Mount Macpherson Cross Country Skiing, Revelstoke

Today I am going to tell you the story of one of my very favourite winter adventures. I still think about it all the time, and whenever I am around the people I experienced this with the conversation ultimately comes back to it and we laugh for about half an hour. It was one of the most fun weekends of my life.

I have told this story in bits and pieces over the years, but it took place several years ago, pre blog. Lucky for you I already incessantly photographed my life as if I had a blog.

So, a few years ago I was visiting my Bestie Lisa in Calgary during the March Break.

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Bestie reunion

Over the weekend I was there we took a road trip to Revelstoke, BC to meet up with Lisa’s sister Heather and Heather’s friends (our Vegas crew, it was the first time I met Matt and Trevor and Tonya).

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Let it be known that Revelstoke is a good time. A small town good time. I loved it immediately.

We were all staying at Matt and Trevor’s for the weekend (they live in Toronto now, but had a beautiful house in Revelstoke then), and since Salmon Arm, where my mom and brother live, is only a few hours from Revelstoke, my brother Eric took a bus to meet us for a night!

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Here he is walking up to meet us from the bus stop. I was so excited to see him!

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Just picture this happening in slow motion.

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Sibling reunion

Our plan for the day was cross country skiing on the Mount Macpherson trail. To prepare for this we did what most hardcore skiers would do, and we hit up the liquor store for boxes of wine and beer to bring with us in our backpacks. We rented cross country skis from a shop in downtown Revelstoke and a giant van to take us all to the mountain. It was all very convenient.

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We were so excited, and so happy to have Eric with us.

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We arrived at the trail head and got into our skis, and it was just perfect. Everything was going smoothly. Perfect weather (almost springlike!), great group of people, and we were all like pro skiers (this did not apply on the way back).

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Happily skiing up a mountain with a box o’ wine on my back.

And the mountain views were ridiculous.

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Skiing up the mountain was hard work, but we were having such a great time.

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A few kilometres later we arrived at the Ole Sandberg cabin, which I was not expecting at all and was the coolest thing I could have imagined.

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It was the ideal rest/drinking spot. We took off our skis, broke out the boxes of wine and the beer, and got the party started.

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The views were incredible.

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And I was so glad to be spending this time with my bestie and my baby brother.

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And Heather!

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And Matt and Trevor!

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This is when I fell in love with these two.

Inside the cabin was a wood stove…

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It conveniently had pre-cut dry wood and everything, so we made a fire and hung out inside for a bit.

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But outside was so nice that we eventually made our way back out there. It was just shenanigans.

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Eric fit right in.

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We hung out and talked and laughed for hours. Here’s our entire ski crew, automatic timer for the win.

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And then we decided it was time to leave, so we put on our gear to ski back down the mountain. Except by this time we were tired and we may have been drunk. So we forgot how to ski.

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And we fell.

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A lot.

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We fell the entire way down the mountain.

This is my favourite picture taken:

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I love that the background is just so beautiful and mountainous…and then there is Eric, trying so hard to get up, hat about to pop off the top of his head, snowpants falling down, skis all mangled. This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it.

So the falling was all fun and games…until it started to get dark.

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And we were starting to worry about whether we were going to be able to make it back down. Being on the mountain in the dark did not sound like a good plan.

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Eventually we gave up and just sat on the backs of our skis and used them like sleds to slide down the mountain. It worked, and we all made it safely down.

The vans came by to pick us up and brought us back downtown to return our skis. We happened to stumble across a snowboard jam happening in the street!

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My pictures of it didn’t turn out, but it was really cool. We were also just ecstatic to finally be off that mountain.

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So we went to a pub in our snow pants and had dinner and drank more.

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And then the next day we drove back to Lisa’s and discovered that I had accidentally zipped her cat Charlie into my suitcase before we left for the weekend (he was fine, luckily).

We always talk about how we need to go back and recreate this day, but I know that it will never happen, sadly. Everything came together to make that day incredibly fun and hilarious and we will never be able to do it quite the same again. I just hope to always keep adding new experiences and adventures!

Koreatown Birthday

This weekend was my birthday weekend! Yesterday I turned the big 3-2. I don’t really have any feelings about it. But I do have feelings about this cake.

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I may have intimate feelings for that cake… Reese’s! Evan did very well.

My official “birthday party” (you are never too old to have one) is next weekend though, a bunch of us are going axe throwing. Yes, you read that right. We are learning how to throw axes at a target and then participating in a tournament. Doesn’t sound dangerous at all. Definitely more on that once it happens because it looks ridiculous. So, compared to the axe throwing this weekend was pretty low key. Still good though, and still included some birthday activities.

On Saturday evening, Evan and I went out for dinner in Koreatown with Brotherman, Kelly, and Evan’s friends Ian, Jeff and Jeff’s wife Sydney.

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They are a good group. We were debating between Sunrise House (where we ate last time we went for Korean food) and Ka Chi right by Honest Ed’s. Ka Chi won, and I knew as soon as I walked in there that I was going to like it. Ka Chi kind of has a dim pub feel, whereas many Korean restaurants are super bright and feel more like a coffee shop. I don’t mind that either, but this felt more intimate.

We started with a pitcher of Amsterdam’s Boneshaker IPA. And tea.

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Thumbs up to both of those. Hot tea and cold beer may seem like an awkward combination, but I like.

I think my favourite thing about Korean restaurants is the side dishes.

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They come as soon as you order, so you can essentially be eating the entire time you’re seated if you play that right. From left: seaweed, kimchi, rice, glass noodles, raddish, kimchi zucchini. I love it all! Well, except the seaweed, it had a rubbery texture that threw me off a bit. But I was loving everything else.

We also shared some pan fried chicken dumplings.

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And a big plate of hot kimchi pork for our table.

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I can’t even describe how good that was. I have said this before, but Koreans do pork right. It is thinly sliced and sauced perfectly and it is better than any other pork I’ve ever had.

For my main dish, I was heavily torn between a hot bowl of bibimbap (rice topped with vegetables, meat, and an egg) and pork bone soup. I have never tried pork bone soup before and everyone was saying how delicious it was, so I had to give ‘er a try.

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So glad I did. It was hard work getting all the pork off the bone, and it was definitely a hair up kind of task. But I persevered and eventually had a bowl full of meaty goodness.

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Really good. Perfect winter soup right there.

After dinner we rolled over to Pat Mart (Korean supermarket) to pick up a few things, and also do some exploring. I really enjoyed walking around in there and looking at all the different kinds of food. I also enjoyed these signs:

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Kim Yuna I am assuming…

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Well of course MJ loves bibimbap. Everyone loves bibimbap!

On the way out we grabbed some tasty sweet fish pastries.

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They are not actually stuffed with fish and really have nothing to do with fish at all, so I am not sure why they are shaped like a fish…but it works. They have different flavours like red bean, black bean, etc. but we bought half a dozen filled with custard.

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That fish was SO GOOD. Best fried custard fish I’ve ever had.

So that was my Korean birthday dinner, and if you haven’t had authentic Korean pork you need to get on that right now. Pretty sure I am going to need to find some for lunch today…

Ontario is cold. But it is also wonderful.

This winter is killing me softly. Do you know that it has not been above zero for the entire month of February?! It is not looking like it’s going to be either. I know I just went to warm and sunny Vegas, but the cold is starting to get to me. I feel like it’s not ever going to warm up. It’s times like these that I try to focus on the good things about where I live to distract myself from how crappy winter in Ontario can be.

I may be fantasizing about living somewhere hot all year, but Ontario IS awesome. Here is why:

Ontario is beautiful

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Bon Echo Provincial Park

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Heber Down Conservation Area

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Cyprus Lake

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Little Bluff Conservation Area

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Bon Echo Provincial Park

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Bruce Peninsula National Park

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View from inside the Grotto, Bruce Peninsula

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The Bruce Trail

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Niagara Falls

Ontario has an abundance of lakes and they are my favourite!

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Sandbanks

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Bon Echo

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Bruce Peninsula

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Big Chief Island, Lake Couchiching

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Sandbanks on a windy day

Ontario has cottage country. Kind of piggybacking on the lakes point, but cottage country in Ontario in the summer is my favourite place in the world.

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Cottage country = Muskoka chairs!

Ontario is a great place for adventuring.

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Warsaw Caves

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Warsaw Caves

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Little Bluff

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Big Chief Island

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The Grotto

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Bruce Peninsula

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hole

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Toronto. There are tons and tons of things to experience in Toronto.

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Jays game

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Toronto Island

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Adventures downtown

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Ripley’s Aquarium

Toronto is very multicultural. This means many things, and one of those things is ALL THE KINDS OF FOOD!

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And, as much as I hate to say it…we have winter. And a little bit of winter is fun.

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sledding

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A LITTLE bit.

Okay, phew. I feel better. Even putting this together made me feel thankful that I live where I do.

Have a great weekend! I hope it’s not too cold for you, but if it is try to remember the awesome things about where you live.

Podcast Recommendations

I, like everyone else, got totally sucked into the Serial podcast. I binge listened until I was caught up, got Evan into it and re-listened with him, and waited impatiently for a new episode each week until it came to an anti-climactic (but still satisfying, I think) finale.

Until I got roped into Serial, I wasn’t a big podcast listener. But after it was over I was left with an emptiness. I was mainly listening during my work commute and when it was over, there was a void that my music couldn’t fill. I wanted more. I wanted someone to talk at me. Unfortunately there’s only one Serial, however, Serial opened my eyes to the world of podcasts. I did not even realize how many exist. So I downloaded Apple’s podcast app on my phone (it’s free on the app store!), subscribed to a bunch, and now they just download automatically when there is a new episode.

If you search for a podcast and then go to the details of that specific podcast, you can then just subscribe by touching the handy Subscribe button. See below.

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And like magic, the podcasts in my app update each time there is a new episode.

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You can also subscribe using iTunes, or you can go to the website of the podcast you want and just listen from there (which is what I did with Serial). I find the app very convenient though. It doesn’t have a very good rating on the app store, but I’ve had it for a few months now and I have not had any problems. Since Christmas I have been listening constantly when I am driving, and even lately if I am running (on the treadmill, outside is way too cold). I’m usually big into music while running on the treadmill, but I gotta say the podcasts have been a nice change of pace (wasn’t even trying to make a pun there but I like it so I will take it). Last night I was listening to a particularly motivating podcast as I was running and I felt like I wanted to just crush everything and start winning at life. And so, I was more into my run than usual.

There are several that I am really enjoying and I know when I was looking for podcasts to listen to I was on the hunt for recommendations, so here are mine. If you know of any good ones please share! I also want to mention that Evan and I are planning on starting a podcast. I don’t want to tell you our idea just yet because I actually think it’s pretty good and I don’t want it to get stolen. But I will keep you posted! It will likely take a few weeks to get up and running.

This American Life

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Since Serial was produced by This American Life, I feel like this was a natural progression. It was the first podcast I subscribed to. Usually there is a theme to each episode, and mostly true stories from regular people relating to that theme. I love stories, all stories, so it’s a good listen.

Another storytelling podcast I am liking is Risk!

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Risk! is a live show “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public.” I first listened to a couple of the “best of 2014″ episodes and though there were a few story duds thrown in, they were mostly highly entertaining. There was one story in particular about a guy crapping his pants that made me laugh so hard I cried and had to pull my car over. They have featured a bunch of popular comedians, but some of the stories are very touching also.

Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids

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Canadian podcast, what! I think they are based in Windsor, but they have open mics all over Canada that you can attend and, if you like, read what you wrote when you were a kid! This podcast totally reminds me of my Grade 4 creative writing notebook I found last summer. It also reminds me of the time I was helping my Bestie Lisa clean out her closet and we found her childhood diary. In one particular entry, that she started reading aloud to me before she realized what she was reading, she was going on about how I used to wear this pair of striped overall shorts that I apparently thought were sooo cool, but I didn’t look good in them. I was all “F you, I looked GREAT in those overall shorts!” and she was like “I remember being so jealous of those overall shorts!” Anyway. Kids are funny and they write funny things and I enjoy this podcast very much. It’s good for a quick laugh, and sometimes that’s all I’m after.

Reddit Upvoted

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If you’re a redditor you should check it out. It digs deeper into the stories on reddit that have gone viral or attracted a lot of attention, and typically interview the OP. There have only been 7 episodes so far, but they’ve all been interesting. They’re also usually around 30 minutes, which is perfect for my morning commute.

You can’t go wrong with either of the Stuff podcasts.

Stuff You Should Know

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Which is about exactly what you should expect, stuff you should know, but might not. If it’s on a topic I am interested in I can get really into it. Otherwise I do find I won’t finish the episode. But then there is…

Stuff You Missed in History Class

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Which is my favourite of the two Stuff podcasts. It is super interesting. And I have learned many things that I never learned in history class (sorry Mr. B, you only had so much time to teach my young mind!)

Criminal

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I subscribed to this hoping it was going to be like the Serial podcast, and it isn’t, but it is still good. I like a good criminal story.

Radiolab

radiolabI am not sure how to describe Radiolab. Usually it is an in-depth look at a topic. I recommend the Worth episode – very interesting.

Invisibilia

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Invisibilia looks at the invisible forces that shape our behaviour – our emotions, ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. It’s still new and there haven’t been very many episodes yet, but I have really enjoyed each one I’ve listened to and they have opened my eyes to enlightening things!

And a few career podcasts that have been lighting a fire within me lately. If you like bidnass and enjoy hearing what bidnass leaders are up to, I suggest these three:

The Smart Passive Income podcast

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I have been binge listening to this lately. That Pat Flynn is a marketing genius and has really great tips and ideas (and the people he interviews have really great ideas) whether you are looking for inspiration in your career or are embarking on an entrepreneurial path.

Fearless Careers

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Exactly what it says, stories and skills for success. Again I have been binge listening to this a bit and have been highly impressed with some of the guests. I think you will find this podcast motivating and inspiring whether you are doing your own thing, planning on doing your own thing, or are a career cat climbing the corporate ladder.

Unmistakable Creative

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Here’s a handy infographic about the Unmistakable Creative.

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Basically Srini interviews creative people about the creative things they do, and it fascinates me. This podcast has been seriously inspiring me to do more creative projects.

I think that’s about it. Are you a podcast listener? What are your favourites?

The Pirate Party

Does it say something about my age when the highlight of my weekend was attending a toddler’s birthday party? Probably. Well, it was.

Dawn and Mark’s little nugget Scarlett is one year old today!

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Birthday Girl!

So cute in her leopard outfit. I cannot believe how fast this year has gone. It seems like it didn’t even happen. I feel like I was holding her sweet little newborn self just yesterday! So I can’t even imagine how Dawn and Mark feel.

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She just kills me. She is going to have quite the entertaining personality with the parents she has, that is for sure. I am excited to watch it unfold.

Anyway, we all celebrated Scarlett’s first birthday on Sunday with a pirate party!

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And seriously, what a good idea for a theme party. I appreciated that it was simple yet hilarious.

Our friend Joel was the head pirate of the party, aka the clown.

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Annnd this pretty much sums up the reason why theme parties are my favourite. I love to see grown-ups dressed ridiculously.

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ARR.

Scarlett is obviously too young to understand what was happening, but we sure were having fun.

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I feel very grateful to be part of such a close group of friends, where we know each other’s families and friends of friends really well. Seeing them all is always a good time.

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The food table was packed with the usual selections, plenty of dips, meatballs, fruit, veggies and Dawn’s mom’s maraconi pie, only they all had pirate names. For example, Emily’s amazing zip was now the Seagull Dropping Surprise, and my salmon cream cheese ball (recipe at that link) was the Swashbuckler’s Delight (or something like that, I can’t remember the exact name). I like little touches like that.

The dessert table was my favourite.

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Quite the candy bar, and such a great cake!

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And, very important, that cake was delicious. So many times I have been let down by a cake so beautiful that it must be delicious, but then the taste is just ho hum. It’s what’s inside that counts, and inside was filled with confetti cake with buttercream icing and I could not get enough of it. I could not get enough of those little pirate cookies either (made by Emily’s sister Sarah, who has a serious talent for sugar cookie decorating).

Scarlett was after that cake.

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She was very, very excited about it. So excited, in fact, that at one point she was definitely going to grab the flame of the candle with her little hand…

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So my immediate reaction was to blow out her candles. Whoops. Emily was all “Are you going to steal her wish too?!” Maybe. I really enjoy stealing wishes from babies. Oh well, she doesn’t understand the birthday thing yet anyway. I will try to refrain from stealing her thunder in future years :)

Happy 1st Birthday Scarlett, you cheeky minx!

Thank you, you got nice ____.

Monday was a holiday in Ontario, Family Day, so I took the opportunity to visit my saucy 100-and-a-half-year-old Nana. When I got to her nursing home it was afternoon TV time, so she was sitting in a big leather recliner in the main room with some of the other residents. I pulled up a seat next to her for a catch-up chat.

A few feet away, a man was sitting in his wheelchair. I would estimate him to be about 90 years old.

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He dropped his mug…

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And was in a bit of a panic about it. The nurses were busy tending to someone else across the room and no one seemed to be paying attention to him, so I got up to help him out.

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And then…

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I was caught VERY off guard and I did not know what to do, so…

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Because what do you say to that?

And then I turned away and burst out laughing.

I sat back down with the Nanners to continue our conversation. She nor anyone else had heard the nice t*ts exchange. Five minutes later…

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Not this time, buddy.