Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey and Stuff

So how was everyone's Thanksgiving? Mine was very nice. Pretty uneventful and I have no complaints about that at all. I have my own tradition i started several years ago by volunteering on Thanksgiving day and feeding the homeless. My friend Pam and her husband Ed own 2 very successful cafes called Norma's in Dallas. The original one is very close to downtown Dallas in area called Oak Cliff. Ed started this tradition in his cafe 23 years ago. How it works is anyone is welcome to come to the cafe and we serve the standard meal of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, salad,cranberry sauce, rolls, and a slice of pie. We serve until we run out.  They dont take orders that day from the menu and all the meals are free! It's amazing to see the line of people around the block starting that morning. Most of all patrons served are homeless, jobless, and hungry. I can't remember if this year was my 10th or 11th time to be volunteering. We get a shirt every year with the sponsors on the back and the year on the front. When i moved last year, i donated a huge heap of shirts and so i can't go back and count the shirts. Oh well- it doesnt matter - i just love it! I also like the fact that i have something to do for me. When i have family spread out around the city , i dont hurt anyone's feelings by not coming by. You know what i mean?  Anyways, this year has been all about my Dad so i went to his place after volunteering. My stepmom Deb made an amazing meal and the Dallas Cowboys won the game! WOOHOO~~  An awesome day for sure!
Before i left Dad's i grabbed my Christmas decorations box to sort through and decorate. My apartment is kinda small so i'm not going to put up my tree. I am going to use a few of my little tiny trees around the place.
I grabbed a ton of stuff that i will use and my place looks like Christmas threw up in here! lol.  I have a lot to do but i look forward to it helping me get in the Christmas spirit. When do you put up your decorations and when do you start taking them down? I typically wait until after New Year's.
I can't go and not see my sweet grandmother Nanny during the holiday weekend. I know i mentioned in past that she lives 2 hours one way. My uncle had Thanksgiving dinner yesterday (Saturday) at his place because my cousin's could be in town. Uncle James lives a mile from Nanny. My one cousin Cody lives in Austin with his wife Christie and it was great to see them. Shane (my other cousin and Cody's brother) was also there with his wife Reagan. Can you believe i didnt take any pictures? i'm so bummed at myself!
I rode down there with one of my best friends Todd on his beautiful Road King. What a great ride it was! That's 4 hours on a Harley round trip and i was in heaven. My only complaint is that we had a cold front come in throughout the day and it was CHILLY on ride back to Dallas. I have all the riding a gear a girl could need but it just so happened to be boxed away at Dad's and i wasnt prepared well for the ride. I made due because Uncle James gave me a pair of flannel lined jeans and Todd had rain jacket with hood that fit under my helmet. I went to Dad's today and got my box of leathers. It was like Christmas opening it up and finding my chaps, vests, and jackets that i bought at Harley. I will be prepared the next time i ride again- i sure hope its soon!!
I have a busy week ahead as always but i'm not traveling. I'll be working in Dallas and it's so nice to be packing right now. Have a great week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Montreal This Week- Oui Oui

Hey Y'all!  I'm having a super busy week already and it's only Tuesday. I'm working in Montreal, Canada this week and it took me forever to get here yesterday. Well, it just seemed like forever because my plane left at 6:10 am which involved me getting up at 3:30 and being at airport by 5. I am still so tired! I think i've mentioned already that i'm NOT an airplane sleeper. Why is it that when i'm in public on a plane, i jerk and scare myself and neighbors from jumping. Oh, i did make it interesting by spilling my full cup of ice water directly on my right leg and soaked my seat and jeans. I havent done that in years. It was nice and cool the rest of trip for sure. So my flight had a layover in NYC and man was it so hard to look at the window and see one of my most favorite cities right in front of me. This Texas girl LOVES some New York City life! It hurt just to be in LaGuardia airport. Oh well, one day i may come back and stay longer in NYC.
You know i am all about the meals when traveling. Do you know about Poutine? That is french fries with cheese curds and brown gravy. It's very different but tasty none the less! We were taken to a popular dive called Lafleur and had the officical Poutine. It's a dish made popular in Quebec/Montreal. Just got to say not to knock it till you try it!
Last night we had our Meet and Greet with who we were going to train this week. We had dinner at one of Gordon Ramsey's restuarants. We ate at Laurier's and i have totally mixed reviews. Here's what happened: we made reservations for 14 people so they gave us a "group menu" that we had to order off of. No one had any problems with that for most part but when we wanted to order a different side that was on the real menu, the waitress literally yelled at us and told us we cant deviate off the menu. Only a few people wanted to make changes so it was crazy that she yelled at us. Last time i checked, WE are the customer and we're paying nicely for this dining experience. Anyway, i wont bore you with more complaining but the service was the worst i ever had but the food was AMAZING!  After watching Hell's Kitchen just a few times, i have a feeling that Gordon would NOT be happy that his staff was terrible and mean. Or would he?
Tonight we had a nice dinner at a local cozy Italian Restuarant and everything was wonderful. I'm on a roll because tonight i spent my glass of water on my boss AND her phone. NICE! Anyway, I had a seafood pasta in white wine sauce and man was it good! Next time you're in Montreal look up Bellissimo and you wont be sorry! I'm staying downtown and there is SO many beautiful buildings and architecture around. Sad thing is that it's dark when we return to hotel and too late to take any pictures. Maybe tomorrow....
Here's a few pics i did take. :)
NYC from plane at LaGuardia-made me hurt to look

Gordon Ramsay's Lafleur

The biggest pork schnitzel ever! oh yeah and mac n cheese

Poutine Baby!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Garage Sales,BFF'S, Family, and of course Eat!

Time is flying by! I had intentions of blogging sooner but just didnt make it. I'm back in Toronto this week (Mississisauga) and we're staying downtown. It's very cool with all the lights and billboards -like a mini Times Square. We walked to our restaurant last night for dinner. I love that kind of atmosphere and the convenience of not driving. Speaking of dinner, we ate at Milestones and had the BEST meal ever. It was frozen Bellini night and we had one of those. They topped it off with Sangria and oh my! Delish. I had a pasta with mushrooms and chicken and a wine sauce. Heavenly!!

Tonight we had a Meet and Greet dinner with the department we're here to train. We trained half of them today and the other half tomorrow. This is my favorite part of my job when we get to meet new people. It's such a melting pot here in Toronto. One of the gals was from Croatia, another from India, another from Italy, and another from Portugal. Isn't anyone FROM Canada? People can say the same thing though about Dallas. I'm part of special crowd that's actually a native Dallasite. Dinner tonight was at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar. Funny because i had another awesome Bellini tonight too. It was mango and peach together-so yummy!My steak was a little bloody for my taste but still had great flavor all in all. I havent had a steak in ages. It was good to have it.
So i just have to tell you about how much fun i had actually GOING to garage sales last weekend. After recently having one of my own it was fun to be on the other side. I had been searching and asking everyone to keep an eye out for me on a fireplace poker set. I found one on my own and guess how much- yep! only 3 dollars! yay-woohoo! One of the pieces was missing  the handle and it is a little rusty but i wont even use the tool anyway that's broken. I landed last Friday and i called my high school BFF Kimi to see what she was up to. She lives in Fort Worth and that ought to be in Mexico because of the distance. We were going to meet half way for dinner but she didnt have a sitter for her youngest son Nolan. I went ahead and drove out there that evening and we had the best night! Her daughter Kati is pregnant and she came and spent whole evening with us too. It was so fun to just eat spaghetti at the house and sit around to talk all night.
The next morning (Saturday) i was going to leave early but Kimi suggested going garage huntin. She rocks at the negotiation side of things. I am so uncomfortable to ask for lower price and why is that? No one certainly didnt bat an eye to talk me down to price. I totally scored on some Williams and Sonoma ORANGE mixing bowls for ...drumroll...5dollars$! My most awesome and biggest win was my dining room chairs. I really wanted a little something different to add a punch to my room. Check them out!! Orange cushions-sigh-i die!
Williams Sonoma 5$ bowls

Really?! I love my chairs.

Now for my stroke of luck to continue, after i left Ft Worth i had to drive to east Texas for a family get together. I was totally driving 70+ but ONLY because i thought the speed limit was 70. I actually pulled behind a squad car and went around him. We were at same speed so i thought i was cool. I wasnt. He pulled me over. I just have to say that i NEVER have been able to get out of or talk my way out of ticket. I didnt even bother to try this time either. He gave me a break and let me go. Its because i didnt slam on my brakes and try to fake that i wasnt speeding. I willingly admitted to passing him. LOL. So happy for that.
My cousin that lives in London is visiting here with his husband and we only get to see him once a year. Many of us met at my one cousins house Monya and we had a nice night. Another cousin that i never get to see came and brought his lovely family too. Who was missing was my sweet baby brother and his family (jeremy got sick) and Jadona with her new man and her sons. Home cooked meal was a plus and i saw my sweet Nanny.

I threw my back out again on Sunday and it's totally sucked since. I am so sick of being in pain. What do i do now? Grin and bear it-Literally!  Happy Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Survived Halloween and back in the saddle again

So how was everyone's Halloween? I had so much fun! I love love love Halloween and i decorated both my home and office with everything witchy and skulls. I need to buy another storage container to hold all my decorations i have. Over the weekend i made the cutest skull headbands and they were a hit! I had a few friends even ask me how much they were because they wanted one but i gave them for free. Yesterday at the office I wore my headband and i spray painted my hair purple just for the heck of it. I had a cute tshirt with a skeleton couple on it that i found at Walmart. I didnt get a picture though. I just have to say that I also outdid myself making Treats too. I asked our department to all bring Treats to the office to celebrate. I bought NutterButter's and dipped one package in milk chocolate and the other package in dark chocolate. I decorated them like ghosts with black and white icing too. I also made sugar cookies in shapes of ghosts and witch hats. I seriously always go for grabbing store bought cookies or cupcakes but Nope- did it myself this time!
I am the luckiest girl-my neighbors LOVE Halloween as much as i do. They went ALL out and decorated our hallway into a haunted house. Did you know there was zombie baby dolls out there? There are many and they all do different scary things. Some shake with red denom eyes, some have sharp teeth and squeal, some have fake blood and eat bones. Anyway, my neighbor hung baby cribs on the walls and the ceiling and had a zombie baby behind all them. They had scary music, fog machine, cobwebs EVERYWHERE with a Giant Spider and little spiders everywhere. We put all our candy in a baby basket and had the kids reach in and grab it.  I enjoyed hanging with the neighbors eating sandwiches and looking at the kids costumes. Too fun! I will post a few pics but i took a ton.
Our Punkins lined up

This gave me nightmares and i dont scare easy

Our zombie baby candy keeper

Night before-Wendy and i with our headbands i made
After my fun night of Halloween , I still had to pack for this week in Canada. Which is where i am now. I'm with my boss/friend Wendy and coworker Mark this week and the next few weeks. After we landed around 2:30 we drove to Niagara Falls. I drove there by myself a few years ago from New York and it was so nice to see it from the Canada side this time. We couldnt have picked better weather tonight to be there. It was a little chilly but sunny and not windy or cold. Wendy is so awesome because she knows how much i love to find Harley Davidson shops and we find one on the main street where all the shops and restaurants are.  We ate dinner at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and had the yummiest blue crab and shrimp dip. yummy!

Wendy W, me, and Mark at Margaritaville

Niagara Falls on Canada side

Awesome rainbow
I really enjoy working in Toronto. I hope this week goes smoothly- I'll most likely blog again in this fun hotel room.