5 Year anniversary at work

(Actually it was back in January.) About a month ago, I received an email through work saying that I was up for a Customer Service Award and could I fill out a questionnaire about myself for a slide show that will be at the ceremony. Not having worked anywhere (in my professional life) for 5 years, I wasn’t expecting this. I sent an email back saying if this was indeed for me. (It was.) I completed it and RSVP’d to the event.

I made plans to switch my on-site days to Tuesday-Wednesday instead of Monday-Tuesday so that I could attend and still meet my on-site teaching requirements. There was a mixer from 2-3, then the ceremony 3-4. I was expecting a few nibbles (chips, cheese doodles, and a coffee or tea), but it was a fully catered event with gourmet desserts, canapΓ©s, fruit and salad plates, and a series of international kebabs and sauces with juice, water, and pop.

Everyone who was being recognized went up in front of the crowd while their supervisor said a few kind words about them. There was someone who had been there for 25 years! Each recipient received a gift for their anniversary and everyone attending received a thank you gift for pulling together and surviving the whole COVID upheaval. All I was expecting was a certificate acknowledging my time there, but it was more than that:

I have to admit that I continue to be glad I took the part-time fill-in position with Columbia. For such a big company, they know how to show their appreciation for their employees. Thank you Columbia College and Dr. Snell.

Happy 49th Birthday Simon!

Today Simon turned 49.

To start the celebrations he opened his cards and gifts over breakfast before moving on to the annual tradition of ride the same number of kms as there are candles on your cake. This year he did it inside on rollers because he had to be done, showered, and ready for a workshop at 10.


The middle part of the day was work (or school for some). I beetled home after work in order to assemble his cake. The actual cake part was baked on Sunday. Today I made the orange-flavoured buttercream and put it all together. After work, we went for supper at Mitillini’s. 3 of us had pizza and I had the steak. When we came home we had cake then (re)watched the first episode of Loki.


Happy birthday Simon. We hope you had a great day! πŸ’šβ€οΈ

Happy Mother’s Day from Calgary

Today was a pretty low-key day. It started off with a breakfast burrito made by Ian and a lovely card from Simon (from the Mr. Murphy collection). Ian started prepping last night by making the pico de gallo. This morning he grated and rinsed the potatoes until no starch remained to make the hashed browns. Then he scrambled the eggs and nearly burned the bacon. Sadly there was a mishap with bacon grease and the floor, but Simon can talk about that. 🀣 The final product was very delicious (and spicy – the jalapeΓ±os were a real eye-opener!).
After breakfast we did a little grocery shopping which included some libations for today: a Growler of Neapolitan Stout, a box of chocolate beer, and some moscato. Can you believe Baby Duck was out everywhere?! We also got some hors d’oeuvres for lunch which we ate while we all played Minecraft. Miranda got a cake from Abbey’s last night and she did the writing on it. We had some of that with lunch. It was mild and nutty and spice-cookie flavoured – very delicious. The Chocolate disk on top was also delicious.
After lunch, we continued with Minecraft until I had to take Miranda to work. Supper was leftovers and popcorn with fruit with the moscato and a tequila seltzer while we watched The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. There was also some laundry thrown in throughout the day. It is Sunday – laundry day – and laundry day waits for no holiday. 😜
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. Thank you to my loving family for everything today. πŸ’œβ€οΈπŸ’šπŸ’™

Happy 6th Birthday Murphy!

Today is our Mr. Murphy’s 6th birthday.

In honour of it, I made homemade pork gyoza with nori-wrapped rice balls and a salad with homemade sesame dressing. Of course, Murphy had some of his birthday cat meat. I also made a Mississippi mud cake.

He has been enjoying his present for a couple of weeks… at least the boxed version of it. πŸ˜„ We got him a tent with a removable tunnel. (His friend, “Orange Puddy”, across the back fence has one and Murphy said he’d like one too. We have to wait until the weather is consistently fair, but I think it’ll be very exciting to be on deck or in the back yard.

Happy Birthday Murphy! We hope your day was fun and relaxing. We love you! πŸ§‘πŸ’š

Date Night πŸ’™πŸ’š

When the news broke that Kenney will start lifting COVID restrictions next week, I jokingly suggested that we go out and use the Earl’s gift card I got in December from the Social Committee at Columbia College. Simon agreed. I made a reservation at the Dalhousie location for this evening at 5.30.

When we got there, the place was jumping and many were waiting to get a seat (good thing I made a reservation). The hostess said that it was surprisingly busy. I wondered if others were what we were. The meal was very tasty. We started with Buffalo Cauliflower as an appetizer. Simon had a medium sized glass (18oz) of Pale Rhino ale and I had a sangria made with red wine, St. Remy brandy, cranberries, and winter spices. It was fantastic! Simon ordered the Kung Pao Chicken and I had the 6 oz steak (medium rare) with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. Mmm! We split a piece of Confetti Cake with coffee for dessert.

I’m glad we did this. It has been a long time since we’ve done anything like this. Simon commented that we have to be careful that we don’t turn into hermits because of COVID. 🀣

Here are some pics. (We really need to practice taking selfies.)

Negative, Captain.

On Friday Miranda’s school handed out the first COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits to each student. There was no word on whether they’ll get a second one or when. In fact, the amount of information was slim. Her homeroom teacher recommended they test themselves twice a week. They also got masks, but not the N95 variety. We’re still waiting on Ian’s school to send him home with a kit and masks.
Today we decided to do a test on each of them since they are going to be the likely vectors of the disease by being on-site at school. I read the instruction card yesterday and the video today. Miranda was first. I was a little nervous because she has a tendency to sneeze when anything touches her nose. We managed to get through her first nostril before she started sneezing and then she managed to hold off with the second nostril until I was removing it. (She sneezed as it was being removed and nearly shot it out of my hand.) 🀣 While we waited the requisite 15 minutes, I swabbed Ian. He wasn’t as bad, but he did have a sneeze at the end.
The results: both negative. Yay! We will test them again on Wednesday.

Test 1
Test 2
Test 3
Test 4
Test 5
Test 6
Test 7
Test 8
Test 9 + Tammy
Test 10
Test 11
Ian 12
Ian 13
Test 12 M, 14 Ian
Group Testing
Test 16 Ian, Simon 3

Happy 18th Birthday, Miranda!

Today our little girl legally becomes and adult in Alberta.

As I said in our card to her: “It doesn’t seem real to us that you’re already an adult. Not all that long ago you were a little crying ball in our arms.” And now she’s an adult. Wow!

Since we’re still following the COVID precautions, there was no party again this year. (Some year we will hold a birthday party for her in the summer.) Instead, it was up to her how she wanted to celebrate.

She had decided weeks ago that she didn’t want a cake, but a selection of cookies and bars plus some kind of Japanese food for her main meal. She put in her sweets wishlist:

  • Meringues
  • Madelines
  • Peppermint Mocha cookies
  • Banana cheesecake bars

The day started pretty early as we all stayed up to ring in the new year. She had a glass of sangria with us before going to bed. Then it was time for us to get to work decorating. It was a little difficult to do it in complete secrecy. I had gotten a series of stand up dinosaurs to put on the floor outside her bedroom door as well as some streamers to go around it and her presents hanging from the door frame. I got a balloon bouquet with a dinosaur theme and 18th birthday – these were going to be put outside her door as well, but Murph thought they were a little too interesting. πŸ˜„ There was also a banner in the dining room.

Our sleep was very interrupted with Alexa deciding to turn on Simon’s bedside lamp twice and his phone lighting up twice, so 7 a.m. came too early. We went downstairs and set up the cards and the balloons before I put together the blin batter for breakfast. She requested blin stuffed with ground pork or fruit and whipped cream for her breakfast.

We spoke to Baba and Grandpa at 9.00 and then Simon and I did our first virtual club ride of the year at 10.00. After that we had take out from Edo and started The Royal Tenenbaums, the first of many movies in her Wes Anderson movie-a-thon. Then came the time for her “cake”. You can’t see it clearly, but the candles said Happy 18 Birthday:

singing Happy Birthday

Throughout the afternoon, we snacked on cookies, popcorn, tea, and adult beverages (banana daiquiris and piΓ±a coladas – we didn’t get to fuzzy navels this time) while watching The French Dispatch and The Grand Budapest Hotel. We took mini-breaks in between – including this one. We’re gearing up for the final movie: The Darjeeling Limited.

It has been a very relaxed, but pleasant birthday thus far. As soon as I post this, we’ll be watching the final movie and who knows after that.

Happy 18th Birthday Miranda! We love you so much! πŸ’šπŸ’œβ€οΈπŸ§‘

12 Days of Socks

A couple of weeks ago, Simon asked what kind of Advent calendar I would like to have since the kids have their birds and he has his beer one. He felt I needed one too. The only things I could think of were socks, earrings, or chocolates.
This morning my 12 Days of socks began. I should’ve twigged when he asked me where I kept the Advent birds, but I just thought he was having a go at me about my slobbiness. 🀣 This morning on the Advent table, I found these (Make sure to have the checks aligned or it’s totally psychedelic. πŸ˜΅β€πŸ’«):

Thank you Simon for my 12 Day of Socks. They’re all so great – I couldn’t choose my most favourite pair (but those unicorn ones are SO soft). β€οΈπŸ§‘πŸ’œπŸ’š

12 Days of Christmas at Columbia College

Back on November 26th an email came around notifying us of a Christmas tradition Columbia College has at their annual party. Since COVID has killed most staff parties, this year the President of the college and his wife gave out boxes of choices and a lottery ticket. The theme was The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways. Every day for the first 12 work days, a series of number would be drawn and the winners would get a gift. So far I have seen huge cedar wreaths, poinsettias, and gift bags as prizes (they posted some pictures in the emails).

Today my number was chosen. I never win these things; I was just happy to have the chocolates. I went in after work to pick up my prize. Originally it was a poinsettia, but I explained about having a cat (I hate seeming ungrateful, but I hoped someone else could have it who could really enjoy it) and it was exchanged for a gift bag. It was from the Rocky Mountain Soap Company. Thank you Dr. Snell and Columbia College.

My First ATESL Presentation

Today from 10.00-11.35, Tamara and I gave a presentation at the annual (and this year virtual) ATESL Conference. Our topic was how to make communication easier with staff and students using SharePoint and Google sites. I know what you’re thinking: 🀨😐😴 On the contrary, it seemed to be well received by all 87 attendees. There were a lot of questions and they enjoyed the brief demos we did.
This was my first time ever doing something like this and I have to admit it went really well. We didn’t have any technical issues (which was our biggest fear). Hooray! I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures to share, but you can look at the presentation PDF. At some point there will be a video available to watch (should you have nothing better to do or can’t fall asleep πŸ˜„) and I’ll post the link here.