Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My love affair with red wine

Ok, so I know that I should know better...there are more than a story or two floating about out there which include me and too much red wine....but I just love the stuff too much!

Jim and I went out for a fancy dinner at the Sheraton last night on Jansen Ortho's dime and we just had to have a bottle of red wine to accompany our fondue. And it was oh so good that we ended up having a second bottle....bad move. I felt like garbage all day today!! It wasn't until about 9:00 tonight when I finally had some McDonalds cheeseburgers for dinner that I started to feel better. What is it about McDonalds that cures a hangover? I don't get it, but damn does it work!

Even with the nasty stomach yuckies all day today it was well worth it. We had a great time and some amazing food! I love fondue, and though it wasn't quite the grizzly house, it was a great Christmas dinner. Thanks Jimmie!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Goodies

Ah, there's nothing that makes me feel more like Christmas is coming than the smell of chocolatey goodness throughout the house. I feel very successful today because it is not yet 2pm and I have already crossed 3 things off the baking checklist….although I’m not sure that I am allowed to count the peanut brittle I made because it seems that while I was busy dancing around the kitchen to Alejandro Sanz’s sexy voice I neglected to read that it was a microwave recipe rather than a stove top one…oops! It still tastes yummy, just looks a little bubblier than any peanut brittle I’ve seen before. Hehe…

There are still presents to be wrapped today. Including the HUGE box that Jimmie’s is in!! Hehe I love teasing him…maybe I should make him wait until after Christmas to open it….

But I think that before I continue with the holiday tasks its time for a little Harry Potter break first. It IS my last day off until Christmas, so I’d better enjoy it! I missed the boat on the Harry Potter books years ago when the craze started, so now I’m playing catch up. I’m only on the second one, but at this rate I’ll be done all of them and ready to see the new movie by New Years! I decided that I was being lazy and cheating myself out of the best possible Harry Potter experience by just watching the movies, so for this one I will not let myself see the movie until the books are done.

Oh my, I just re-read this post and I’m a huge nerd.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Since I've been home

It's been nearly two weeks, so I won't bore anyone with the details of life since I got back to Calgary, but here's a list of some of the exciting things that have happened:

*My work Christmas party was a few days after we got home and it was a blast. We had it out at D'arcy ranch golf course and it was a great place for a party! The food was yummy, the drinks were flowing and the band even let a few of the braver souls sing along. Fun was had by all!

*I had my first meeting with the dressmaker for K's wedding!!! The lady had a few dresses that she's working on set up on those little manikin thingies they use for dressmaking...what are they called?? Anyway they looked amazing! I think that all of our bridesmaid dresses are going to look fabulous!

*I went to the Flames - Sens game on Saturday with Jimmie. It was lots of fun! We were in the fan zone and after a long day of Christmas shopping (no malls through yea!) we didn't get there early enough to get low seats in the rush seating zone so we decided to sit in the very top row. I was amazed at how well we could still see and how exciting it was from so far away. There really isn't a bad seat in the Saddledome. Go Flames! They haven't lost a game yet when I've been there. I think someone should give me free season's tickets because I'm such good luck.

*On Sunday Robyn, Cindy and I cooked up a holiday feast for the boys and we impressed everyone, even ourselves with our culinary skills. On the menu we had a juicy roast with rosemary potatoes, butternut squash ravioli, warm brie and apple spinach salad, asparagus, hockey puck yorkshire pudding (ok so those didn't turn out so well) and stuffing! Yum! And we had crave cupcakes for dessert. Wow, I don't know how they make those, but omigod they are tasty!

I'm sure that there are many more things I could add, but those are the highlights, and I have to head to work, so that's all for now!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The last few days...finally!

Ok, so I know it's been a VERY long time since the last post, but life has been hectic since we got back to Cow Town!

So I guess I left off on the day before the Canopy tour. That morning we were picked up at our hotel by the tour company and after picking up all of the other people taking the tour that day we made our way through miles and miles of African Palm plantation to the Tour site. We stopped along the way a few times to that they could point out different plants and animals. The oil that they extract from the palm comes from big bushels of little red fruit...who knew? We saw a turtle and a baby alligator, and lots and lots of cows with these little white birds surrounding them (mom probably remembers the name but I don't). We also saw some rice fields which we appreciated because the rice in Central America is sooooo good!

Once we got to the mountain 'lodge' owned by the company we had a big buffet breakfast, complete with pinto gallo the typical Costa Rican breakfast of rice and was even liked it! After we were all fed they suited us up with harnesses and gave us some very thorough safety instructions. Then the adventure began!

After a short hike further into the rainforest we reached the first platform for the first of nine zip lines and 3 repels. It was amazing and I was so proud of Mom, she was fearless flying through the trees!! There were a few points when we got a little nervous as we stood on a platform with 10 other people on it and the tree swayed back and forth. But safety was a big priority for our guides and we were secured by cords from either the zip line or the tree to our harness at all times. I don't know how to put the experience into words because it was so unbelievable, but we got some awesome videos of it, so we'll have to show them to you all!

When the tour was done we caught a bus from Quepos westward up the coast to Puntarenas which is a jumping off point to the Nicoya peninsula, our next destination. We arrived in puntarenas just after dark and started walking in the general direction of the ferry, hoping to catch a taxi there because it was about 2km such luck. We ended up walking the whole way there with our packs on, but it was a very well lit street, so it ended up ok.

We had about an hour wait for the ferry so we took a seat on a nearby bench to rest and were approached by a guy named Raul who claimed to work with Tourists in the area. He informed us that we had missed the last bus from the town on the other side to Moctezuma, our final destination for the evening. He offered to help us make a reservation for a taxi to pick us up and make the hour long trip to Moctezuma and to book a hotel room before we got there in case the reception was closed. It all seemed a little fishy, but we took him up on the offer because it would be nearly 11pm when we arrived and we didn't want to be stuck without a room. After all the arrangements were made he asked us to pay him for his services, which we had kindof expected...nothing is free in this world! We were glad to have everything arranged though so it was worth the extra $5 for security!

The taxi driver we had waiting for us was a very friendly man and he talked my ear off the whole way. He got us to the hotel safely and the guard was there waiting with our room key when we arrived. It was VERY nice to get settled in that night with some of the most comfy beds we had the whole trip!

The next morning after a bit of a sleep in...ok I slept in until about 8:30 when mom couldn't stand it anymore and had to wake me up because she had been awake for "HOURS!"...we went for a wander of the town. It consisted of about 3 very touristy blocks and we had breakfast in an overpriced americanized restauraunt. The food was good and it was a cute restauraunt, but the portions were small considering the prices. Costa Rica is definitely more expensive and touristy than Panama!

We decided that we would catch a flight to San Jose the next day rather than taking the taxi-ferry-bus route there so save us about 7 hours of travel time and when we called to make a reservation were told that we had to pay by 4pm that day...after a brief panic that we would have to take a $25 taxi ride to Tambor where the plane flies out of just to pay for the tickets we found a place in Moctezuma where we were able to pay and save the travel time to Tambor and back!

Once all of our travel stuff was arranged, we hit the beach for our last beach day! The beach one one side of town was a little rocky and we decided to explore a bit after a few hours there, because it was far from the nicest beach we'd visited on the trip! We eventually found another beach on the other side of town (remember it's only 3 blocks) with much softer sand and a bigger rock free area to swim in. The waves at this beach were very powerful and some were huge! It would be a great surfing beach!

We watched the sunset from the beach and headed back to the hotel to get showered and changed for dinner and made our way to a really neat restauraunt that we had seen earlier. They specialized in BBQ'd seafood and we both opted for the lobster. It was fantastic! And the 2 for 1 daiquiri's went superbly with it!

The next morning we were up early again and headed to the "airport" in Tambor. We had mistakenly assumed that there would be some sort of building there where we could wait and have something to so. There was just a landing strip and a guy from the airline drove up in an SUV a few minutes before the plane got there to check us in. The plane was tiny and we were a total of 10 people including the 2 capitans who we would have been able to reach forward and tap on the shoulder had we been sitting in the front row!

In San Jose we checked into our hostel and headed out to find some lunch and the market. We had lunch at a Peruvian place and I was very excited to find "arroz chaufa" and "papas a la hauncaina"...anyone who knows Peruvian food will understand my delight! And we finally figured out while we were there that the delicious fish called corvina we had been enjoying for 3 weeks was sea bass!

The market was very fun, and Mom and I had no trouble filling up the sports bag we bought to transport our purchases! It was a bustling place with anything imaginable for sale...we would have loved to buy some of the fresh seafood we saw there, but didn't have time to cook it! Huge prawns, fresh fish....could have been a feast!

Once we got all of our purchases stuffed into our packs back at the hotel room we had a little rest and headed out for our last dinner in Central America. And it was a good one! At the Peruvian restauraunt we met a very friendly american man who recommended a place called Cafe Mundo to us and it was great. It huge old house with a large outdoor courtyard, complete with a fountain. Great meal to end the trip.

The next morning we headed home, and after a very uneventful trip made it back safe and sound to meet Dad and Jimmie at the airport. And now time is flying by as Christmas approaches!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Homeward Bound

Well that´s it! We´re about an hour from the beginning of the trek home to snowy Calgary. Boo! We are excited to come home and see everyone, but still can´t help but dream about how great it would be if everyone we miss could just come here and see us, so we could stay!

The last few days have been quite busy with a lot of ground covered and a few more beaches! But I´ve gotta go get in the shower and catch a shuttle to the airport, so those final stories will have to wait until we get, can´t believe I´ll be home in 14 hours.

Why, oh why do I live in a place where it snows for more than half the year??!!