Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I knew it!

A few weeks ago I came out of an evening church service and saw that I had missed calls from both my brother Seth. Not totally weird but I don't talk to either of them all that often so it did make me wonder what was up. I even had the conscious thought that Seth may be calling to give me some good news and wondered if I should wait to speak with him before calling Dad. In the end I got a hold of Dad first and he was calling out about something totally different. I spoke with Seth the next day and while he didn't have any "news", he did talk an awful lot about his long time girlfriend Brittany. Like more than usual. I was suspicious but it was really unfounded. Just a gut feeling.

Last Monday I got a text from Seth at 7am his time saying "are you up". I replied about an hour after receiving the message saying "yes, but I'm at work. Call me after 1pm my time". I went back out onto the floor and told my coworker (who is also named Brittany) "my brother just called to tell me that he's engaged. Maybe. I think so at least. Maybe not. I hope so though!" Again, I didn't have any real reason to feel that way.

Seth did call when I was done work and caught me on the bus on my way home. We chatted about about our days (Me having finished work and him heading up to Fort McMurry, Alberta) and then he said "well, she said yes". I wasn't going to let him off the hook that easy so I answered "to what question?" and he admitted that he had proposed the night before and Brittany had said yes. My response? (I was off the bus by this time) "I KNEW IT!" LOL

They've been going out for three years now (or maybe four? I forget.) So it wasn't totally unexpected but none of my family has spoken with him specifically about it. I'm so happy for them. I really, really like Brittany and I'm happy to have her for a sister. Now we just have to hope that Seth won't be a groomzilla :P

(Pictures are Brittany and Seth and Brittany and I last Christmas).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Welcome Home

My friend Jerusha was teaching in London for the first half of the year. She got back at the beginning of August so our friend Jess hosted Sunday lunch in her honour as a "welcome home". At the table L-R is me, Jerusha, our friend Sharlaine who is also from BC and Jerusha's sister Keren.
Jess outdid herself with the meal. We had an incredible fresh salad with a mango/almond puree dressing, baked brie with garlic and focaccia bread with two different dipping options for our first course. The second course was new potatoes, salmon with rosemary and other spices and corn on the cob (which was a little slow to cook so we dug into the salmon and potatoes first).

Sunday was also the day before Sharlaine's 25th birthday so the trifle dessert was in her honour.

It was a wonderful time of hanging out, catching up and mostly just being together. A lovely way to spend a Sunday. We had a late service that day so about 5pm we all packed up and headed up to church. It was great.

Jerusha and our amazing hostess, Jess.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fun at work

I closed last Friday and we decided to leave a little "surprise" for our boss who was opening. Brian took every garbage in the store and put them by the espresso machine. Not a big deal and really an easy fix in the morning but it made us giggle.

I asked our manager about it the next day and he just smiled, shrugged and replied "initially I was scared that they were undergoing some weird cleaning procedure so I was happy to find out that they just needed to be moved!"

To "make up" for our minor prank we made sure to make sure the rest of the store was in tip top shape. We even left out aprons for the openers complete with till tags and sharpies.

And lastly, a quick shot of the front of the store as seen from over the pastry case. This was at about 12:30 am just before we locked up.

French Update

Classes don't start again until September 12th, so over a month still. I am so happy about that. I'm looking forward to going back and I'm excited about my classes but I am not ready yet. I'm still enjoying my summer! That said, there are certain things that have started already, like French Club. We had our first "summer meet up" on the evening of Sunday, July 24th. We met at the school and walked downtown for gelato (which we realize isn't French but all the "French" places were too far away). It was nice. It was a good mix of English and really rusty French but at least we tried.

The following Tuesday was the first meeting of the Directorate of French Club, of which I am one "Directrice". Unfortunately there weren't a lot of other people there so we just discussed what NEEDS to be done and didn't really make any decisions. We did nominate two new people (Kerri and Jeff) as co-presidents though. The person who has been our president for the past few years is just finishing her degree so she won't be around for the full year. The other "senior member" (aka person who has been on the directorate for a year or more) is going to France for half the year so these two are the only other logical candidates. They both decided that they'd take in on in a shared position. We sent the nomination out by email after the meeting and it looks like most people agree.

We met again last Friday and there were a few more people there. We also held the meeting in our regular spot in the Language Lounge at the school and the chair of the French Department joined us for a bit and shared an update from the Departmental level which was great. As of that meeting it looks like I'll be sharing the treasurer position with Kerri because I have a bit of a background in that area. Aka - when the budget worksheet was reviewed I was the only one who's eyes didn't glaze over and didn't freak out. I'm pretty comfortable with that kind of thing so I figure I may as well put my work experience to good use.

We're just working on coordinating schedules for the next meeting but it will be soon. I'm looking forward to it. I enjoy this kind of thing :)

One last "French thing". I met with the French advisor. I do get credit, for my time in Quebec but it's a "Junior" credit. Meaning 100 level which means it won't count towards my French minor. I'm okay with that though. She agreed that I need to take 230 (the next class that I would have taken if I hadn't gone to Quebec, and one that IS required for a minor) and said that I'm probably a lot more prepared for 230 now because there is quite a jump between 102 and 230. I'm happy with that. I'm taking French because I want to know it and want to be able to use it. If she had decided that Quebec equaled 230 I would have been hooped. I NEED the practice. The other good thing is, since I only took four classes each semester last year I'm technically a bit short on credits for my first year so this means I'm not as far behind. And I did GET a credit. Honestly, by about week four in Quebec I didn't really care if I got ANYTHING so this is nice.

So there, that's what's going on for the French side of my life :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Detroit Tigers

My friend Mike took a baseball tour this summer. They hit eight cities in twelve days and saw eight baseball games in that time as well as touring the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The second last stop took them to Detroit and since that was the closest to me, and it was an afternoon game, I decided to book Thursday off and join him.

This was my first time going to Detroit. It's super easy in that you just get on the 401 in Ontario and follow it down until it turns into the tunnel border crossing. The tunnel brings you out right in downtown Detroit and from there it's just a few short blocks to Comerica Park.

We met about a half an hour before the game began at the carousel. This is the only photo I got of it though :( I think we were too busy catching up. We grabbed a quick lunch (wraps because it was stinking hot so we wanted something light) and walked around the concourse before finding our seats. Actually, we found my seat which was up about twenty rows and over one section from his. My row was in the shade so we sat there and no one had a problem with it so we stayed there for the whole game.

Mike is a way bigger baseball fan than I am but this was his seventh game in a row so while we did watch the game, neither of us really needed to concentrate that much. He showed me the pictures of the cities he had visited already (Boston, Cooperstown, New York for the Yankees and the Mets, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh.)

During the seventh inning stretch I took this picture of us. I was showing how good my wide angle lens is...you can tell that I'm still not used to it!
After the game we met up with his parents and all went for dinner in "Greektown" (did you know that there's a Greektown in Detroit?) The restaurant we picked was pretty authentic Greek but not what we're used to so it was a bit disappointing (that's what you get for randomly picking a restaurant though). The servers were awesome though. They were RUNNING through the restaurant and flambeing (Is that a word? There's no red line under it.) saganaki, the Greek cheese that is doused with alcohol and then lit on fire. It was HOT and I'm pretty sure I lost some arm hairs. :P It made for a fun "show" though :)
I headed out about 7pm. The line at the border only took about a half an hour but because you're snaking through downtown and because I didn't actually know where the line went, it felt longer. The border guards each way were pretty good. Going down he was a bit suspicious that I drove so far (it's about three hours) just for a ball game so he did check my trunk but on the way back the guy hardly blinked and I was on my way in no time.

I was treated to a soft pretty sunset on the way home and, after getting stuck in a bit of construction, made it home before 11. I used a whole tank of gas going there and back but it was worth the trip.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Pinery Provincial Park

Monday was a Civic Holiday in Ontario. Meaning lots of people get the day off but it's not actually a statutory holiday (it is in some provinces, BC being one). I only had to work from 8am to 1pm so when Jess mentioned that she was planning on heading to Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron I convinced her to wait around and take me with her. Actually I had volunteered to just drive out and meet her but it's about 1.5 hours from my place and she realized how dumb it would be to take two cars so she waited.

It was a perfectly lovely day. Chili, Jess's standard poodle was with us, which means we were on the dog beach. It was pretty busy but the waves were loud so even though you could see everyone else, you really couldn't hear them. The beach front in that particular spot is pretty narrow as well and backs onto a grassy bluff so there was no one behind or in front of us.

Jess and Chili played Frisbee in the water some but I mostly just sat and read my book. The sun was warm but there was a strong breeze so it wasn't too bad. I wore a cap and sunglasses for most of the day and Jess wore the big floppy hat that you can see in my picture.

She packed a scrumptious picnic salad of mangoes, avocados, and blueberries over organic lettuce along with tuna salad on rice cakes. I haven't had rice cakes in years but they are a perfect summer beach food.

As the sun started to set the beach cleared off and we ended up staying for the whole show. It was so peaceful. In the last picture the sky was almost a rainbow. Redish-orange along the horizon, yellow and a tinge of green moving up and fading into a purple blue. It was gorgeous.

Jess actually lives on Lake Ontario so we walk along the waterfront all the time when I visit. With this visit to Lake Huron I have officially completed #72 on my list (visit all five great lakes) but I look forward to spending much more time at them.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The big three-zero

Sunday was my birthday. My thirtieth birthday. I'm officially in a new decade. I remember turning ten. I was so excited to be in the double digits. Turning thirty hasn't been all that bad. Not nearly as exciting as ten but nothing to dread. I had a harder time with 23 for sure. Anyway, I think the fact that I had such a wonderful day helped make it easier. My phone was going off constantly all day with Facebook messages, texts and emails. I went to church in the morning and for our weekly potluck afterwards where everyone sang Happy Birthday. In the late afternoon six of my closest friends joined me for a trip into Toronto. We parked at a shopping centre and took the subway into the downtown core. Our destination was the CN Tower which I haven't been to since my visit to Ontario in 2000. I figure once every ten years is good :)

The day was a bit smoggy and slightly overcast so we couldn't see super far but it was decent. They've expanded the glass floor since I was there last. Some people still have a lot of problems with it but I like it :)

This is the group: Jess, Rachel, me, Esther, Grace, Elizabeth and Leasa. Leasa was with me the first time I went to the tower but she didn't actually go up. Rachel and Grace were born and raised in Ontario but this was their first trip to the top!!!

After the tower Leasa and Elizabeth had to head home but the rest of us went out for a light dinner and I got a birthday brownie (with forks so I could share :)) It was close to midnight by the time I got home but it was so worth it. Great friends and great memories make turning thirty a lot better. I look forward to thirty more years of memories :)