Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christmas Bits

Lynora has better photos up, but I'll add a few:

Elise gets to host a sleepover.... and the first dance performance

Nov.(not a) Long Weekend-Edmonton

A picnic at the pool

Hanging out at Nolan's house

Halloween props!

Back to school and Will's birthday- Sept. 08

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Catching Up?

It seems I haven't had much to say in a long, long time. Quick recap of our lives since January:
Got rid of the business; new staff (but old friend) to train at work; horrid influenza creating a month of hell as it hit every one of us; car circus- in short, bought two almost simultaneously on E-Bay, one of those had to be stranded in Minot, ND for six weeks, totalled one we'd had, picked up Minot refugee vehicle, hit a deer with it, tried to sell other E-bay car then decided to keep it, found another one we wanted to keep, sold E-Bay car we had just decided to keep, sold other car we'd had for 10 years. Also- two new jobs for hubby, both relief/ part-time, and no child care for the summer. Got an alarm system, a big screen TV and digital cable, a cell phone (after six years without!), a laptop and Nintendo DS. Whew. Now that kids are back to school and settling in, maybe we'll catch our breaths.

So here's the summary in photos:

Ebay1 (Phoenix). Fun car, but sold Sept. 08.

Ebay2 (Kansas). The deer had worse damage. Fixed and running great.

92 Passat (Old Faithful). Miss you. Sold Sept. 08.

Waskesiu series. June 24-27. This was 30 seconds after we got out of the car.

Loved the way Will and Elise herded the younger cousins.

Leo. What a cutie.

I had forgotten how beautiful this place is.

Plenty of amusement in the common BBQ area.

The beer hunter.

Boating fun with Will and Nolan.

I never did figure out how Elise and Nolan got in together.
Wasn't easy getting them out.

My agile little primate doing what she does best- monkeying around.

Will has always been a digger.

More beach fun.

Playing at the resort playground.

Nolan getting bathed. "Mom, I think this tub's a little small."

Took the bikes to Oma and Opa's. Leo was pleased.

Meeting Lake, Aug. long weekend. The remains of Will's two fish, filletted by Captain Bob.

Edmonton, August 7-11. Lots of family time. Uncle Mike helping Will and Jacob with a new toy.

Elise and Jordan spent lots of time at the apple tree.

A hot afternoon at the Legislature.

Quite enjoyed watching wedding photos being taken on the steps.

Saskatoon Fireworks Festival, Idylwyld/Victoria Bridges, Aug.30th.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Las Vegas -Nov.30/07- Homeward Bound (but not really)

Friday morning, flight leaving around 1300 hours. We went out to do a bit of last-minute shopping for the kids, having obtained information on the nearest Target. Ended up being vaguely disappointing, but we both grabbed a few things anyways (toys and DVDs). The store was quite a ways off the Strip, past Terrible's Casino on Flamingo Road. We left the mall on foot, walked a few blocks to a Jack-in-the-Box for a breakfast burrito, and continued on to Terrible's to grab a cab. Back to our room to finish packing, and off to the airport.

United Airlines had unbelievably long line-ups, so we thought we'd be clever and use the express curbside check-in. Waited ten minutes to find out it was only for domestic flights. We trudged back in to the terminal and got back into the line. At least UA employees were scooting through the queue finding passengers and triaging according to departure times. However daunting check-in seemed, 'twas nothing compared to security:

Poor quality photo, I know , but the crush of people there was something to behold. Got through on time, though.

All looked well after we boarded, but it soon appeared that something was amiss. A few minutes after scheduled departure, an announcement was made that a problem with the navigation system was being repaired. After a long while, the plane began to taxi to the runway, stopped, and turned back to the gate. Another announcement was made, stating that the problem was still unsolved. So we sat for another 45 minutes or so.

Lynora had been conversing with her neighbour, an interesting fellow who was a data analyst or something with a big HMO. I resolutely tackled and completed the crossword in the airline magazine, half tuned in to their chat. They talked healthcare for a bit, then it came out that he and his wife were raising two young grandchildren while their military daughter and son-in-law were in the Middle East. Depressing.

About an hour after our scheduled take-off time, an announcement from the crew gave us permission to leave the plane, as the navigational system was still not working properly. So we headed back into the airport, painfully aware at this point we would not make our Denver- Edmonton flight. Lynora tried to get into a wireless zone so she could check an EBay bid on a lovely pair of earrings, but I don't recall her having success. We grabbed some Quizno's subs and continued to wait. Seems to me we finally re-boarded and got in the air at about the time we should have been boarding the last connection.

Finally in Denver. Really tired by this point.

So- Denver turned out to be the refugee camp for many people that night. Midwest storms wreaked air travel havoc, and our plane and at least one more from San Francisco had mechanical problems, causing delays and missed connections. The United customer service lineup was massive- we spent a good 90 minutes waiting for lodging arrangements. While in line, Lynora rebooked Edmonton flights for 0800 Saturday, and we chatted to a strange but pleasant bodybuilder guy from Montana or Wyoming or somewhere.

The UA staff was awesome that night. There were what seemed like hundreds of fatigued Germans who should have been on their way home to Frankfurt and Munich, many were very upset and way overtired. When Len and I got to a rep, she was still incredibly friendly, to her credit- she even gave us supper vouchers even though it was after 9PM. We elected not to try and find our luggage (didn't much care at that point), picked up emergency overnight kits, and got on the hotel shuttle.

The airline put us up at a Ramada on the outskirts of the city. Still a long ride, so Len got out the Coupling DVDs and we each plugged into one earbud. Deliriously tired and giggly, I think we really annoyed the guy sitting next to me in the full van. The more we laughed, the more he stewed, muttering under his breath and glaring at us. But, what can you do? We were in "whatever..." mode, and really wanted to get to the hotel and have a drink. We shared some nachos and calamari and had a few of these:

Happy happy.
Sitting at the car and chatting with one of many stranded Germans- a charming and boyish engineer from Munich, I was appalled to see him cuddling a Bud Light. Bought him a Fat Tire and brought him back from the Dark Side. A US Army medic soon joined us, having missed his flight home to Michigan. Interesting conversations flowed, all ending with each of us going on about our kids and how much we missed them, although army guy won, as he'd been overseas for over a year.

And weren't we attractive?

Ugh. I think we packed it in after 3 beer, and retired to our freezing cold rooms (with no pyjamas) to get a few hours worth of restless sleep.

The rest of the way was uneventful: left the hotel by 6:30, flight at 8, no hassles with Customs, into Lynora's buried car, afternoon at her place. Then back to the airport fro me, and in Saskatoon shortly after eight. Uncle Lyle, Opa and Will picked me up, went to Oma and Opa's for a bit to see everyone, and the home to have a real night's sleep.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Las Vegas- Nov.29/07- Surreal.

Next post in progress. At this rate, I'll have the trip fully chronicled by its first anniversary.

Well, after a fitful sleep, we loaded up on Christmas blend and water from Starbuck's and slowly got moving. We both used Len's laptop to check e-mail and other important things.

Stupid Oilers pooped the bed in Colorado. Glad I missed it. Went down to Il Fornaio Panetteria for a croissant and more coffee, then decided to head over to Mandalay Bay to pick up the Mamma Mia tickets, hopefully avoiding undue pressure later in the day.

Walkway to Excalibur and the Luxor/Mandalay Bay tram.
Lynora not happy.

We wandered around for a while, deciding where to go for supper. Checked out the House of Blues, but it was definitely not hopping yet. Lynora took some wildly unflattering photos of me there which I refuse to post.

Got back to NYNY close to 11:00, so we opted to attempt an early lunch at Nine Fine Irishmen. It ended up being an enjoyably bizarre force-feeding. Our waitress was cute, pleasant, and inexplicably dressed in a micro-mini kilt, thigh-high garterless stockings, and a low-cut blouse that parts of her were almost falling out of. L- "The smoked turkey sandwich sounds good". It was ridiculously huge, so she made me take a picture.

That was taken after I had most of her fries on my plate. Me- "Ugh, I'm not very hungry, I'll just have the goat cheese salad". Waitress of the absurd-" OK. How about some calamari? Shepherd's Pie?" WTF? Our favourite server line: "All done? Coffee? Beer? Crème brûlée?" Comedy at 11:30 AM.

We took the monorail back up the Strip to do some more shopping at The Fashion Show mall.

It's an upscale and somewhat snooty place that didn't have too many stores we were actually interested in, but it did have a Macy's and a good electronics store. Lynora wanted to purchase another digital camera, so she asked a few questions and (rather quickly) decided on one to buy.
Of course, she needed a memory stick and a case, so we viewed a few and did a few demo shots. The goofy salesman exclaimed "It's boxy but good!"

Len and I looked at him quizzically, and he explained that it was a line from a movie and quickly You Tubed a clip for us.

He also went on about homoerotic subtext in "Top Gun", with the other employee chiming in- apparently they had been watching it earlier in the day. I think he had us pegged as somewhat hungover tourists and ran with it. Came out in conversation that we were Canadian, one from Edmonton, and proceeded to impress with hockey talk, whereupon Lynora let me take the reins. We spent an inordinate amount of time there, but it was too entertaining not to linger.

Not the most attractive subject for test-driving the new camera.

There were other purchases made in the mall, but none that provided as many laughs. Killed most of the afternoon quite handily. The usual meandering down (or is it up?) the Strip to and from Monorail stations is both mindlessly amusing and time-consuming.

Once again, back to the room for preening- did we maybe sneak in some more of the "Coupling" DVD? Then off to Mandalay Bay for dinner and a show. We ended up going to Lupo, and again, as it was early, spent no time waiting. The calamari (yes, we had to have some after the waitress at 9Fine mentioned it) was super- it was served with some sort of mint tzatsiki sauce that defied description. And the rustic bread with tapenade and white bean dip was incredible. the meal itself was nice and reasonably priced, but I'd have been good with the starters alone.

Off to the show! Mamma Mia starts slowly, but the second act is great. It's just cheesy enough to keep a stupid smile on your face all night. Somewhat anticlimactic after the splendour of Mystere, too bad the nights weren't reversed. But at least we looked good.

Those costumes kill me. Afterwards, back to the hotel. Lynora declined a nightcap, so I went down to the casino, grabbed a to go beer (Sam Adams Amber, another good one), and we sat in the room watching "Coupling". Damn that's a great show. Many fine phrases like "unflushable", "the giggle loop" and "the nudity barrier".

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