Nancy Drew Convention 2014

12 Jun
Parker and me (in seventies garb: a blonde wig and my mother's old hostess gown)

Parker and me (in seventies garb: a blonde wig and my mother’s old hostess gown)

Another Nancy Drew Con has come and gone, and this year’s trip did not disappoint. Not only was it held in a city I’ve never visited — San Diego — but I was given the opportunity to meet a teen idol from my youth — Parker Stevenson! I’ve only had two crushes in my lifetime (on people I’ve never met). One was Parker, the other was David Cassidy. My chances of meeting David are slim to none, which makes meeting Parker all the more exciting.
What was Parker Stevenson doing at a Nancy Drew Con? Because every other year our conferences include other series books, like The Hardy Boys. I’ve never read The Hardy Boys, but I certainly watched the television show in the 70′s, in large part because of Parker. Nancy Drew was an added bonus.
I’d have to say this was my favorite conference so far. Visiting the world reowned San Diego Zoo was a thrill, since I’ve heard about this zoo and never imagined I’d have a chance to see it. Everyone asks me what my favorite animal was. I can’t choose. I’ve narrowed it down to top ten (in no particular order): Pandas, koalas, giraffes, rhinos, hippos, elephants, chimps, polar bears, zebras, lions, and tigers. Okay, so that’s eleven, I can’t count. But there were so many things to love about this zoo, not only the animals, but the birds and the gardens. Wow. IMG_1094
I also garnered a ton of ‘swag’, a.k.a. Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames books for my collection, and the Nancy Drew lunch box  I’ve been salivating over that I won in a raffle — signed by Pamela Sue Martin, who played Nancy Drew in the seventies television series, and whom I also met. Pretty cool. 
The combination of meeting celebrities, new Nancy Drew fanatics and catching up with old ones, sharing stories, listening to great speakers and solving a few mysteries along the way made for a very memorable week, and I look forward to next year!

 

A Mad Hatter Tea Party

2 Jun
IMG_1036There are a great many things about having daughters, but one of them is getting to know their friends — particularly those special friends they have grown up with and stay connected to as adults. Being the mushball I am, I tend to adopt these girls as daughters, too. So recently we threw a bridal shower for one of these great gals, and she happens to love Alice in Wonderland, so of course, we went bananas with the party planning, as per usual.IMG_1050
Our obsession with each perfect detail (faces on the flowers, double-sided playing card banners, flamingo croquet, the soundtrack from the Disney movie, a hand-made Mad Hatter hat made out of coffee cups for each guest, a.k.a. 23 hats with special ones for the bridal party, china teapots, tea sandwiches, an incredible Mad Hatter Cake ) explodes into a self-fuelling frenzy whenever we get together, until one of us gets a grip on reality and realizes that no, we probably don’t have time to make a papier mache Cheshire Cat (although we would have liked to).
But it’s a lot of fun, I get to feed my inner child “decorating for special events” mania, and it’ll be worth it to see the look on this girl’s face. She cries at everything, so she’ll probably spend the entire afternoon in tears. Also, nobody will appreciate the effort and the details more than her. Which makes it all worthwhile.
To see more photos of this awesome event, visit my Pinterest page!

Rewirement

21 May
IMG_0959

‘Bucket List’ Centerpieces

IMG_0957

Banners and Tissue Flowers

‘Rewirement’: Hubby’s new buzz word for ‘Retirement’. It’s now official, his last day of work was Friday. My daughters and I have been secretly planning a huge bash for him — along with his office staff. We went a little crazy with the decorations. Thankfully hubby hasn’t asked how much everything cost, because he’d freak. We made over 60 tissue flowers, put together two big banners and two floor length balloon bouquets, created 14 centerpieces, and last but not least, my daughters insisted on having a sweet table, even though not everyone is addicted to candy like our family. I even ordered cookies that look like my husband. In my usual fashion, I ordered way too many, so now I have over 150 husband cookies to eat and/or give away to neighbours and friends, along with the $250 worth of candy that wasn’t eaten.
Hubby Cookies

Hubby Cookies

 I’m very happy he’s finally at home full time, he sure deserves this freedom after working so hard for so long. Having him around during the day will be an adjustment, but we’re prepared. He’s fully aware that there can be no serious discussions before 10 am, because I need to drink my coffee and do my crossword puzzle first. After that I’m usually available, until around 4 pm when Judge Judy is on. The last few weeks he came home from work early and started watching it with me. Now he’s a Judge Judy fan, too.
It’s been a long time since it was just the two of us, and never without one of us working. Looking forward to the next chapter!

Vancouver Update #2

11 May
IMG_0938[1]Tomorrow we leave Vancouver and fly back home. Had a fabulous time seeing the sights — the Art Gallery, the Aquarium, Gastown, and Stanley Park (thanks for the tip, Kathleen Kaska)! We didn’t get to Victoria, we’ll save that for next time. I’ll miss the room service–loved the break from cooking–and the maid. And I suspect this bed may even be more comfortable than my own at home. The weather wasn’t as warm as we anticipated, in fact it was warmer in Ottawa today. Hopefully that trend will continue!
But many good things to look forward to this spring. Hubby retires in exactly one week! Our annual mother/daughter shopping trip happens next weekend in Albany, New York. We’re planning a bridal shower for a dear family friend on June 1st, and the Nancy Drew Sleuths Convention takes place the first week of June in San Diego, which we are very excited about.
Stay tuned!

Vancouver Update #1

6 May
Vancouver Harbour

Vancouver Harbour

I just realized I didn’t title my last post. First time that’s happened. Shows how out of it I was when I got off the plane.
I think I could live full time in a hotel, like some dotcom millionnaire. My only responsibilities are to sleep, get dressed and feed myself. A maid arrives in the morning to change the sheets and towels and tidy up the room. She comes back at dusk to turn down our bed and fill our ice bucket. If I want to order food I pick up the phone. The hotel features an indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub and sauna. There’s a shopping center with a full food court attached to the hotel. I don’t even have to step outside.
I did step outside, however, for a few hours, even though my throat is still sore and I remain deaf in my right ear. I’d have to be dead not to go shopping. Of course I had to buy something — a trench coat for half price at The Bay —  but I’m going on a shopping trip next weekend, so I can’t spend too much money. When hubby came back we walked down to the harbour to watch the sea planes taking off and landing, then had dinner at a waterfront pub. Vancouver is surprisingly quiet compared to Montreal, for example, and very pretty, with leaves on the trees and lots of flowering shrubs.
That was enough activity for one day. At times I wonder if this is some sort of permanent virus I’ve contracted, since I’ve never been so sick for so long. I’m already imagining what it would be like to be partially deaf on a permanent basis, but that’s just me being anxious and silly.
I found out before I left home that 2 of my readers — yes I have a t least two, LOL — actually noted on my website that my next book was originially due for release in April, and were disappointed that it’s not out yet. Can you imagine? So now I feel encouraged and guilty that I haven’t released it yet. So my plan is to work on my book today, and maybe cut down on the shopping. Which will please hubby AND my readers.
5 May
iPhone photos up 2014 May 241Arrived in Vancouver for a week long stay with hubby on his last business trip before he retires next week. I’ve never been to Vancouver and I always love to visit new places. Everyone says it’s warmer here, and the past week has been sunny. But we flew into cool, grey drizzle much like we left behind in Ottawa, so they must have been lying.
So far I’ve seen the city through partial senses, since my third cold of the season turned into a viral ear infection which is very painful and I can’t hear anything out of my right ear. As if that’s not enough, I contracted bacterial conjunctivitis in my left eye before leaving home, making it difficult to see through the weeping pus. Once I’ve taken extra-strength Tylenol, antibiotics, and eye drops I don’t feel too bad. But when the drugs wear off the only thing I want to do is crawl into bed. 
Luckily we’re staying at the Four Seasons, and our suite is AMAZING! I would be quite happy to stay here for the entire week in my complimentary, fluffy white bathrobe while enjoying room service. But if the weather and my state of health improves, I might venture outside to explore the city. 

Just call me Martha….

25 Apr
IMG_0831So Easter dinner went off very well, despite the fact that half the family is allergic to our dog — actually he’s my daughter’s dog and he’ll be moving out at some point, but his hair is everywhere in my house — so we had to clean and vacuum before everyone arrived. Not that I don’t usually clean and vacuum before I have guests, or anytime, really, but I had to be very thorough this time.
Nobody went into anaphylactic shock from dog dander, which was a plus.
We decided on pot luck so I didn’t have to make everything, but I did make the turkey and ham, peas and carrots. And I went a bit crazy with the decorations, as usual.IMG_0829
On the left is a photo of the centerpieces I made. I got the idea from Pinterest and changed it up a bit. Everyone loved them, except maybe my daughter’s firefighter boyfriend, who looked at them askance, but hey, if you’re going to have a Gerbera daisy catch fire, there’s nothing like having a firefighter at your dinner table.IMG_0825
On the right is a photo of my ‘basket of carrots’ utensils, again an idea from Pinterest. Very cute, I thought.
IMG_0827Finally, I made these little placecards from a free downloaded template from Country Living. The whole effect was great, and I announced I was channeling my inner Martha, and then was reminded that she went to jail. Maybe, but you can’t say she’s not creative. 
Now you know what I’ve been doing other than the final edits of my soon-to-be-released novel.

 

Dear Blog,

8 Apr
crafts

Photo courtesy of ‘Cos I Like Making Stuff

Yes, I’ve fallen off the blog wagon, and I’ll probably stay off for a while through this busy spring. Not only do I have to get my novel out, but there are a lot of milestone events coming up. Milestone events require parties, and parties require decorations and planning. This is something I’ve always enjoyed doing, and I tend to go overboard. As a kid I would hang up homemade decorations all over the house (my mother must have LOVED that)! No occasion was too small to escape my notice.
The scope of home decorating and party planning has gone off the scale, and now I’m a Pinterest addict, which allows me to browse through a million creative ideas that aren’t my own. Kind of like picking other people’s brains on a mass scale. You gotta love it.
My hope was to have my novel finished at the end of April, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. So it’s officially ‘coming soon’. I can hear the disappointed sighs of my legions of readers as I write this (snort), but I don’t want to put out a book that isn’t exactly the way it needs to be. Only a few tweaks are required, but that takes time and energy, and right now my focus is elsewhere — on milestones and parties.
So today I have a long ‘To Do’ list, which includes searching for birch branches, plastic coffee lids and green string. Don’t even ask. I promise I’ll tell all and give you details after each event, but for now I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Monday Moan — Frozen

24 Mar
SnowinMarchArrived back from our month long trip south to a strange, frozen world … and no, I’m not talking about the latest Disney movie. I’m talking about the six feet of snow still on my lawn!
Eventually spring must arrive, I just wish it was sooner rather than later.
A few observations from our trip:
I can’t get the song ‘Rainy Night in Georgia‘ out of my head. My hubby sang it all the way back home. Yes, it rained a fair bit passing through Georgia. Problem is, he only knows six words of the lyrics, like with most songs he sings. Kinda annoying.
Why are all the weather channel broadcasters either older men or really really young women? Where are all the old broads?
Our GPS has dyscalculia — she can’t tell the difference between right and left. Fortunately, this only happened when we reached each destination, not during her directions. She would proudly announce: ‘Your destination is on the right’ when the Econolodge was clearly on the left side of the road. Dumb bitch.
I’m going on the Hungry Girl Diet starting tomorrow.
I hate Rogers. They don’t make it easy on travellers to the U.S. regarding travel plans. We were over our data budget by about $200.
Glad to sleep in my own bed, and thankful for a safe trip!

Road Trip — Siesta Key

9 Mar
006Arrived in Siesta Key yesterday! Our week long road trip has finally come to an end. Siesta Key is even more beautiful than I’d hoped. Powdery white sand and aqua water. The weather is perfect — high 20′s C — and we are looking forward to feeling the sun’s rays during our rest and relaxation. Signing off until then!
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