the excitement continues...

Someone just got taken into police custody in my parking lot. Good morning to you, sir!


it's a crazy night at the lofts...

1) There's a medical transfer van sitting out front of my building which means that someone has a medical issue. I'm getting bored of sitting and waiting for the person to come out, but since I live here I figure I have the right to know what's going on--this is official loft business.

2) To keep me from being too bored I'm being entertained by the fact that someone called by-law to report some illegal parking. That'll learn maroon car!

3) One of the tenants from a loft I always stare into is walking around in his underwear. I have to say I'm enjoying the show--he's a very fit man. What I like most is that he's on my floor, so if I ever run into him in the hallway or on the elevator I can use "so I've seen you in your underwear--nice work" as a conversation starter.

4) In watching the guy in his underwear I noticed that Honey, the guy who always sits in front of his window and puts ridiculous amounts of honey on everything he eats (to the point where I often see TWO bottles of honey out on his desk-table thing), has moved his desk-table thing, which means I don't get to watch him eat honey at the window anymore. Sad. Also, he may have purchased a stationary bike...I'm not sure, I can't quite see into his bedroom as well as I'd like.

Who needs TV when you've got a view like this?! Also, I love people who don't have blinds.


thinking of less snowy times...

It's a snowy day in the K-dub (that and my knees feel like they are one misstep away from an embarrassing walking incident ala April 2007), so I decided it would be a good morning to finally blog about my trip to California in November.

My dad decided to celebrate his 60ith (wowza!) at my aunt and uncle's new property in LaQuinta (which will be known as Palm Springs from now on...there are way too many cities all crammed together to keep them all straight). My presence was requested and I obliged--you don't say no to the Old Silver Fox on his 60ith! Plus, it's been a long time since I've seen my aunt and uncle. Oh, and I had about a billion banked hours to use up. And it was California. In November. It was a tough sell.

Because flying and I get along so well, wouldn't you know I arrived on one of the only "rainy" days of the year. And by rainy I mean cloudy with a few drops of rain. Seriously, this would have been a nice summer day by our standards. But the people of Palm Springs were not happy. They don't enjoy the 5 rainy days they have each year (and, really, why would they...so many things are built to take advantage of the lack of rain--for example, the airport seemed more like an outdoor cafe than a traditional airport, complete with full size palm trees near the boarding area).

Anyway, the first thing I noticed as the plane descended into the Palm Springs area was all of the golf courses. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. But the closer we got, the more I noticed that many of the golf courses were surrounded by houses and located in gated communities. Indeed, there were a lot of gated communities around (which gave the community psychologist/City employee in me a lot of think about...I'm still not sure if I think gated communities would be good or bad for a sense of community. I'm also not sure how, as a City employee, I would go about building community in a city full of gated communities. Luckily no one from the Palm Springs area is banging down my door to get me to work for them, so I have some time to figure it out). To my surprise (although I really shouldn't have been surprised), my aunt and uncle's place was in a gated community. To think that armed security was on site 24/7 was weird, and seemed really unnecessary, but I got over it.

My aunt and uncle's place.

The backyard where I spent A LOT of time, especially during the first half of my trip when my parents spent a lot of time golfing with my aunt and uncle.

The outside of their gated community.

The view when you exit their community...

I have to say, despite the fact that there was a heat wave while I was visiting, it was pretty exciting to be somewhere and not to ever have to wonder what the weather was going to be like. It was just a given that it would be sunny, clear, and 30. Loved it!

I also have to note how well landscaped/manicured everything is there. It's actually kind of scary. Everything is perfect...a little too perfect. Oh, and for the most part, they don't waste their time with eyesores like street lights. Instead they like to put light the palms. It looks very cool, but doesn't provide much light (which made the community psychologist/City worker in me wonder about safety issues and concerns).

I was also shocked that I heard more Spanish than English while I was out and about (most fliers were in Spanish and English). It was very cool and made me wish I spoke Spanish so that I could practice.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the trip for your viewing pleasure...

the Living Desert...

Our first major touristy outing after my aunt and uncle left was to hit up the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens. It was a great way to spend a day... We saw all kinds of African and North American desert wildlife exhibits, got up close and personal with hummingbirds and butterflies (one of the hummingbirds tried to attacked me...and I liked it!), toured the wildlife hospital, went on a desert hike, took in the Wildlife Wonders show (lots of very fabulous animals and birds or pray), and learned a lot about the desert and desert plant life from a volunteer who was clearly a desert fanatic.

We also got to feed the giraffes. I learned that you don't feed them like a horse. You have to drop the food onto their tongue. I was also reminded of what I learned in Japan--those giraffes have LONG tongues. It's almost scary when one of them is coming at you!

There was some serious necking going on and it almost made me explode with happiness!

We're smart and decided to go on a desert hike around noon-ish. It was a lovely hike but I have to admit I was excited when it was over and we went inside for lunch. It really wasn't supposed to be that hot...

The Old Silver Fox enjoying the little bit of shade we found.

I learned that palms that aren't tidied up are kind of ugly. But at least they provide good hiding spots for animals, birds, and insects.

There were some pretty huge palms!

Tahquitz Canyon

The next day we headed out to Palm Springs to visit Tahquitz Canyon. We decided to get there as early as we could to try and beat the heat, but since it didn't open until 10 am, it didn't really work. Regardless, it was very beautiful and it was a great hike.

Some much needed shade...

The money shot! Tahquitz Falls is seasonal, so I'm very thankful that I got to experience it. It's about 60 feet high--amazing! I could have sat here all day and enjoyed the fabulousness...

A mortar used by the Cahuilla Indians.

After the hike we watched a video that explained how the canyon got its name:

The canyon's name is rooted in Cahuilla lore. Tahquitz was a legendary Indian shaman who was banished to the canyon when he used his powers selfishly. The tribe believes that his spirit lives within the canyon walls and that it can be seen as a green comet sweeping across the sky. According to the story, Tahquitz is still searching for the souls of those who venture too near his lair.

So, yeah, apparently people die in the canyon and they blame Tahquitz...that would have been nice to know before our hike! Luckily, we made it out alive!

Palm Canyon

The next day we decided to check out Palm Canyon:

Fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon is one of the great beauty spots in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna, which the Cahuilla peoples so expertly used, and its abundant Washingtonia filifera (California Fan palm trees), are breathtaking contrasts to the stark, rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond.

There were lots of canyons and parks we could have visited, but I'm very glad we chose Palm Canyon. I mean, look at that! Also, palms = shade, and that's very important when it's 30 degrees and you're in a desert.

I'm sure we're probably not supposed to touch that, but no one tells the Old Silver Fox what to do!

Awww... I would like to take a moment to thank the sponsors of my trip. Thanks parents!

We're probably not supposed to do stuff like that either, but, what can you do? One thing I've learned from my job is that seniors (aka: older adults, adults 50+, adults 50 and better) are set in there ways and there's no sense in trying to make them change. At least I think that's what everyone has been telling me...

Oh shade and water, how you make a hike on a hot day more bearable!

How awesome to see palms in the middle of the desert--it was really breathtaking!

as close as we got to the Andreas Canyon...

We opted out of visiting the Andreas Canyon after Palm Canyon because it was just so darn hot. Silly unseasonably warm temperatures...it's like you wanted me to just sit by the pool reading all day!

Anyway, we drove close-ish to the entrance, just to check it out a bit and this is what we saw...

...so lovely! And bonus points for more shade!!

So the hikes were definitely the highlights of the trip. Other highlights included eating at amazing restaurants, shopping, chillaxin' by the pool with a great book. I hope my aunt and uncle know I'll be back soon...hopefully with friends...I'm sure we can find some sort of desert murder mystery that would justify a trip out.

thanks Other Me!!

Best housewarming gift EVER!!!


wedding dress shopping...

Chelle is getting married and has asked me to be in the wedding party. This is my first wedding party experience and I just have to say that I'm SOOOOO thankful that Chelle refuses to be ridiculous about her wedding.

While I was home for Christmas we did some wedding and bridesmaid dress shopping. Terrible dresses were tried on by all (with some nice dresses in there for good measure). Wouldn't you know it, it was the first bridesmaid and the first wedding dress tried on that ended up being the winners!

You can just tell how much she loves this one!

To know Rach is to know that she never turns down an opportunity to cop a feel!

It's a little on the low side...

This one was the clear winner! [photo removed :( ]

Hotness! [photo removed :( ]
Here's the winner of the bridesmaid dress... Picture it in red (sans flowers) and a little shorter.


hello from Palm Springs!

A girl could get used to this... Who knew November weather could be so fabulous! Yay for fabulous sun!



To know me is to know that I have a slight (or not-so-slight) obsession with Montreal. If Montreal were a person I would have a hopeless crush on it, even though I would know in my heart it was out of my league. It's just so dreamy!

Luckily for me, Rach is living in Montreal, so I took the first opportunity for time off that I could get (I'm no longer working 2 jobs! yay!) and I hopped on the train.

I got to spend some time alone in the city while Rach was working, which was lovely, because I spent so much time alone when I lived there (I could count the people I knew on one hand) that it was great to reconnect to that. I started my morning by visiting Old Port and then pretty much walked non-stop for the rest of the day, visiting all my favourite places from back in the day. I even stopped by my old apartment to say hi. So many memories.

Here are some shots of Old Port...

On Sunday we did what everyone who's anyone does--we went for brunch at L'Avenue! You're guaranteed to stand in a line, but it's sooo worth it (especially when there is a manequin to entertain you).

I was a little sad that they didn't have my favourite (caramelized bananas with English cream crepes) on the menu anymore--maybe it's just a summer thing?--but the banana and nutella crepes I had were delicious!

Once I was finally able to pay our bill (I think it took about 4 tries...thank goodness our waitress had a good sense of humour!), Rach and I did a little birthday-engagement shopping for Chelle.

After that we headed over to Mont Royal for some Tam-tam/Duck Tape Warrior action. Rach snapped a few pictures of her boy-crush but, for some reason, waited until he started to get dressed before she decided she wanted to take pictures of him. Can you spot him?

After that we walked around for a bit (always searching for more birthday-engagement presents) and, of course, took some time to play in the snow.