Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Collector and Collections

As previously mentioned in an early posting, I have a "snowglobe collection". It actually started rather innocently, with no real intention, I think. It just came about and grew from there. Each year there is always the search for the next "perfect" globe to add to the collection. It has to have the right theme/feel/colour. Not just any old globe will suffice. Some of my globes play music and others are silent. That's okay. It's not a requirement in the selection process. However, it is nice to stop, turn the knob, shake them around a bit and watch the "miniature snow storm" when you're walking by. (Believe me, it doesn't take much to amuse me!!)

This is the latest find that I added to the collection. You will recall that I found it on the 9th Floor at Macy's Department Store on our recent return trip to New York City. Did you notice that it's a "Jim Shore". (If you're not sure what I referring to, "google" Jim Shore and you will find out). I'm quite thrilled with this find. Did I also mention that I have a "snowman collection", a "purse collection", a "fabric collection" (it's called a stash), a "thread collection", a "scarf/glove collection (this is more of a fettish than collection). Oh the list is endless but it makes life interesting and shopping a bit more enjoyable when there is a purpose.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Return Trip to New York City

This past weekend, Neil and I made a return visit to New York City with "Bruce Wylie's New York City" tours. Really, it's the best way to see New York by going along with Bruce and his wife Ilene since they have been there like a million times or more! Also its a great way to meet other people from the surrounding area who are travelling in your group. Some are going just to get a head start on their Christmas shopping. Most of the ladies had teenaged children and wanted to find something different or just to shop in a store that we don't have here in Brockville, or Ontario, or in Canada. As well, I like to see what people spend their money on (it's a little hobby of mine!) Please keep in mind I am not a shopper and most of the stores that these ladies went to, I have never heard of or even had a clue of what it was. I observed the bags that were being lugged onto the bus and I asked a lot of questions which ended up being a very educational weekend for me!
One store that I know for sure is Macy's on 34th Street. It was on my list of places to go back to since the first trip to New York City last year, Neil and I had limited time and we made a quick dash through the departments. This time we rode the original escalators up to every floor and had a good look around.

When you walk through the main entrance of Macy's, this is what you see! It definitely looks like Christmas here.

Up on the 9th floor, it looked like someone "barfed Christmas"!! It was so overwhelming with all the decorated themed trees! It was crazy! They had everything you could ever imagine to decorate your Christmas tree with. I however was on a mission to find a "snowglobe" purchased from Macy's. Not just any old snowglobe. It had to be the right one to add to my growing collection. (I'll post later about my collection. I haven't unpacked them yet but very soon!) After I examined and contemplated, (thank goodness Neil is very patient and understanding when it comes to making a very serious and yet an important decision like this!) After about 5 loops around the Christmas department, I found a "Jim Shore" snowglobe with a Santa on the roof top getting ready to go down the chimney. It was unique, a perfect match, and also because I'm a quilter and know of Jim Shore's work.

Saturday morning was spent walking through Lower Manhattan, taking the Staten Island Fery, more walking along the pier, a bit of shopping/bartering. I scored a couple of "Prada Knock Off" purses (like really, would anyone actually know for sure!!), a Tiffany bracelet (another knock off. No one knows.) and a Pashmina scarf (not really a knock off but close to it). Oh, did I mention that I also have a collection of scarfs. If you know me or have seen me out and about in Brockville, I can be found sporting a scarf from my ever growing collection! Oh, and gloves! Gotta have them too! Plus shoes, purses, etc., etc. Pictured above is the latest developments at "Ground Zero" and the rebuilding of the World Trade building.

As I mentioned earlier, I am not a shopper. Neil is! He is the kind of guy that any woman would want to take along with them while shopping since he finds the best deals/prices, will offer his honest opinion as to whether or not it looks good on you (or makes your butt look big!!) and carries your bags for you too!! He's good that way! We headed to a store called "Century 21". Once again, I had to asked what it was since here in Canada "Century 21" is a real estate company. It was a department store, filled with tonnes of bargains. Neil was in his glory. I however lasted 15 minutes. I hate crowds! I hate rummaging through racks to find the best deal! Neil went off searching through the Men's Department. I myself plunked myself below the huge clock on the back wall of the department store so that Neil could find me when he was finished with his rummaging. He scored a "down-filled" coat for $80. Regular price $275. It's perfect for walking Dakoda and walking to work in the winter months downtown Ottawa and it doesn't make his butt look big! I picked out for him the absolute perfect pair of functional gloves that matches his coat beautifully! We then headed to "Little Italy" and found a cafe and had the best Cannoli I have ever had! (An educational moment here; cannoli is a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough (zero calories!), filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese (once again, zero calories!) It was absolutely delicious with the cappuccino and it was also the perfect way to spend some time in New York City and "people watching" (another hobby of mine! If you know me, you know that I don't miss a thing or detail!) We took the subway back to Time Square, had dinner and then off to the see "Rock of Ages" on Broadway (we highly recommend this performance if you lived through the 80's!) It was another amazing, return trip weekend in the Big Apple! A big thanks to Bruce and Ilene Wylie!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"The Amazing Race" Tryouts

Being a shift worker, I don't have a lot of weekends off so it kind of limits time for Neil and I to spend some quality time together. Whenever I do have a Saturday/Sunday or both off, I try to find something for us to do together. This past weekend, I was going to be off on Saturday and started combing the newspapers for what was happening in our area. I wouldn't want to miss out on anything especially this time of year when it's starting to look like Christmas with lots of craft shows/bazaars and because I like to dragging Neil along. By his heels! Against his free will! It strengthens our relationship!! My conversation with Neil started out like this..."The weather is suppose to be nice on Saturday. We could go for a drive to the Pakenham area (Keep in mind Neil likes to drive. I'm starting to work on him. I better start making this sound like a good idea.) and we can enjoy the scenery and stop and have a nice lunch along the way." Neil's response "Okay??" (Which really means, I'm listening and I'm starting to get nervous because she's been thinking again. He's looking a bit skeptical. I might as well put it out there.) "While we're there, we could go to the Christmas Craft Show. You never know what you just might find." Neil is now thinking "Oh Lord, I can just imagine how many more ideas she's got juggling in her mind at this moment and it's involving me." Final response from Neil after a moment of hesitation, "I don't think so!" Well that idea just "crashed and burned". Nice try! Let's try another idea. "The weather is suppose to be nice on Saturday. Do you want to go and try out that Aerial Adventure that we've heard so much about?" I have a couple of friends who recently went and gave it rave reviews. Neil's response "That could be fun. Lets look into it." Well, a half hour later we were booked for Saturday at 1 p.m. Basically it's an outdoor adventure obstacle course up in trees through different suspended bridges and zip lines.

After being strapped in a harness with clips, we got an orientation from one of the guides. Off we went in a group of about 30 people.

Basically, there are a total of four courses and you start out at the beginner stage and work your way to the advance levels. At first, I didn't know if I could do it or not since I have a slight fear of heights. Okay, that's an understatement. I have a huge fear of heights! But after a while, you were so focused on the obstacles/bridges, you kind of forgot how high up you actually where. It reminded me of a task on "The Amazing Race" and we didn't want to be the last team to arrive and be eliminated.

Everyone in the group went along at their own pace. No pressure here!! I thought it would be a great place to take a "first date". Nothing like seeing someone crack under pressure. You would get to know someone real quick! It would certainly determine if there was going to be a "second date" or not. After a while, I was starting to crack. The sun was starting to go down and we still had two more courses to go through. At the end of each leg, you took a "zip line" to the end of the course. We were up 30-50 feet in places and there were times I thought I was going to cry. There were also times that I wanted my Mom!

We finally got through the third section of the course and the guide asked us if we were going to finish with the fourth leg. I immediately asked "Does it involve that zip line that we saw above us in the parking lot?" The guide responded with "Yep! The entire fourth course is all zip lines!" No way, but Neil went. This is Neil up in the trees. He is unclipping and reclipping to the next section of the zip line.

This is Neil coming out the trees on the zip line above the parking lot that I had mentioned and saw earlier. After going across this line, you unclip and reclip to another zip line that went across a lake. I betcha Neil is wishing that he was at a Christmas Craft Show about right now. I however stayed on solid ground. Someone had to capture the moment on camera!! Overall, it was a great way to challenge yourself. Neil can't believe that he actually took the last zip line which was at least 8 stories high. My palms are sweating just thinking about it! Take a look at the website if you dare! http://www.aventurelafleche.ca/en/lafleche-adventure-aerial-adventure-park

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Motivation, Determination and the Reward

See this house. It's my neighbour's house. During this past summer he repainted the entire outside. With a paint brush, by hand and several cans of paint. How do I know for sure? Cause I watched him while laying on the couch eating bon bons or sitting on the deck with the newspaper in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Just kidding!! No, I was too busy painting my 70 foot picket fence or digging out another flowerbed. However, watching him gave me the motivation and the determination to finally get the mudroom painted at the back of the house.
I had no excuses other than "when I get around to it". I had been dragging my heels for several years and preferred that visitors used the front door instead the back due to the white peeling paint. It was embarrassing. I never liked it until now. It took me several weeks to get it done since I was dealing with the change in our weather plus tendonitis in my wrists from painting the fence. But it's done and I am so happy! (Please excuse the dead looking basil in the pot off to the left of the pic. It got hit with frost the other night and I haven't dumped it into the compost bin yet. That's on today's list of "things to get done").

My reward for all my hard work, determination and dedication..."Pumpkin Pie Blizzard" from the Dairy Queen!! It's basically a pumpkin pie all smushed up in soft ice cream with whip cream on the top. Calories? I don't know! Grams of fat? Who cares? All I know for sure is that it tastes as good as it looks and well worth the calories!

Look at the generous dusting of nutmeg on the whip cream. Evil but good! However, they're gone! The pumpkin pie blizzard was the flavour of the month for October and won't be back until next year. Approximatley 322 days from now! I can't wait. In the meantime, I will find something else to paint and reward myself with a different flavoured blizzard or bon bons or wine or chocolate. Oh the list of "potential rewards" is never ending.