31 October 2009

Happy Birthday Brooks!

My little girl is 4 years old now. Wow!!!

We had 18 hyperactive kids screaming around the UBC gymnastics building...you would have thought that would be enough to burn off all their energy but n-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!! They just kept going and going and going. There was a cake frenzy followed by a present frenzy followed by a loot bag fenzy!!! And all this leading up to Halloween tonight!

Happy Halloween!

I do like Halloween.

This is the first year the kids have gone trick or treating with their friends - Justin and Brooklyn joined Callum and Anika, Wesley and Jaden for a romp around the 'hood. Justin went out as Jango Fett from Star Wars and Brooklyn went as a Princess...although she was originally supposed to be Little Red Riding Hood.

It was also the first year Justin drew his own face on his jack'o'lantern. He struggled to carve it but at least he gave it a shot!!! I was cursing my decision to tackle the Scooby Doo pumpkin. I was pressed for time in between Brooklyn's birthday party this afternoon and Justin's skating lesson to get it done.

Seven o'clock and only 11 kids so far...and not only is it Saturday night, it's not even raining!!!

13 October 2009

How Kids Respond to Music

Strange what songs kids respond to...this one is a couple of years old but when it came on my iPod the other night the kids started bopping around the house in the goofiest way ever! A big hit.

Dirty Pretty Things - Bang Bang You're Dead

Michael Jackson's "Bad" is also a favourite around here. Justin has invented his own version of break dancing to go along with the music!

...and Devo's "Whip It" conjures up all sorts of bizarre dance moves from Brooklyn!

09 October 2009

Hotel Must Haves

Now that I’ve become a road warrior again, I decided to do a post of all the things I now consider as necessities in a hotel / room. Now, some of you may take these things for granted, while others may think I’m a princess, but I now what I like and trust me, you don’t always get what you expect to get, especially outside North America…or in New York.

- full length mirror
- bathrobe
- slippers – the ultimate sign of a good hotel, but oh, so rare in North America!
- hair dryer
- complimentary soap, shampoo and conditioner
- some kind of moisturizer or lotion, especially during winter on the east coast
- one more towel than people staying in the room
- alarm clock / radio with jack to plug in your iPod
- safe
- luggage rack
- closet with ample coat hangers
- phone book
- functioning temperature control
- a sink that drains (often a problem in New York hotels)
- a toilet that flushes (I had to fix my own toilet at the Peace Hotel in Shanghai)
- kleenex
- a dvd player is a luxury but nice to have if you want to pop in your P90X dvd

As a business traveler:
- iron
- ironing board
- PLUGS!!! Give me a BLOODY ELECTRICAL OUTLET for the iron!!!!!!
- in room coffee maker
- bill under the door the night before
- in room check out
- mini-bar with snacks as well as liquor, especially if the bar closes early or there is no bar
- shoe mitt
- wireless internet access
- a 24 hour gym
- a 24 hour business centre with a printer, stapler and paper clips (yes, freakin’ paper clips! I’m obviously printing a document if I’m in the business centre and I need something to hold the pages together!)
- 24 hour (or at least late night) room service
- complimentary local area maps
- complimentary luggage storage (some Manhattan hotels charge)

Useless things the hotel room can do without:
- a phone in the bathroom (I’m not taking any calls while I’m doing my business)
- trouser press (mainly a UK thing I guess)
- voice mail (call my mobile for goodness sakes)
- all those poofy, dysfunctional, designer pillows you have to throw on the floor to sleep in your bed
- a call from the front desk to make sure everything is ok with your room – I’ll bloody well call if there’s a problem

What did I forget? I’ll have to update my list as I continue my travels.

04 October 2009

Coffee Wars (Part 5)

My final day of sampling different coffees got delayed due to travel, but I finally got to Cafe Artigiano to sample their regular, straight up, drip roasted coffee last week. Cafe Artigiano is a growing Vancouver based chain with several outlets around the Lower Mainland and Calgary, and they are the undisputed champions of espresso drinks...they definitely make the best cafe latte in town. In fact, they have consistently placed in the top 10 in the Canadian and World Barista Championships (coming soon to TSN, right after snooker and darts).

I therefore had high expectations for their regular coffee. However, without going into all my other factors on price, convenience, cups, etc., I have to say it was the worst sludge I've ever tasted. 1 bean out of 5, and only for the caffeine I needed. I literally couldn't finish the cup, which means it was really, really bad. I have to say it was an utter disappointment.

I've decided to expand my search for the perfect cup of coffee...if I stop now, McDonalds will have the top spot!!!

Trafalgar Park

Just a couple of pics of Justin and crazy-hair Brooklyn playing at the park...I didn't comb her hair before we left the house.

01 October 2009

Happy Birthday Justin!

Wow, I can't believe my little boy is already 7 years old! Halfway to being a teenager!

Happy birthday, dude!

We had an army of 7 year old boys at the Play Palace for his party and it was pure and utter chaos.

I was going to interview Justin on turning 7, but now that I've explained that the entire world can read my blog he's clammed up!