Emily, my Sunshine

This past Remembrance Day weekend, my dearest friend Emily came up for a visit. It was an incredible weekend of sight seeing, patriotic feelings and countless walks down memory lane. It was splendid.

The only place I could take pictures

Emily arrived on Thursday night and she hit the ground running. Being a Thursday we thought we should take advantage of a free museum and so we decided to go to the War Museum, being Remberance Day and all. It was an impactful tour seeing the special exhibit entitled “War & Medicine”, walking through the “trenches” of WWII and seeing the endless images of men and women fighting for what they believed in so strongly. We all walked away from there feeling a renewed pride in our country that stands for peace and justice. It was quite amazing.

After our somber tour, we decided to lighten the mood and go to Karaoke! Now for those of you who know me well, you will know that I am not a big fan of this social outing. I don’t really know why, but I just find it humiliating, frustrating and overall embarrassing for everyone involved. But knowing how much Emily LOVES karaoke, I thought I would give it a go and so Jon, Emily and I ventured off (Brent was smart). Overall it was fine. The bar we went to was packed with all types of characters, with obvious regulars who were more than anxious to have their turn behind the mic. The three of us decided that would each do a song and then call it a night.

One of the must frustrating parts of karaoke for me is choosing a song. This night was no different. I had no clue what to sing and so Jon picked out a song for me, and I agreed to it. After we submitted our songs to the DJ I started to panic as I couldn’t for the life of me think of the tune of the song. I sort of remembered the chorus, but had no clue what the verse was. I was terrified and prayed that I wouldn’t be first to go. Well wouldn’t you know that out of the three of us, I was the first one to go. It was awful! As anticipated, I didn’t know the tune of the verses at all! The chorus was not the best display of my performance abilities and half way through I motioned to “cut” the song, only to have the song continue for another two minutes. It was my worst nightmare: humiliating, frustrating and overall embarrassing.

My pride aside, the evening was great. Both Emily and Jon did a fantastic job and we had a great time laughing the night away. I will just say though, that the next time I decide to put myself through something like that again, I will be preparing for weeks in advance. No cold calls for me!

The rest of the weekend was amazing. Friday we spent the morning in the blistery cold, standing with the swarms of people at the National Remeberance Day Ceremony. Unfortunately we didn’t take into account the millions of people that would be there before we left and so the only spot we could find was behind the War Memorial. All we could see was the back of everything that was happening. C’est la vie.

These two mounted the monument at the beginning of the ceremony and then stayed completely still for the whole time. It was quite impressive.



Dang zoom!








Much to our surprise and thrill, at the end of the ceremony all the big-wigs moved to behind the Memorial, right infront of us, for the Veterans parade! We had the best seats in the house to see Mr. Steven Harper, warmly called Steve all afternoon by Emily, and many other people that I’m sure were famous. It was a great way to end a very long ceremony in the sub-zero cold.

The Priest, a famous writer (the tall one with the red pompom hat), Bob Ray and STEVEN!



The rest of Friday and Saturday was filled with more sight seeing, touring, a lot of walking and best of all, many trips down memory lane with my darling Emily. We talked for hours on end and were reminded of so many different memories that have brought us to where we are today. It was absolutely delightful. Emily you are truly my Sunshine and I was soo happy to have you come visit me. Thank you for being so amazing!

Enjoy the rest of the pictures from our weekend.

She wanted to get a picture infront of the Parliament buildings but her beauty caught the lens instead 🙂

Infront of the Rideau Canal. You'll just have to believe us.

Me and Oscar.

On our way to Parliament Hill on Saturday!

Parliament Hill!

Loving the fact that we can walk (or leap) freely on our country's Capital lawns!

Unbelievable architecture inside Centre block.

Free tour of the Peace Tower

The ceiling of the Peace Tower

Did you know that there is a clock on each side of the Peace Tower? News to me.

Click to see panorama view of Wellington Street

Memorial Chambers: in memory of all the fallen soldiers

Emily making me look like a fool by not joining in the tea-party!

For Jeff Epp


Trying to hint to all the people that we were taking a picture! - National Gallery of Canada

Finally!

Inside the NGC

For dad and his love for billowing fabric.

How fun is this? Kids doing art in an art gallery. I couldn't resist.

Our final destination before Emily left: breakfast near the train station. If only they had a picture when we found it online.

What a place...they charged us for one jam packet! Also, that's not the White Horse that I've seen.

Selfish Red Slippers

As you are all aware, I have started a mini crocheting business. When I started I was super excited to sell some of my handmade items and entered into the world of Etsy. I created a logo, started an Etsy store and went wild crocheting as many hats as I possibly could. I then thought a good way to promote my store would be to go to craft shows and so I applied to be a vendor with a really sweet craft show called Urban Craft Market. Again, I was pumped and madly made my hats and branched off into head bands. It was going to be great!

Well this week I found out that I didn’t get into the craft show and therefore have loads of hats that I have no idea how to sell. My Etsy shop has done squat and so now I’m feeling a little silly with my 500 business cards that I bought in hopes that my business would explode!

And so to lift my crafty spirits, I decided to make something just for me, with no expectation to sell it or give it away; a rare occurrence for me, especially around Christmas. Completely selfishly I made myself some new red slippers! As some of you have seen, my old slippers were much to be desired, being ten times too big, an ugly colour and awful design. But I’m happy to say that I have learned a few things since my early slipper days and I am soo happy with how my new ones turned out. I still have to add the leather soles from my old slippers onto them, but I was too excited that I had to share! My plan is to post them on Etsy but mark them as custom, meaning I’ll take orders! Feel free to post your order here!



True Patriot Love

This past weekend our friend Ben Freeman came up for a visit. Arriving Friday afternoon and leaving Sunday morning, Ben was a highlight of the week. With his genuine smile, quirky sense of humour and thoughtful questions, Ben really made for a great weekend. Being the first real visitor (dad you don’t count :)) we decided to play tourist on Saturday afternoon and go visit some of the sights, an adventure Brent and I had been waiting to have. It was a blast! We decided to walk along the river, behind the Parliament buildings and explore the shore.

One thing that we were amazed about was how freely we could walk around Parliament Hill. None of us had too much experience with government buildings in other countries, but it was incredible how we could freely walk around the grounds with little to no security presence around us. Brent joked about how easy it would be to clammer up the cliffs behind the Parliament buildings with a surprise attack but then quickly followed his comments by a story of soldiers in camo, hiding in the bushes. Whatever the case, we were amazed and admired the freedom of our Capital.

True patriot love.

The Supreme Court

New roof


On our walk, we noticed a large monument in the distance. It looked like it could be some sort of war memorial and with Ben being the history buff that he is, and us being the adventurers that we are, we decided to explore. Sure enough the path we were on went directly to the monument and so we trekked on. We crossed the Rideau canal on a very unsteady bridge while crazy teenage boys tested their tight-rope skills on a pole that was crossing the canal. I don’t even know if it was attached to anything! Needless to say, Ben had his phone in hand ready to call emergency and my nervousness on the bridge grew exponentially feeling like any move I made would cause the goons to fall off. They were completely unfazed and ran off laughing. Once on solid ground we continued to enjoy the glorious sites, warm sun and crisp air. It was the perfect fall day.

True patriot love.

This tree couldn't make up its mind as to what kind of tree it was.

The monument turned out to be a statue of Champlain. It was really neat to see and because of the elevation of the monument, the site provided an incredible view of Parliament and the City. We were in awe of its beauty. I felt like we were looking over to a majestic castle, with it’s copper-green roof tops, and proud flag poles. My Canadian heart felt proud.

True patriot love.


Click to get full effect.

On our way back we found other cool sites including an unmarked needle that shot up into the air. We were convinced that it was some sort of alien communication device.
There was also the famous giant spider infront of the National Gallery and the beautiful Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. The fantastic architecture and artistic expressions were a great testimony to Canada’s beauty and talent.

True patriot love.

Alien Communication Device


One of Brent and my favourite musicians wrote a song called True Patriot Love. The intended meaning of the song is up for debate, but for me it’s a very political song where Joel uses the imagery of a relationship to speak about Canada’s relationship with the States. Joel cries out for his true love, Canada.

http://grooveshark.com/s/True+Patriot+Love/3OQxyi?src=5

I wont get too political and deep, but for me, I desire to have Canada remain strong and free, where I can freely walk around my countries castle, have crazy boys do dare devil acts, and have giant spiders take over the entrance of the National Gallery. I love Canada and I never want that love to wain. Thanks Ben for helping me to find my true patriot love again.

Fall Pics

I’ve been slightly neglectful in updating you with wonderful photos. So this post is strictly photos from the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Events:

    • Hiking date
    • Free produce!
    • Carving mini pumpkins
    • Brent’s graduation from Niagara College
    • Fall “hike” with the fam
    • Tricking Maelle into modelling my hats (they didn’t really fit her right)

As always, there are many of Maelle from our time at home.


































Adventure

This past weekend we went back to St. Catharines for Brent’s graduation. It was a busy five days of visiting, chatting, driving and eating. All very good things. One thing about going home though, is that everyone wants an update on where we are and how our “adventure” is going. It’s wonderful to have so many people concerned and interested in our whereabouts, but at times it can get a bit discouraging because it feels at times that we haven’t fully lived up to our expectations of our adventure. It has been a bit different than we anticipated and we haven’t done too much overt adventuring. When talking to people it feels sometimes that we either have to make it out to be better than it is, or we admitting our failure. It’s not always easy to know which way to go. The one thing that was repeated again and again this weekend, was about the “adventure” of our job search. To be quite honest, job searching has very few elements of a good adventure for me. It’s not fun, it’s not exciting, and it’s not very life-giving. I’ll give it credit for being unpredictable and uncomfortable but really it’s not the kind of adventure I would have chosen to be on for two months.

Today has been a particularly stressful day as it’s the end of the month and yet again we haven’t heard back from the jobs we want, we haven’t heard from the bureaucratic government, and we are presented with challenging decisions for the future. It’s a frustrating place to be. I wish that we could time travel to when this part of the adventure is over; where we are both in jobs we love, we have money in the bank account and we are having crazy adventures on a weekly basis. That is where I want to be.

The one thing though that has been both encouraging and discouraging is that there are so many people in our situation around the country, never mind the world. So many people spend years on this “adventure” and some how they make it through. There is some sense of solidarity when I think about them and I chose to be thankful for where we are, as it’s not as bad as it could be. We still have a roof over our head, a warm bed to sleep in and each other to love. This is good.

I’ll end on a happier note. The other day, Brent found, through a random Facebook trail from his sister, a blog about five guys who had the adventure of their life! The five guys are all Niagara boys and I think they are all from Eden (bringing it close to home). They started a project called the Open Road Project for two months and from what I can gather they went across Canada with a 1979 RV to do random acts of kindness for anyone they could find (and have the adventure of a life time). They have a hilarious blog and a great Youtube channel that have become Brent and my entertainment, and quite frankly my inspiration to keep having adventures. These five guys are living life to the fullest and though my adventures may not include running with the bulls or getting stranded on the side of a mountain, I still want to have full and exciting adventures like these guys and live my life fully. Thanks for the inspiration Open Roaders. I pray you are able to keep your sense of adventure, even when life doesn’t feel much like the adventure you had hoped for.

A Welcome Visitor

In the past week, it seems that we are getting a number of unexpected visits, whether we are going home or staying home, we have had a two weekends in a row where we have gotten to see our family. It has been wonderful. This weekend, my dad came to Ottawa for two nights. His main purpose for coming to this part of our country was to go to a funeral of his good friend in Montreal. Considering our close proximity to the French, we offered him our floor to sleep on and excitedly hosted our first visitor in Ottawa. It was wonderful.
On Saturday, I was able to join my dad for the funeral in Montreal and spend some quality with him while driving 5 hours to and from the funeral. The funeral was for a man by the name of Eric Wingender. My dad got to know him this past year and I had the opportunity to meet him when he came and spoke at our church. Eric was an incredible man who had a passionate vision for the church, for young people and most of all for Quebec. He was a man who inspired you by just looking into your eyes. He was a leader and a servant and through my one encounter I was blown away by the authority in his words yet the humility of his presence. My dad and him, though they knew each other for only a short time, shared a kindred spirit and had developed a strong friendship. Eric made a mark on my dad and from what others said at the funeral the impact was mutual.
The funeral itself was impressive. Congregating in a gigantic Anglican church, the hords of people made it obvious that Eric’s life had touched many. With tribute after tribute, the 3 hour service left you amazed at who this man was and the legacy that he left behind. Unfortunately 90% of it was in French and so I couldn’t understand most of it, but the vibe from the congregation left no room to wonder about Eric’s depth, honesty, loyalty and jubilance; he was loved. It was a unique experience that was truly inspiring.

My dad left today and so before he went on his way we decided go to a fun place to have breakfast, and so we went to Byward Market and decided to wander until we found a place. We got there around 9:30 a.m. and were surprised by how empty the streets where. The street vendors where just starting the set-up and it felt like a ghost town.


Just to give you an idea, Byward Market features a few blocks of really cool restaurants, shops and street vendors. In the centre, is the Market Square which is like the Kitchener Market or the Forks in Winnipeg; a covered building/market with all types of food vendors, shops etc. From past experiences it has been a hopping place with so many cool things to see. But this time very few places were open, set-up or available. This looming emptiness added to our feelings of desperation when looking for a breakfast place. We wanted a meal but by the looks of it we weren’t going to find anything too exciting. So after making one circle around the building we decided to go to one of the only open vendors; she was selling crepes. We were all famished and so crepes sounded wonderful.
The first clue that this may not be the best choice for breakfast was that the shop was actually a juice bar. Crepes were a side project to make some money. Well she definitely made some money off of us. We spent over $20 for three small crepes on styrofoam plates with plastic forks and knives. No side dish, no coffee included, just the crepe. They tasted fine, but it wasn’t anything to write home about (only blog worthy). We got a refund on the coffee and tea that we ordered considering we couldn’t get the Kruger coffee machine to work. We left feeling half full, unsatisfied and slightly irritated. We moved on and decided to enjoy our morning, despite our unimpressive breakfast.
Chapters, funky hats, beautiful vegetable displays and swelling streets made for a fabulous turn in our spirits and the rest of the morning.


After an hour or so of enjoying the real Byward Market, we finish off, with “second breakfast” and got some yummy treats, real coffee and some creamy hot chocolate at the bakery famous for it’s “Obama Cookies”. Our experience at La Moulin Provence, definitely made up for what we lost in our first breakfast.
The display of desserts


Though the circumstances that brought dad here were grim, the visit was delightful. Thanks dad for coming to our humble abode and being the highlight of our week. You’re the best!