The day my ice skates died.

6 03 2010

We had a little Ice Skating/Learn to Skate tweetup this evening. I think we had 8 people there, but it was fun, and I really love skating. (I think I love skating more than rugby, that’s saying a lot, btw.)

The people who run Schenley Ice Rink should be embarrassed by the condition of the ice when we got there around 9:30. The ice was so choppy and torn up that it was hard to skate. To make matters worse, there were huge chunks of  left over ice shavings stuck to the ice. I hit one of said mounds of ice shavings and fell down – my right knee cap loves you right now, Schenley.  A half an hour into skating there were no fewer than 6 orange/yellow cones on the ice covering the hazardous mounds…

I’ve remarked to fellow Tweetup skaters in the past that Schenley’s ice quality is poor, but seriously, this was ridiculous.  I’ve never seen ice conditions like this. Now I know we’ve had a slight warm up in temperatures around here lately, but this was awful. Granted, when they cleaned the ice the conditions slightly improved, but the rink still sucks. I’m sorry, but it does. I’m seriously crazy happy when I skate. I just love it so much. But it’s going to be tough to get me to Schenley rink ever again. It’s now in the same category as PPG’s rink. Barf.

To make things worse, as we were leaving, I discovered that my beloved skates, which I brought back last year from near death, have cracks in the plastic tongue on both skates, which means I have to retire them. This is a sad, sad day. But then again, after somewhere between 18-20 years of use, I guess it’s to be expected, right?

I’ve noticed the rental skates now have plastic bodies, rather than the old brown leather of the past, so maybe I’ll give them a try, but I’ll eventually be in the market for new skates. Probably sooner rather than later once I tell The GrandPa that I’m going to rent skates. Oh, the horror!

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Olympics & the un-holiday.

14 02 2010

Woo hoo! It’s Winter Olympics time. One of my favorite things ever. I like the Summer version, but the Winter ones really have my heart.

I really try to watch the opening ceremonies every year. This year was okay. After Beijing, I think it’s going to be hard to do something more breathtaking than they did.

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I did really like how they used the floor and the video cameras. I tried to find an overhead pic of the whales, but couldn’t.  The other one I really loved was this:

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And, I was surprised I didn’t see pics of this DURING the ceremony, but apparently it’s part of the advertising for the Olympics. The Inukshuk

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I’ve talked about that figure before here. The damn Inukshuk is determined that I find my way one of these day.

My mom has always loved watching figure skating. My favorite is speed skating. But really, I’ll watch any winter sport they show. Luge, skeleton, Nordic Combined… whatever. You put it on TV and I’ll check it out.

I managed to watch Ohno’s final last night after I got home. I watched the prelims earlier in the day. But, long track speed skating is my favorite. I watched the men’s 5000m yesterday. And tonight the women start with the 3000m. I can’t wait to see it. (Also, interested to know if you think the women’s thighs are really that much bigger than most female athletes… Please comment…)

In other news, we’re getting more snow. Wonderful. 2-4″ more reasons to want to move away. Great.

Also, I had a wonderful night out Saturday night. We had a very late dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse (steak! nom nom nom) and then saw Crazyheart. (While we both liked the movie, we didn’t think it was as good as the hype…)

And FM even bought me chocolates for Valentine’s Day! (even though I had told him I think it’s an un-holiday.) 🙂 He’s pretty cool. He has now earned his originally requested name of “Rockstar.” We’ll see if he still wants it. lol.





What Santa does…

18 12 2009

There has been a recent discussion on Twitter initiated by BurghBaby. Does Santa deliver to where the kid IS or where the kid LIVES.

A few days ago I sent a tweet giving my opinion.

There is also a discussion on whether Santa wraps presents or not. All I can tell you is MY Santa did both, but the BIG gifts? They were not wrapped. Dunno what this year willl bring, but even in the past 5 years, “Santa” has given both Lili and I wrapped presents. Hmm. Wonder who Santa is…

And now there is an actual survey on her site asking what you think about where Santa finds the kids… Please read what I have to say, and then go HERE and give your opinion. Help my friend out – if you read this? I guarantee BurghBaby or someone else that she and I are friends with have helped me 30,000 times over.  DO IT. I command you!

So, I’m going to start by telling Lili that she should be so happy I never took that scanner from her. Otherwise, there would be pictures of her and yours truly back in the day. (To be honest, those pics would really help right now…)

All holidays while Lili and I were growing up – Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving… were spent in Canada or on the way to Canada. Sometimes Toronto, sometimes Montreal.

I know I’ve told you all I *asked* for a little sister, and I got her. (Love you!) And I remember her first Christmas, and I have one other memory which are in my head as if they were yesterday. Neither one was ON Christmas Day. All were a day or two before. My parents had to do it because we were headed to Canada for the actual day.

So first Lili and I Christmas memory:

The thing I know for sure is that when I went downstairs, and The Nana carried Lili, there were a ton of wrapped presents. But there were also unwrapped, set-up ones. I’m pretty sure I got a huge-a** chalkboard that year. Wow, I loved that chalkboard!

All of the unwrapped ones were from Santa. All of the “big” requests on our list (to be honest, I made Lili’s list for the most part until she was old enough. She still wouldn’t see Santa at the mall, but sent me to see him with her list in tow. She’s so cute.) OOH! I wish I had that scanner or pic right now so I could remember everything that was there!!

Anyway, each year that we went to Canada, we were allowed to open and/or play with these gifts early, but then we had to select one or two to take with us on the trip.

So now we have memory #2. It was Christmas Eve, I think. We were driving through Erie (hi FatherSpoon! hi Woycheck!) and a monster storm hit. I remember being in the back seat of the car, playing with some kind of toy. While The GrandPa (who grew up in Montreal where the snow was taller than him! I have pics, I swear!) was digging our car out of the snow. Oooh boy, was he mad. As The Nana says, the air was blue from his swearing. We ended up spending the night in a hotel in Erie or somewhere near Niagara Falls. The Nana would probably faint from my memories from that trip… (How do I remember this crap and Lili remembers almost nothing?!?!?!!)

I could share more, but for family things, I won’t. All I can tell you is no matter what the other family members think, you should remember that Santa finds you at YOUR HOME. If you travel, this will help you with the “Oh, Will Santa find us if we aren’t at home?” questions. Hooray to The Nana and The GrandPa on that one. Somehow I’m sure my brain and that question are the reason that Santa always came to OUR house… And I know eventually Lili and NE will have to travel, and while I’d LOVE to see everything my lovely gets for Christmas, I know that can’t happen.

And if Santa doesn’t want to wrap up the big gigantic things like a chalkboard? I’m going to give the big fat man that one. I love wrapping presents, but I do not want to wrap something big like that.

(Also, some of my fave memories of Christmas in Montreal involve a certain Grandfather clock that is now dead and hanging in my “room” in Florida. Lili, I’ll fight you for it, but if The Nana tries to gets rid of it, I’d love you even more for holding onto it for me!!)





Things from Florida, and Canada…

28 07 2009

My parents are in town… And with them they brought presents. Mostly old presents.

  • Like the pair of brown sandals my mom picked up from me at JC Penney over a year ago.
  • And the black sandals she bought for me last Christmas.

Both of which I left at my parents house last Christmas. (both of which will come in handy since I can’t wear flip flops at work anymore…)

They brought a few Christmas gifts – a set of Tervis Tumblers, and snowmen decorations that my mom buys my sister and I every year – that I had left.

They brought two shirts that I had forgotten I even left there. Including a Columbia shirt.  I love Columbia clothing, especially in the summer. How I forgot about this shirt, I have no idea.

They brought a shopping bag full of paperback books. Mass market paperbacks that I’ll read every once in a while. One book per sitting. So, it will last me a month or two.

I also got a sweet new pair of Merrell sandals. (Guaranteed my parents did NOT pay what Zappos is asking!) They are super comfy!

They also brought two cans of pure Canadian Maple Syrup. Yay!

And they brought me one of the most delicious things ever made. Okaramel. aka Caramel Butter or Velvet Caramel. Made by the monks at the Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac at Oka. I don’t really know what you’re supposed to use it for – I always put it on toast. But I’m sure there are a thousand uses for it.

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I’ll probably look into the other options at some point. But now I’m going to bask in the delicious glory that is three, that’s right, THREE 900g jars of Okaramal. That’s nearly 6 pounds of Okaramel. The last jar I had was maybe 1/4 of this. And I finished it three years ago at best.

If my apartment looses power, you bet your butt that I’m going through hell & highwater to save these jars. I will try very hard to NOT eat all three jars in one sitting with multiple loaves of bread.

I also got a new silver Inukshuk.

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What’s an Inukshuk? It is commonly a stone figure, used to “point you in the right direction.” It’s an Inuit cultural symbol. See more here

This is not my first Inukshuk. My parents bought me one on their last trip through Canada, similar to this one, though made of polished stone, quite a few years ago. So technically, I now own Inuksuit.

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I’m cool with this. Because who doesn’t need someone or something to point them in the right direction once in a while? I have Little C now, but really, I’ll take all the help I can get.

I was also loaned a stack of pictures of Little C for me to scan into my laptop. Including the picture from the very second I first held Little C. And some other cute ones I haven’t seen yet!





Decided.

20 07 2009

I finally spoke to my mom tonight. First time in 5 days or so. My mom confirmed that they ate at the restaurants I mentioned here. And when I asked if they ate at Rôtisserie Laurier BBQ, my mom said Yes! It was just as we all remembered. Delicious. I nearly cried. And then she went on to tell me that she and my dad shared a piece of Sugar Pie for dessert. I’m sure that by telling me not only was it JUST like we remembered, but by telling me THEY SHARED A PIECE OF THE PIE I WOULD KILL SOMEONE FOR, my mom hates me and is trying to make me miserable. Would anyone like to bankroll a trip to Montreal for a meal at Rôtisserie Laurier BBQ for me? No? Great, I remain miserable….

Bonus point to my mom for telling me they did actually stop at the Oka Abbey and hopefully purchased loads of Caramel Butter for me to devour like a crazy lady. Caramel Butter? Think that caramel apple dip on crack and then some… It’s the almost as delicious as Sugar Pie… I didn’t ask how much they bought for me, I’m considering it an early birthday surprise when they get to the ‘Burgh next week.

I just realized I forgot to ask my mom to get me Madelines from the shop across the street from Rôtisserie Laurier BBQ.  Crap. I’m a failure.

The saving grace of the phone call was the discussion of what to get My Little C for her baptism. Pretty much immediately after I posted this post, I started to wonder what to buy or make (obviously) for My Little C . After thinking on it for a while, I decided I wouldn’t make something. I wanted something that would eventually help explain to Little C that I love her to death, think about her just about every second of every day, and will always be here for her, no matter what.  And, I’ve found it!! And my mom thinks it’s great!! But I can’t post it here right now because it’s going to be a surprise for Little C, Lili and NE.  So I’m moving forward with it. Yay!

I’d still kill someone for a slice of Rôtisserie Laurier BBQ Sugar Pie. I’m not kidding. Dang.





Coinkydink…

17 07 2009

For those of you confused, I did spell it right. See more info on it here.

This post totally got away from me the second I put in the picture. Crap. Please be patient with me.

Anyway, my parents are on a tour of sorts of Canada. If you only knew how often we visited Canada when I was a kid, you’d understand that this is totally normal and not a “big vacation.”

However, they are doing something a bit different. They left Florida last Sunday. By Monday night they were in Northeast PA, staying overnight. They then drove to Quebec City. They plan to then go to Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Then come to da ‘Burgh to see me. Talk about a sad end to a vacation…

I am not sure of the real reason they went to Quebec City, but they did. I’ve been there, and it’s fantabulously gorgeous, so I hope they enjoyed it.

They are in the land of Poutine right now, and yet that isn’t what I am jealous of…

My mom called on Wednesday to tell me she tried to type an email on a hotel PC and all of a sudden the text turned to French. I have no idea why, who knows, but she gave up. Poor mom doesn’t know how to read/speak French, and I’m sure the random switch was a shock… Still, no idea how that happened…

She called to tell me she saw kids from Stanstead in Old Quebec. Who would have thought my parents would randomly choose to go to Quebec City in mid-July and see them? Well, me, now that I’ve thought about it… (that’s your Coinkydink btw) But really, that is really kind of cool. To me and my mom, anyways…

And then she told me she and my dad were going to St. Hubert Bar-B-Q. Oooh, and this is where my jealousy begins. Hard core.

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For dinner. For the classic “Hot Chicken Sandwich.” For those of you not in-the-know, a “Hot Chicken Sandwich” is a piece of white bread with pieces of freshly cooked, hot chicken spread across it, topped with another piece of white bread. Top the “sandwich” with green peas. Yes, peas on TOP of the sandwich. Add some fries on the side, for good measure, then you pour gravy over the whole thing.

The St. Hubert version is okay. Not great.  But if you want the real thing, you go to Rôtisserie Laurier BBQ in Outremont, Montreal. That’s the REAL Hot Chicken Sandwich, folks. We have talked to people that work there and I think I heard a story about a family member talking to an owner or someone high-up, about how they cook the chicken etc, yet we still have no idea how they make the chicken taste so freaking spectacular… No one in my family has EVER tasted chicken like they serve at Laurier… Don’t believe me? See here and here. That’s the best reviews I found. And believe me, I tried to find a website, more detailed reviews, photos and such.(Yes, I’m calling mom tomorrow to ask her to take pics of the sandwich and restaurant.)

However, there’s something even better at Rôtisserie Laurier BBQ. If you can get past the sandwich, and if I can get past the that and 1/2 chicken meal my dad always orders that I’m seeing in my mind…

It’s called “Sugar Pie.” Served by the slice for dessert. I can’t believe I couldn’t find a review of it online. I can’t even begin to tell you how freaking wonderful it is… The best comparison I can give you is Pecan Pie, minus the pecans, yet the texture of the pie is different.

Let’s put it this way – for at least one birthday in my early/mid teens? My parents bought me an ENTIRE Sugar Pie to use/eat as my birthday cake. And I ate it, sliver by sliver, tiny pieces. To make it last longer.

If I really, really had cash to spend? I’d spend every birthday I’ve had for the past 5 years, and the next every-single-year-birthday eating dinner there, Hot Chicken Sandwich, with a Sugar Pie in its entirety. No, I am not kidding. Even in the slightest. I asked my mom to find out if they will ship me a Sugar Pie. And, not kidding, a hot chicken sandwich. I know they won’t, but what’s the harm in asking, right?

I have wasted many hours in years past for pics, reviews, recipes etc. for both the Laurier chicken and the Sugar Pie, and failed like someone who never looked at a computer. Seriously.

Ok, so who’s going to send me to Montreal for my non-existent birthday coming up soon? Anyone? No? Well, we all better hope Laurier will ship me all my food loves.





Voici mon secret…

5 12 2008

“Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”

Yep, I have a secret… Yours truly can speak French. Not fluently, but if I tried, I could manage. I don’t try. I’m terrified of trying. But I can read and translate and listen and do the same… I’ve read The Little Prince, by Antoine de St. Exupery in French – and wrote a paper on it in French.

The French language has been a big part of my life. Every summer in high school, I spent the entire month of July at the Stanstead College Summer Language Adventure (sounds so much better in French – Sejour Linguistique). I was a student for 3 years and a counselor for 1. And those experiences really impacted me. I’ve talked about it before in my post on JP.

The idea is that you learn the language. Yeah, I didn’t. The Quebecois kids were always more willing to speak English than we were French. But, god, I have some AMAZING memories. When I was there, during the week you took classes in your secondary language. For two of the 4 weekends, you went on camping trips. I climbed Mount Washington on one of those trips. One of those weekends, you went to a city that spoke your second language. I got to see Quebec City, which is a gorgeous city, including the Chateau Frontenac. Beautiful.

chateaufrontenacI also got to run around my favorite Canadian city, Montreal. And take my friends to my favorite place there. A place that isn’t there now. So depressing. My dad went here when he was a kid….

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Ben’s Deli was where I learned my love of warm pastrami on rye with mustard. To date, only Smallman Street Deli compares. But it’s still not the same as Ben’s… I’d do almost anything to have Ben’s back and go back there again… all I have now are memories and one t-shirt.

The one thing that reminds me of ALL of this, is this one song. It reminds me of every summer. For some reason, the DJ at our little ‘dances’ played this every summer….


(music randomly selected by Mindbling)

If you want lyrics and translation, let me know. Trust me, internet translation blows. So I have something set up for it. 🙂