Mug Shots

Like most folks, we have an assortment of coffee mugs in our cupboard. They often appear as gifts based on whatever the recipients fancy. From Owls to Lego, to mugs that come free with a bottle of booze- these become personalized favorites of us all. But my wife and I are cheesy. We have a collection of matching mugs.

It started years ago with a couple of horoscope ones from the dollar store. But it soon branched off into ones that defined who we really were.

My wife dominated over me by absconding the “Player 1” mug leaving me to be the Luigi to her Mario. Always second to none, but she’s my number one.

I am particularly fond of our first set of Disneyland mugs. Simple art of the classic characters that defined cartoons My wife is the Minnie to my Mickey.

Soon after we picked up another set of mugs. She is the elegant Eve to my clunky love struck Wall-E. But wait, there’s more…

A couple of years later she became my Belle. That’s right, we really are that cheesy. Even our kids began to get in on the fun.

Of course Disneyland plays on the memories and heartstrings of everyone who enters their gates. The store shelves are lined with trinkets and mugs that need to be brought home. Every one of our morning coffees is in matching mugs. And no one else is permitted to use them.

Do you have a favorite coffee cup?

Are you as cheesy as we are?

Let me know in the comments.

September 30th

I can’t believe that this month is over. There was so much going on that I hardly had time to notice that we entered Autumn.

There was back to school, I spent a week in Winnipeg for work, speed skating started up, a lightning storm, a couple coworkers quitting, our daughter did her first of many graduation celebrations- a packed month of plenty of memories.

I’m going to just sleep the last day of the month away. Wake me up when September ends.

Why Am I Sick!?

I think I brought back something from Winnipeg that I didn’t overly want. A massive head cold and stomach bug. It started slowly on Sunday, but blossomed into something much less desirable by the end of Tuesday.

Taking a sick day is rare for me. But I really needed it. Sleep and medicine has been useful in trying to combat this attack on my body. Wearing comfortable pjs and eating comfort food has also been helping. (That’s probably just the lazy factor making me happy.)

I want to blame the recirculated air on the airplanes for this. But it’s probably a culmination of that plus back to school (kids are germ spreaders!) and the change in weather. My stockpile of unused tissues is diminishing as my collect of used ones increases.

Ugh. I just want to get back to feeling normal.

Is that too much to ask?

Flying Home

Yesterday my coworker and I arrived at the airport in Winnipeg over 3 hours before we could board our flight. Needless to say- we were eager to get home.

I sat at the window staring out at the tarmac and our gate, “patiently” waiting for our plane to arrive. At one point I ended up taking a 45 minute nap to help pass the time.

I rebooked my seat the night before so that I could be in the 4th row in order to be one of the first passengers to disembark. WestJet offered some free “inflight entertainment” that we could access from our personal devices over their WiFi network. I watch a movie for the majority of my flight until the last 15 minutes. Then I watched on my phone as our plane approached the Vancouver Airport. From near my home in Langley, the plane landed 8 minutes later.

I think that the plane crew wanted to get out of Winnipeg quickly as well. Since all the passengers were on board early- our flight left fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. Meaning we arrived in Vancouver early.

It is nice to be home back and with my family. I missed their company tremendously. Now to get back into the daily grind…

Carnaval

Yesterday I mentioned Business Trip Eats and the variety of food we’ve been eating. Nothing really stood out. That is until last night. Where we indulged.

Excessively.

A coworker who had come to Winnipeg previously, as well as my boss recommended a restaurant to me for our last night here. So three of us hit up a place in Winnipeg called Carnaval: Brazilian BBQ. It was an all you can eat meat extravaganza.

There was so much meat. It was on huge skewers and the cooks brought it around to each table asking if we wanted to sample some. At first we were tackling the food faster than it was coming out.

Beef, pork, chicken, lamb, more beef, sausage, wings, beef again… it just never stopped. As we were eating, we were laughing at how awesome the food was and how foolish this restaurant is. Because we were going to get our money’s worth and more.

The food was coming so quickly that I hardly had time to pause and get any photos. It was evident rather quickly that we were going to be in trouble. Our laughter about how this restaurant was foolish turned into how foolish we were.

We only managed to eat for an hour. We were stuffed. And hurting. But it was so worth it. My coworker Dillon was putting me to shame with his ability to want to continue sampling the meats. I was unprepared to push my limits and was done about four plates before him.

If you ever make it to Winnipeg- the Carnaval Brazilian BBQ is worth a stop. Especially if you love meat. And BBQ. And hating yourself afterwards.

Business Trip Eats

This trip to Winnipeg has been enjoyable as well as disheartening when it comes to meals. I call it “Food Mood Swings.”

My work has been kind enough to feed us at lunch from a cafeteria. Every day is a small bowl of soup, a sandwich, a dessert- (always get the Nanaimo Bar) and some sort of entree that can be made for a few hundred of us. There’s also a salad bar which I will say is very fresh. So we get fed sustenance in a sense.

Dinners are more on my own to go and find. My coworker and I have been to a different place every night. First night was in the hotel since we were late getting in and didn’t want to try and find anywhere. The next few nights were chain restaurants that generally have the same food we’d eat back home.

I’ve enjoyed have beef and onions in my meals again. My coworker is astounded that I like getting a steak “BLUE RARE” but I love the texture of the meat just as much as the taste. The two times that I had steak this week were only mediocre. The restaurants weren’t exactly good at doing it the way I liked it.

Last night we went to Hooters for some wings. I don’t usually eat wings, so it was pretty okay. The other three guys I was with were trying a far spicier style of wing than I was wanting. I don’t tend to do HOT or meat on the bone, so this wasn’t something that I am adept to eating. The company was great though with some good conversation.

Only one more night of restaurant eating and two days of cafeteria food. I hope the menus perk up a bit.

School Is Back In Session or How to Survive Re-Learning at Age 43

Every three years, I have to get re-certified as a conductor/switchman. The previous times I did it in my home town area of Vancouver. This time around my company sent me to Winnipeg. This is where the new centralized training center is located.

The CN Campus is huge and modern feeling. We have been treated to unlimited coffee and a cafeteria style lunch. The classroom portion itself is, basically, dry. When learning rules that are important for the safety and service of our industries- it’s difficult to make it entertaining.

At least after those eight hour days we get to go and leave it all behind us for the evening. My coworker and I headed back to the hotel where I enjoyed the pool and sauna while he hit the gym. The 21st floor of our hotel has the pool and views of the city. A few minutes in the hot tub and I was relaxed again.

On to day 2 of the classroom portion. Hopefully my swimsuit will be dry for another evening dip and relaxation afterwards.

Winnipeg

I’m in Winnipeg for the week doing some work training. Sunday was a day of travel.

My flight was on Air Canada. Where everything cost extra. So no in-flight movie or snacks for my 2 1/2hr flight. I relaxed and closed my eyes for the majority of the flight. So did the fellows sitting in my row. It was peaceful.

We arrived in Winnipeg and I grabbed my car rental. My coworker and I drove to our hotel just as dusk was falling. I was unable to really form an opinion on this city- so it’ll have to wait until after class this week.

I will say, I’m happy with the hotel we are at. The concierge was friendly and the amenities are amazing. I cannot wait to try some of the recommended restaurants this week after class time.

This is sort of like a “working vacation” where we are away from our regular routines and get to experience a different city. A city I probably never would’ve chosen to visit…

Dust and Dirt

Sometimes the best part of a camping trip is coming home. That’s where you get to shower and wash off the dirt and grime accumulated over the trip.

The dirt gets under the fingernails and sticks to the sunscreen. A dip or two in the lake is nice to cool off, but it’s no hot shower.

There’s loads and loads of laundry to do. That’s why I usually wear old clothes. The dirt gets ground right in. At one point on our trip, a raccoon wandered onto our table cloth with its dirty feet. At least we are smart campers and never leave food out.

Driving a dusty logging road means our cars needed a good wash after as well. My car went from looking like a burnt marshmallow to a bridal dress after a good hose down. I must’ve also killed a small squadron of insects because my front bumper and grill were coated in bug guts.

It’s refreshing to get home and back to that clean feeling. All that’s left is to pack away our gear for our next trip.

Windy Wind Down

Our last day at Twenty Mile Bay started like every other day. It was warm and sunny out.

First thing after breakfast, my buddy and I hit the lake on the kayaks. It was calm and glass like on the water.

Later in the afternoon, I went out kayaking with my wife. We were out for about an hour or so on the water. As we returned the water began to get choppy. It was still warm out, so I grabbed a camping chair and sat with my feet in the water.

Then the wind picked up. My wife brought out our kite- nicknamed “Mighty Kitey“. We bought this kite on our honeymoon back in 2001. My wife gets great joy proving that she can keep it flying longer than I can. The wind continued on into the night sending a warm breeze through our campsite all night long.

Right before dinner, our daughter suffered a terrible accident. She took a sip of her soda that was poured into a glass with a straw. Immediately she spat it out. A wasp had climbed into her drinking straw and drowned. She had a mouthful of pop and a dead wasp in her mouth. As she spit it out, the dead wasp happened to sting her inner lip.

An old trick I learned came into action. We cut a fresh onion and she placed it behind her lip where she got stung. The juices from the onion helped to nullify the venom in her mouth. Within a few minutes the swelling was down and she was only left with some bad breath.

Crazy end to our lovely camping trip, that’s for sure.