption, firework explosion, gong smash* Way to go girl, this will be one of YOUR Best Decisions Ever and I'm VERY PROUD of you.

Have a great & safe NYE everyone!!


Monday's Fictional Hottie 9

I hope that everyone enjoyed/is enjoying a fantastic holiday break. This Christmas was one of the best I've had in recent memory, so with the combination of it's awesome-ness and the wicked-ness of my birthday...let's just say I'm exhausted. The holidays are fun but they take a lot of you. Even the dogs seem to be in Christmas-comas. It was a green Christmas but then last night, a storm hit and now it looks like a winter wonderland. The trees are hanging heavy with snow and The Hubby's just waiting for his new iPod to load to take with him outside to snow-blow our driveway. My Mother and her Hubby ended up changing their flight to a red-eye last night and it was a good thing because all the flights have been cancelled for today. It was a rushed ending to our holiday visit but has made a fantastic story. Worth it. 

Moving onto today's Fictional Hottie!

Back to the books we go. 

The author's descriptive prose in this literary gem leaps off of the page and is one of the few "classics" I own and have actually read more than once. It takes place in the roaring 20s, when prohibition was in full effect and feathers and pearls were the greatest fashion accessories. A mysterious and dashing man throws lavish parties for the snotty upper-crust in hopes of catching a glimpse of his long-lost love. Yes, he turns out to be a little rougher around the edges than he appears at first glance, but his quest for love is admirable. 

Congratulations Jay Gatsby, you're #9! (in no particular order)

There's been some buzz that this novel's film adaptation is in the works for a re-make (to be precise, this one would actually be the third film as the first was a silent one, although not nearly as well known...by myself also...who watches silent movies?). I usually frown upon such things and have severe reservations about this one in particular. The story is classic and more than stands on its own without visual aid, but the 1974 flick is pretty great. The casting was perfection and I do appreciate having the mental image of such a great characters with the face of a super-hunky actor. 

Oh yes, this movie had my full attention in 10th grade. Bonjour Mr. Redford (link)

I love me some slightly-off-balance love stories and this one is right up my alley. The plot reads like the original Real Housewives of The Hamptons, complete with near child abandonment and rampant infidelity. Daisy is kind of a nightmare, but Gatsby sees her through rose-coloured glasses. Although he didn't exactly earn his income legally, you have to appreciate his willingness to do what he needed to do...in order to satisfy a superficially-driven princess (not that I'm bitter). 

I remember reading the book in high school and being completely fascinated with Gatsby. We had a super cool history teacher in 10th grade and he assigned our class to make a speakeasy in the library as a final project. It was the funnest assignment EVER! A friend and I were put in charge of teaching the class the Charleston and it was awesome. I also remember a lot of the guys in my class looking extra good in their period costumes, so the minute that Robert Redford appeared onscreen with his ballin' suits and half-cocked hats, I was done-zo. 

Yummity, yum yum Gatsby!

Happy Monday!


Lovin' The Love

As predicted, yesterday was my BBE (Best Birthday Ever). 


Fiona, my AyePhone, started hootin' & hollar'n first thing in the morning and didn't stop all day. Texts, emails, phone calls and Facebook messages came in from friends and family from all over the world. I was genuinely surprised and touched that so many people took the time to wish me a happy birthday. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life and I fell like a big sappity-sap because even as I'm writing this, my eyes are a little watery. It's been a while since my birthday's been a big deal and I'm still basking in the glow of love from my amazing peeps. 

The thoughtful messages, flowers and cards would have been more than enough, but I was also showered with presents. Shiny, beautiful, sparkly presents. 

Po-si-tive-ly SHOWERED.

I've had my eye on this set for quite some time...and Pepi gave it to me!

Marc wasn't sure which "shiny necklace set" I had my eye on...so The Pickle gave me this one too, just to be sure.

Amazing beautiful driftwood-inspired necklace from my HeteroLifePartner

I can't seem to turn this one...but it's a HUGE dragonfly ring! Marc knows me well (and my nails look FAB from the spa yesterday!! - Thanks Mum!)

Totally out of left-field, my AMAZING in-laws sent me this beautiful Tiffany's necklace. One heart for Marc & 2 for the boys. It was my first experience opening a little blue box and it was awesome. I'm currently wearing it!

My Mum bought me this patent leather oversized clutch from La Galleries LaFayette. Nothing is chic-er than a bag from France, especially one that actually says "chic" on it.

This is a "souper" spoon and it's awesome. Another wicked present from my HeteroLifePartner.
Marc and I have bacon every Sunday. My HLP  thought that it was a very appropriate wallet. It's just hilarious, but thankfully isn't scented. 

So as you can see, I'm a spoiled little princess whose costume jewelry collection now rivals Elizabeth Taylor's. If I were to wear everything at once, I'm fairly certain that I'd be visible from space. 

Today'll be much lower-key and then YAY Christmas tomorrow!!

Happy holidays everyone!!!


29 & Holding

Horray!! Happy birthday to ME!!

I'm beyond excited for today!

The last TWO years have been less-than-stellar, birthday-wise, but this year is VERY different! My brother drove in from Ontario on Tuesday and my Mum & her hubby arrived yesterday. It's been YEARS and YEARS since my Mum & brother have been with me for Christmas (and my bday) and although I've been a total steroid-sponsored-sketchball (Prednisone, not icky muscle builders a la GTL) I've been tidying, baking and cooking in anticipation of their arrival. 

So what's the game plan for today, then?

Well, it's shaping up to be the BBE (Best Birthday EVER).

It's tradition in our family that you get to eat your birthday cake for breakfast, however since I chose a DQ Blizzard cake I made the responsible 29-year-old decision of waiting until supper. I'd be passed out in a sugar-coma if I started the day like that (*audible groan in response to my clearly age-appropriate response -- childhood is officially over). Instead, I chose a bacon & egg sandwich on a homemade bagel (one of the thousand things I made).

At 11am, I'm meeting some friends for a very early lunch at East Side Mario's where I will be eating as many of those little garlic loaves that my stomach can hold. That bread is the BEST and I will be OVERINDULGING on the melted butter-ed slices. I guess that I'll be ordering some kind of pasta in order to get the home loaves, but that's really not the focus. Caesar salad and garlic bread...mmmmmm. 

Then, it's off to the spa for 12:15 with my Mum. When I turned 16, it became a sort of annual-tradition that my Mum and I would go to a spa. It's been a few years since that's happened and I'm delighted that we get to do it again. I'm booked for a facial, manicure & pedicure with fancy-pants polish. It claims that it lasts for 2 weeks with no chips and has to be set under a UV light. I'm skeptical but VERY excited nonetheless. My Mum's getting some crazy body scrub and then a manicure (we'll be together for them).

After we're shiny and moisturized, we'll be heading back home for a Taco supper, champagne and ICE CREAM CAKE. 

As you can see, it really is shaping up to be the BBE.



Monday's Fictional Hottie 8 (I know, It's Late)

Over a week since my last post. Where does the time go? I'll tell ya -- nowhere!! Haha. 

Although it's Wednesday, I'm still titling this post as a "Monday." One of the downsides of having weekly themed posts is the fact that I have to post them WEEKLY. *gentle hand slap

Lesson learned: pre-write some posts for when I have to up my meds and consequently lose my grip on reality. 

Moving on...

This week is not only Christmas, but also my birthday. The very first picture taken of me was by my Dad when I was hanging out in the hospital nursery. He had a hard time figuring out which one I was because every baby was swaddled tightly and then placed in a stocking that read: Merry Christmas Mom & Dad. Gotta love that!

Anyhoo, because I basically share my birthday with Jebus (we're close friends and He likes it when I call Him that) I'm used to a week's blitz of presents, celebrations and eating fatty delicious butter-infused foods through a haze of lovely champagne. Sure, sometimes it sucks a little that birthday gifts come in poinsetta wrapping paper, but I sure do love the 7 days of madness that surround my birthday, coming to an end at New Years Eve. 

So what does that have to do with Monday's Fictional Hottie?

It means that I'm reserving the right to write a post about a fictional crush that's been close to my heart for a long time. It's my birthday and although I've written about him before...it's my birthday (tomorrow) which means I can do what I like ;). 

We're heading back to TV-land. A place where I didn't spend a whole lot of time growing-up, but there were a few shows that I was allowed to watch as a teen. This hottie spent a great deal of time chasing after girls who needed "saving," painting huge walls as declarations of love and was never irritated by side-face-talking characters who couldn't sing yet insisted on doing so. Every time I hear the few beats of the opening song, I'm taken away to a place where row-boats are more useful than cars and parents are cool with large ladders permanently attached to the outside of houses so friends don't have to use the front door. I won't make you wait any longer...

Congrats Mr. Pacey Witter, you're number 8! (in no particular order)

Oh the adorable Pacey (link)
With his lopsided grin and full-support-at-whatever-the-cost character had us 90's teens swooning in our living rooms. His father was kind of a dick, his brother wasn't awesome either (but I guess living in the closet had something to do with that) but Pacey proved that good guys don't finish last. In fact, they finish first...and are super hot while doing so. His relationship with Andy was enough to make me a dedicated fan for life. 

When I wrote a post about Jim Halpbert, I expressed concerns I had about the actors behind the fictional hotties. It seems that Joshua Jackson has the same problem -- all the ladies want is Pacey. To show that Mr. Jackson has a little bit of the Pacey-charm, he did the most hilarious video, which I've posted below. If you've got a spare 4 minutes and are are a Pro-Pacey, I recommend pressing "play."

Side Note: It's kind of convenient that this week was #8, as it rhymes with "late." Just sayin'

Happy (non) Monday!


Redemption Oreos

I woke up yesterday, started getting the croissant ingredients together and sighed. I knew I'd decided to give them another go but couldn't stand the thought of spending another day whacking butter and dough without knowing the end result until much, much, much later. I put the ingredients back in the drawers and headed over to Bake at 350 for some inspiration on how I could redeem myself. 

I stumbled on the site a few weeks ago and have been OBSESSED ever since. Bridget is friggin' wicked at icing cookies. Like the BEST cookie decorator EVER! I never knew that cookies could look like this or this. She's bananas. 

To my surprise, I saw that Bridget had a recipe for homemade oreos. 

Ya heard me. Homemade Oreos.

I scanned the ingredients list and was delighted to find that I had everything the recipe required. Skipping (theoretically) into the kitchen, I started whipping up a batch. They were easy to make --  a chocolate roll-out cookie recipe and simple icing with a little gelatin. Although they don't taste exactly like oreos (the cookie is much softer) they were deeeeeeelish. Click here for the recipe. 

I got 29 sandwiches out of the batch. This morning, five remain (yikes...blame the hubby, blame the hubby)

Thank goodness they turned out as I wouldn't have been able to take another baking defeat. As suggested, I added a little detail to the outside.

So yummy!!


Monday's Fictional Hotties 6 & 7

That's right, my lovely readers -- it's a DOUBLE FEATURE!!

Sometimes fictional hotties come in pairs. Their fates intertwined from beginning to end. As such, it would be an injustice for me to rank one and not the other. As mentioned last week, I'm aware that I've been on a "superhero" kick and you may be suspecting another addition along those lines. These dudes aren't exactly superheroes, but they do possess a certain je ne sais quoi that separates them from jo-blow detective-like characters.

One is a sports agent while the other is a fair-haired ninja.

Have you guessed yet? This may be a stretch for some of you because if you're not a fan of a certain author by the name of Harlan Coben then you probably won't be familiar with these hotties. I must say that I'm shocked there hasn't been a movie or TV series or something because they are amazing characters who solve mysteries and extract revenge on the wicked.

Congrats to Myron Bolitar and Windsor "Win" Horne Lockwood III - you're # 6 & 7!! (in no particular order)

It saddens me that there are no faces that I can put to their names, but I'll do my best to break down their deservingness without help from visual aids.

Myron Bolitar is a former basketball star turned sports agent. Through his agency, atply named MBSportsReps, Myron battles for his clients in a multitude of fashions. 
Got a contract dispute? Call Myron.
Want more endorsements? Call Myron.
Your estranged daughter's been kidnapped and being held for ransom in China by pirates? Myron's your guy. 

He has a witty sense of humour, takes his Yoo-Hoo's shaken (not stirred) and stands at 6' 4." Sure, he lives with his parents, but their relationship isn't that of a typical-in-your-30's-living-at-home kind of deal and makes him even more endearing. Myron's always willing to lend a hand and (I imagine that he) does it with a twinkle in his dreamy eyes.

However, Myron wouldn't be complete without his BFF and more-than-occasional partner-in-crime: Win. In the earlier books, I was more infatuated with Myron than Win (for personal biased reasons) but as the series continued I found myself seriously drawn to Win. 

He's a slender, blonde WASP who has more money than he knows what to do with. From a prominent family, Win appears like a typical country-club wussy but make no mistake -- he could take Andre the Giant's down in a split-second. Win holds a sixth-degree blackbelt in Tae Kwan Do. His access to cash, random connections and the amusement he finds in dolling out cans of whoop-ass on those who harm his tiny inner circle make him the perfect chocolate counterpart to Myron's peanut putter. Sure, peanut butter is delicious, but wrapped in chocolate makes it infinitely more scrumptious. Granted, Win's a notorious womanizer and keeps his cards glued to his chest but has the wherewithal to show up when the chips aren't in Myron's favour. 

They joke and laugh to keep things light (as light as Win can be, anyway) but underneath it all, they would do anything for each other. It is the friendship between them that makes their hottness jump off the page and into my dirty little mind. 

If you haven't read any of Harlan Coben's books, get to your nearest library or hop onto Amazon. He is a brilliant writer and creates wonderful characters who wind their way through read-in-one-sitting plot twists. That being said, my ultimate favourites are his series with my two hottie-mc-totties. Each one focuses on a specific sport, so there's the added bonus of reading about the lives of famous atheltes. As such my personal favourite is Drop Shot, which is about a tennis starlet. The newest book in the series comes out in March of next year (weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!). 

Oh, did I mention they both worked as secret agents for the government? Oh yes. They certainly did.

Welcome to the list boys!


Julia Child is a Be-otch

As some of you know, I love baking. I find it soothing and relaxing, despite the long hours I spend on my feet on the cold kitchen tiles (chasing the boys away from attacking whatever falls off of the counter). I love making funny cakes with fondant designs, cookies with royal icing decorations and anything in the bread category. Being a fairly savvy baker, I figured there was only one thing left to try -- the croissant.

I've spent some time over the years in France, with my last trip being for just over 4 months in the summer of 2006. Bumming around the central and southern parts of the country I was never more than a few steps away from a boulangerie (bakery/goody shop/heaven). The pastry in France is bananas; I think I averaged two to three croissants and/or pain au chocolat per day. 

I long for the warm sun on my face, sand beneath my toes and a flaky masterpiece teasing my tongue. We are still in a holding pattern, travel-wise, so I figured I'd just whip up some of my own.

Ah blind optimism.

If I was going to make French croissants then I needed to find a bad-ass and authentic recipe. Naturally, I though of Julia Child. I assembled all the ingredients I needed and set off on a 9-hour baking adventure. Baking pastries is a science, so I diligently measured, weighed and timed. 

3 sets of two hour chills, 4 folds and an hour rise later, they were in the oven and smelling lovely. My mouth watered with anticipation. Marc arrived just in time from work for me to surprise him with our house-turned-French-bakery.

Well they were an utter and complete disaster.


Flakiness? Zero

Lightness? None

Apparently I spent the entire day making Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. Whomp, Whomp.

Frustrated and disappointed, I threw the batch in the garbage and vowed to never make them again. Being an A-type personality, I knew deep down that my threats were empty. It's been a long time since something I've made hasn't turned out and my ego isn't used to the bruising.

The next morning I scrolled around the Net trying to find someone that had similar problems with Ms. Child's recipe. Luckily, I found a lady who'd had the same tastes-like-pre-made-dough situation and I think I found where I went wrong. I'm nervous to try again as the process is endless and you don't know until the bitter end whether it's worked out or not, but I will push past the fear and do it again. 

I feel like Monday shall be the day.

 Keep your fingers crossed for me!


*Sniff Sniff, Whatta Crybaby

If I wasn't on top of the calendar (*ahem) I'd sure be thinking that a monthly visitor would be making the rounds soon. Why? Because I've cried at the most ridiculous things today. Things that should be doing the opposite. 
Maybe it's the time of year. 
Maybe I've just gone soft. 
Either way though, it's a good thing I didn't plan on leaving the house today because I'm clearly on an edge of an emotional free-for-all and would have ended up weeping in the grocery line or post office. I've listed the culprits below and you'll see what I mean.

Barbara Walters: The Oprah Interview
The Big O was talking about her BFF Gale and what she means to her. Listening to her description of what the friendship has given her got me thinking about my besties. The past couple of years have shown me just how amazing my friends are and how lucky I am to have found such supportive and wonderful women. The more Oprah talked, the more I thought about how much they mean to me and -- BAM -- cry #1

Side Note: Babs was lookin' a little rough, non? During the intro pieces, she was one loose power application from becoming a corpse. There's lots of HD-friendly makeup out there but she clearly wasn't wearing any. She looked like one of those dolls who's eyes flip up and down. Essentially - she looked like a creepy doll. It also didn't help that every shirt she was wearing had some hideous flower detail or awful broach. With the Jersey Shore kids, her earrings were attempting to sever their relationship with her lobes and it was painful to watch. She's been on the air since the dawn of TV and should really know better.

The Breakfast Club
I clicked into the movie about halfway through. I've seen it about a zillion times but still get sucked in whenever I'm passing by. The scene when Emilio's character describes his bullying of another school-mate and the humiliation the kid must have felt telling his father about the attack gets me every time. It got me thinking about bullying, which made me think of the It Gets Better Campaign. Popping on Youtube, I watched a few more -- BAM -- cry #2

Side Note: I don't know why I love watching those videos so much but I really do. I can't IMAGINE having someone physically assault/threaten/berate me because of my love for Marc. It's so important for everyday (not celebrity) out-and-proud adults to tell gay youth that there is life after high school, because as all of us late-20-somethings know -- high school really is a flash in the pan. Even though I don't identify with the issue, I support it whole heartedly and I will continue to watch them the inspirational folks who post their messages of love. 

The Office: Christmas Episode
Holly's back and her and Michael may get back together. Holey Moley, this is amazing. That, however, is not what prompted me to burst into tears. There was a seriously touching scene where Darrel's daughter was in need of a Christmas surprise and some Office members chipped in. Pam said that a Grinch stole the star from the top of the tree and hid it in the warehouse. When Andy appeared as said Grinch -- BAM -- cry #3

Side Note: The snowmen in the parking lot were hysterical and reminded me of Calvin n Hobbes. Does anyone remember those cartoons with the picketing/monster snowmen? I love those.

Other Side Note: If Holly and Michael don't get together, I'm gonna be pissed. This is his last season and he better end up with someone. If you watch the show, you'll understand that Holly's his only option and therefore, they MUST get together. Perhaps it will be in his last episode? I'm guessing they'll stretch out the tension for a while and I love me that kind of story line!

So there you have it; the three things that have left me with watery eyes and an even runnier nose. Colds friggin' suck, but heartwarming TV seems to make them better. The only thing left to watch on the PVR is Bones. If I cry during that show, something is definitely wrong with me.

I'll keep you posted.


(Proportionately) Bigger Babies

It's hard for me to swallow, but The Pickle is now four years old. FOUR?!? How has time passed so quickly? When we first got him, he was a tiny wee thing and weighed 1.5lbs. His legs were so short and his hair so puffy that he looked like a large dust ball as he scampered across the floor. He had his first year in downtown Toronto, then a couple in Ontario ski country and finally the last year in the New Brunswick wilderness. He hasn't quite been the same since he broke his back two years ago, but his love for the red ball has remained strong.

We don't really know exactly when Pepi was born, as we adopted him from a shelter. Our vet gave us an approximate age and it seems plausible that he was born in December too. So, we decided to combine their birthdays. Pepi's two years old now and just as adorable as he was when he first licked Marc's nose.

In celebration of their joint birthday, I've decided to post a few pictures of our adorable furry babies.

(The) Pickle - December 1, 2007

Pickle when he was 4 months old.
FIrst Christmas.
First walk. He was pooped in no time. 
The Pickle this summer (he acquired "The" sometime in the last year or so). He really liked his glo-stick necklace.

 Pepi - December 1, 2009

Pepi's first picture after we brought him home.  Poor Marc didn't stand a chance, just look at those eyes!

He loves to chew on soft rubber things. We think he's a cross between a Japanese Chin and a Pekinese. He thinks he's a cat and cleans himself constantly.

It took them a while to become buddies.

And now they are.

Happy Birthday Boys!!

Pickle loves to ham it up pose for the camera

Pepi really hates the hat.


Monday's Fictional Hottie 5

So as I perused my list today, I noticed a trend. I seem to have quite a thing for superheroes. Whether in cartoon form or real life, I appear to be suffering from rescue-me-itis. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think that it's representative of how I view the world. 

That intro brings me nicely into this week's Fictional Hottie.

No stranger to super-hero strength, this hottie is able to al most suspend themselves in mid air while whipping a frisbee-weapon at lightning speed. Although they have a somewhat irritating battle-cry, there's no doubt that this fictional hottie means business.

Congratulations Xena, you're Fictional Hottie #5! (in no particular order)

Xena, the Warrior Princess, a la Lucy Lawless. (link)

So what? You thought I'd only be including male hotties? *wink

No way! There are so many female fictional hotties out there, it's be a sin not to include them. Xena is kind of a bitch, but a bitch in the best way. Like other unsung heros, she always does the right thing in the end and is more attractive for it. She's manipulative, cunning, strong and super badass. Not to hammer in my point, but those words would automatically be present in an unlikely male hero, yet to some, women with the same qualities aren't so hot. 

Well screw that! 

This is my list and Xena is a total fictional hottie. Period. 

Granted, I could do with a small wardrobe change with less metallic-outside-bras, but at least she's not in stilettos. Plus, that frisbee thing of hers is friggin' wicked. 


Monday's Fictional Hottie 4

Time starts to go by so fast this time of year; as if this is the fourth posting already! So far, I've picked from literature, comics and TV. There are so many fictional hotties to chose from that it's kind of hard to decide who'll be next. I perused my list this morning and my eyes locked on a certain someone who was mighty far down. No matter though, as the thought of this dude made my heart pitter-patter.

I think that all lovers of male hotties appreciate a little intrigue. Not really knowing much about a fictional hottie who's been sent to "save" me from some horrible fate is terribly appealing (and very non-feminist...but I can't help it!). I love when this hottie's ickin' ass and takin' names while also retaining his boy-ish good looks. Some of you may suspect that I'm leaning towards a spy character, and you're not wrong. However, it's not Mr. Bond as I find him to be misogynistic, condescending and seriously irritating. So who's left?

Well, wait no more...

Today's Fictional Hottie is...

Jason Borne!

What up Borne? (brought to the silver screen by the dashing Matt Damon). - link

Unlike most books-to-blockbuster movies, I didn't read any of the novels before watching. Frankly, I'm not sure that I would have dug the books like I do the films and that has a lot to do with the talented Mr. Damon. He manages to present a character who's concerned about innocent bystanders, makes genuine connections with his female leads and still manages to find time to take out the assassins who've been sent to kill him. His understated clothes and chiseled forearms make for a down-to-earth mega-hottie as there's nothing more attractive than a normal-joe-type who can whip out a roundhouse kick, if required. 

Congratulations Jason Borne, you're #4!! (in no particular order)


Dear Idiots:

Just where, exactly, do you think you live? The temperature's been dropping consistently these past few weeks, which is exactly the time to change from your all-season's to your winter's. There are few places where snow doesn't fall in Canada (during the winter), so are you from the south of France or something? Where are you winter tires people?!?

Idiot #1 in a red pickup truck: I grew tired of watching you fishtail and opted to pull off the road to fill up with gas. Lo and behold, 10 minutes later, you skidded in front of me for the second time, almost swerving directly into the opposite ditch. Going a cool 25km under the speed limit, you then decided to venture off to the highway. After maxing out at 70km per hour on the 110km limit highway, you made it impossible for me to pass you because you decided to drive directly in the middle of both lanes. Then, you took so long to turn onto the next street that cars started honking. HONKING!!

Side Story: On the East Side, people are so polite that they'll stop in the middle of the street so pedestrians can cross. They'll let others in from other lanes by virtually stopping before waving them in. Honking because someone's not turning is demonstrative of just how long we were waiting. 

Idiot #2 (or Idiot-ette): I wasn't exactly surprised to see you get into a fender bender as you turned left on an advanced signal, because I could see that you were texting. Here's a tip -- texting + no winter tires = expensive and potentially deadly accident. Get off of the friggin' phone, pay attention and put the winter's on! Call your parents if you don't have enough money girl cause if you hit me, I will totally lose it on you (and trust me, nobody wants that).

Idiots #3 - 7: If you had your winter tires on, you wouldn't have had to abandon your car on the side of the road or ditch. 

Perhaps you're confused because they're "winter" tires and it's not "winter" until December 21st. If they were called "fall and winter" tires, would that be better? It sounds ridiculous, but I'm willing to sign off on the adjustment if it means that you'll purchase them and put them on the first time it gets below 7 degrees, which has been the case for quite some time. Because there seem to be more of you than those who are not-idiots, I'm wary of going anywhere because there's a good chance that one of you will crash into me. Please note that you've been warned about that outcome already (*insert disapproving glare -- can't shake my fist because both hands should be on the wheel while driving in such weather). 

Get it together; nobody likes an idiot. 


I Got Framed!

If you're a crafter, cake decorator enthusiast or scrapbooker then you're aware that Michaels has everything. I can get lost in the aisles, just wandering and looking at the amazing assortment of sparkly stuff I hadn't known existed. Their prices are a little steep, but with the weekly 40% discount ticket (occasionally 50%) it's great. Last week, when the paper arrived, I did my usual and picked it up drove right over it. I try to position my car so I can just scoop it up while still driving. However, my attempts at polo-paper-collection usually end up just flattening it. Marc will come home at the end of the day and since he doesn't suffer from the same condition, grabs the squashed paper and brings it inside.

Don't misunderstand me, we don't actually read the local paper. To be fair, we live in a rural community just outside of a medium-sized city. Not much happens so the weekly newspaper is basically a glorified classifieds section with two tiny articles about farming, or hunting or something else country-esque. Nestled inside the 1-2 page paper though, are the flyers.

I love the flyers!

I love knowing what's on sale and how far I can stretch our weekly grocery budget. I've been doing a pretty good job and every three weeks or so, we're able to take the leftover cash and treat ourselves to a "free" restaurant supper. Yes, I sometimes feel like a total loser when the cashier can't figure out why my 50 cent coupon won't scan and there's a huge lineup behind me, but not enough to let that $.50 slip me by! 

In last week's paper Michaels had a MEGA-coupon unlike any other I'd seen before. So huge, in fact, that I thought my eyes were decieving me. The flyer said that on Wednesday, November 24 from 9am - noon, your entire purchase would be 30% off!! Including sale items!!! As I read the back of the flyer, I found that all of their wall frames would also be on sale.

My heart started to pound.

I'd been scoping out some wall frames there forever. They have a double matting and are just beau-ti-ful. When I'd be in for another reason, I'd stop by to visit the $65 frames and let my fingers play with the corners of the smooth black finish. In my dreams, I have three of these frames above my bed. I didn't know if the frames I loved were included in the sale, but judging by the name of this post, I'm sure you can guess what happened.

I've been holding onto this coupon for almost a week now and was impressed that (a) I didn't lose it and (b) I actually remembered to take it with me this morning. Holding my breath (metaphorically) I made my way into the way-more-crowded-than-usual store and went directly to the 3rd frame aisle. Like I said, I visit them whenever I'm there. Lo and behold, they were 40% off! Plus, I could use my 30% off coupon!!!


Well shutthefrontdoor!! When does that ever happen? It's insane! The larger frames were 60% off, so with the coupon a $100 frame would cost me $10. For reals. My pupils have never been more dilated.

It's also where I sort of lost my mind...

The problem with everything being so discounted is I felt like I needed to get everything. Things I'd never want if they were full price suddenly become must-haves. I blindly threw everything anything I could get my hands on. I wandered around the store for the better part of an hour before taking a good hard look at the contents of my tiny Michaels cart (why are they so small?). 

Starting to feel warm, partially due to my amazing coat and fear that I'd lost complete control, I tucked myself off to the end of an aisle to actually survey what I'd grabbed. Candles, Duff's cake decorating supplies, canvases, paint brushes, Christmas decorations -- it was packed!

Shaking my head while lightly scolding myself for picking up a wall ribbon-organizer, three sets of 2 for 1 candles and a box of individual tissue packets (with holiday themes), I turned around to start putting things back. After I'd emptied my cart from "non-essentials" I somehow found myself back in the frame aisle. I simply adore enlarging personal pictures (no faces though) to decorate our home. Artwork is nice, but I prefer arty photos of places we've been. Well, I've got quite a bit of developing to do because I walked out of the store with 9 new frames, 2 candles and a can of silver cake spray...all for just over $100!! 

How much did I save though?...

Over $150!!

I can't believe that I finally have the frames of my dreams as well as an additional 6 that'll be in a wall in our kitchen. The thrill of the savings and the unexpected satisfaction to my anticipatory longing have made this the best Wednesday ever!!

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (*insert dancing circle of glee).


Monday's Fictional Hottie 3

This week, I've switched from fictional characters in print to classic contemporary television. Unless you've been under a rock, you've heard of this hunk. His charm leaps off of the small screen and into your living rooms on Thursday nights. He's such a hottie, in fact, that you don't even have to be a fan of the show to appreciate his tall and lanky good-looks. 

Have you guessed him yet?

This Monday's Fictional Hottie is...

Jim Halbert from The Office (played by John Kransinski).

Hello handsome. (link)

The goofy grin, fantastic sense of humour and persistent pursuit of Pam make him a welcomed addition to the list. Did you see the first kiss with Pam? I still get tingles. Plus, now he's a dad & hottie hubby to Pam. There's nothing hotter than a hottie with a baby. For reals.

His pranks on Dwight are hilarious, especially when Jim convinced him that he was turning into a vampire. Other honorable mention pranks include: mega-desk, office-in-a-bathroom and, of course, the Dwight doppleganger impression.

Congratulations Jim(my), you're #3 (in no particular order)!

As an aside:
It would totally suck to be an actor who gets cast as such a great character. I'm sure that Mr. Krasinski is a brilliant actor (actually "Away We Go" was fantastic) but he'll always be Jim to me. Always. If I were to see him in real life, I would probably gawk for a second and then turn the other way. I wouldn't want to meet John-the-actor...only Jim-the-Dunder-Mifflin-Co-Manager.

It may seem like I'm taking a turn into crazy-town. Rest assured, I have a firm grip on reality. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be throwing in a DVD episode while I work out (probably the bat one, since now that's all I'm thinking about!). 


Dear Fawnia:

No offense Ms. Mondey (a combo of Monday and Money?), but your DVD's are super low-budget. By "super-low-budget" I actually mean, was there a budget? When I ordered your series on Pole Dancing, I wasn't sure what to expect. Rest assured, you've exceeded my expectations.

You start with a small disclaimer in the beginning of the first DVD about how you didn't get permission to use copyrighted music. I understand that could have made it more expensive to produce, but having no music while learning to dance seems is strange. Stranger still as you acknowledged that music was important and then left a pause so I could put some of my own on. Having music playing from a different source than the TV while focused on the TV is distracting...and confusing, but kinda funny. 

You explain the moves rather well but where the heck was this filmed? There's a pole in the middle of a gross beige carpeted room with shoes on the wall behind you. Are you for reals dancing on carpet in a weirdo-version of your living room? Is it a store? What's going on?! Also - what kind of camera did you use to film? The picture is bruh-tal compared to others. The back of the DVD says it was filmed in 2005 -- more 1992! Even with the small tank top and hotpants, you look dated. The carpet really drives the early 90's-feel home.  

The dubbing of instruction over the demonstration also left a lot to be desired. I could hear the mic clicking in and out. 

Oh Man, Fawnia. Having the moves demonstrated and (slightly) explained has brought a lot of my former-class memories back, so that's good. However, for those who are starting out, I can't help but think that they'd feel a little seedy. 

Admit it. You set up a tripod in your basement, threw some of your costumes on a shelf behind you, edited it on your PC with freeware and then burnt copies for sale. Just how close am I?

Also, I was unaware that Canada had exotic-dancing competitions. Being Canada's premiere "award-winning exotic dancer" is a pretty big deal (isn't it?) and therefore, you should probably make sure that Amazon includes your credentials. People just loooooove credentials. The follow-up questions I have here are fairly endless...(a) Where are these competitions taking place? (b) Who's judging them? (c) What do you win? (d) Do you get letters you get to put after your name like other credentials? 

I've worked through the beginner sections and half of the intermediate. I'm quite looking forward to the "Dance Moves" DVD, but mostly to see how you're going to teach dance steps with no music. My fingers are crossed for a hilarious workout. 

BTW, your advanced DVD moves include fire.  Fire?!

Marc's terrified. I'll be giving our local fire department a head's up before that one. 


Extreme Dog-mas

I love Christmas. 


I may be slightly biased because my birthday is around the same time (it's the one time of year that I get presents...a glorious, glorious three days of anticipatory excitement). It's kind of difficult to live with me for the middle weeks of December, but thankfully Marc's onside with my desire to have "Christmas throw up all over of our house." When we play the when-we-win-the-lottery-game, my mind almost always ends up fantasizing about the silver, blue and purple decorations that would be on every available surface and lit with a zillion twinkle lights (I'm more partial to non-traditional Christmas colours). Oh...and a blow-up Santa that stands in your yard and sporadically pulls down his pants to moon passerby's. Classy. 

On Monday, my love of Christmas decorations was tested. Please keep in mind that I have extremely eclectic decorative tastes. 

I dropped the boys off at the groomer and this is what I saw:

Yes. That is a Christmas tree shaved into the back of a poodle-mix with stuck on bows. There were also purple bows on her front legs.

According to the groomer, she was "doing okay until the bows went on her front legs." I'm not so sure.

As much as I love Christmas and have outfits for Pepi and The Pickle, they wear them for a cummulative 53 seconds before insisting they be removed. This poor pup has no choice but to be a tree. Even with the bows removed, you shaved a tree into her back!!

The tree-dog's Mama seemed happy with the result. I'm still on the fence. 


Monday's Fictional Hottie 2

I've been delighted with the feedback about Monday's Fictional Hotties, so it looks like I'm gonna keep 'er going! Since last Monday, I've been bombarded with ideas. I like to cast a wide net (as do some of my friends) and I'm having a great time. 

This morning, I looked downs my huge list and my eyes locked onto one particular name. I briefly Goggled him to find a picture, which confirmed his spot on the list.

Without further adieu, may I present The second Fictional Hottie...

Reggie Mantle!

Hello Reggie (notice the coordination with the jacket and shoes)  (link)

He was a jock, played bass in a band and had enough cockiness to catch my pre-pubescent attention. His constant desire to undermine Archie and win Veronica's heart was a welcome change from Archie's indecisiveness (poor Betty/like Veronica really cared). Also, Reggie may have been my first encounter with a metro-sexual as he loved combing his hair and sporting nice clothes (current 90's trends that in retrospect were awful, but it's not fair to judge from now...obv). Although sometimes painted as the 'bad guy,' I was always rooting for ole Reg. 

In the early 1990's, there was even a made-for-TV-movie called Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again that I loved.  Seeing the characters in non-cartoon-form was awesome. I can't find a picture of the actor who played the dapper Mr. Bush (bummer) but am sure that he brought the cartoon hunk to life. I've also read that there may be a re-make!! Fingers crossed, people!

So there you go, Mr. Reggie 'I Love Me' Mantle. You're the hottest of all of grocery-store-comic-book characters and #2 on the Fictional Hotties list (in no particular order).

Who's in for a trip to Pop's?


Holey Poley!

Since the summer, I've been working on my fitness. It's been a slow process, but six months later have managed to drop some pounds and keep them off. I remember what it was like to be able to run around without passing out and although I'm not even close to that yet, it's nice fitting into my skinn-ay clothes. It's been challenging to find things I can do to stay somewhat in shape while I wait out my medical bru-ha-ha. Especially since I have to work-out solo (a gym's filled with too many people's sweaty germs -- it's a death trap for me). 

Kijiji's been my best friend in collecting various pieces of equipment and a side of the basement has been gradually filling up with a couple of different boxing bags, a pretty good elliptical machine, some free weights and a T-zone. For those who don't know, a T-zone is that astronauts use to work out in space -- for reals! It's a moving platform that you stand on while doing traditional exercises. In 10 minutes, you've worked out for almost an hour!! I used to pay a membership fee to a place downtown, but they went out of business and got locked out. Their landlord had a fire-sale and I snapped up a (usually seriously expensive) machine. I was a total skeptic but my arms have never been buff-er. 

Despite the coming-together-nicely gym, it's still hella boring down there....until now! 

Back in the day when I lived in Toronto, I took a series of pole-dancing classes. They were the most fun EVER and I've been talking about getting my own pole since. Marc's side business has been doing rather well lately and he ordered me one last week (whatta guy)! On Wednesday, my awesome stainless steel removable pole arrived in the mail. 


We moved our gigantic framed mirror (left from previous owners from the condo -- the greatest leave-behind score of all time) downstairs and centered the pole in front of it. I'm seriously rusty but played around with the moves that I remembered. I sweated up a storm and had the time of my life. This morning though, I can barely move.

For reals.

My arms can't go up past my shoulders. Pickle-the-five-pound-Yorkie feels like he weighs 50. Getting down the stairs was a challenge. My left calf muscle keeps spontaneously cramping. Marc's concerned that people are going to think he's throwing things at me because my knees, shins, thighs and arms are smattered with bruises. Granted, my meds make me bruise like a peach, but I can't believe how many there are after one day! 

Funny as it sounds, I think I've managed to find the one form of exercise that's better to do solo than in a group. Without risking embarrassment, I can fall, flail and give myself some serious face while shaking my proverbial tail-feather. My music preferences are all over the place, so making my own soundtrack is awesome (and I can sing along). I ordered some instructional DVD's and am looking forward to my future buff-ness-by-fun-ness. For those of you who are looking for a super-fun way to stay fit, I highly recommend finding a fitness studio avec les poles. You'll never look back (and the side benefits of learning different hip movements speak for themselves). 

I was looking forward to getting some spins in this morning, but can barely write this post.  Deep stretching may be more realistic. 

No wonder exotic dancers are so skinny.

I need to buy some epson salts. 


Lest We Forget

As most of you can tell by now...I'm funny. Yup, I'm friggin' hilarious. 

However, today is November 11th (Remembrance Day) and there isn't anything funny about that.

My grandfather (Papa) was a WWII veteran and Auschwitz survivor. He never spoke much about it -- who would? The fact that he managed to make it through a place that's sole purpose was to murder innocents is extraordinary. My mother visited the site when she was in Poland a few years ago and said that it was almost impossible to breathe, let alone speak while inside the buildings that had held so many. Buildings filled with rooms of shoes, clothes and hair. Despite the horror that my Papa saw on a day-to-day basis, he somehow managed to go on with his life. After the war, he got a degree in agriculture from Cambridge University and set off to northern Africa to share farming techniques. When my mother came along, he and my grandmother (Maman) moved to Canada, where he went on to have a very successful tree farm (as well as many other business investments).

My Papa but I had a unique opportunity to get to know each other when he moved in with us. I was in  high school and to say that there were conflicts would be an understatement. He was a hard-ass (an original Red Forman) and I was a 16-year-old smart-ass who knew everything. It wasn't exactly a Hallmark generations-become-best-friends time, as I was a fairly selfish brat and he was super anal about things I was careless about. Frankly, I'd always thought he cared more about my cat than he did about me. 

After I left home for university, I was eager to get away and start my own life. Moving 1,500kms away gave me a new perspective and I was able to see my Papa as a person. I was heavily involved in my university Student Union and attended many Remembrance Day events and other veteran-related things (there's a large military base nearby). The more I heard vets from WWII (and other wars, of course) the more empathy I had for my Papa. He survived a hell-on-earth and went on to become a father, grand-father and successful businessman in a foreign country. 

I'd make sure to visit whenever I'd come home to visit and we had a few pretty good talks. He was mildly seriously obsessed with tennis and was a serious whiz on the computer (I kid not -- he was the first person I knew who had a Mac). I'd walk into his room and there'd be tennis playing on his TV with scoreboards of other games in overlapping windows on his blue-backed-Mac. He kept his own winners' trees too. He loved Coffee Crisp chocolate bars and Turtles at Christmas. Despite his double-knee replacement surgery, he'd get on his stationary bike every morning to exercise. He wrote complaint letters about everything and instilled my love for comped items that arrived by mail. He also put away enough money so my brother and I could attend any university of our choice. Our relationship improved dramatically in his last few years and I'm grateful for it as he passed away while I was still in undergrad. 

I finished my first degree and went onto a Masters and finally to college for practical counseling training. It was in college that my view on my Papa shifted again. Post-traumatic stress wasn't acknlowledged back then and I'm fairly certain he didn't privately participate in counseling. I was in therapy forever as a teen and that was for random-teen-crap. I can't imagine how my Papa would have been able to move past seeing the atrocious things he was witness to so obviously his lens of the world invariably changed. It started to make sense to me why he was so hard on me. He'd lived through an awful time but had moved on with hard work and determination. Watching me yak on the phone while spending hours painting my nails must have looked like a frivolous waste of time when I could have been studying or doing something productive. 

I know now that he was proud of me and each year I seem to gain more insight to the man he was when he wasn't "my Papa." Although I have a long life yet, I'm psyched that I'll get to hang out with him again, eating fried rice and watching Wimbledon from the best seats in the house. Hey, since it's Heaven, we'll probably get to play a game or two ourselves. 

Love you Papa. 

Today, I remember. 


Dough! I Made Pizza.

It's been just over two weeks since I've been on my 'make your own food' kick and I'm still goin' strong. I've never done so many dishes in my life, but the food's been turning out nicely. This weekend, Marc had a hankering for pizza, so I whipped out my 500 Recipes for Pizza & Flatbread cookbook (where the calzones came from) to see how hard it was to make regular pizza dough. There were a zillion choices (okay, more like seven). I decided on making 'pan pizza dough' because that's what Pizza Hut uses and their pizza is dee-lish!

Decision made, I started on the actual making of the dough.

This mixer really does make things easier (thanks babe!)
It wasn't too hard, but I didn't have instant yeast so I used traditional and the additional rising made the whole process a little more intense than it had to be.

A little lumpy, but it rose (ever so slowly)
After the punch-down (the fun-nest part of making anything bread-ish), I attempted to stretch out the dough by hand but I sucked at it. The rolling pin made things much easier. 

My crusts weren't consistent. I have a newfound respect for cooks at The Hut. 

Adding the sauce, toppings and cheese, they were off to the oven to bake for a mere 10 minutes! When I took them out, the smells were drool-worthy. I'd thought that we'd have leftovers, considering I made two...but that didn't happen.

You can't even tell the crusts were suckily-constructed!
All-in-all, they were really good but didn't taste anything like The Hut. If I make pan dough again, I'll wait until I can buy some instant yeast so it doesn't need to rise for an hour...followed by an additional 45 minutes. 

For reals. It was an epic rise-fest. 

ps. I've been changing the design of my blog for a while now, but I think this one'll stick for a while. You likey?