Fancy Feasts

My wife and I have enjoyed a lovely overnight excursion into the city of Vancouver. We were celebrating the Anniversary of of first meeting 19 years ago. Besides just enjoying a spa escape and a wonderful hotel experience at The Wedgewood Hotel and Spa, we indulged in some extravagant meals.

First we enjoyed a lovely tea at the spa prior to our treatment. Then we enjoyed a glass of wine back in our hotel room. The afternoon was starting off delightfully.

Before dinner we walked around Vancouver and found a wine sampling at Sutton Place Wine Merchant. My wife and I tasted a few varieties from West Kelowna from a winery called Kalala. We picked up a bottle of white wine for our night back in the hotel room.

We headed back to our hotel afterwards because we had a dinner reservation for 6:30pm at the Bacchus French Restaurant. They seated us in a quiet booth and we were given complimentary sparkling wine for our anniversary. We don’t normally indulge in fine dining, in fact this was really our first time ever. The waiter placing the napkins on our laps kind of fine dining. As much as we felt a bit out of place, the staff was friendly and courteous throughout the experience.

Our meal began with Amuse Bouche followed by a half dozen Creuse Oysters. The main course for myself was Yarrow Meadows Duck Breast with Duck Sausage Terrine served with Pomme Dauphine, Asparagus, Wild Mushrooms, Leek Fondue.

My wife enjoyed Beef Tenderloin “cooked to her perfection” served with sweet bread and broccoli purée. She asked for blue rare and that is exactly what she received.

Dessert was a couple of soft biscottis and a fruit gelatin. The dinner was delightful in every way possible. we decided to walk around Vancouver some more before retiring to our room.

We stumbled upon a gala event at the Nordstrom’s department store where my wife and I enjoyed some more complimentary drinks and she got her hair done. It was a fun last minute experience that cost us nothing but time.

We returned to the hotel afterwards to find a couple of gourmet cookies awaiting us. We were also treated to complimentary chocolate covered strawberries. We shared a bottle of wine and relaxed, feeling like the upper crust.

We didn’t think we could attend the Bacchus Restaurant again for breakfast. So we had it delivered to our room. The sun was shining as we enjoyed a meal overlooking Robson Square. A great way to end some distinguished culinary experiences.

We may do this type of night away again in the future when we need it. For now, the memory and relaxation was worth the time and money to get away from our regular lives. Vancouver City is a beautiful place to visit- now back to our country living where we can just take it slow.

Wedgewood Vancouver

A couple of days ago I told my wife we needed a night out. Originally she declined the idea. But advice from my friend saying “You should of told her- too f#%king bad. WE need a night away and will enjoy it“. That sealed the deal and I booked a hotel room. But not just any hotel room.

I booked for my wife and I to stay in the heart of Vancouver at a Five Star Hotel called Wedgewood Hotel and Spa. Very fancy compared to our usual stays in places like the Holiday Inn Express. It’s also a bit more extravagant than our stays in Seattle at The Roosevelt. Once in a while you just have to “Treat yo’ self“.

The navigation in my car had us stopping just outside the hotel. As soon as I stopped, the doorman came out and greeted us within seconds. He grabbed our bags and had us at the front desk introducing us to the concierge by name. He then took my car keys and off he went to park the car.

I booked one of their more spacious rooms with a large tub and king sized bed. Our balcony overlooks Robson Street and Robson Square. Of course because this is a hotel and spa I naturally booked us in for a spa treatment. The hotel had a letter welcoming us as well as a letter confirming our spa appointment. We were encouraged to utilize the robes and slippers provided to attend our appointment. When in Rome…

We arrived early in order to enjoy the complimentary Eucalyptus & Lemongrass Steam Room. When we arrived, they served us tea and we relaxed before our couples massage. My wife and I both requested a deep tissue rub down. Our service lasted an hour. To say we left the spa relaxed is an understatement.

We retreated back to our hotel room and sat on our patio in our hotel robes. A glass of wine before dinner and a realization that we can’t afford to do this all the time has made it special and enjoyable. The staff here are extremely friendly and courteous. My wife and I don’t really want to leave the hotel, so chances are we will remain here and enjoy the restaurant service in the lobby.

This is a well deserved night away.

Fern Baby Fern

When we first moved into our home, I hated the ferns we had growing everywhere. In fact during the first year or so, my lawnmower found them attractive. I chopped them right down to the roots. You know what happened next? They grew back.

I gave in and accepted that ferns are pretty dang hearty plants. I’ve even dug them up and transplanted them and they’ve thrived happily. Over a decade later, I’m satisfied with the ease at which these plants are to maintain.

Ferns have this amazing ability to just keep living. What I do now is wait until mid spring and cut off the old or dead leaves. It’s easy to figure out because the new one stems have sprouted and are a vibrant healthy green color.

After a quick trim- these plants look good as new. If I forget to water them, no big deal- they could live through a drought of a few weeks. Ferns grow exponentially without being trimmed as well. For us, ferns add the splash of greenery to our garden that we get to enjoy during the beautiful weather.

Carving Up An Education

Our middle child entered grade nine back in September. The one thing about her is that she strives for excellence in all of her classes. A few years ago, her grade four teacher advised us that she could easily skip a grade because of her intellect. My wife and I discussed this at great lengths but came to the conclusion that as proud as we would be in pushing this, we wanted our daughter to remain amongst her peers. This proved to be the right decision socially.

Back to the start of this school year…

Our daughter had made her selections for classes the year prior and was looking forward to some of the possibilities that awaited her. When she found out at the start of the school year that she’d be taking a class she had zero interest in- let’s just say disappointment was prevalent. That class you may ask?

Carving.

Once she began the year, she took it quite well. Her ambition to maintain straight “A’s” took over the disappointment factor. So she aced the class. It didn’t surprise me. The reason being- her Opa is fantastic at working with wood.

My wife’s father was a brick layer by trade, but enjoyed wood working and cabinetry as well. Much of our home was created and envisioned by him. Our children have been surrounded by his talents so naturally it opened up a door to their hidden abilities.

I love seeing something made from nothing so to speak. Creating art from a piece of wood or a blank canvas makes me happy.

Transparency

Transparency. I think that word is going to become my new mantra. A way of behaving and living.

The definition of the word is impressive in all the different ways to interpret it:

clearness, lucidity, frankness, openness, candidness, honesty, directness, forthrightness, unreservedness, plain-spokenness, straightforwardness, ingenuousness, innocence, guilelessness, simplicity

Transparency.

Guided By TV

There once was a time that the tv required a weekly tv listings magazine to be made available.

Why should I read a magazine weekly?

TV channels were pretty much set in how they ran things. A new show every hour on the hour or half hour. Reading a magazine with the listings for your area was the best way to plan your viewing week. There was also a crossword and articles about the Fall Lineup or a puff piece about your favorite shows. Picking up a TV Guide when grocery shopping was fairly common practice. There wasn’t a listings option to show on the bottom of the screen. Eventually there was a dedicated channel to a scrolling listing that changed about every fifteen minutes.

After a while, people just left their TVs on. Or at least that’s how my home functioned. Monday to Friday was the same routine. My day even began with morning cartoons before school. From the minute I came home from school to well after my bedtime the glow of the boob tube illuminated our home.

Immediately after school, I enjoyed afternoon cartoons for a couple of hours until my parents came home. Then it was 6 o’clock news followed by Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. It was after these few shows that the daily programs would alternate.

Sometimes it was Murder She Wrote. Or it could’ve been Cheers, Doogie Howser, Night Court or Quantum Leap. After a while it didn’t matter. Our TV just stayed on. During commercial breaks was when I ran to the bathroom or got changed for bed. Bedtime? That was the four minutes of credits and ads before the 9pm late night shows. Only to have me slink off to my room to turn on my TV to fall asleep to the horizontal lines of electric hums and late night infomercials.

For me, purchasing a magazine devoted to TV is a thing of the past. In fact, regular tv viewing has changed to streaming at my leisure. No more programming myself to be glued to the tv in thirty minute increments wasting my time. Let me marathon through a tv series at my discretion.

Star Wars Day 2019

Star Wars Day is one of my favorite days. I love Star Wars. My family loves me so much that they enjoy being a part of it. From wearing Star Wars t-shirts to naming our dinner with Star Wars puns- May the Fourth is great! A couple years ago we did more to celebrate May The Fourth than we did this year.

As well, in the past, we have watched several of the films in one sitting. My favorite was watching the episodes in machete order:

IV, V, II, III, VI

On this May the Fourth we only watched two films. Solo and Empire Strikes Back. In my opinion- the worst film as of late and the best film in the series. Today we will be watching another film to celebrate Revenge of the Fifth because we are a bunch of geeks in this household.

What did you do on Star Wars Day?

Do you like Star Wars as much as I do?

Let me know in the comments.

Batman 30 Years Later

This weekend, the Cineplex theaters cross Canada are showing limited screenings of Batman from 1989. Naturally I had to go and see it on the big screen again. I love this version of the caped crusader.

Back when I was thirteen, this version of Batman was my first foray into seeing comic book superhero films on the big screen. (Seeing Superman IV in 1987 doesn’t count as it was an extremely bad film.) My mother was gracious enough to take me to this film on opening night. She knew I loved the magic of cinematic story telling. My mother always made sure that I saw films opening weekend so that I wouldn’t miss out. Seeing movies was something my mother always did for me. It probably played a big role into why I wanted to be a projectionist- a goal that came to fruition many years later. A job which I enjoyed tremendously. (Thanks mom.)

Coming back to today’s blog…

For DC Comics, Batman has always been a safe bet. I became obsessed with Keaton’s Batman. I learned everything I could about the film- buying magazines and comics- which I still own. As well, I watched any interview or tv spot about the film. Did I mention the Prince soundtrack? I listened to that on cassette for months on end. So much so that I have memorized every lyric as well as when the audio clips show up in the film. Nerd alert.

Batman has always been important to me. Probably the only DC superhero that I like. Going to the multiplex to watch a 30 year old film when there’s newer/ flashier films out there seemed counterproductive. Ya, we saw Avengers:Endgame on opening night, but seeing Tim Burton’s Batman once more on the big screen was important to me. I shared this moment with my two youngest children. In a theater that holds 234 people- seven of us watched a screening of Batman.

For a film that brought forth some of the greatest aspects of the Batman franchise -like Keaton’s line “I’m Batman” or the theme music still used in the LEGO Batman series- it surprised me that the theater was empty. Why is this? I dunno.

Earlier in the day, I was walking around town and on two separate occasions, young kids pointed out my Batman shirt. Everyone from kids to parents know Batman. Why not share a cinematic joy like the 1989 version?

In a few days Cineplex will be showing the sequel. I won’t be seeing it on the big screen again. When I was younger, I saw Batman Returns THREE TIMES ON OPENING DAY back in 1992 at the old Willowbrook 6 theater. I think they got my money’s worth back then. As well, don’t expect me to watch the other two sequels they have planned for next week. Keaton’s Batman is the best of this series.

If you want to see any of these films, check out Cineplex Special Events to buy tickets. $6.99 a ticket isn’t a bad deal if only six other people are in the cinema with you. If Batman isn’t your thing- they have some Indian Jones going on as well this month.

What are you first memories of superhero films on the big screen?

Did you like Tim Burton’s Batman?

Let me know in the comments.

Chicken And Rice Done Right

Some days you just have no idea what to do for dinner. what do you do?

The fridge door opens. Leftover rice. Ok. Seems like a good side dish. Open the freezer. A package of frozen spinach and chicken breasts. Now we’re getting somewhere. Why not combine all of these?

Josef- you are a genius.

After the thawing was done, the chicken was cubed and fried up. Throw on some spices during the cooking- because- spice up your life! Aromatic. Next step? Toss the rice into a cast iron pot. Because Cast Iron cookware is AMAZING! From the stovetop to the oven or open flame- cast iron kicks ass.

But I digress, the fridge rice needed to get mixed with the thawed spinach. Old rice needs a pick-me-up otherwise it stays crunchy. Why not add some water? Still missing something. A-Ha moment ensues!

In the pantry is that fantastic staple for last minute dinner plans- a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup! It adds exactly what you need to fill out a meal like chicken and rice. As I said- using cast iron is the best. A quick mix of all the ingredients and toss in the oven to heat it up. Let’s try 350° for 30 minutes covered. Seems reasonable.

Boom! Winner, winner chicken dinner!

Dinner was delicious. Everyone was happy. *pats self on back* Great last minute plan.

U-Turn!

Having a day off before the weekend is fantastic. Shopping is easier when the stores aren’t crowded. This morning I thought I’d get a good jump on my day off. Out the door at 8am to drop the kids off at school, then down to the good ol’ U.S. of A for some reasonably priced gas and dairy. I’d even beat the other parents since most school drop off is at 9am.

What a great plan. Or so I thought.

Today was the only day I wasn’t listening to the news radio. Turns out there was an accident at a major intersection that I needed to go through. I was wondering why the traffic was so busy going the opposite direction from me. Got to the detour and instead of heading south I was on my way north.

My brain went into re-routing overdrive. What roads connect where? Which ones won’t be busy? GIDDYUP U-Turn! Followed by a quick right and I was headed down a quiet street. I got this. Smooth sailing so far. Hang a left… traffic looked a bit busy up ahead- just a school zone to get through. Crossing over the other busy street when complete stop. Still about five blocks away from my planned route.

A couple minutes went by and we’ve moved two car lengths. There’s a driveway to my left…U-turn number two! Heading north again in order to go west down another back road. But I need to head east and south! Now I have a Pet Shop Boys song stuck in my head. “Go West- life is peaceful there…”

Finally a road that isn’t busy. The road that takes me home. I can’t go that way- I still need gas! I’m finally heading south. Back roads are fairly empty. Phew. I can begin to head east again. Alright- smooth sailing… construction zone!??!? How in the world is a person supposed to get anywhere? Am I living the traffic jam scene from “The Truman Show”? I gave up and just sat in the lineup. It was a bit of a wait, but not too bad.

I finally made it to the border. Which was not busy at all. My guess is people gave up trying to get through the blocked intersection I was frustrated with that begin my ordeal. Zipped to get fuel and zipped back across to come home. No waiting either way. Going home was easy as well. No traffic this time.

Two hours gone from my day however. But it was my day off without much in the way of plans- so that’s okay. Next time I’ll listen to the radio for traffic reports.