Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mom Turns 70

On the family day weekend Mom hit a big milestone birthday - 70. To help celebrate Chrissy and I headed 'home' for the weekend to celebrate all things Mary Kehrig.



Family Supper!

Ice Cream Cake!

As a young guy who has seen his fair share of the complications of aging it is inspiring to see the fit and vigor that Mom has. She often remarks that as a young girl she never dreamed that she would one day have seen as much of the world that she has or to have experienced the joys that her large family has brought her. Truly she has come a long way since being born in an old farmhouse all those decades ago.

I often jokingly tell her that "She is the best Mom I have ever had" and while said in jest I can not imagine a better Mother. Every moment spent with my Mom has been an example of doing things the right way: offering kindness, being honest and understanding, thinking of not only yourself but others and expressing love in generosity and  action. If I can be half of the good person (and parent someday) that she is, then I know I have done well. There are not enough Thank-you's that I can pass on to her.

A young lady fresh out of school.

A still young lady and her baby.

Cheers to Mary Kehrig and her 70th Birthday. May there be many more!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Valentines Day at the Art Gallery of Alberta

I image that for Christina, living with me ever day is Valentines Day. She must think that, as instead of me having to take her out for a big Hallmark Holiday night on the town she decided to take me out.

Around the end of January, she let me know that it was a Sadie Hawkins day and asked if I wanted to know what were going to do. I replied with a serious "Surprise Me" and we didn't talk about it again till the big day. So...after work on the 14th, we went home and I was informed that I wouldn't need to change as it was casual semi-formal dress for the night. I was intrigued.

As it was a surprise, I jumped in Chrissy's car and we headed downtown. We drove into a parkade and hit the pedways East. As we entered Churchill Station the options kept getting smaller until we arrived at the entry of the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Walking in I was pleasantly surprised to see the huge selection of seafood, cheeses, and roast. The program and exhibits accompanying at this point were 'just gravy'.

  • The Art of Seafood: Smoked Salmon Capers, Red Onion, Chilled Lemon Garlic Prawns, Sautéed  Prawns, Shucked Malpeque Oysters, White Wine Steamed Mussels, Little Neck Clams, Saffron Sole Mousse
  • The Art of Carving: Chef Carved Alberta Prime Rib with Red Wine Demi. Served with salad, German buns, horseradish flavoured aioli and mustard.
  • The Art of Cheese: Create your own cheese board from Irish Porter, Spanish Manchego, Canadian Oka, English Smoked Applewood Cheddar, Triple Creme French Brie and Swiss Gruyère, as well as marinated artichokes and olives, mustards, marmalades, preserves, baguettes, crisps and scones.
  • Dessert Station: Featuring a delightful array of desserts sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
  • Hot and Cold Beverages:Wine, spirits, classic mixed drinks and spiked hot chocolates.

While I usually avoid fresh seafood when not on the coast I couldn't stop myself from pigging out on mussels, shrimp and oysters

As we walked around the different levels we came across a do it yourself corsage/boutonnière station. Surrounded by all the art we took the chance to produce our own works.

Feeling slighty stuffed Chrissy and I walked around the lobby's smelling the flowers, enjoying the sights, sounds and textures.

In the inaugural year for the new Gallery, Christina purchased me and herself a membership for Christmas. While we really enjoyed some of the early exhibits, like Degas, Escher, Karsh, and Warner Brothers we let our memberships go as the exhibits turned to more Canadian fare (call me unpatriotic, but I'm not always a fan). As it's been awhile and I somewhat lost touch with whats showing we entered the galleries...and were blown away!

The Edo exhibit was fantastic as it contained cool prints, paintings, ceramics, lacquerware and samurai armour.

Christina especially liked the samaurai armor and this ferocious fighter with the nipple rings and wide mustache.

Other highlights included It's Only Natural which consists of two life-size bucks whose antlers have gone crazy. It immediately reminded me of Barry Windsor Smiths Weapon X art so I was a fan.

Additionally, really cool was some of the detailed pencilwork prints in the Beautiful Monsters exhibit - my favorites were the biblical inspired work by Albrecht Dürer.

Just for fun the Gallery staff hosted old timey games where I nailed the ring-toss to win my special girl a teddy bear. It wasn't Klondike Days big, but she was happy that she could haul it in her purse.

With the end of the night near I raced down to the seafood and shucked back some last oysters to ensure I got more than my money's worth while Chrissy hit the dessert table.

With our bellies and minds full we left the gallery with a promise that it wouldn't be so long again between visits

 It was a great event, a great location, with great art and food and I feel pretty lucky that I have such a special Valentine in which to share it with.

Monday, February 18, 2013

First Oiler Game of the Season

Last week I was sitting at work thinking about hockey and the Oilers when it dawned on me with the Dallas Stars playing that night it might be one of the last (and also first) times for me to see Jaromir Jagr. I can't say that I am a huge Jagr fan but the man has scored a lot of sweet goals and provided many Hockey Night in Canada memories with the Penguins. So, I went on Stubhub and picked up a couple of tickets for my buddy Adam and I in the cheap seats. Twenty seven bucks got me a discounted noseblead seat way up four seats from the back wall. 

We arrived at the game journeying up, up, up. The rarefied air and the view turned out to be pretty cool as you could see the whole ice. 

During the first intermission Adam and headed down to meet a friend and Adam snapped a picture for me with the Octane Girls - the Oilers Cheerleaders. Ummm, I think I will stick with my steak at home...

During the intermission, Adam and I met up with Chris and Jay who had pretty killer tickets in the mid 200's. It turned out that there was a couple extra seats right in front of them that were open so Adam and I jumped at them effectively turning our $27 tickets into $170 tickets. The view was significantly closer.

And I was even rewarded to a Jagr goal directly ahead of us as he iced the game for the Stars 4-1. If only every Oilers game offered me the same value....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Champ is dead. Long live the Champ

Christina and I have a long standing rivalry in mini golf.

Traditionally, I have held the advantage but a little over a year back she soundly beat me on one faithful Saturday. Ever since then I have been demanding retribution but she has been continually ducking me. Eventually she has come to realize that to be recognized as a true champion she must grant me a shot at her title. But as a champ she can set the agenda. Finally, she threw down the gauntlet and set forth the opportunity through a package she purchased on Groupon.

We were to play at a location of her choosing - advantage Chrissy!

We arrived into the dayglow lit interior of Monster Mini-Golf late on a sunny afternoon. As I walked in I was struck by the disorienting colour. Chrissy, a former club kid, felt no adverse affects. The cards were clearly stacked in her favor. But I vowed to persevere.

With a quick ace on the second hole I found myself ahead as we passed by the Famous Edmontonians mural.

Some deft putting got me past the ogre without disturbing him as I rounded out the front nine with a lead. Feeling good I was further buoyed by the recognition of my home province and its mighty river.

The next couple holes Christina staged her comeback and began narrowing the lead...I was fit to be tied

(BTW - I have no idea why this mural is relevant. Are Republicans' monsters?)

Some low shot limits on holes saved me and with time/holes running out Christina received a grim message regarding her title reign.

By the time we reached the final hole her defeat was a mathematical surety and like the champion (and Batgirl) that she was she fought back against the killer clown and finished strong. 

I have now regained the title of Mini-Golf Champion of the Universe (of the House). I would like to congratulate Christina for carrying the burden of the title for over a full calendar year. I promise you that I will  carry the role of Champion forevermore leaving you for more gentle-womanly pursuits like knitting and not sucking at mini-golf.

Ha! Long live the Champ!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

(Non) Lazy Saturday

The winter weather has been awesome this last week after a cold burst. Much like the past post I had, a little  Saturday afternoon trek was in order. But first I had a mirror to replace on my car.

Just a quick warning for anyone reading. Don't go through car washes unless they are no-touch. 
I was getting fuel at Petro Canada when I noticed that there was no line to the car wash. Well, now I know why. The big circular blue 'shammy' sheared my mirror right off the car. So after waiting for my paint matched part to come in I finished the install Saturday morning completing my $183 car wash experience.

With that out of the way the first stop for Chrissy and I was Churchill Square downtown for the farmers market. 

Despite our attending the market all the time we rarely ever buy fruits and veggies there. We find the prices to be a little exorbitant versus the prices right at the greenhouses or at H&W.

 Instead we bought samosa's and stuffed our faces.

Wandering out the front doors of city hall we noticed an open space set up for road hockey. I pleaded with Chrissy to stop and play for awhile and much to surprise she readily agreed and joined in.

Her hockey card shot.

After trekking about we settled in near the fire-pots to warm our hands.

Next stop was at T.H.I.S Place a new specialty drink place in the downtown. They are quickly becoming known for the their hot chocolates and for once the hype is worth it. They use real chocolate and all natural spices for flavoring. But beware, the process does take some time.
 If you are downtown in Edmonton you owe yourself a hot chocolate from this place. We even got a take home DIY real chocolate mix that will melt in warm milk.

From downtown we headed to the Old Strathcona farmers market for more deals and people watching.

We picked up some Manhattan Olives from Olive Me and some pepper spread but all that really did was make us even more hungry. And, just by pure coincidence there happened to be a mid afternoon Oilers game on. That just demands a trip to the bar. Beer, Wings, Ribs at the Rack. Oh yeah! 

Anther lazy Edmonton Saturday in the books.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Winter Activities

The last week in Edmonton saw the biggest cold snap so far of the winter with days reaching -42 degrees with windchill. There is simply nothing to do on those days but hang out in inside, watch movies or ride the exercise bike. It sucks.

Knowing that the big freeze was coming Chrissy and I endeavored to get out and enjoy the weather prior to the big chill and basically 'play' in the winter environment.

On the Saturday night we accepted an invite from a friend to go out sliding on one of the many hills in the river valley. It was a perfect idea so we grabbed our sleds, a couple of crazy carpets from Canadian Tire, and some beverages to keep warm and headed out to Government House Park.

After trekking up the hill a few times we were beat and just sat watching the others come down the hill in the  the light from the big moon.

As you can see above; I was overheating from the treks up the hill. In the shot below you can see all the steam rising off my bare right hand (so I could take the picture) almost shadowing out Chrissy.

On the Sunday I took off just after noon for a rare midday rec-hockey game. This season our team has hardly been living up to our potential and have lost a ton of games. This particular game was no different. Shortly afterwards while I was still relatively fresh, (a.k.a not sore yet) I picked up Chrissy for a quick skate at our local community centre rink.

Chrissy isn't the strongest skater but she loosens up after a few laps and you can see an immediate improvement once her confidence builds a bit.

Of course, having boards to hold onto helps.

The memories of warm winter fun propelled us through the cold days and now that it's nice again we're pumped to get back outside.