Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the pains of being young at heart

I've been listening repeatedly to The Pains of Being Young at Heart album.
It's so great, I'm not sure I've enjoyed a new album like this in years. I don't know much about the band, but I guess the best way of describing their music is part Field Mice, part Ride and part Sarah Records. It's hard when you are so attached to the music of your youth and an older sound that new music just doesn't seem to feel like much of a fit. But this album does reach beyond that and gives me a bit of faith in giving new music a try.

This time of year finds my favourite tree blossoms in bloom. What a sight to see!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

pugalug spring fling

Today was the Pug-A-Lug Spring Fling and, as always, it was a great time!

We arrived to have a bunch of people recognizing Hot Tot right away. I guess the Halloween costume gave her a bit of notoriety in the circle of Niagara pug owners. One lady immediately came up and recognized Hot Tot from the Rankin Run yesterday. Turns out she saw us with Tot in my boss' backyard since she lives behind him.

Like always, Tot keeps close to Nuno and I. She always gets shy at these events. We try and encourage her to meet the others.

So she started to warm up a bit to the others in time. I guess it's a little overwhelming when you find yourself surrounded by so many pugs all at once.

But she eventually ventured to hang out with the others.

Whenever I tell stories about attending the Pugalugs, I can never truly show the scale of attendance through the photos. That is until today. Someone had the brilliant idea of a group shot!

By the end, Tot found herself getting tired and relaxed on the cool gymnasium floor.

All the pugs are really so sweet. I'm not sure these sort of events could be held with any other breed of dog, but for pugs gentle disposition it totally works. The event always brings the cuteness out of Tot.

rankin run 2009

This past Friday night was Katie's first Incredibly Strange Movie Night which was held in our backyard. She showed Test Tube Babies along with other footage like an ABC promo reel.

I can't really talk too much about it because I spent the entire time the movie was showing in the kitchen baking desserts for the bbq after the Rankin Run. I made Brown Butter Toffee Blondies and Caramel Nut Bars. I baked these super sweets because people don't mind indulging after a long walk and the party was to have kids there, and we know kids love their sweets!

I'm so happy Nuno and I got to participate in the Rankin Run this year. It is a fundraiser where all donations are toward cancer research and treatment right here in Niagara. The company I work for had a team together for the run where we collected individual donations and corporate donations. The ironic thing about our company walking this walk is that two of the four participants from my office have recently started smoking since we decided to participate. ARG! I don't know, maybe they think there's already a cure for cancer?

It was the most beautiful day for the walk, the weather was perfect. Of course Tot came with us on the walk. We made her a special bandanna for the event. She didn't last very long though. Doesn't Nuno look impressed having to walk and carry a 22 pound pug? She seems to be enjoying the lift.

Since our home is close to the turn around point in the walk, we dropped her off at home for a rest while we finished the walk.

There was a wonderful refreshing breeze coming up the canal and the sun was bright. Maybe a little more bright than we realized since I'm now suffering from a burnt nose. Aaah! Skin cancer risk!!
Our after party was awesome because my boss lives super close to the start of the walk. His house is amazing and has the perfect backyard BBQ party set-up. It was a total blast and we think we'll probably do this walk with the company every year. But next year it will be Nuno, Tot & I along with our baby in a stroller. I can't wait!

Monday, May 18, 2009

victoria day long weekend pt. 2

I'm so glad I remembered to mark this entry as an entire year of keeping this blog. At first I thought I'd never stick to it, but I get a lot out of keeping a journal, so I'm happy that I started again.

So the rest of this chilly long weekend was spent baking and gardening. I love baking but dislike gardening. But I have to say, a finished garden is about twice as rewarding as a finished baked good (and that includes eating that baked good). I live in a neighbourhood of people who keep beautiful gardens and have very well kept homes. I really feel like we have to do our best to maintain things in the garden just because we have such a visible home.
My mom and I went to the Niagara College Greenhouse to pick out our plants on Sunday. I decided to stick to hostas this year, see if I like them, and maybe in the future switch to shrubs.

My mom had a few pounds of rhubarb she passed along to me. So here's my first attempt at making a rhubarb dessert (and I didn't do the predictable strawberry rhubab pie - although I love them).
Raspberry Rhubarb Biscuit Cobbler. It was alright, I probably won't make it again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

victoria day long weekend pt. 1

The big plan on the long weekend was attending my sister Katie's graduation. Yay Katie!! CongraTulations!
This was probably the least boring of all the graduations I've attended. Peter Mansbridge was receiving an honorary degree and spoke. They also gave an honorary degree to the former CEO of Tim Hortons - the man who brought the store to it's current place in Canadiana.
It was an all ladies day since my dad is recouping at home and Nuno was out of town for a couple of days. Nuno had a chance to celebrate a belated Mother's Day with his mom. He brought a canister of tea and blueberry scones I baked for him to send.
So yummy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

let's let you in on our big news....

I'm so thrilled to finally be able to share the news that Nuno and I are expecting a baby! I'm probably still living on the high cloud of expectant mom-ness even though I've recently entered the second trimester. I was told before conceiving by my doctor that there was no such thing as the 'glow of pregnancy', but I feel like I've been one of those lucky few who is living proof of it.
We had our second ultrasound just this week where the technician showed us all the little baby parts. Face, head, arms, legs - even all ten toes and fingers. It was incredible!

I've been writing about the pregnancy for months now privately. I was thinking, now that our news is revealed, I can open up a few for every ones amusement. And, yes, this journal will be totally over-the-top pregnancy and babyness from now on. Up until now, I never really could understand how people obsessed over stuff like this - but let me tell you, when or if it happens to you, you'll understand. It's the most magical thing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ultrasound #2 & prenatal yoga class

Yesterday was a big day for the baby and me. We had our second ultrasound and it went so well! I was so suprised at how much our baby has grown! We went from a flicker of a heartbeat in our first ultrasound to the technician showing us the baby's head, face, abdomen, arms, legs, feet and hands. There were 5 fingers and toes already! I don't know how to explain it, but when it's yours, it's the sweetest little thing in the world.
We even got a great photo of the baby's profile. The whole experience is so reassuring. All the attention to healthy eating, prenatal vitamins, being active and getting lots of rest - it seems so worth it when you know the baby is developing so well. So now I have half a year of continuing on this path, and from what I've heard, the second trimester is the time I can expect to feel my best during the pregnancy.

Then yesterday evening was our first prenatal yoga class. It's been 5 years since I've seen Yoga by Sarah, so it was a nice reunion. She's moved into a new building in a much better location. The class was full of mom-to-be's. I'm the least showing of all the girls, with only 2 other girls around the same place as myself. Most girls are 20+ weeks, and I just can't wait to be where they all are. I'm very pleased with how the class is run. We are instructed by a RN/Doula/Yoga Instructor who is very involved with her students. The class spends time discussing what to expect during pregnancy, breathing and relaxation techniques and a lot of intense yoga poses. Should be a great way to feel more in touch with the pregnancy and I hope to feel able to deal with everything that will happen.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

This mother's day was a particularly hectic one. Our usual plans of Sunday brunch at the golf club couldn't happen this year because of my dad's surgery. He went into surgery a couple of weeks ago - it was a finishing touch on the surgery I mentioned a few months ago. Unfortunately, after he was sent home he seems to have had a bit of a complication. Friday he was in excruciating pain and hardly able to talk with me. He was rushed to emergency and has been there since. It was a very troubling and exhausting Friday night and the soonest I could get into see him was Saturday afternoon. It was great to be there when the diagnosis came in. He'll be fine once they deal with an abscess.
My mom has been going through so much with taking care of my dad along with a particularly hell-bent mother of a student she's been dealing with at work. I just don't think there is enough we can do for her. But I am doing the best I know how by being there for her and making the best meal I can to celebrate her Mother's Day.
First off was an appetizer course of crab cakes. This is a first for us and I have to give full credit to Nuno for pulling this off. He was so cute researching how to make them and even added his own idea for a garnish - avocado! It worked so well and everyone loved it!
For dinner we made a Roast Chicken (this was a local free range one and it was friggin' 10 lbs - basically a turkey of a chicken), Sweet Potato Mash and Spinach Salad.

For dessert I baked this Lemon Blueberry Loaf Cake. This one is a keeper for sure!
My mom had nothing but praise about the meal and Katie compared dinner to food she's had from Niagara's top chefs at Treadwell and Wellington Court. hee hee Thanks Katie!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

best worst movie - it's the best!

Last night we went to the first screening of the Best Worst Movie documentary at the Hot Docs film festival. We've been anticipating this release for over a year now. Remember our Troll 2 backyard screening from a year ago? Well, we made it into the film!

The documentary follows George Hardy, who plays the father in Troll 2, through discovering the underground cult hit Troll 2 had become years later after the straight to VHS release. We see him embracing the status, letting it get to his head and his coming to terms with his life and the impact the film has had on him. He and Michael Stephenson (who played the son and directs BWM) tour around, visiting fans at screenings, parties and conventions. Through the documentary we learn about the cast and the types of people they are - all of whom are so interesting and characteristic. It also documents the search for lost cast members (Margot Prey, who played the mother) and the Italian director, Claudio Fragasso and his partner Rossella who wrote Troll 2. Part of the documentary plays out good vs. evil with George Hardy as the loveable ecentric and Claudio as the disillusioned brooding tyrant.

The documentary clears up the biggest question any Troll 2 fan could have about the movie. How could this have ever been made? We see clearly how the movie was cast and the direction it took through Claudio's vision.

I'm really happy for Micheal Stephenson. The people who created Best Worst Movie are pleased with how the documentary turned out and seem really proud. The reviews for it have been AWESOME. And we just loved it! I can't wait to watch it again, and again, and again. Who knows, I may end up watching it more than Troll 2.