Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Client Appreciation

I was lucky enough to receive an invite to a client appreciation night a few weeks back by Delnor Construction. In my new world of employment I am eager to meet and greet as many folks in the industry as I can so I made a point of marking it in my calendar. It didn't take long though and I forgot about it.  When my calendar alarm went off a few days before the event I realized I never RSVP'd and had missed the deadline by a week. Undeterred , I decided to send an email to the contact person. They were extremely gracious in re-assuring me that they could definitely accommodate me and my tardy ways.

I arrived a little past the 'beginning' of the social and was a little peeved that the parking lot of the Royal Mayfair was already full. I grumpily accepted that I would have to drive and find a spot at the neighbouring Hawrelak park. As it began to rain during my walk to the event I started having second thoughts about attending but I continued on.  When I arrived I was greeted by a friendly face, great food and free drinks at the bar. Needless to say, I was now happy.

I mingled through the room for awhile and met some great people, including quite a few project managers and a great coordinator from Delnor Construction. Eventually, one of the Partners from the firm got up to the mike and graciously thanked everyone for coming. At this point, I was engaged in a discussion with a woman regarding the durability requirements of affordable housing so I wasn't really listening to attentively to the speaker. However, my ears perked up when I heard my name announced. I had won the door prize. Stunned, I waved to the crowd and thanked the host unsure of what I had won.

Well, it turns out that I won a NEW 55 INCH 3D TELEVISION. Holy Crap.

As I drive a Civic there was no way I was going to get that puppy home so they are dropping it off at work for me this week.  Obviously, I was overjoyed to receive anything let alone a new tv, but that wasn't it. On the way out they gave all guests a customized set of headphones and i-tunes gift certificate.

So being that they gave me all of this - I feel its the least I can do but thank them and pop up their logo on my personal soapbox read by literally the most prestigious dozen or so people on-line.

Thank you Delnor Construction. Hey everybody, go build something with them!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lakedell Country Fair

The NHL season is well under-way, the Roughriders are done and there is an off chance of snow for the coming week. There is no way of getting around it - winter is just around the corner.

I have been putting off writing anything about my favourite event from this past summer as somehow my procrastination was holding off winter. Don't get me wrong, I truly do like winter.  It's just not as fun living in the centre of Edmonton during winter - There are no snowmobiles and inexpensive junior hockey games 5 minutes away to watch.

Anyways...This was by far my favourite event of this past summer and I will fondly remember it when I am stuck in a snowbank in 3 weeks.

Christina and I attended the Lakedell Country Fair out near Pigeon Lake the first weekend in September. The Country Fair is advertised as "Alberta's Largest One Day Fair" and as you can see from their flyer there is lots going on.
We arrived a little after noon, grabbed a couple of burgers and walked around soaking in the sights.
Christina likes this horse because it's wearing leg warmers. They are sooooo back.

As far as we could tell, this was mostly a parallel parking competition with horses.

Eventually we settled down and watched a couple of events. I was drawn to the log cutting competition and after watching a few other city slickers enter I decided to give it a go.
Overall, I did pretty decent. I was a few seconds below the average at 17 seconds but way behind the top cutter at 12 seconds. I tried to remember my Dad's words about sawing - "let the blade do the work". I typically take fast short strokes instead of the better method of longer strokes with all the teeth. In the video you can see I am cutting this one somewhere in between my usual and preferred stroke.
After my sawing expedition Christina and I decided to sit down and watch some real athletes ride perform in the greatest exhibition of man and beast of all time - Mutton Bustin'. For those not in the know, Mutton Bustin' is basically bull riding for children but instead of riding bulls they ride sheep. And it is the greatest spectator event ever.
The kids ranged from about 4-8 years old.  However, most of the youngest one's never even left the gate.  All too many of the kids were placed on the sheep in the chute by their overzealous parents before throwing a fit and getting pulled off by their now laughing parent. These kids now share the worst badge of shame ever - too chicken to ride a sheep. Those that did get out the gate are obviously the ultimate studs of the prepubescent world.

Notice in this video how awesome the kids 'stroll' back to the chute is. Pure Stud!
Exhausted from all the excitement we checked out the vendors and exhibits. I really like looking through the wood working and gardening displays. It reminded me of my days in 4-H back in Humboldt, but it was rare I ever got a blue ribbon.
As we left, I thought it was only appropriate to commemorate the great day with a souvenir so I picked up this awesome mug to impress all the people at work.
The whole day was great and Christina and I are already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Pool is Closed

I walked by the Legislature grounds last weekend and noticed that the reflection/splash pool is now drained. That sucks. We had some good times this summer.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Go Fly a Kite!

This spring, while killing time in a Winners while Christina shopped, I came across a kite in the toy section and on a whim decided to buy it. It sat in the trunk of my car for months till a few weeks back I convinced Christina to join me at Hawrelak Park and give flying a kite a go.
The wind would come in bursts where it would catch the kite nicely, other times I would have to help the kite stay aloft by running with it and creating my own wind.
Christina was a little unsure at first but after watching me run around like an idiot keeping it aloft she decided to give it a try. She was a natural and ended up really enjoying it.
I would definitely recommend picking up a kite somewhere and keeping it in your trunk for an inexpensive (~$10)  fun time.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

A Month of Weddings

The last 3 out of 4 weekends I have been lucky enough to be invited to friends weddings. Each one had been very enjoyable and very different from the others.

The first wedding was here in Edmonton of my former co-worker, Greg and his lovely bride Crystal. Unfortunately, my camera didn't like the lighting at the ceremony or the supper/dance and I have mostly blurry photos. It really is unfortunate because the couple are exceedingly good looking. I actually think it may be best to completely wipe out humanity and just let them start over...

My next wedding was back in the old home-town of Humboldt SK for Curt and Shawna's big day. Curt was kind enough to include me in his wedding party so most of my pictures are not of the actual ceremony but the before and after during the wedding party pictures.

 The best man keeping the rings safe.

The final wedding was a set of complete firsts for me as I attended a Hindu/Ismali Islam wedding of Christina's old co-worker (kind of) and friend Samir (Sam) and Shayroz. The wedding, on a Saturday morning at 9am, was held at a hall in Edmonton that was done up spectacularly with red and gold linen. For the Hindu wedding the couple had their own entrances to a mandap (wedding canopy) that was set up with pillows and more linen dressings and looked really comfortable.

I won't pretend to even understand all of the ceremonies meanings and rituals but there were some that were really interesting. 
  •  At one point the couple had a varamala (rope) that was tied in a knot joining the two. 
  • A fire was set up in the mandap and the bride and groom placed rice into it. The burning rice smelled really good.
  • There were a set of stones around the fire that the bride and groom would stand on while the priest (?) gave a special blessing.
  • The bride led the husband around the fire by the varamala 3 times. It looked like he was being led on a leash.
  • They eventually went around the fire a total of 7 times.

After the Hindu wedding ceremony there was a brief break where coffee and really outstanding tea was served as they got ready for the Ismali ceremony.
My first impression of the wedding was that it was very formal as all participants sat around a table in the centre of the hall. They then explained to us that weddings in their culture are not seen as sacraments so there is less pomp and pageantry. 
There was a reading from the koran and then the actual ceremony which was very much a contract signing of expectations. The formalities started to slide away as the parents of both the bride and groom joined hands in a cross hatched square and spoke with the couple. We couldn't hear any of what was being shared but Shayroz giggling filled the room and was contagious. The whole ceremony lasted maybe 15 minutes.

Christina and I kind of felt like tourists during the day and were lucky to have Amanpreet and her sister as our guides describing the rituals and explaining what we were eating at meals (the food was fantastic). Both Amanpreet and her sister looked stunning and Christina and I both posed for pictures with them in each of their outfits for the day.

All the best to the lucky couples.

Bonus: Possberg chair-shot during Curt's wedding photos.