Archive | June, 2014

Day 6 – Redwoods, Trader Joe’s and The Exchange

30 Jun

wpid-20140630_141523.jpgToday was all about eating well and sharing the experience with people that I love. This afternoon we took Glenn’s mom to the podiatrist, so decided to leave early and have lunch in this little sandwich shop we tried last time we were in Chester. It was closed, so we tried a new restaurant, Redwoods. I’m the kind of restaurant goer that usually orders that same favourite dish each time. So when at a new restaurant, I usually try to order something that you don’t find on other menus. It’s the perfect time to try something new. This afternoon, it was smoked gouda orecchiette pasta with prosciutto and green onions. It was as good as it sounds and probably even better than it looks.wpid-2014-06-30-18.23.37.jpg.jpeg

After the podiatrist appointment, we went to Trader Joe’s. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I LOVE Trader Joe’s. I wish we had one in Fredericton. Yesterday I went bargain shopping and today I did the opposite. In fact, I spent more today on cheese than I did the pair of pants I bought yesterday. Today’s food shoppingwpid-20140630_195717.jpg was all about quality. I can’t wait to try everything we bought, but I think I’m most excited about the gorgonzola crackers.

Sadie was so full from our lunch that she decided to skip supper tonight. Glenn and I went to a local restaurant, The Exchange, and sat on their front porch. We both got chicken dishes, but the highlight of that meal was definitely the appetizer of thick cut beefsteak tomato, roasted red peppers, portabella mushrooms and fresh mozzarella with pesto and balsamic vinaigrette. Yum!wpid-20140630_195547.jpgwpid-20140630_204506.jpg

Tomorrow… Ikea, here we come!

 

Day 5 – Empanadas, Kohl’s and Big Brother 16

29 Jun

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Today was ordinary, but full of life’s little pleasures. This morning we went to the Denville Market. Glenn got fresh pickles and I got my Lakeside Maple trail mix. Then we picked up some Empanadas for lunch: beef and potato, spinach and feta, and chipotle bbq chicken. Yummy! This afternoon we went to Kohl’s and Glenn got some really nice dressy sandals and I went bargain hunting. The only kind of hunting I do. My time spent searching through the sale racks item by item was well rewarded. I got two pair of jeans, one sweater and one blouse for $23.00. It makes me wonder if the store even makes money when they’re able to discount clothes 90% off. My best bargain was a beautiful pair of jeans that were regularly $48.0wpid-20140629_211554.jpg0 for $3.36. How is that even possible? (I don’t really want to know; I’m just glad that it is.) Now that you know far more than you need to about my day, I’m going to watch Big Brother, my biggest guilty pleasure of the summer.

Day 4 – A month sometimes feels like a year

28 Jun

To use a cliché, it’s hard to believe how much water under the bridge can pass in one month. One month ago today we were still looking forward to our daughter’s grad party, prom and graduation. In the last month there were projects to be graded and exams to be administered and marked. There were two rooms full of furniture at home to be moved and one room to be painted and too many other tasks to list them all. There was still so much to be done before we could relax, that time seemed to drag on. Not that we didn’t enjoy every crazy minute of it all, but to say it was a busy month would be a great understatement. So, for interest sake, I went back through my photos to see what we were up to one month ago today and found the wpid-20140528_192647.jpgphotos of our son’s year end band concert. After four years of playing the trumpet, he’s finally getting good. Every year the concerts get better and better. We were enjoying an evening of stellar musical performance; that was before all of the madness.

Today was a well-earned lazy day for me. I drank coffee, played a game on my phone, took an afternoon nap and spent a whole lot of time reading, finally! I’ve been on vacation for four days now, but today felt like day one. My wish for this next month, June 28-July28, is for this month to seem equally as long as the last and be full with many lazy days like today. I briefly saw something posted on Facebook today that made perfect sense to me. It said ‘teachers are solar powered’. Makes better sense now when I say that I need the summer to recharge my batteries. Yay for summer!

Day 3 – One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble

27 Jun

The first few days of my summer vacation are always about getting to do those things that have been put off. Today was a beautiful day to be out on the town. It was sunny and warm and perfect for going to Telus for my daughter, because her name isn’t the primary one on the account they won’t talk to her without us. Then taking my son’s brand new, Crappy Tire bike to have it fixed because Crappy Tire put it together wrong and didn’t know how to fix it. The good news is, the one year old bike, that’s been ridden twice, is finally working like it is new. The lesson here is, don’t buy a bike from Crappy Tire.

bangkokThe fun part of summer vacation is being able to do spontaneous things like seeking out a food truck that’s only in town for this weekend and getting awesome Thai food to bring to Glenn’s work and have lunch with my sweetie. We shared spring rolls, cashew chicken and pad thai and it was all scrumptious. We’ve not eaten a lot of Thai food, but if you read the reviews on facebook, you’ll learn that many people believe it’s the best Thai food ever and from a food truck nonetheless.

After getting groceries in the afternoon, I did get about a half an hour on my deck with my book, but tomorrow I plan to spend much of the day reading. I can’t wait!

We ended our day with our neighbourhood party. Once a month we gather at one of the neighbour’s houses, theoretically from 6-8 PM but it always goes longer. Everyone brings their own drink and finger food/appetizer to share, so no one feels the pressure of hosting. We’ve been doing this every month since January and we’ve had a different host each month so far. It’s been really good getting to know my neighbours better!

Oh, did you make the connection with the title? I guess it wasn’t really ‘night’, or technically IN Bangkok, but it was yummy!

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Day Two – Summer is meant for reading!

26 Jun

Every June I always post a photo of my summer book pile. I never read every book in my stack and every year the stack gets bigger. So, I went back through my lists from the last three years and made a master list of the books that I didn’t get to. None of these books made my 2014 list. I’m hoping if you’ve read some of these you might convince me to, or not to, read these:

  1. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
  2. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  3. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  4. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  7. One Summer by David Baldacci
  8. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  9. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  11. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
  12. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larson by Susin Nielsen
  13. Every Last One by Anna Quindlan
  14. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  15. Gifted by Marilyn Kay

This year, I’ve got BIG plans. But before I get to those, why don’t I give you a few recommendations. Let me tell you about my favourite summer read from each of the last three years.

Last summer I read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. This was a gift from Savanna last year for my birthday. I have the whole box set, but I only read the first book. I have a tendency to do that, only read the first in a series. I also did that with Outlander, The Hunger Games and Divergent. Although I enjoyed these novels, I just never seemed too interested in what happened once the book finished. I love A Game of Thrones and now Glenn and I are watching the first season of the HBO show. I am very much enjoying the TV adaptation of this novel, so much so that I may even tackle the second book. I wonder if each season covers one book.

My favourite 2012 summer read was Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. It was a psychological thriller with a fantastic twist that you’d never guess. I love a book that can surprise me, but I guess I love the predictable and sappy too!

In 2011 my favourtie summer read was The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. This is one of those epic historical fiction novels that I would recommend to any adult reader 16 and over. I’m not a big history buff, but I love, love, love most historical fiction and this one is one of my top five favourite historicbooksl fiction novels.

Here’s the 2014 list:

  1. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  3. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (on pre-order, not in the photo)
  4. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
  5. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
  6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  7. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  8. Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
  9. The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers
  10. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
  11. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

I’ve started reading The Interestings already and I’m really liking it, and I already know that The Rosie Project will be next because it’s this month’s book club pick. After that it won’t matter what I’m reading, I’ll definitely put it aside for The Book of Life as soon as it arrives. It’s the third in a trilogy, and although I haven’t had much luck with sticking with series lately, there’s no way I’m not reading this one! If you haven’t read the first, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, I highly recommend it!

I do have other goals for this summer, but reading and writing are at the top of my priorities, so expect to hear more about books.

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Day One – This summer has 61 days

25 Jun

In 2011, I challenged myself to blog every day for the entire summer. I did it and surprisingly it left me feeling like I had the best summer possible. I remember, at the end of the summer, Glenn and I were at an outdoor concert at Officer’s Square and one of my colleagues was there and he asked me how my summer was. When I replied, “It was great!”, he was clearly taken aback, I even remember that he commented that he’d never heard that response before; he expected that standard, “Good,” or “Too short!” At first, I didn’t connect blogging every day with having a great summer, but looking back I can see that these two things clearly were dependent on each other. First of all, I spent a considerable amount of my time doing something I love to do–writing! I do love to write, and I so rarely make it a priority because with my job and busy family life it seems selfish to take the kind of time it requires out of my already crammed schedule. So writing daily was a treat for me and meeting my goal of blogging every single day, all summer, was satisfying. Also, I think writing every day kept me cognizant of how I spent my time. Even though I didn’t write about my day each time, I was more purposeful about how I spent my time, making sure that I had interesting experiences to share. At first I thought I had made a terrible mistake, counting down the days, when the end of the countdown meant I had to go back to work. However, as the summer wore on, I realized that feeling like I was achieving my goal and having a record of the best parts of my summer, mixed with my musings and poetry, left me feeling truly accomplished and satisfied. I tell you all this to explain why I’ve decided to do it again. I guess you could say it’s a bit of an experiment. My driving question is this: Is daily blogging directly linked to a having a great summer, or were the two once simply mere coincidences?

Even though a rainy one, today was a fantastic day for the first day of my summer. I slept in until 8:30 when the pounding construction started behind my house. I got up in time to see my guys off to work and then did my yoga in peace, took my coffee and book to the deck to read, all before breakfast. I firmly believe that EVERY day should start this way! Because she had the day off today, Savanna and I had a mother and daughter dfiosay planned. We did a little shopping, then went to see The Fault in our Stars, a movie based on the John Green book that we both read last year. Usually, I’m not thrilled with based on the novel movies. How can two hours do justice to a good book? There are so very few based on the novel movies that I ever think are even as good as the book that I really should stop seeing the movie, but when I love the book there’s no stopping me from seeing the movie too. I’m glad I did! The movie was equally as good as the book, right down to the tear jerking ending. Savanna even sniffled a bit, which almost never happens.

The end of the day brought the season premiere of Big Brother. We started watching this years ago with Glenn’s mother Sadie and now she watches faithfully every summer, so we do too. This summer she’ll be with us for eight weeks, essentially the whole summer starting this Saturday.

So, yoga, coffee on the deck with a good book (more about this and other books tomorrow), a movie with my girl and Big Brother. I’d say I’m off to a great start to a fantastic summer. Tomorrow brings a morning with my boy, lunch with a good friend and hopefully more time spent reading.

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