Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Would Martha Do?

So I had friends over last night - nothing crazy. I ordered in Memphis Blues BBQ and we played some board games. Thing were going well until about 930 when what I would think the most embarrassing thing that could ever happen to a dinner party host, happened to me.

I got sick.

But it wasn't the "I've got a bit of a headache and I'm feeling quite tired" kind of sick. It was the "excuse me while I evacuate everything I've eaten all day and take a few minutes to lie down on the bathroom floor" kind of sick.

It would have been my own fault - and I certainly wouldn't be so innocent - if I'd done it to myself with too much punch. But I'm 100% sure this was brought on by food. I'm 80% sure it's because I was nibbling on the fresh raspberries I bought yesterday morning from Granville Island without washing them (the other options were a spinach bagel or a bowl of mini-wheats), too.

So there I was, laying on the bathroom floor feeling terrible x2 for leaving my guests not only alone, but feeling obliged to take care of me. Don't get me wrong - when you're sick like that it's nice to have company - but I hated thinking that my guests were out there a) running to 7-eleven for Pepto, and b) tidying up the remains of supper!

What would Martha have done? Even if she HAD somehow allowed herself to get food poisioning on an evening she was hosting friends, what would she do to manage the whole situation? Is there etiquette with this sort of thing?

Here's what I'm thinking:
1. Send thank you notes.
2. Host another game night to make up for it.
3. Never get food-bourne illness ever again.

The good news is that even though I brought the Pepto back up, after I woke up on the cold bathroom floor shivering, I tucked myself into bed and slept really, really well. Chammomile tea for breakfast, and I have plans for a long day involving pajamas. Good prognosis.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Way Back in July....

 Back in July, Mike and I took an adventurous road trip through Alberta and southern BC. I came home with a few hundred photos, a sunburn, a green Coach bag from one of those Hurtin' Albert'n outlet malls, and miniature cowboy hat for puttin' on the Christmas tree this year. Why don't I tell you all about it!?

Our first stop was an unplanned roadside detour to Craigellachie - the location of the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Michael is attampting to steal the last spike. Though unsuccessful, I applaude his efforts.
 Stop number two (Still day one of road trip) was after we entered Glacier National Park.We'd been hiking plenty around Vancouver (lately, we'd done the Chief and Moutn Seymour), and Michael picked out the Hermit Trail as another one we might try...

At the top! It had been bright and sunny (and hot!) all the way up until just about the time we took this photo...
There was only one sign...it was near the bottom and indicated that we'd hiked 0.8km. The trail is just over 3km. Michael failed to mention that the incline was "brutally steep" according to Parks Canada. In this photo, we're nearly back at the bottom again. I'm both sweaty and wet from trying to cool off in a glacier stream.

 I nearly lost my sunglasses, too. Just as we were metres from the bottom of the trail, I realized they were no longer in my pocket. My first thought was "well, if I've left them up there near the top, they can stay there." Luckily, I remembered that 'nature called' only about 50m away and they'd only recently fallen out.

 We were aiming for Lake Louise on Day one, and we drove on to meet it. Our photos are from the next day because it started to rain miserably. Mountains really aren't as nice in the rain.

Cooling my feet in the glacial waters of Lake Louise. Contrary to how this photo looks, there were at least a hundred people milling about nearby. But it was a lovely spot to sit for a while.
I managed to pursuade Michael to take a paddle upon the famous Moraine Lake, nearby. It was absolutely the most perfect day a girl could ask for. Clearest skies, snow-white glaciers, and that green, green water. This is where I got a sunburn, and it was worth it for sure.
No biggie. Just Canadian wilderness at its most perfect.
 Day two had us continue on through Banff. Honestly, after seeing Lake Louise, we weren't as impressed with Banff. Mostly, it was because the entire town was crawling with tourists. I much preferred the peacefullness of Lake Louise (still had plenty of tourists, but not nearly as bustling)

 A good shot of the area surrounding Banff.
 At the end of day 2, we checked into our hostel in Cangary for the Big Shoe - the Stampede! As an aside - the hostel was in an excellent location. We were within walking distance of the Stampede grounds. The real downside of it, though, was their lack of a/c. Add to that only one small window, a second storey room, and 6 people trying to sleep and you and up with sleeping quarters so stifiling you may as well just call them awake-ing quarters. But our roomies were nice, anyway....

I can't remember if Mike's putting on his "I'm a rough cowboy" face, or if he's generally unhappy that I made him put on my straw hat. But really and truly, the hat was my saviour during those 30 degree + days!

We went to see the miniature pony show!

In the cowbarn, I (literally) tried my hand at "Guess which cow is pregnant!" The cow back end is fake. They had me put cornstarch (or chalk?) on my arm and feel around for a bit. I guessed right.

This poor miniature pony... We decided there were two options for him. #1 - Superhero. #2 - he's thoroughly embarrassed that he has to wear a skintight suit in public. He woudn't look at us.

The rodeo! I love rodeo. We had nosebleed seats, but this time it was a bonus because it meant that we got to sit under the shade of the arena for those three hours. My favourie even - hands down - was the Junior Wild Pony Racing! And then once the event was over, an 8 year old boy on a miniature pony did the rounding-up!! Most adorable sport in the history of ever.
We also spent some time in the sweatiest beer tent I've ever seen - Nashville North. But it was still awesome.
This is one of my favourite pictures from the rodeo. I've got my face in a cutout board, and I feel as if I look like a Little Person giving it my all on that bull!!
Riding a giant missile. Giddy up!

 But after three nights at the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," it was time to move on. We stopped at the outlet mall between Calgary and Edmonton, and paid a visit to the most countrified, Albertan shop I'd ever seen - Bass Pro. I tried to take plenty of photos, but there was just so much going on! Check out their website for more. I was tempted by the giant mailbox in the shape of an open-mouhed fish. eew, and awesome at the same time...

THREE taxidermied moose greeted us at the entrance.
In this photo: three bears, a cougar, an airplane and three mountain sheep. And that was just in one corner of the enormous store...
 That evening, we stayed with Michael's good friend Mark. He showed us around town, and we found a great deal to see an Edmonton Eskimos game for $30!! (through Boston Pizza. Included a free beer at the restaurant, a ride to and from the game, and our seats!)

Did I mention the "ride" to the football game was a yellow school bus?
 We also visited some friends we show make efforts to see more - Greg and Meg! One evening, we all went for the most beautiful, wonderful steak dinner at Lux. If you ever end up in Edmonton and want a steak, go to Lux. Order a steak and the Truffled Lobster Mac 'n Cheese. You will die of deliciousness. We nearly had a brawl between the 5 of us for the last few morsels of the Mac.

On the last Edmonton day, the guys went out for beers, and Meg and I went for Pedis at "The Mall." We all rejoined later for a rainy dayfull of indoor waterslides!

 Leaving Edmonton, we moved on to the "see the awesomeness that is All-Natural Western Canada" portion of the road-trip. Stop number one was the Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site. It was interesting, but it didn't have nearly the wow factor that some of our other stops gave us.

Honestly, I think the entire site is flavoured with tonge-in-cheek jokes. Their logo includes buffaloes jumping to their death.

This is the jump itself, 150 years after it was last used. Weather, erosion, and centuries of use have turned a once deadly cliff into almost a rolling bluff. Archaeologists discovered that there is a higher concentration of arrowheads on the upper layers of soil. Why? Because in its later use, buffaloes were more often surviving the fall and needed to be killed manually at the bottom. oops.
But it's a fantastic view of the plains!
Again, I see the humor all around. This carpeting was all over the interpretive centre, but it just looks like dozens of buffalo tumbling down the cliff (or stairs, in this case) here. A little morbid, no? Who thinks of this!?
It appears I was also a casualty of the Jump. Ow.
The jump has plenty of cultural heritage and I'm glad we visited. I wondered more than once about how important HSIBJ is to the survival of the Plains Aboriginal Peoples. About 150 years ago, they could not longer use the jump, mostly because European settlers killed off the Buffalo herds in droves. But really, the jump is still an important source of sustinence for them, and in almost the same way! Read about how the jump was originally operated here. Read especially about the drive lanes. But now, the drive lanes herd tourists, and there are little paths with markers (rather than fences), like cairns telling us not to tread off the path at all. We look at the site, and give them money! The only real difference now is that (luckily) we don't have to die at the end of it. Legend is that any buffalo that was driven to HSIBJ had ot die, or else they might tell other herds about it and so they couldn't be duped into getting herded over the cliff. Nowadays, they'd much rather we tell our friends to come visit it, too!

The rest of the trip has us drive through Fernie...

Big Ski Pole at the Fernie Ski Hill!
 ...Trail (where we stopped for meatballs), Cranbrook, Castlegar, Penticton, Christina Lake....

It was raining and we needed gas badly. Rather than help me out in teh downpour, Mike decided to take a picture. Nice guy.
 ...Grand Forks, Midway.....

Midway has a plaque to "Commemorate the Installation of Their Sewew System"

We stayed in Osoyoos overnight and took a tour of the Nk'Mp winery. Delicious!
...and made a stop in Kamloops to visit the fam before we returned home at last. I was so ready to get back into my own bed, and my own shower again. It was absolutely a memorable trip!!

Later in July, I used up my voucher for a walk-on role in a local production of RENT, by Fighting Chance Productions. I was allowed to hang out backstage with the cast until my triumpant return to the stage as a participant in the AIDS/HIV therapy group. We gave hugs, I said my name out loud, and then we sung a little. Easily the best part was arriving just before showtime, being told that I would be on stage long enough to be a part of a song, and realizing that I knew all of the words already! (they told me I could just mouth the words, but I killed it, FYI). The cast was warm and welcoming (beyond the fact that I'd brought them homemade brownies!), and I made friends with one cast member who is also a nurse. I couldn't believe it! Now, he said that this was his first show, but he also went to UBC for it's opera program, so he's not a newbie. At any rate, I had a fabulous time! (And thanks to Mike and Christa for sitting through the entire show just to see me on stage for 3 minutes!)

Me and the cast of RENT!

Sunday, September 16, 2012



I'm assuming there are 10,000 balloons in there!
Even though I haven't posted in aaaages (though I have big, big plans for a few catch-ups!), today I checked at the ticker-tape, and I've have just over ten thousand visitors! Thanks, friends!