Monday, August 31, 2009

Capital resurgence

Okay, enough sports negativity!

Instead, I'd like to briefly focus on one sports organization that finally did things right this year in terms of public relations: the Edmonton Capitals of the Golden Baseball League.

We attended two of their games this summer, and the only real disappointing thing for us from each outing was the final score. But aside from that, we couldn't have asked for a for a more enjoyable sporting event.

Following the first game we attended, my husband got to partially live out a dream and run the bases.

Here he is pretending to slide into second. (Pay no attention to the fact that he was the only adult running the bases and that he probably displaced a couple of kids in order to achieve this too-much-fun-for-one-night photo opportunity. Ahem.)


We also brought along some lawn chairs, blankets, and our Snuggies that night so that we could huddle on the field and watch a baseball-themed film (The Sandlot) while eating free popcorn after the game. What could be cooler than that??


(Speaking of cool, notice the woman I photographed above. Yes, it was a July evening, and yes, it was necessary to be wearing a parka that night. You know, to help keep the 'skeeters away yo.)


The second game we attended saw me lovingly get accosted by Louie, the mascot of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who also happened to be on hand entertaining the adoring crowd that evening.


And that second game also reinforced to my friend Danielle just how much she loves adores is obsessed with appreciates the talents of Chad Ehrnsberger.

For Danielle's take on baseball this season, check out her ramblings at Divulge with Dani. I promise they'll make you chuckle. And wish that you had taken in at least one game with us this season.

My field of dreams and the discovery of my love for baseball.

Wild Species Survival Guide: The Obnoxious Baseball Fan.

Can we "Clap people out".

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Off-season headaches

"It's not enough we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required."
- Sir Winston Churchill

I've held my tongue for long enough, but I can't take it anymore.

I do consider myself an avid sports fan, but my respect for pro athletes has exponentially dwindled in the last decade.

And it has everything to do with the constant off-season bickering surrounding their contract negotiations.

As if the un-Godly amount of money they're getting paid to just play a game isn't enough, it's become increasingly common for players to now make demands about the team / city in which they play.

I guess this isn't exactly something new to pro sports, but this summer's Dany Heatley saga in the NHL has really grown tiresome. He recently held a press conference explaining why he no longer wants to play pro hockey for the Ottawa Senators (and, subsequently, the Edmonton Oilers), and he essentially said that he was only doing what was best for his career.

Imagine if a soldier all of a sudden stated to his superior that he didn't feel a deployment to Afghanistan would further his career and that he instead felt a year in Grand Cayman might do him more good. Do you think that would go over well?

Of course not. Because, unlike pro athletes, we all live in the real world and just do as we're told by our superiors.

Now we all know this was a cop-out response by Heatley at the press conference and that he was only stating what his handlers (read: sports agents) advised him to say, but come on. Did they honestly think this excuse would be sufficient? Couldn't they have come up with something better than that?

All Heatley's statements have done is cause me to become increasingly hostile toward pro athletes and their petty demands.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Badlands road trip

“Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.”
- Louis L'Amour


During my husband’s first full summer in Alberta, I was adamant about taking him camping in the Canadian Badlands. He, on the other hand, wasn’t so keen on the idea.

Camping in the desert? Been there, done that. And I got shot at, too.

Drumheller, Alberta, is a far cry from the Middle East, but my husband still wasn’t thrilled to be camping there for a weekend. Lucky (?) for him, he got sick prior to our anticipated departure date, so the trip was postponed until “next summer.”

Three more summers came and went without us having made the trek to Drumheller, and I finally put my foot down and proclaimed that I wasn’t going to let a fourth summer pass without embarking on the Badlands.

So, at long last, we finally reached our destination yesterday morning.


(That’s my husband above, basking in Alberta’s desert-like setting. Take note that no one is shooting at him.)

I’m pleased to report that we had an absolutely remarkable day. Although our work schedules prevented us from camping overnight, we still managed to visit many of the sites with military precision.

And given that I’m a little obsessed with a big fan of Joshua Jackson, our first stop was to pose with the World’s Largest Dinosaur, just like Pacey Joshua did in the movie One Week.

(Can you see my husband? Look way down at the bottom, just before the date stamp.)


This photo op was followed by visits to: the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the Little Church, Horse Thief Canyon, the Hoodoos, Rosedale Suspension Bridge, and Horseshoe Canyon.

Plus, I even befriended a firefighter from Rosebud prior to stopping for lunch at WHIFS, the cutest little roadside diner. Score!

But my favourite of all these sites was by far Horse Thief Canyon.




(If only our photos actually did some justice to this site!)



The top portion of the sign in the photo above reads as follows:

“This area of the Red Deer River valley earned its name during the early settler years when ranching was the main industry. Thousands of horses ranged from here to beyond the “Hand Hills” to the east. Legend has it that horses would disappear into these canyons of the Red Deer River valley, later to reappear carrying a different brand. Hence the name 'Horse Thief Canyon'.”

It sounds like it came straight out of a Louis L’Amour novel. I love it.

So, overall, we had a really terrific day, and we're glad everything worked out so perfectly. And in case you're wondering, yes, my husband totally fell in love with the scenery and is already planning to bring his students here for a weekend field trip at some point.

And to think he once claimed to have no further interest in camping in the desert.


Added bonus: Although the World's Largest Dinosaur didn't make it into the trailer for One Week, it's still worth checking out below. Be sure to watch for the scene where Joshua overlooks the canyon.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

More sinful eating, as heard on CFCW

Thanks to Adriana Trigiani, one of my favourite authors, I can now stand next to my husband and declare myself a CFCW Recipe of the Morning winner.

I first discovered the following recipe when reading Trigiani's Milk Glass Moon, and it was the out-of-the-ordinary main ingredient that really intrigued me.

Sinful? Very.

But Trigiani's from the South, yo. So would you expect anything less than sinful??


August 27 - CHOCOLATE COCA-COLA CAKE
CAKE:

2 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup Coca-Cola
2 sticks butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of salt

ICING:

3 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For cake: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a saucepan, combine & heat butter, cocoa, Coca-Cola and marshmallows until it begins to boil (add marshmallows last)…remove from heat & stir to dissolve marshmallows. Pour over sugar & flour and blend well…add remaining cake ingredients and blend well. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

For icing: Combine butter, cocoa & Coca-Cola in saucepan and bring to a boil... mix with powdered sugar till it makes a thin paste, then drizzle over the cake while it’s hot from the oven.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Unfinished

“Isn’t that the bridal shop where you broke down two days before we got married?”


I wish I could claim that my husband was referring to the location where my car might have broken down, but no. It was me. Crying -- in front of God and everyone -- at a very crowded bridal store two days prior to our wedding.

In defense of that establishment, they really had very little to do with my tears. But unfortunately for them, they just happened to be one of the last stops for me that day, during what had been an extremely stressful two years two weeks before our wedding date.

In those final days, it took very, very little to make me cry. And as one of the sales associates remarked as she tried to cheer me up with the offer of a free margarita drink,

“Aw, weddings are stressful, I know.”

Stressful indeed.

My husband and I are often asked if we would do anything differently if we had to do it all over again. And we just thoughtfully look at each other and proclaim, “If we had to do it all again….. we just wouldn't.”

And then we laugh and put everyone back at ease by saying that of course we would do it all again, but we just wish we had known then what we know now. (Doesn’t everyone??)

Throughout the ordeal that was our two-year-long engagement, I quickly discovered that there are a lot of outdated and impractical wedding guides floating around our library system. (Who still gets a blood test done before they get married? Anyone?)

And there was also next to nothing out there that could advise me on local (read: north of the 49th) establishments for everything from where to get my make-up done to where we could buy booze.

You know, the important stuff.

So after having pilfered ideas from everyone willing to tolerate my incessant questioning, I finally assembled the be-all-and-end-all of wedding organizers, which became my Bridal Bible, so to speak.

And, to this, my husband insightfully suggested that I should turn it into a book and use it to make us millions on which to retire help other brides in need.

Brilliant! Yes! I will write a book! It will be glorious, and I will do it now!

Fast forward two years and – you guessed it – I have yet to put pen to paper. (Or to make us millionaires. Not that the two are related.)

I’m fairly certain that my Native name would translate to something along the lines of Queen of Unfinished Projects. I start things. I get bored with things. I move on to new things.

But this book just won’t go away. It seems that every time a friend or family member has tied the knot in the last two years since our wedding (which would be a whopping total of 10 times), that spark is rekindled.

Just this past weekend, our friends Bonnie & Chris were married, and Bonnie graciously offered her wedding checklist to anyone who might use it in the near future. Naturally, I asked for a copy so that I could potentially use it as research for my book. To which she asked about the theme of my book and in what ways it would be set apart from other such books on the market.

Ahem.

You mean, I actually require a hard-and-fast plan for how I’m going to pull off this endeavor? And then I have to follow through with it?

It’s like she doesn’t even know me at all.

But now it’s out there. I’ve told people about what I want to do, so there's no turning back now. I have to do it. Or at least attempt it.

Because there are few things worse than having a great idea about something but then being too lazy -- that’s right, I said it -- to make that dream a reality.

"Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time."
- Arnold H. Glasow

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Real athletes run. Others just play games

Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”
-Unknown


As we approached the START line at this morning’s Intact Edmonton Marathon Weekend’s 5km Fun Run, the event emcee announced to all athletes that the race was set to begin in a few minutes.


Athletes. Us.


My friend Meena and I laughed at the fact that we had been propelled to the title of athlete, simply for having signed up for the 5km Fun Run.


And my husband even commented that Meena and I were probably more accustomed to being labeled as “math-letes” since we both lean more towards being nerdy rather than athletic.



And, yet, we were still able to finish the race with a new personal best time and smiles on our faces.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Permanently high plateau?

It's been a trying couple of weeks, so -- if nothing else -- I was really hoping to receive some good news from the scale today.

But it didn't quite play out the way I had hoped.

I had pegged today as the day I would reach my next 5 lbs.-lost milestone, but alas I was 1 lb. short. Doh!

Worse yet, it seems like I've gained and lost and gained that same pound a couple times this week, which has caused this angry little voice in the back of my mind to constantly holler at me:

"Already at a plateau?! OMG, you're never going to lose anymore weight! PLATEAUUUUU!!!!!!!"

Ahem.

I suddenly find myself cursing last night's partially-consumed Dairy Queen Blizzard. (But it was Miracle Treat Day at DQ! I was only eating that Blizzard for the children!)



It's funny, but Junior had it absolutely right in this recent Juice With Junior post where he very accurately stated that women claim to gain weight:
"... in the summer / on birth control / when ... stressed / in the winter / when in school / on vacation / visiting family / in the spring / dealing with annoying co-workers / talking to [their] mother-in-law / driving long distances / in the fall... You see, women will come up with many excuses for why they gain this weight..."

Oh, Junior. You know us better than we care to admit.

*cough*most-of-us-women-are-in-denial-about-our-weight*cough*

So here's to next Friday, where I will once again aim to not only reach but surpass that next 5 lbs.-lost milestone.

I'm confident I can do it, too. Because, after all, Miracle Treat Day comes but once a year, and that ship has (mercifully) sailed.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's all about Gee

If you were to dig deep and check out my November 2, 2008 entry, you might be wondering about the current status of my friend Angie.

It's with great sadness and disbelief that I have to report Angie passed away on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 4th.

A recent post by a friend on Angie's Facebook wall stated this:

...The last time I spoke to you it was probably just a quick "hi" but what I meant to say was "you're amazing, and I'm glad I got to know you"....