Saturday, February 28, 2009

Beloved Bailey

We received sad news this past week from our cottage neighbors Mike & Margo from Burlington, Ontario that Bailey passed away after a short illness. We always knew when they arrived at their cottage since Bailey would always be the first one down to the water and you would wait to hear the "splash"! He spend countless hours entertaining himself by jumping into the water. Koda would sit on our dock and observe for long periods of time. I'm pretty sure this is how she learned how to dive off the back of our boat (monkey see, monkey do). We would have "fetching contests" with Koda and Bailey to see who could swim the fastest to the center of the bay and retrieve the water toy. Bailey won every time! Bailey will be sadly missed by his family and especially their cottage neighbors.

Winter Quiltie

Recently, I participated in an "Winter Quiltie" exchange with Art4mail which I now have been swapping with for one year! Here is what I came up with. A quiltie measures 6 x 6 and I certainly had fun with this one! There are hand stitched snowflakes around the trees. The white fabric has little white beads, I guess to represent "freezing rain" and the bottom is a cluster of more beads and old buttons. It kind of reminds of the thaw that we get in April. It was a nice change from making the 4 x 6 postcards.

Runaway Bestseller!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you will have heard that Barack Obama came to our Nation's capital for his first visit since becoming President (yes, there are a few people that had no idea that he was even here). During his visit, he made an unexpected visit in the Byward Market, and stopped at Le Moulin de Provence bake shop (been there many times!!) to purchase shortbread cookies in the shape of a maple leaf to take home for his family. Since then, the baking staff have been working overtime in the kitchen baking "Obama cookies" and still cannot meet the demands. They sold more than 2,500 last Saturday and another 1,500 on Sunday. The cookie is a basic shortbread cookie decorated with red royal icing with white icing trim around the edges for the price of $2.25 or $27.00/dozen. Wow! (Thought I would pass along to you some trivial information involving food. Actually, shortbread is one of my favorite cookies!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Completed Rumbleford Bag

I've finished my Rumbleford Bag and love it!! It has lots of room and I put big pockets on the inside for "just in case". It's another bag to add to my collection. This is a perfect size for an overnight trip...anywhere!! I don't want to show it around too much...friends are making requests.

No Broken Bones!

This past weekend, Neil and I were off on another skiing adventure to Quebec City. We took along with us our friend Roger from Elora, Ontario (He's wearing the brown jacket. Neil is wearing the red one.) Roger ventures out to our "neck of the woods" in the winter for a few days of skiing. We spent two days skiing at Mont Ste. Anne and one day at Le Massif. They had an abundance of snow...lots of powder for Neil to use his "wouldn't leave home without them, Salomon Guns". The above picture was taken at Le Massif which is situated beside the St. Lawrence River. It was hard to concentrate on your skiing when you kept your eye on the view everytime you went over another hill.
Saturday night we travelled into Quebec City which I think has to be the most beautiful city to visit during the winter months. We arrived home safely Monday night and Roger has returned home already thinking of where he would like to ski next. Perhaps next year, we'll show Jay Peak in Vermont.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Random Tidbits or Confessions...

Recently, I was tagged by my postcard swapping friend Leah, from South Carolina (sorry Leah for taking so long in doing this). I'm suppose to blog 8 random facts about myself. I had to think about this since I am a very private person and keep a lot of things to myself. This is one reason we have a dog. You can tell your dog anything especially all your secrets and they will never tell!! Ever!! So, I'm going to get started by showing you a pic of my family taken many, many years ago. Yep, that's me sitting up front beside my youngest brother, Leslie. Aren't I cute?

Here are some uninteresting facts, random tidbits or is it confessions about myself...

1. I love to cook especially for other people. I comb through magazines and the newspaper (Ottawa Citizen) for recipes. Neil, Chelsey & Tyler are my taste testers. They will try anything that I make with lots of "ooohhs & aahhhs".
2. I am not a shopper!! I'm a "get in, get out" kind of girl when it comes to shopping. Quilt shops excluded!! As well, I have to be in the mood, especially when shopping for clothes. I don't read fashion magazines. Okay just one... the LL Bean catalog. I can spend a few hours flipping through the pages of the latest edition. If you want to go shopping, call Neil!! He's your "shop till you drop/bargain basement prices/gotta have the latest techy gadget" kind of guy. If you are in need of a new computer, car, snowblower/lawnmower etc. he's the guy to call because he will also find you the best price!! He uses shopping as a "stress reliever"! Oh Lord!! You go boy!!
Oh, you can also take him into quilt shops. He enjoys going there as well. He's fascinated by batiks.
3. On my days off, I get up at 5 a.m. and go for a morning walk around Brockville. I have a route set out and it takes me about an hour to complete. Why 5 a.m.? Well, there is nothing like being the first person up to enjoy a new day and being that it's winter, you get "first tracks" in the snow. I walk along the waterfront and then head downtown to catch up on my window shopping. On those mornings that it was "minus freakin' cold", I was out there!
4. I am a chocolaholic!! Did I spell it right? I mean, I can eat it anytime, anywhere for whatever reason. I do have my favorite chocolate bars that I just couldn't live with out. Peanut butter and chocolate are my absolute favorite combination, ever!! Don't mess with it.
5. I can spend hours at Chapters (this does not fit into the category of shopping). It's also fun that Chelsey works at the Chapters in the South Keys Shopping Mall in Ottawa. She is very patient with me since I'm constantly asking her "what was the biggest seller" that particular day or weekend. There is nothing like purchasing a new book. Oh, the fresh, crisp pages and the smell!! As well, you never, ever, I mean ever, buy the first copy cause it's been handled and quite possibly had the pages flipped through. I always pick the fifth copy (you can insert OCD here of you chose, I can handle it). Magazines fit into this category as well.
6. Like other quilters, I do have fabric that I have never cut into. I'm saving it!! I don't know why when I really don't have a project in mind. My stress reliever...going into my studio and getting reacquainted with my fabric due to withdrawal! Oh yeah!! If you are a quilter, you know exactly what I mean!!
7. I'm a collector of various things...snowmen, hotel creamers, old buttons, trim and paring knives, (don't be thinking "Chain Saw Massacre, Friday the 13th" stuff, it's not like that at all. It's very therapeutic to peel, cut, dice and there is never enough knives between dishwasher loads).
8. Last one...thank goodness!! I firmly believe that laughter has to be the best cure for all and is a must in any relationship. I would never want to be with someone who doesn't make me laugh. Does Neil make me laugh...sure does!! Everyday he will come up with something. It can be something that will result in a chuckle or a down right "just about pee your pants/make liquids come out your nose". I love him for this!!

So there you have it...8 random tidbits/confessions about me. I have completed my task.

Favorite Day of the Week...

Actually, I have two favorite days of the week. Thursday and Saturday. I will start with Thursday. Why do I like Thursday you ask? Well, in the Thursday edition of the Ottawa Citizen contains one of my favorite sections...FOOD! It contains recipes (this is where I get most of my ideas from), the latest cooking gadget, new grocery items and various columns including Fay Cook (she'll let you know what's happening in the Ottawa area revolving around food), Rod Phillips (wine critic, I like this guy!), and my absolute favorite, Anne Desbrisay, who does restaurant reviews (I like her even more than Rod). Okay, so who is the guy in the pic? He is the owner of Farbs Kitchen and Wine Bar in Ottawa and his restaurant was last weeks review. When you read through Anne's article, she begins by walking you through the front door, describes everything that she sees upon entering from the decor, colors, ambiance and then starts in on the menu beginning with appetizers, with a glass of wine (of course) and works her way right down through the main dishes and then hits the dessert section (hey, I usually start here). She will frequent a restaurant a few times for lunch and dinner and base her review on these visits. Farbs Kitchen got excellent reviews on the food, presentation but she nailed them big time, I mean big time on the service!! Yikes!! The service was described as a problem...a big problem!! Attitude and training!! Servers were unable to answer most basic questions about the food and wine list (yeah, I've experienced this many times. Sorry, but telling me that the reason why you can't recommend a white wine is that you don't drink it just doesn't cut it!!). Apparently the servers couldn't be bothered to memorize the two daily specials. She went on to describe how her dinner ended up in her lap by the server with no offer of a free replacement, complimentary glass of wine, or free dessert. It's a no-brainer!! None of that was done during her visit! (Oh my!!) She went on to describe how the servers huddled by the kitchen chatting and laughing, one on his cellphone, while diners waited near the front door. Another waiter apparently changed the bar TV to watch (of all things) Ultimate fighting. At this point, I would have gotten up and walked out which I have done in the past when dining out! Where was the manager? Is was probably the guy that turned on the TV? When it comes to dining out, I am very particular about a lot of things. Lets start with the food, this is why I came in the first place (presentation, taste, value) definitely the ambiance, atmosphere and the service!! Nothing sets me off more than to have a server approach your table with "Hey guys, howsitgoin?" Sorry, but you will never catch me at Kelsey's, Montana's or any other grill, steakhouse, "come out smelling like the kitchen" for obvious reasons. Many times we have gone out for dinner and be disappointed. Most of the time Neil will respond with "we could have had a better meal at home with better service". (He knows how to score points with me!) Anyways, I just had to make a comment in my blog. Anne is living my dream job. I would love more than anything to join her on a few tastings and offer my opinion.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chateau Lake Louise Mascot

I am very pleased to introduce to you "Sonny" who is the mascot of the Chateau Lake Louise. Sonny is a three year old yellow lab who was adopted through the CNIB in Manotick, Ontario. He didn't meet the requirements to pass the program of being a seeing eye dog (sssshhhhh!! Not suppose to say it too loud!) and went on to become the "Director of Pet Relations" with the hotel. We had the privilege of taking Sonny for a walk on the hotel grounds while we waited for our transportation to Banff. He hadn't been out for a few days due to the cold temperature which he was adjusting to (his first winter in the Rockies). We quickly learned how easily Sonny became distracted. Not a good quality for a guide dog! Apparently, Sonny has become a popular attraction for the guests and his presence is appreciated by dog lovers of all us!!

Skiing the Rockies

Neil and I spent last week skiing in Alberta, Canada (Lake Louise and Sunshine). We started out at Lake Louise and quickly noticed the lack of snow. There had been no snow fall for over three weeks and the runs were worn out (down to the base in some areas). We then travelled to Banff and the snow came!! They got about 10 cm which made Neil very happy since he had brought along his Powder boards! I didn't take a lot of pictures since the week started out being minus 31 degrees! I ended up buying a new pair of gloves to ski with since the ones that I brought from home couldn't keep up to the wind and cold despite using hand warmers. If you have a look through my pics, the 1st one is of Neil wearing a red ski jacket, standing underneath a tree on one of our runs. Take notice the 2nd picture. This is called "Delirium Dive" a double diamond run which comes with "special restrictions". As you can tell, there wasn't enough snow and the area was closed off. But you can imagine the extreme skiers taking a chute off the edge. I passed on this one!! We spent one evening walking around Lake Louise which is absolutely stunning. It was cold!! The skaters seen in one of the pics are two nurses that we overheard saying that they were from Ontario. They were attending a Pediatric Research conference at the Chateau Lake Louise, and employed at the Kingston General Hospital (same hospital where I work) but in the NICU. Small world!! We had fun visiting and wondered how we had never met before until now. We ended our last day of skiing at Sunshine by cutting our day short since the resort started shutting down the lifts due to high winds! We quickly got off the mountain since it was becoming dangerous with poor visibility. No broken bones this trip. As always, we had a great time and looking forward to our next skiing adventure.

At the base of the mountain is Lake Louise. If you look closely to the right side of the lake you will see a structure. This is Chateau Lake Louise where we stayed for three nights.